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How Do You Support Your Child to Achieve His Goal?

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Every start of the new year, we sit our three sons down and have a goal setting activity – listing out our goals for the year and for life. Writing down the goals help identify the steps to achieving them and to keep the timeline in-check. Other than annual academic goals (which I insist since they are students), they have non-academic goals like ‘get a yellow belt for Judo’ and ‘get my driving licence’ (yes, the youngest son, 5,  is involved too). The goals are pinned up next to their bed. When they achieve a goal, they put a smiley face next to it. – Vicky Chong

“We inevitably doom our children to failure and frustration when we try to set their goals for them” – Jess Lair

To support your children in achieving their goals, make sure that the goal set is attainable. During the process, plan how to achieve it. Help them to review the steps and encourage them along the process. Encourage your children to set a time table. When they achieve each little step, motivate them with a hug, a word of praise or a little reward. Do not blame them even if they fail to achieve the goal and let them know they can always try again. – Sheila

Setting a goal is an uphill task for a child of tender age. What I did for my girl was to help her break the goal into little milestones so it is more achievable and less intimidating. With that, we work out a schedule to meet these little milestones. And in no time, she will realise she is not too far away from achieving her goal. I give her a lot of encouragement and support along the way. Sometimes, I also throw in a reward to motivate her further. – Cindy Tan

It should be the goal of THE CHILD, not the parents. Parents should support and guide the child to see what he can achieve and not just meet the parents’ expectations. As a mother, I will help my young child by planning his learning process and create a step-by-step guide for him. It is very crucial to be supportive and encouraging along the way to build the resilience in him. As he grows older, he will have a mind of his own and have more self-awareness. Parents play the role of a lighthouse that points out any dangers and guides him to the right path. – Poh Xian

Editor’s Note: Thank you Vicky, Sheila, Cindy and Poh Xian for your contributions. A big thank you to all who took the time to submit your views. We invite you to participate in our next issue of  ‘Your Say’.

For next issue’s Your Say, we are having a kids special. So share with us what you think is the most effective way to teach kids good old fashion values such as respect and integrity. Fill in the form below to let us know what you think. Your contribution might just be featured on MathsExCEL newsletter! All participants will be eligible for a parent-child reward gift vouchers.

MathsExCEL Your Say April 2014 Issue

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Improve Your Maths Marks

This article is written by  Deb Russell, http://math.about.com.

Here are some quick steps to help you get better at doing mathematics. Regardless of age, the tips here will help you learn and understand math concepts from primary school right on through to university math. Everyone can do math, be positive and follow the steps here and you’ll be on your way to seeing success in math.

Understanding Versus Memorizing

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All too often, we will try to memorize a procedure or sequence of steps instead of looking to understand why certain steps are required in a procedure. Always, always strive for understanding the why and not just the how. Take the algorithm for long division Typically, we say, “how many times does 3 go into 7” when the question is 73 divided by 3. After all, that 7 represents 70 or 7 tens. The understanding in this question really has little to do with how many times 3 goes into 7 but rather how many are in the group of three when you share the 73 into 3 groups. 3 going into 7 is merely a short cut. Putting 73 into 3 groups means understanding. The long division algorithm rarely makes sense unless the concrete method is fully understood.

Maths is Not a Spectator Sports, Get Active!

Getty ImagesUnlike some subjects, math is something that won’t let you be a passive learner. Math is the subject that will often put you out of the comfort zone, don’t worry as this is normal and part of the learning process. Try to make connections in math, many of the concepts in math are related and connected. The more connections you can make, the greater the understanding will be. Math concepts flow through levels of difficulty, start from where you are and move forward to the more difficult levels only when understanding is in place. The internet has a wealth of interactive math sites that let you engage, be sure use them.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Getty ImagesDo as many problems as is required to ensure you understand the concept. Some of us require more practice and some of us require less practice. You will want to practice a concept until it makes sense and until you are fluent at finding solutions to various problems within the concept readily. Strive for those ‘A Ha!’ moments. When you can get 7 varied questions in a row right, you’re probably to the point of understanding. Even more so if you re-visit the questions a few months later and are still capable of solving them. This too is key to understanding. Be sure to check out the worksheet section for lots of practice examples.

Additional Exercises

Getty ImagesThis is similar to practice. Think of math the way one thinks about a musical instrument. Most of us don’t just sit down and play an instrument. We take lessons, practice, practice some more and although we move on, we still take time to review. Go beyond what is asked for. Your instructor tells you to do questions 1-20, even numbers only. Well, that may work for some, but others may need to do each of the questions to reach the point of fluency with the concept. Doing the extra practice questions only helps you to grasp the concept more readily. And, as always, be sure to re-visit a few months later, do some practice questions to ensure that you still have a grasp of it.

Buddy Up!

Getty ImagesSome people like to work alone. However, when it comes to solving problems, it often helps to have a work buddy. You know the saying: two heads are better than one. Sometimes a work buddy can help clarify a concept for you by looking at it in a different way. Organize a study group or work in pairs or triads! In real life we often work through problems with others. Math is no different. A work buddy also provides you with the opportunity to discuss how you solved the math problem. And as you’ll see in this list of tips, conversing about math leads too permanent understanding and you know that understanding is key.

Explain and Question

Try to explain to somebody else how you solve math concepts. Teach a friend. Or, keep a journal. It’s often important to state either in writing or orally how you solved your math problems/exercises. Question problems, ask yourself, What would happen if…….I solved it this way because…..
Remember William Glasser’s findings:
  • 10% of what we READ
  • 20% of what we HEAR
  • 30% of what we SEE
  • 50% of what we SEE and HEAR
  • 70% of what is DISCUSSED with OTHERS
  • 80% of what is EXPERIENCED PERSONALLY
  • 95% of what we TEACH TO SOMEONE ELSE

Phone a Friend …. or Tutor!

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Seek help when it’s appropriate. Don’t let yourself get stuck and frustrated. Seek extra clarification when needed, be your own advocate! Whether you have a friend or need to hire a tutor, recognize the point at which you need help – then get it! Most of us need help some of the time, if you let it go too long, you’ll discover that the math will only become more frustrating for you.

Learn how your child can benefit at his most at MathsExCEL!facebook icon 2