How to build maths fluency in your child, or more importantly, why? Maths fluency will help your child think faster and more clearly. It will give them attention skills and the focus to tackle complex maths problems well with good reasoning. This is a critical skill for their future in life and in the workplace.
While it is true that the focus of maths education is moving to creative problem solving, it is important that your child does not lose the ability that makes critical thinking possible. That ability is maths fluency.
What is maths fluency?
Maths fluency is the ability to come up with maths concepts quickly and accurately. To be fluent in maths, your child needs to master accuracy, flexibility, efficiency, automaticity, and number sense.
Why is building maths fluency important?
Being fluent in maths will save your child vital brain energy, especially when it comes to solving multiple step problem sums. The more energy they put into solving smaller questions, the less they have for solving the whole question. And when they don’t succeed in one part, they can view the entire activity as overwhelming. If your child is practiced at maths and builds fluency, they have built more neural pathways in their brain so spend less energy and time on a task and get to the answer faster. These neural pathways can be strengthened with repeated exercise, just as with any learned behaviour. Think of it like flexing a muscle.
Maths fluency leads to better test results
Once your child has built their “brain muscle”, they are able to do maths tasks faster, almost on autopilot, which makes taking exams a lot easier. It also helps to build confidence and reduce exam anxiety.
Prepare your child early for maths fluency
When you prepare your child for maths fluency early, you give them the tools they need to succeed in maths. If you don’t, the likelihood that your child will struggle with maths for life is a risk you don’t want to take, especially when it’s simply not necessary. Given the world of work your child will inevitably be a part of, they will need the ability to manipulate data, develop critical thinking skills that will allow them plan strategically and demonstrate creative thinking skills that let them solve problems in different ways.
How to prepare your child for maths fluency
Games: Children, in fact anyone, learn best through play. Maths games are a great way to have your child practise maths and build their fluency. It will help to get them thinking strategically as well and to build computational accuracy through practice.
Daily practice: Maths skills become stronger with regular practice. Once your child has understood a concept, get them to practise to instil the knowledge into them until they can work independently.
Time for discovery: Let your child discover patterns in maths and to test out different situations to see what works. This also strengthens their ability to self learn.
The key is time and practice. As with any muscle, maths fluency only develops with time and repeated practice.