# Mathematics shapes your child as a Risk-Taker and a Winner

**By Fareed Ahmad**

Mathematics will teach him a small manifestation of life. Risk takers always win.

After teaching Mathematics to different students of different grades over the span of six years. I have listed out some Important things your child needs to know about Mathematics. You can help your child learn math by offering him insights into how to approach the subject.

Please bear in mind, many times children lack in academic performance due to wrong approach towards a subject.

Your child will develop love for mathematics no matter in whatever grade he is in, and will drastically improve his academics, if he understands the following points.

**Not one way is the right way, Problems Can Be Solved in Different Ways**

Although most math problems have only one answer, but there may be many ways to get to that answer. Most of the Mathematics teachers make this mistake of forcing students to adapt only one method that is the one they have done in the classroom. This is extremely detrimental to conceptual learning. In several schools and colleges, I have observed that marks are deducted if students don`t use the method taught in the classroom.

Learning math is more than finding the correct answer; it’s also a process of solving complex problems and applying what you’ve learned to new problems. There is no one right way, problems can be solved in different ways, this enhances the cognitive ability and critical thinking in students.

**Wrong Answers Sometimes Can Be Useful**

Many times, we as educators, parents and students think if the answer is wrong we have wasted our time. Indeed, accuracy is always important in math. However, sometimes you can use a wrong answer to help your child figure out why he made a mistake. Analyzing wrong answers will help your child to understand the concepts underlying the problems and to learn to apply reasoning skills to arrive at the correct answer. This will also teach him, mistakes he shouldn`t be making while solving the remaining problems.

Ask your child to explain how he solved a math problem. His explanation might help you discover if he needs help with number skills, such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, or with the concepts involved in solving the problem. It might be that some of his previous concepts are weak or misunderstood. It is true for the most part, that failures in life teaches us more than success same goes for Mathematics.

**Take Risks!**

Help your child to be a risk taker. Mathematics will teach him a small manifestation of life. Risk takers always win. Those who are risk averse, stay in their comfort zone and achieve nothing in life. If you can instill risk taking ability in your child`s life, you have done your job.

I always emphasize in class to my students not to look at solutions when they see a problem, rather strive on solving it.

Help him see the value of trying to solve a problem, even if it’s difficult. Give your child time to explore different approaches to solving a difficult problem. Don`t think so and so problem is very difficult. Don`t tell him the answers all at a sudden. Don`t allow him to see the answers quickly. As he works, encourage him to talk about what he is thinking. This will help him to strengthen math skills and to become an independent thinker and problem solver (Both of which are 21^{st} century skills).

**Being Able to Do Mathematics in Your Head Is Important**

Mathematics isn’t restricted to pencil and paper activities. Doing math “in your head” (mental math) is a valuable skill that comes in handy as we make quick calculations of costs in stores, restaurants or gas stations. It also keeps your mind active and makes you less dependent on calculators. Several mathematicians have got title to be ‘The Human Calculator’ because of their mental mathematics ability.

Give your child this title to motivate him.

There are different ways on how you can enhance your mental mathematics ability, and that would be another article. Let your child know that by using mental math, his math skills will become stronger.

**It’s sometimes ok to use a calculator to solve mathematics problems**

It’s OK to use calculators to solve math problems—sometimes. They are widely used today and in several exams your child will be bound to use calculators like few papers of IGCSE or A-Levels, and knowing how to use them correctly is important. Many times, children reach a wrong conclusion due to wrong use of calculator.

Let your child know that to use calculators correctly and most efficiently, he will need a strong grounding in math operations—otherwise, how will he know whether the answer he sees displayed is reasonable!

**Relate Everything with Real life**

It might sound too cliché but this is the reality. Relate everything, every problem to real life. Explain them trigonometry and uses of it using real life examples. Children learn quicker and understand better if a 3D model is present in front of them. They want to know application of what they are learning and how will it benefit in their real life. Many times, students ask me in the class, What`s the use of bearing? Why do we need to study circle properties? If you quench their thirst, they will happily learn.

*Featured Image credits: Edutopia.*

*Fareed Ahmad is a Mathematics teacher of IGCSE, GCE, IB and A-Levels. He can be reached on **si.fareedahmad@gmail.com** to get free consultancy or guidance for your child. He can be followed on Facebook.*