The value of practising Mathematics


Most of us come from the age where our parents forced us to learn our times tables off by heart and to practice basic arithmetic daily. Then came the age of ‘outcomes-based education’ and children were encouraged to rather discover than practise, emphasising the ability of children to find answers for themselves.

Numerous studies have since suggested that a combination of the two is probably the best practice when it comes to Mathematics.

A study published in 2013 by The Norwegian University of Science and Technology suggests that there is no such a thing as a “math gene�?. Children who do well in math are children who practise mathematics! And they have to practise all types of math! If you are good at geometry, you will not necessarily be good at algebra.

"We found support for a task specificity hypothesis. You become good at exactly what you practice," Sigmundsson says. Practising numeracy skills from an early age is vital. Foundation phase (Grade 1 to 3) is where basic numeracy concepts are introduced and established. If your child experience problems with number value and number concepts in this phase, it has to be addressed. The next phase will build on the knowledge gained in the Foundation phase.

By the end of Grade 4, all basic numeracy concepts should be established, including times tables, basic operations and basic number concepts (greater than, smaller than, arranging numbers in order, even and odd numbers, etc.). A child who still battles with these concepts, will find the demands of mathematics in the following years challenging.

Math homework everyday is a way of ensuring that concepts learnt in class are
perfected. Even just ten minutes of math a day in the junior phases will help to ensure that the foundation for success in mathematics is cemented.

You might want to read about how divisions can be mastered.