The current climate has made for a difficult learning environment for our children. Setbacks in getting our students back into the classroom mean that it’s our job as parents to stimulate their minds and keep developing their learning skills. Nowhere in a student’s school work is this as important as in their math skills. Math is the cornerstone of a child’s developing critical thinking abilities that will translate into rock solid life skills as he or she ages into maturity and the working life of an adult. Unfortunately, delays in this fall’s normal classroom routine amid the coronavirus pandemic have jeopardized these crucial learning opportunities for growth and fulfillment.

Learning from Home: Online Tutoring

There are however, a number of options out there for sparking that same curiosity at home. With the state of technology in our modern world, it has never been easier to find an online tutor or print out worksheets to complete with your child. Tutoring is a hot topic today; done well, a personal tutor can help your child significantly improve confidence and conceptual understanding of so many of his or her core requirements and current limitations. Particularly, improving math skills with a tutoring service like HelloThinkster is a fantastic way to grapple with the shortfall presented by this school year.

Thinkster Math is more than just a regurgitation of stale worksheets and practice problems. This program has been pioneering the online tutoring space in test prep and math lessons for ten years, led by the innovative Raj Valli. The platform was conceived as a response to very similar circumstances that we all find ourselves in today; Raj was unable to find a reliable tutoring service for his own children with their school work, so he built a better one. Thinkster merges the tired worksheets of the past with interactive lessons, video calls with your child’s personal tutor, and descriptive feedback on completed work that shows students exactly where they went astray. The platform connects a dedicated tutor with a student whose mind is desperate for a challenge, and they even offer a free 7-day trial.

Supplemental Puzzling

In addition to a dedicated tutoring service, getting your student in the habit of puzzling is another great way to challenge their mind. Daily Sudoku, the newspaper crossword puzzle, or even a jigsaw have all shown great potential in building and maintaining these important critical thinking skills.

You might think of this as a network of highway interchanges, or a gridded city map. Sure, there is an objectively ‘fastest’ or ‘best’ route from a starting point – say, your house – to any chosen destination, but what if you suddenly find yourself parked in bumper-to-bumper traffic, or are frustrated in your commute due to a crash or road work? Critical thinking is responsible for deducing another solution to this problem, and it plays a major role in everything we do on a daily basis.

Solving complex puzzles makes your mind work through a multitude of potential solutions in order to cull incorrect answers and produce positive solutions. Just like problem solving itself, building this skill can be done in many ways.

Musical Inspiration

Finally, picking up an instrument, especially a chord-producing one like the piano or guitar can also help to form the core of your child’s critical thinking practice. Musicality has been associated with math and problem solving skills for years, and it is because music is all about time and improvisation. This is particularly present with instruments that can play multiple notes at once, because the same notes can be played at different locations along the instrument’s keys or strings.

This means that the player has the freedom, not only to link expressive passages to one another, but to do it with a variety of different methods and positioning styles. To play these instruments, one must also improve both manual and mental dexterity in order to unlock different combinations and solutions, and therefore the learning and improving cycle is always providing a new and stimulating challenge to the player.

Keeping your child engaged and learning during this stressful time is a difficult challenge, but with a little ingenuity and an open mind, you can help to set your child on the right foot for the future without the classroom.