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Updated: Mar 4

Poor mathematics understanding skills? Lay the groundwork for  primary school math improvement with 5 positive and practical tips.

Many parents and students find it difficult to improve primary school math. Why? Because they feel that being good in mathematics is an inborn skill. But here’s the truth: being good at math is not a natural ability. To much relief, math is something that can be learned.

Your young one can succeed in math with the right strategies, a defined plan, and not to forget, your support. Nothing kills inspiration and room for improvement more than naysayers. We’re not saying parents are naysayers, but youngsters sometimes require more than silent support. Voicing out your encouragements can battle the lack of confidence in learning, which could actually be the greatest asset your kid can have while learning.

With them knowing that you’ve got their back, they’ll feel more secure and be more willing to move things forward. Generally speaking, the boons of encouragement from parents are plenty. For young children, they’ll undoubtedly score better in school whether it comes to performance, grades or attendance. Most importantly, they might feel more aspired and motivated towards learning.

“Words of encouragement from parents are instrumental to your kid’s performance.” – Jovan Lim, Educator at eduSpace

Apart from those, we encourage you to take the actionable steps below to improve your primary school child’s math skills.

Do the homework

Ugh! Homework!

Chances are that’s going through your kid’s head. Probably every moment.

It’s a worldwide phenomenon: Children loathe homework. They want playtime, TV, iPads, video games after school.

But homework are usually assigned on the day a certain topic is taught. Doing homework refreshes and reinforces whatever they’ve learned in class. Moreover, doing homework can have positive influence in your kid’s personality.

Train your kid to do their homework every night, and not as a choice.

Sounds impossible? To make things easier, try a timetable and setting up a special study corner. The more accustomed your kid is towards doing homework, the more self-activating they get.

Set a time aside everyday for practice

Well, there’s a thin line between doing homework and practicing. If your child is weak in certain topic of maths, set aside practice time especially for those.

We’ve heard that practicing is the key to improve maths. And that’s true, because mathematics, notably in the early stages of education, tend to be more procedural. The more practices your kids have, the more they’ll grasp the essence on what they should do to get it right. Even a half an hour revision three or four days a week will make a difference to your child’s grades.

But it’s also not just about rigid repeating. Make sure your kid understand what they do not understand. Apprehension of the ‘why’ beats memorizing the application of ‘how’ anytime. It’s important that your kid doesn’t skip any wrong answers — the key is to analyze and understand the mistakes to figure out how to do it right. When they revisit the questions some time later and can still solve them, that’s when they’re improving.

Find a study partner

Practice makes perfect — practicing with a partner makes double perfection.

Sure your kid will want to pick their best friend as their partner. Not a problem at all, provided that the partner will improve your kid’s propulsion to learn. The best thing that can happen is your kid wanting to learn.

Singapore’s primary school math education can be tough, and you’ll not be the only parent noticing that your kid needs help academically. Talk to parents of your child’s partner to make arrangements — the location, the number of times per week, the areas of revision and such — for their study session. If chances are slim in finding your child a study partner, consider the next actionable step.

Consider a private tutor

If a student in the lower primary levels has difficulty understanding mathematical concepts, seek help as soon as possible. It’s critical to master the approach of logical thinking otherwise they might get lost further when they proceed into the higher primary levels.

Just like how each layer of paint should be completely dry before the next layer goes on to ensure the finished product looks perfect. A lower primary level child should have their basics polished as much as possible.

At this point, a tutor is great when you need help fast. They can help address questions that your child may have.

Frustration is predictable when a question can’t be solved, and kids might give in to the temptation of turning the page over and leaving it alone. Here’s when a tutor’s felicitous supervision can stave off the urge to throw in the towel. There are a few things to take into account if you’d like math tuition for your primary school child. Everything else aside, the tutor’s past experience on teaching primary school math is quite the basic requirement since they can implement their experience to work out any doubts your kid has.

Teach to learn

When students teach, they learn at the same time.

Have your kids explain to you how a certain math concept works or how to solve problems using particular approaches. Don’t assume that primary school kids are too young to be able to put their mathematics solving skills into words; you might be surprised.

When your youngster teaches, they can wrap their head around it and ingrain those understandings in their minds. They don’t have to be an expert to teach or explain, as long as they teach you something they know. If your kid has a math study partner, encourage the pair to rotate their role as the educator.


A word to parents: your kid can make it! Every young student requires different trigger to get the brain juice working, it’s unlikely a standard methodology works for every one of them. Parents should also know that kids learn mathematical skills in primary school not just to participate in exam, but also to plant the seed of reasoning and thinking skills. Primary school math syllabuses can be confusing, even for adults, but what counts is you and your child continue to input effort, adjust appropriately according to your child, stick to it and you’ll eventually see the effects of it over time.

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