Updated: Mar 5, 2019
Mrs. D wanted help with her daughter Ms. A. A was doing reasonably well in school. But when confronted with problems from math competitions, even understanding the problems was hard for her. Mrs. D wanted A to be able to think independently and develop her logical reasoning skills. She also wanted A to do well in her schoolwork, make sure that she understood all the concepts and be ahead of her class.
She enrolled her daughter in my online math enrichment program. We started working with CML, the easiest of math competitions. We would work on 10 problems for one hour a week.
Within 6-8 classes A's logical thinking and reasoning had improved and CML got easy for her. She is now able to work on CML papers on her own without help.
Within 6-8 classes A's logical thinking and reasoning had improved, and CML (Continental Math League) problems got easy for her. She can easily solve 8 out of 10 questions and sometimes all of them as well. She now works with Math Olympiad (a much harder competition) and she's happy about the progress that she's making. She is now more confident about her problem-solving skills. Her eyes light up and a big smile crosses her face when I say she got the logic right. According to her mom, "I can see how A's thought process has refined. A is now able to solve problems with clear infallible logic, something she wasn't able to do before".
How are Math enrichment programs different from regular school math?
School math teaches you a method to solve a problem and then gives a set of problems to be solved using that method. A concept is taught first and then problems are given.
Math enrichment programs (especially the ones done by AOPS, RSM or me) focuses on problem-solving. It means a problem is given first and then we discuss various ways to solve it. This technique broadens the mind to look for all possible solutions to a given problem and then (with practice) pick out the most efficient one. It is like exercising the mind. It strengths your mind.
Often math enrichment programs teach students to solve problems that are much higher than their school level. A 4th grader would be expected to do 6th-grade level problems. For example, this is a problem that appeared in math Olympiad competition for grades 4-6.
"A bowl has 100 pieces of colored candy. 48 green, 30 red, 12 yellow and 10 blue. They are all wrapped in foil, so you do not know the color of any piece of candy. Write the least number of pieces you must take to be certain that you have at least 15 pieces of the same color?"
Problems of this genre even appear in GMAT and other aptitude tests. And these problems even stump most adults. But a kid who is well trained on problem-solving will be able to solve this.
Benefits of Math Enrichment Programs:
1. Kids who are used to problem-solving from younger grades find their SATs and other standardized tests easier. In fact, two of my students got over 89th percentile (one got 99th percentile and the other 89th percentile) in their pSAT8 with hardly any preparation because they were used to problem solving.
2. Kids also start to appreciate and love math because of the variety the problems offer and the thrill that they get when they are able to solve the complicated problems themselves.
3.Kids who enroll in enrichment programs are much ahead of their grade levels in math and more confident. They are able to get straight A's easily.
4. They get recognized as math gurus or leaders in their respective classes. Most of my students tell me that they help out other students in their class.
5. Kids do well across subjects because their thinking capacity has evolved.
How do I know if my child is ready for math enrichment?
Your child is ready if you answer a yes to any one of the following questions:
1. Your child is in an accelerated or advanced math program
2. When you ask them to study for a test/ exam do you often hear the words "I've already done it! It's the same stuff over and over again" (but their grades might be good or bad)
3. Your child says he/ she is bored in math class but you think she has potential. They might be bored because it is easy.
4. Your child is smart and loves a challenge.
5. Your child likes math and/ or puzzles.
If you still have any doubts on whether your child would benefit from math enrichment programs, you can schedule a 15 min free consultation with me. I offer online math enrichment programs that coach kids from grades 3-8 for various math competitions. Depending on their skill level I tailor a program specifically for them. Beginners get to do the easier competitions (like CML and AMC 8) and kids who are used to problem-solving get trained for the harder ones (like math Olympiad MOEMS or math counts). We can also work on Pre-algebra, Algebra or Geometry.
Schedule a free 15 min consultation session with me here. Help your child ace the math.