Methods for Math Success
At Yellow Wood, we love finding the missing link that is causing kids to struggle in math. Today I am going to share with you a few techniques and methods we use to help students make strides. The best part is, many of these methods can be used regardless of what curriculum you use! Sometimes the teaching method is more impactful than the specific curriculum. We do not hold fast to a specific curriculum - though we do have our favorites. Instead we make sure the method is working for the child.
How to Individualize Math with Any Curriculum
So, to begin, let’s talk about individualizing math instruction. It’s so important to meet your student where they are. Did you just pull out of traditional school? Or are you starting with a new curriculum? If your child is behind in math, starting in their grade level book could be setting you up for failure from the start! It is not a tragedy if you need to go back a grade or two. In fact, backing up to a point that will begin with success can be the best thing for building confidence and stamina.
Another important piece to individualizing math at home is to focus on one skill at a time and work toward mastery. Many times a spiral approach is not successful for students with math weaknesses. If you can focus on one skill, say math facts 6’s and 7’s, in as many ways as possible for a couple weeks, the skill will stick better than if it is only touched on among other skills throughout the two weeks. This is one reason why we typically use Math U See, because they teach one big concept at a time. However, you can successfully do this with any curriculum, as long as you complete all the lessons on multiplication together, etc, instead of spiraling through. Shiller math allows you to find lessons based on concept so it makes tackling one skill at a time very doable!
In case you’re looking for a new math curriculum, check out our two favorites:
No matter what curriculum you use, you can reinforce new concepts using games! There are many math games out there that make math fun and take the stress off your child! If you are hitting lots of opposition and avoidance, changing things up with games can make a huge difference. Don’t be afraid to only play math games for math instruction for a while if your child needs some de-stressing time! They will still be working on the skills, and it is SO important to take the anxiety and stress out of the picture so that they can actually make progress.
Strengthen the Underlying Skills Needed for Success
Math mastery requires that cognitive skills be strong enough to make new math connections. Working memory, visualization, and visual processing are all incredibly important. By building up these skills, you’ll be building a foundation that will allow your child to finally make progress in math! But how, you ask? This is exactly why we created Path to Success. Our monthly membership program lays out a map for improving skills like working memory in small bite-sized chunks, without needing to purchase a new curriculum or materials! All weekly and monthly challenges can be completed in less than 30 min a day - super easy to fit into your homeschool day! The best part is all activities are games and movement based, so even your reluctant teen will find it enjoyable.
You can learn more about working memory and some specific techniques we use in these blog posts:
Consistency is Key!
A great rule of thumb when learning a new task or mastering a skill is to do the activity every day for 30 days. Consistency allows the brain to form new pathways so that the skill will stick! Whether it’s a new math skill or a working memory game, consistency will build the foundation for success.
Do you have a math method that works for your students? We’d love to hear from you!