Another piece of news is that I have a guest post on the Enjoy Birth blog. If you are pregnant, planning on ever being pregnant or know anyone who is pregnant, Sheridan’s birth and hypnobirth blogs contain a wealth of information!
On to this week’s post:
8 things my exercise program can teach you about helping your child with maths
For the past year I’ve been using an iPhone app called 5bx. It’s an exercise program where you carry out 5 basic fitness exercises in under 11 minutes every day. In addition the repetitions and/or the intensity of the exercises increase as you move through the program. It works really well for me because it’s a daily workout which gives me energy and keeps me fit with minimal effort, and 11 minutes a day is so much less painful than one hour long session a week.
It also struck me that this similar to what I’ve been doing with my children and their maths learning since they were preschoolers. My kids have counted objects, played games, completed worksheets and played on-line maths games, almost daily over the years. Little and often has definitely helped with their maths successes so far.
So here are the 8 things my exercise program can teach you about guiding your child to maths success:
1. Start easy
When I first started 5bx I thought that it was too easy, but starting with the easy workout has helped my body prepare for the harder workouts. In the same way giving your child work that is relatively easy to start with will increase their confidence and help them get used to doing that little bit of extra work each day.
2. Keep it simple
With only 5 different exercises to do, the whole session is easy to carry out. I don’t need any equipment, and only need to check the number of repetitions for each session. Do the same for your maths sessions. Plan well in advance and know in advance what you’re going to focus on each session. Don’t try to cram too many different things into short sessions.
3. It’s only 11 mins
Of course I’ve missed days, but most days I say to myself, it’s only 11 minutes, and even I have 11 minutes in my day. Give you and your child an easy schedule: start with 5 or 10 minutes a day or even less, but make it an amount of time that you can both commit to every day.
4. Stick to the schedule
I try to do 5bx every day, even if I’ve done another workout or another bit of exercise during the day (yes, walking around the shopping mall can loosely be defined as exercise around here!) For maths, even if my children have maths homework from school, they still do their little bit of extra maths for that day.
5. But also be flexible
There are days when I’m feeling ill, exhausted or just don’t have it in me to even do 11 minutes of exercise. So I don’t. In the same way, if your child has to finish that last-minute geography project, or a surprise guest turns up or there’s a family occasion, then just skip a day or two.
6. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day (or month!)
Life happens, just start again the next day, (or the next week, or the next month). When I was setting up this blog, I stopped exercising for over a month, it’s easy to make other things a priority. Knowing that I didn’t want to lose the level of fitness I’d achieved over the year, helped me start exercising again. In the same way if the extra maths work falls off the schedule, looking back at the positive results and the small amount of time commitment will encourage you to get started again.
7. Try getting it out of the way
The days when I manage to do my 5bx first thing in the morning, seem to be the days when I have plenty of energy during the rest of the day. When I ran a Kumon centre, there were some families who got their Kumon worksheets out of the way by doing them before school. That rarely happened in my house, but before this latest bout of compulsive reading took over, my daughter would be the first to start her extra work and get it out of the way, so that she would then be free to do other things. At the very least, try to have a fixed time each day that is “maths time”
8. Have a long-term goal in mind
I exercise to stay fit. Any short-term weight loss is a bonus. In the same way, the extra maths work your child does will help them in the future, whichever subjects they end up focusing their studies on. Their short term test results are a bonus.
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