Get Ahead in Math and Still Enjoy the Holidays!

The holidays are a great time to consolidate math knowledge. Find out how your child can use the holidays to get ahead in math and still have plenty of time for fun and relaxation. The transcript of the video is below. Click here to watch this video on You Tube

Hello, I’m Caroline from MathsInsider.com and today I’m going to share with you some tips about how to keep maths going over the holiday. So today is the first day of my kids school holiday and I’m hoping to keep some maths going for them. So I thought I’d share some of the tips that I’m using with my own kids and I’m sharing with my Thinkster Math (formerly Tabtor)  students as well.

Relax and enjoy the holidays!

So, number one, it’s not a case of, “You’ve got to do maths the whole holiday! Maths, maths, maths.” Yes, of course, you must have time to relax. Your kids must have time to relax, to stare at the ceiling, to open their presents, to enjoy time with their family and friends. But also, the holidays are a great time to get ahead with maths and to consolidate ideas, so it is worth trying to slot a little bit of maths into the holidays.

In Australia, they’ve got the big summer holiday, it’s six weeks. The rest of the world is probably about two or three weeks but in those two or three weeks, even if you’re having Christmas day off, New Year’s Day off, you can still get lots of maths done.

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Identify 1 or 2 math topics to focus on

So the first thing to do is to actually identify what topics you want to cover. So think back to any topics that your child has come home with which they’ve struggled with in their homework or topics that your teachers mentioned. Or you could look ahead to see what they’re doing, if you’ve had a newsletter from school and see if there’s any topics on there that you can identify. Don’t try and do the whole curriculum, the whole syllabus in one holiday, that’s going to drive you crazy. And as a parent, you need time to relax as well, so just try to identify one or two topics.

For my little one, I’m trying to just do the twos, fives, and tens times tables. I think he kind of knows them, but I just want to make sure that he can kind of do them out of order. So just pick something really simple and if you’re not sure, just grab — if they’re an older kid, you can grab their maths book and see, “Well, they didn’t get good grades on this topic or that topic.”

Fix a “math time”

Number two is to fix a time when you’re going to do this work. So maybe first thing in the morning. For my own kids, they like to go out and play. The main thing in holidays is that they’re allowed to play out after dark so I’ll say to them, “If you want to go out and play with your friends after dark, then let’s just do a little bit maths.” So fix the time. Is it going to be first thing in the morning? Is a going to be before they go out to play? Is it going to be straight away after lunch? Try and fix the time, that this will be the maths time. I’m not saying that they should spend an hour doing maths, that’s fine if they’re willing to do that and they’re happy to do that, but even two minutes, five minutes, ten minutes is going to add maths knowledge into their lives.

Choose fun math resources

The next thing is to choose your resources. So your kids might not want to sit down with a maths book or lots of maths worksheets, so use this time to introduce something slightly more interesting or relaxing. So if you want to use some seasonal worksheets and print those off, that’s fine. For the times tables I’m using a cute little app called Squeebles because that’s kind of fun and they get to play as well as do times tables, so that’s something slightly different. But if you’re already on a program like Kumon or Thinkster Math, that’s fine. You can do the standard things, but don’t make them. Try to make it a bit more interesting. This should be a time spent with family and friends so you don’t want to be stressed and give them the worst options. Try to give them the best options.

Highlight everyday math

The next thing is to just introduce, just highlight maths in your everyday life. So in the holidays you’ve got sales, you can talk about numbers of the sales, you can talk about how many Lego bricks do you think you’ve used for this set – estimating. You can talk about maths journey times if you’re traveling or family and friends are coming to visit you. So just be aware to highlight the maths that’s around you during this time.

 

Caroline Mukisa
About The Author: Caroline Mukisa is the founder of Maths Insider. A Cambridge University educated math teacher, she's been involved in math education for over 20 years as a teacher, tutor, Kumon instructor, Thinkster Math instructor and math ed blogger. She is the author of the insanely helpful ebook "The Ultimate Kumon Review" and insanely useful website "31 Days to Faster Times Tables" You can follow her math tips on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @mathsinsider

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