Attending Problem Sums Workshops for Parents

Even though problem sums have been an essential part of the Singapore Math curriculum for decades, the concepts and methodology for solving problem sums has changed frequently over the years. As parents, you may find yourself trying to help your child with problem sums, only to have them wail in frustration: “I can’t use this method. It’s not taught in school and I don’t understand it at all!”

Why should I attend problem sums workshops?

You may think that problem sums workshops are unnecessary and that you’ll have no problem teaching your child problem sums as long as you’re good at math. However, problem sums have evolved since our own days as students. Children are required to solve the different types of problem sums using specific methods to show their understanding of the question. In fact, the most common problem parents face is that most schools do not allow students to solve problem sums using algebra.

Problem sums workshops are designed to help parents understand MOE’s and the school’s requirements for solving problem sums, so that you can guide your child without causing confusion.

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Which problem sums workshops should I attend?

Firstly, we strongly recommend that you attend the workshops organized by your child’s school, especially if your child is just entering Primary 1. These are usually held at the beginning of the year to get you familiarized with what your child is learning. Some schools may even make these talks and workshops compulsory – but even if they don’t, don’t miss out.

There are also problem sums workshops held by private enrichment centres for parents who are interested in gaining in-depth knowledge about problem sums beyond what the school offers. For example, offers thinkingMath workshops for parents to understand the strategies for problem solving taught to their children.

Should I keep attending new workshops?

There are three circumstances in which you might consider attending new problem sums workshops:

  1. When there are changes made to the Primary Mathematics syllabus
  2. When your child continues to struggle with existing problem sums solving methods
  3. When you child has a firm grasp of basic problem sums concepts and can move on to advanced techniques

It’s always good to keep an eye out for different strategies to teach and solve problem sums, whether or not they are considered acceptable by teachers and schools. As a parent, you need to be armed with the knowledge and resources to best help your child. Of course, other than attending workshops, you can also join in online discussion forums and parent support groups to stay updated on your child’s learning challenges.


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