Why Children Find Math Questions Difficult & How You Can Turn That Around

January 19, 2023

It’s no secret that Math can be difficult for some children. There are many formulas to remember and apply, so we can see why it is a challenging subject to grasp. But it doesn’t have to be. With the right learning strategies, your child can eventually master this subject with ease.

Of course, you play a vital role in making this happen, but you’re not alone. Here, we offer some solutions to the common problems children find themselves in when they navigate the swarm of Math questions in school.

1. Dumb Down Formulas Into Easy To Recall Formats

Key problem it tackles: Difficulty remembering formulas

We understand that formulas can be challenging to memorise and recall. And when there are too many at hand, we can see why your child considers Math their most difficult subject. Oftentimes, the way your child memorises the formula is the issue.

Trying to plant the formula word for word in their memory only adds to the stress. Of course, constant application can turn these formulas into muscle memory. Yet, it is counterproductive for your child to keep looking back at the formula sheet should they forget when practising questions after a period of time. What’s worse? They may feel nervous when the sheet is not in sight, which means they may have grown dependent on them.

Before your child attempts any Math question, consider coming up with ways to dumb down these formulas into easily-digestible information. You could even turn this into a Math game of sorts, so your child takes charge of their own learning in that way.

Here’s an example of what we mean:

The distance, speed and time formula can be a little tricky for new learners. Most schools have introduced the triangle concept, where distance (marked by D) is at the top and speed (S) and time (T) occupy equal space as the triangle’s base. But it’s not surprising that a child may mix these up at the start.

One efficient way of recalling the arrangement is to follow the alphabetic order – D comes first, followed by S, then T. Since English is written from right to left, it’ll be easier for your child to identify where S and T lies when the alphabets song plays their heads, and fill the triangle.

2. Practise Math Questions With Real-Life Items

Key problem it tackles: Complicated rules make application challenging

Certain Math concepts come with an overload of rules that make mastering complicated. This tends to happen because your child cannot see how these rules work in the numeric world. Some visual aids can help.

But we’re not talking about flash cards or drawings. Rather, we mean playing out these rules in real life.

Is it pizza night? Play a Math game with your child by getting them to prepare portions of a whole pizza based on fraction questions. For instance, you could ask, “Sally sliced out half a pizza, but Molly took ⅓ of Sally’s portion. What fraction of the original pizza is Sally left with?” (Of course, tune up the fun and use names of people your child is familiar with, and crack jokes here and there to make the experience a lively one!)

Guide your child along the way – have them slice a pizza into half; then slice the halved portion into three. Advise them to make visual comparisons with the other uncut half to make a match in terms of portions. After some time, your child will be able to identify that Sally was left with a third of the whole pizza.

3. Build Confidence Through Effective Teaching & Understanding

Key problem it tackles: Math anxiety

Defined as the feeling of apprehension and tension when dealing with Math questions, Math anxiety is not something you’d want to ignore. When not dealt with, it can interfere with your child’s ability to understand and solve problems, impacting their performance in school.

Math anxiety can stem factors like:

As we can see, the ideal solution to math anxiety is, therefore, having confidence and interest. But what can help your child build both of these? Look into how they are being taught to understand the subject.

The impact of teaching plays a significant role in how your child learns Math. At MindChamps Enrichment Academy, we understand how important that is for any child’s educational development. Our Math enrichment classes help to address this problem. Through our research-backed pedagogy, we employ a range of approaches to facilitate meaningful learning.

Concept Formation helps your child to break down Math concepts into digestible nuggets that broaden and deepen their understanding of various topics. This is accompanied by fun activities for better stimulation as well as mock tests to assess their capabilities. Supporting this is the Optimal Flow Method™ that lets your child make connections between previously taught topics, which facilitates complete understanding and application. This plays a key role in developing confidence, allowing them to take on test and exam questions with greater focus and belief in themselves.

Tying the various tools together is our 3-Mind Approach, where we help your child understand how Math plays out in their daily lives, while nurturing a natural curiosity for the subject and improving their critical thinking skills. We recognise that each child has their learning pace, and work along with that for greater outcomes. This way, we can develop in your child an increased interest in the subject, rather than leaving them feeling anxious in class. Ultimately, these keep them stimulated as they learn.

Math doesn’t have to be difficult for your child. With the right educational tools, alongside patience and determination, your child can take on as many Math questions with newfound confidence. Before you know it, they’ll be ready to tackle any Math problem sums for their PSLE!

Why not book a tour at our centres to learn more about our Math enrichment classes and how we can help?