Updated: May 11, 2021
Why do I need to prepare my child for elementary school math competitions? Are there any benefits? They are small kids. Can’t I wait a little longer before putting them through the rigour of competitions? How do I know my child is ready for these?
These are some of the questions that parents always ask me when I suggest them to prepare their young kids for math competitions. This preparation is in addition to the regular school math stuff that the kids do. So given that the kids are already burdened with homework, do they really need more math?
Let me start by saying that these competitions are not for all the children. These competitions do require a good understanding and a general interest in math. If the child is afraid of math, and/ or has trouble with basic school math then it would be better to work on basic math skills before attempting competitions. To see if your child is ready for math competitions - click here.
Undertaking the competitions is one way of applying what the kids have learned in the enrichment programs. They get to show off their math mastery here.
To know what are the various math competitions available in the USA click here
Here are some benefits of preparing your child for elementary school math competitions i.e. starting math enrichment at an early age:
1. Learn that math is interesting and fun: Math competition problems are engrossing. All my kids who prepare for competitions would vow that math is now so much more interesting! it’s great fun and preparing for it helps them learn all their other courses faster too! So the sooner they start, the better they perform at school too.
2. Pursue interest in math and get recognized for it: Helps kids who like math to pursue their interest and excel at it and get recognized for it. They get to apply what they learnt in enrichment classes and show off their mastery here. And younger kids are more excited about these achievements!
3. Better thinking at an early age: It helps the kids train beyond the school curriculum. School math is often repetitive and the problems aren’t hard enough. Competitions mimic the real world scenario and kids learn to think spontaneously. Learning to think and work independently puts the kid at a great advantage over others!
4. Be better prepared for middle school: Most of the kids are used to the relaxed environment of elementary school. There is no rigor, and they find themselves fighting to cope up with the pace of middle school. Kids who are used to problem-solving with competitions are more used to working with a higher level of math. These kids find math and their other course work easy because they are mentally ready for it.
5. Be able to spend more time to train: In elementary school kids have more free time. Once they hit middle school their schedules get really filled up with a lot of activities. Training for these competitions need a change of mindset and that takes time and effort. It’s better done before you hit middle school.
6. Do well in middle and high school math competitions: They are already trained to think logically, they have a good mental stamina and they’re not new to doing what I call “interesting” problems (usually called tough or impossible problems by kids who are new to this). They blend right in when they go for higher level competitions and become achievers.
Like I always say - Problem-solving is all about knowing what to do when you DON’T know how to solve a problem. The earlier they learn this skill, the better they do in school and in life.
Problem-solving is all about knowing what to do when you DON’T know how to solve a problem.
P.S. These are advantages of starting your kid early on math competitions. To know about other benefits as well click here
As you know I'm an Online Math Tutor. I train kids for all elementary school math competitions. To know more about me and how I work click here. To learn more about the kind of problems a fifth grader would be able to solve (after preparing) click here