Updated: Mar 13
Does your child always score a B or even a B+? And you have no idea how to turn that into an A or an A+? Your child has done all the homework diligently and practised a few extra problems from the textbook too? But still, the A's looks elusive? Hard to get?
When your child gets a B+, it shows that he/she has understood the concepts/ subject. But to turn your B's into an A+ you need to be an expert on it. This is especially true in Upper Elementary or Middle School where the teachers are actively filtering out students to take the Advanced/ Honours courses.
To find out students who are capable of handling the advanced curriculum, the teachers always throw in a hard question. The question feels like it's out of the blue. Most students have no idea about how to approach that question! So how can you help your child tackle that question?
The answer lies in problem-solving with Math Enrichment. When you learn to problem-solve you change the way you think and work. Instead of saying you weren't taught how to do the problem, you start thinking 'how can I solve the problem with what I know'.
Throughout our school lives, we've been told that all math problems need to be taught. In our schools, they teach a concept and then follow it up with simple direct questions on the same topic. Let's take the example of divisibility rules. We've all been taught the various divisibility rules. How do they test you on the rules?
"Is 7934 a multiple of 3?" - This is the typical question that comes up in a school exam.
Can we modify this question a bit? Can you solve the following question?
634,73A is divisible by 3. What are the different values that A can take? Can A take only one value? Can A take 2 or more values? If so is there a pattern? This question at least makes you think a little bit.
Let's see another example problem from the same topic. If I divide 5,353,535,353 by 3, what will be my remainder? Can you do this without doing the actual division?
When your child practices problems like these their capacity to think improves. They know that can be given any type of problem - even the ones they've never encountered before and they will prepare for it. There will be a change in the mindset. They will now expect that they will get problems that they've never been taught. They will have the confidence to solve them. And that makes all the difference between a B+ and an A+.
Let's see how developing problem-solving skills helped P in her school.
Padma was a bright student, but was denied Honours math in her school. Her school has one of the best (and challenging) math programs I've seen.
When she started working with me in Grade 9, I found that she was great at solving routine problems. In fact, she was faster than me on some topics. I would still say she's one of the fastest I've seen to factor quadratics. But when I gave her harder problems - problems that needed her to think and link a couple of theorems to solve, she had trouble with them.
We worked on developing her problem-solving skills throughout the year. At the end of the school year, she took a challenge exam and then moved to Honours Algebra II. The next year she was given High Honours Pre-Calc. She loves it and enjoys it.
Krithika is another student of mine and this is what she has to say
I started math with Vasudha in middle school and while I wasn’t failing, I wasn’t at the top of my class. Vasudha strengthened the skills I already knew, and taught me about thinking outside the box and apply the math I learned to competitions. Schools do teach a bit about problem-solving but in math, that wasn’t the main focus. In the real world, problem-solving is a huge part of many of the well-paying jobs. She teaches kids how to think of the quickest, most efficient solutions.
She is now one of the top math kids in her class! You can read her full testimonial here
Like I always say "Math is not about what you do when you know how to solve a problem; it's about how you behave when you do not know how to solve a problem"
Problem-solving is not about what you do when you know how to solve a problem; it's about how you behave when you DON'T know how to solve a problem
All my students have gone through this. They wanted to be in Advanced/ honours math programs and found that practising the problems that appear in Math competitions helped. They stopped complaining about hard problems (most of the time).
Would you like your child to improve their grades and become an expert in math? I can help. I am Vasudha, an Online Math Tutor. I develop the problem-solving skills in kids by preparing them for Elementary and Middle School math competitions. When the kids learn problem-solving skills they start loving math. They become a lot more confident and they do well in other subjects as well.
Contact me today for a free consultation on how to help your child become confident in math.
To develop the kids problem-solving skills I've organised an Online summer math camp. Learn more about it here