Years of continuous learning and practicing math leads to one goal - math fluency. Math fluency isn't just memorizing math facts and answers to specific questions. A child with math fluency feels confident in his math skills, taking part in activities and not dreading the process.
Sound unattainable? It's not! Math fluency develops slowly, over years, and is reached at different rates for each child. It takes years for your child to reach different levels of math fluency.
Luckily, there are things that you can do as a parent to encourage math fluency! Here are some simple tips.
1. Practice Frequently
Whether your child is homeschooled or not, kids need frequent practice to build math fluency. Ideally, kids will receive daily math lessons with opportunities to practice daily. Under these circumstances, kids build math fluency.
Be creative with how you help your child practice math. It can be adding up totals at the store or reading a recipe. When you're playing with your child, try to find circumstances and times to ask math questions. Sometimes, kids are better when they don't feel the pressure of a math workbook.
2. Use Manipulatives
Manipulatives are key to help make math as visual as possible, especially for our visual learners. It makes math make sense in a whole different way for your kids. Manipulatives should always be used for math!
Teach your kids how to use manipulatives first. Once they're able to use them properly, you'll watch your child's understanding expand rapidly. Use them for worksheets and problems, but you also can set out math manipulatives for your kids to enjoy alone. Kids are fantastic thinkers; you never know what they're thinking and doing in their heads!
3. Variety Helps
Learning one way to do something means that sometimes you can become stuck. Some methods don't work for everyone, and everyone has their own methods for understanding concepts.
If your child is struggling to understand a math lesson in one way, get creative and find a way to teach in a different way. Connect math to the real world to make it make sense for kids.
Using manipulatives like mentioned above and use oral problems. Word problems and physical demonstrations are great ways to help kids understand the problems at hand. Also, try games and interactive notebooks for additional activities.
4. Encourage Mental Math
Mental math is the ability to think and solve a problem quickly and without help. It takes practice for kids to develop mental math skills. Being capable of performing mental math means you are demonstrating math fluency.
Try asking oral questions without any visual represetation. Ask your kid to visualize in thie head the problme. Try mental math cards or practice daily math drills!