- Be positive about maths. Try not to say things like “I can’t do maths” or “I hated maths at school” – your child may start to think like that themselves.
- Point out the maths in everyday life. Include your child in activities involving numbers and measuring, such as shopping, cooking and travelling.
- Praise your child for effort rather than for being “clever”. This shows them that by working hard they can always improve.
Mental agility or mental math is the process of doing mathematical calculations in your head, without the use of a calculator, abacus or even pen and paper. This is used in many walks of life outside of the classroom. For example:
- Working out the cost of sale goods when shopping. For example, if there’s a 20% off sale, you’ll know exactly how much you expect to pay. In America, mental maths also comes in useful in everyday shopping, to add things like tax which aren’t included in the tag price before you head to the till.
- Calculating a tip. If you dine out and receive a good service, chances are you’ll leave a tip. Mental maths allows you to calculate how much a 10%, 20% or more tip would be.
- Metric conversions. You don’t have to travel far to see measurement units change. In the UK we go by miles per hour, whereas in European countries it’s kilometres per hour when driving. Similarly it allows you to easily work out the difference between inches and centimetres, pounds and kilos and much more.
- Working out exchange rate. If you enjoy a summer holiday abroad, you’ll no doubt need to exchange currency to spend while you’re there. Mental maths makes it easy to work out how much value for money you’re getting, and how much currency you can expect to receive for your sterling.
There are many other places mental maths is used, probably without even thinking about it, in everyday life, such as cooking recipes, comparing values of products/services when shopping, working out a score/grade and even calculating interest due.