Do I need Math Enrichment for my child who's already a straight A student?
Updated: Mar 14, 2021
My child is already good I don't need any more classes for her. She's already a straight-A student what can a tutor do?
These are questions a lot of parents have when their kids get straight A's and don't have any trouble with school work. But there's so much more they can do, especially in Elementary and Middle School where they have extra time.
In the USA, gifted kids are not challenged enough in most schools. The schools cater to the average student whose goal is to understand basic math. This is especially true in Elementary school. For a lot of gifted students, math is easy and since they don't have to work much to learn, they have enough time to create trouble in class and at home. They are bored in class. We are doing a disservice to them if we don't tap into their potential. We need to hone their skills and make them shine. That's possible through Enrichment.
We can develop their problem-solving skills and increase their love for the subject. When we do that they learn and appreciate the beauty of Algebra at a really young age. They also try out various methods to solve a problem during class and keep out of trouble. They don't have to fret it out when they have to take their SATs. They grow up to be mathematicians and/ or lifelong learners.
I taught a kid who was talented in math. He understood the basics of Algebra in 4th grade and could apply it to problems even without being taught. But he created trouble in school. His mom wanted to know how much trouble he gave me during my class. When I told her that I love working with him, she didn't believe me :) The secret, keeping him challenged the whole time.
But unfortunately, his school could not do that. The teachers are working hard and love the kids. But again the focus is on getting everyone through the standard tests. But as a one-on-one tutor, I could go as intense as necessary with him. I made him sweat it out through every problem. Here are some examples we worked with when he was in 4th grade
1. 'The difference between 2 numbers is 15. The sum of the 2 numbers is 29. The smaller of the 2 numbers is _______.' - Source CML
2. 'Janice spent from 7pm until 9pm doing her homework. She spent 3 times as much time on her English project as she did on math. The science homework took twice as long as her math homework. How much time did she spend on her science homework? - Source CML
3. 'Michael has some cards. If he puts them in 5 equal piles, there are 3 leftover. If he puts them in 4 equal piles, there are 2 leftover. If he puts them in 3 equal piles, there is 1 card leftover. What is the fewest number of cards Michael may have?'
I asked my student's and their parents and some others who had enrolled in Math Enrichment programs (not just my classes) how and whether it had helped them.
I asked my student's and their parents and some others who had enrolled in Math Enrichment programs (not just my classes) how and whether it had helped them. Some of the Enrichment programs they had enrolled are - Art of Problem Solving (AOPS) Online, Russian School of Mathematics (RSM) or mine.
The following was the survey.
How did Math Enrichment/ preparing for Math competitions help your child?
A) It made their school math very easy and improved their grades
B) It made them a lot more confident with math and other subjects
C) Kids started liking math and got a lot more interest in problem-solving
D) It is ok, but did not help the kids much.
E) I do not like it
Some of the kids who weren't straight A students before replied that it helped them with their grades. The kids and parents of the kids who were already good in math said that Math Enrichment and preparing for competitions helped them gain confidence and the kids also started liking math and problem-solving.
So to summarise, gifted kids can benefit a lot from Math Enrichment. It develops their problem-solving skills, makes them excel and makes good use of their time and brains. It also puts them with other like-minded kids who love to be challenged. They get to test their skills with the smartest kids in their country. And they learn the joys of problem-solving which carries on to their adult life too :)
Here are some of the Enrichment programs I offer:
For Elementary kids
Prepare them math competitions like CML (Continental Math League), MOEMS (Math Olympiad for Elementary and Middle School), Math Kangaroo, Perennial Math, Math League etc.
Enrichment topics covered for Elementary grades:
1. Fractions and ratios with bar modelling
2. Number Theory - GCF, LCM and it's applications; divisibility rules; prime numbers; doing arithmetic the smart way
3. Algebra through bar modelling
4. Logical reasoning
5. Problem Solving Techniques
a. Finding patterns,
b. Working backwards,
c. Making a table,
d. Making an ordered list
e. Visualizing by drawing diagrams etc.
For Middle School kids:
Prepare them for various math competitions like AMC 8 (American Mathematics Competition 8), Math Counts, Math Kangaroo, CML – Continental Math League, Perennial Math and more.
Enrichment topics for Middle School:
4. Counting and Probability
5. Number Theory
Want to enrol your child in Math Enrichment classes? Fill out a brief contact form and get a 15 min free consultation on how Enrichment classes can benefit your child.
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