Teaching young kids as a math tutor is one of the most enriching experiences you are going to have. Their innocence and perpetual sense of wonder will warm your heart but their fragile ego and short attention span will make teaching difficult. You might be facing a lot of challenges as a math tutor because it is a subject that tends to get boring without the help of visual aids. Use imagination, creativity and some simple tricks to transform your math tutorials into sessions the kids will look forward to.
Integrate Math tutoring with real life
As a math tutor (whether you are a parent or hired help), tell the kids about the history of math. How mathematics was invented, what are its applications in real life, what were the ancient methods of counting (like the barter system), how math is a part of almost all daily activities and so on. Once children know how the subject relates to real life they will be more interested in learning it.
You can use the daily sports section in your newspaper and relate it to math problems. Calculating winning percentages, baseball scores and batting averages directly out of the newspapers will excite the kids and give them something different to do than solving textbook problems.
Use real coins to teach currency values instead of plastic/cardboard cut outs. Kids love to touch and use “grown up” things, and real money is sure to hold their interest.
Use the names of your students in the math problems. This will make them laugh and then listen carefully. For example, if there is a girl named Daisy in your tutoring sessions, say “Daisy had three chocolates and lost two.”
Give Incentives to motivate while tutoring Math
Foster healthy competition. Arrange informal competitions like “math wiz of the week” for the best performer of the week. You can also announce small treats like candy or marshmallows as prizes for solving an especially difficult problem or asking intelligent questions.
Publicly acknowledge sincere efforts as kids love to be praised. You can also tell their parents about how well their kids are doing in the math tutorials. Kids are generally super-sensitive, so never insult, mock or scold them in public. Treat them with patience and respect and they will fall in love with the subject.
Some work and some play while being a Math tutor
Include recreational activities in your math tutorials. Allow the kids to count with interesting pasta or breakfast cereal. Create a pool of used toys from your friends and neighbors and make the tutoring environment a kid friendly place.
Colorful Lego blocks can be used for teaching shapes, as they are a fun substitute to the textbooks that almost all children hate.
Involve the parents too as good teaching is a team effort. Ask for genuine feedback about the kid’s interest level in math and whether the pupil is more inclined towards the subject after the math tutoring sessions.
Customize your teaching style according to the personality of the student. When talking to a little girl, introduce pink teddy bears or dollhouses in the math problems. Similarly, if a little boy loves hockey, give him an addition problem to solve about hockey sticks. Make mathematics fun for the kids and they will love you as their math tutor!