Math can be a challenge for children with special needs, leaving many homeschooling parents-not to mention kids-feeling overwhelmed. However, there are many math games and activities that can make learning math concepts easier and more enjoyable. Using a variety of games, especially those that are hands-on, can help children with learning disabilities retain more of the concepts being taught. Grasping the meaning of the math lesson is also essential to successful learning, as math tends to build on the lesson that comes before it.
So where do you start? And with so many to choose from, how do you know which math activities will work for your child? First of all, you need to keep in mind that all children learn differently. Therefore, they will need lessons that are tailor-made to fit their particular learning needs.
When it comes to choosing math for homeschoolers with special needs, try to seek out activities that you can center around their interests and fit to their learning styles. For instance, you can personalize math lessons or activities by including a favorite hobby or game-turn a favorite board game into a math lesson. You can use real events or experiences and even include some of your child’s own ideas. Try making a trip to the grocery store a lesson on decimals or addition.
Math games are a great way for your child to practice his skills. He may have so much fun that it may be difficult to convince him that it is actually a math lesson! Calvert offers many resources for math support and enrichment, including Brain Pop and access to our education counselors. There are also many activities that you can put together on your own. Just do a simple search online for “free math games.”
Some of the more popular math games include sequencing games, picture-to-count sets, and math bingo. Other fun, hands-on activities may include humorous word problems using fun props like toys, puppets, etc. that you or your child demonstrate the problems and solutions to each other. Math memory and concentration games are also popular learning tools for kids. Flash cards can be used for a variety of games and are easy to make yourself.
There are a variety of resources that you can use to make math more fun and engaging for your special needs child. It’s okay to have fun while learning math. Listen to your child’s needs, watch for cues to let you know when your child is getting frustrated with a particular method, and don’t be afraid to mix things up. Teaching math doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Relax and have fun with it. When you do, so will your child.
Crystal Pratt is Calvert Education Services’ Social Communications Specialist. She has been involved in education for 20 years. Crystal is a certified teacher, a writer, and a lover of all things that sparkle.