Our children benefit from strong basic math skills. Here are the math help tools and techniques to help give your child the best chance of success in this very important subject. I passionately believe that all our kids are able to achieve excellent in mathematics, and so have a solid platform for all future math and science studies as well as essential numeracy skills for life. I believe it is best to start all concepts using a number line as this shows the position of numbers relative to each other. Once confidence in the method is secure, a child can safely move off the number line and use more abstract methods. Each section contains a large quantity of math skills and practise sheets available to download in PDF form that are free for you to use. Check back often as I will be regularly adding to this page.
Click on the sign you are interested in.
Math Help: Addition
Basic addition skills is another cornerstone of success in math. Fast addition of simple facts gives speed and accuracy to your child’s later math work and this allows her to concentrate on new concepts. It is easier to focus on gaining new skills when you don’t have to stop every few minutes to use a calculator or look up a sum in an addition table.
Here you will find many free addition practise worksheets and advice on how your child will get the most out of them. There are also suggestions for other useful resources and some fun ideas.
Basic Addition Sheets
These basic addition math work sheets will give your child a good start on experiencing success with this topic. You may find it useful to read the tips given in the Learning Addition Facts advice page. I have also made available some addition practice grids to help sharpen your child’s mental addition skills. These are also free to use, as are the printable number line sheets. For practise working on number lines with sums that give a negative result, have a look at the negative numbers page. It offers clear instructions for a sure fire way of getting these right every time.
These sheets of math problems will reinforce your child’s learning of addition facts and processes. In terms of solid work and skills practise, these sheets can’t be beaten.
Math Help: Subtraction
Subtraction is less intuitive than addition and requires a little more work to become proficient with. I recommend that subtraction practice be done on a number line from the beginning, as this reinforces both the relative position of numbers and lets your child see that negative numbers are always a possibility. The free worksheets in this section are graded from easy to difficult and provide plenty of practise opportunities.
Math Help: Multiplying
Multiplication is best introduced on the number line, as with almost all basic math concepts. A little bit of number line multiplication practice will instill confidence in the facts given in the times tables. This very visual practice can be repeated as often as needed and will always give the same results as the times tables. Once this confidence is established multiplication can move off the number line and take on more abstract forms.
Learning math tables by heart is often overlooked in primary schools these days, and I have seen the detrimental effect this can have on students in secondary and further schooling. Find tried and tested suggestions in how to learn times tables, which is definitely worth a read if you’re helping your child learn tables at home. Good ways to encourage your child to excel at the tables are to use the free and downloadable practice math multiplication grids and the practice maths speed tests. Both of these can be timed and used as a gauge of your child’s progress.
Math Help: Extended Multiplication
Once your child has mastered the basics of the times tables, she will be able to tackle more involved multiplications using that knowledge. The basic math review beginning multiplication sheets are simple and require only a small amount of carrying. These will allow success through keeping the work while introducing the new concept of carrying. The intermediate multiplication sheets build on the strengths gained from the previous multiplication work. The skills needed are the same, only there are more numbers involved. The advanced multiplication sheets included on that page take this skill to the maximum level needed, and then a bit further. Once your child can complete these exercises quickly and accurately, she will have a solid multiplication foundation.
Multiplying Negative Numbers
Multiplying negative numbers can be a stumbling block for some children, but the concept itself is simple to learn. By first working out the sign of the answer and then the numerical value, students can get this right 100% of the time.
As with other basic skills, division is best taught on a number line at the beginningthroughout the topic wherever possible. We will start with how to divide on a number line to build confidence in the numbers themselves, then move to short and long division methods.
BODMAS: Order of Operations
This is a key concept that is all too often not thoroughly understood by children and this can hamper their later progress in mathematics. However, a little structured practice and a tiny amount of memorization will help overcome this hurdle. Have a look at this order of operations tutorial for a very clear explanation of the process. If you are already familiar with BODMAS and are looking for worksheets for your child to practice with, you can find them on the order of operations worksheets page. Complex sums involving multiple and even nested brackets uses the came process but your child will need to be competent with the basics before tackling this more challenging application of BODMAS.