Mental math strategies are a very important part of your child’s mathematical journey. It is important that your child can discuss and talk about their problem solving strategies. Children need to have opportunities to explore a range of mental math methods that they can use in a range of contexts. This video explains an addition strategy with simple steps to help your child partition and recombine numbers.
More videos on mental math strategies.
To help parents homeschool their kids with math, there are different mental math strategies that we would recommend. It is important to develop the mental math strategies of the child to know the time and place for the mental strategies and also know the time and place for the written methods.
It is important to start this journey from the early years to give the child the chance to make the right decision about when to use a specific method when dealing with the different mathematical operations that they come to solve.
In this educational video, there are three different mental math strategies that we have here, the usage of the fingers, counting which is used with addition and eventually, counting back which is mainly about subtraction. Basic addition and subtraction, which is all about adding and subtracting one more, is the one to start with to give the child the chance to process this in their mind.
One of the very basic methods used in counting or adding is the fingers. Kids depend on their fingers to bring out the final answer for the equation they are trying to solve. All the kids will do when asked to add 3+1 for example, is put the three fingers on one hand and one finger on the other, combine them and count the answer (Counting to 10 for….).
Getting the child to start visualizing the whole thing is important, to start imaging the three fingers in their head and the one finger which will be added to them to also visualize the final answer. At some point, the kid might still look at their fingers while doing the whole calculation in their head but without actually going through the process of physically counting those fingers.
Once the child is done with the fingers and could visualize the whole thing in their head, they could then move forward to counting. Counting is another mental math strategy that is really important because it gets the child to think about the sequencing of numbers, the order of numbers, and all such mathematical skills. In counting on, it is important to stress on the fact that placing the bigger number first is always important especially with mental addition.
How to improve mental math skills
Kids should reorder the equation to place the big numbers first before moving forward to the smaller ones which they will count in their heads. Try to test the child’s mind and bring two different equations, one with the bigger number first and one with the bigger number placed at the end, and ask them which one should go first and how to do the calculation (Reordering in Basic Addition).
Once the kids are done with the counting on method and are ready to move forward with a new mental math strategy, they will then learn the counting back. Counting back is related to the subtraction element and in this case, the kids will need to depend on their fingers once again to make it easier for them, by placing three fingers up and then removing one from them to find that the answer is 2.
With practice, kids will be eventually able to do these different calculations without the need to count on their fingers because they will realize that it is just a process to make it easier and that they could easily do it in their heads.
Again, using the mathematical vocabulary and terminology is important by telling the kids to count which is the same as addition or else telling them to count back which is the same as subtraction and taking away, all these will make the understanding of the mathematical equation in front of them much easier and they will know what they are supposed to do or solve.
Finally, part of the mathematical language we are referring to is letting the child know more about what number comes before, what numbers come after, what number comes in between and so forth, which are all things the kids will know about by practising (Addition for Kids).
Start with teaching the kids to use their fingers to learn counting on and counting back, and then count in their heads.
Help your child to explore the key concepts of numbers, counting, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division in maths. Spelling, reading, writing and grammar in English. Help them to develop their imagination and creativity with crafts and to explore a range of skills to cook, bake and create tasty treats and snacks.
Easy-to-follow activities will support you and your child to learn and practice new concepts as well as enjoy spending time together. Help your child to progress and explore and most importantly – have fun!