As your child grows and develops, their personality will emerge, and as a parent, it is a joy to watch them realize their strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes. Some parents will watch their child bloom into a natural mathematician, a child who can pick up on math concepts easily, who enjoys problem solving, facts and figures. Other parents will watch as their child leans more towards the creative side, spending his or her time writing stories, drawing, and directing plays with the neighborhood kids in the backyard. It is these artistic, right brained children that sometimes struggle with math. The fact that there is one right answer can be frustrating to a child who is used to fluid, abstract ideas, feelings, interpretations and imagination. If this sounds like your child, there are a few study tips you can implement to help your creative butterfly excel in the world of numbers, equations and formulas.
Words AND Numbers: For the students who would prefer to have their nose in a book rather than crunching numbers, you can use their strengths with the written word to help them solve math problems. Have them create word problems (and don’t be surprised if the “characters” in these problems are well thought out and developed!) Give them the freedom to use their imagination and creativity to address math concepts. Although you may find it easier to write down 6 x 4 = 24, a student who excels in English and creative writing may learn better when they can create a scenario in which 6 glamorous and beautiful movie stars each have to change into 4 different outfits at an awards ceremony, and figuring out how many total costume changes will there be. Either way, the problem is addressed, the concept is learned and the answer is found.
Let them see: Right brained thinkers tend to learn better when they can see a physical representation of the problem in front of them. Encourage them to draw the problem in a way that makes sense for them. If possible, use counters that the student can sort, manipulate and count. When right-brained students can get their eyes (and hands) busy, they absorb more of what is being taught
Study to Music: Play music while your child does his/her homework. This will stimulate both sides of the brain and will help them to retain more of the information. Help the students develop a song, rap, rhyme or hand gestures that relate to key words, topics and figures. Using music is a great way for these creative thinkers to remember important information.
Use Color: If flashcards are helpful study tool for your child, use colors to represent different facts and applications. The colors will stick out in their mind and it will help them remember the information when they are presented with it on a test.
Your play directing, song writing, daydreaming, story telling, free spirit of a child has the ability to succeed in the more analytical world of math and numbers, if they are given the appropriate study tools and tricks. Knowing your child’s strengths and using them to improve their weaknesses is a valuable tool every parent should utilize.