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How to help your child with Maths - the Korean Way

How to help your child get ahead and stay ahead with maths.

If you ask 100 parents in the street about the most challenging thing for their kids at school, chances are they'll say maths. We can all relate because we went through the same heartache ourselves! Step over to South Korea and it's a different story. I did an experiment once with a class of A. American students and a class of B. Korean students. I wrote this equation on the board and set 5 minutes to solve it: 986,785,674.045 divided by 345. Their reactions? A. The American students laughed and thought I was nuts. B. The Korean students took out a pencil and piece of paper and went at it! Why is there such a difference? Here are 5 ways to get maths right the Korean way.

Tip #1 - Work harder

I'll say that again. Work harder. Korean students start studying maths outside of school at academies when they start primary school. They do roughly 4 hours a week of extra in class studying and they do 2 hours of homework on top of that. That increases every single year. By 4th grade/Year 5, they are doing high school/year 10 math. It's not rocket science. More work = more results.

Tip #2 - Work in small groups

If you sit in a class of 20 students and study math 2 - 3 hours a week, you'll receive some attention, but not as much as you need. Small groups change that. Working with a small group means massively more time to participate and receive feedback. We recommend a maximum of 6 students in a group to get the most benefit without paying an arm and a leg. In Korea, students actively study in small groups with constant feedback.

"Students who expect to participate actively prepare better for class" – Harvard University

Tip #3 - Make it enjoyable

Math is very, very useful. Don't forget that. However, it doesn't feel so important when you're solving random equations passively. Now, you may not be able to transport yourself to Seoul and jump into a class, but you can make the math you practice practical. Go to websites like and

They take the brakes off and learning becomes intuitive for learners. Use great resources and do it EVERY DAY - see WORK HARDER. =)

Tip #4 - An hour a day

You may think that setting a number of pages to study is just as effective, but it isn't. When you workout, you'll do more reps if you set a 5 minute timer. Don't count reps, count time. To improve, you need a reliable and consistent schedule. No weekdays off from the schedule. Make it a habit and make it a lifelong habit. Korean students do it every day and they never stop.

Tip #5 - Do it together

A personal story. When I started teaching and writing books for kids to learn from, I felt lost sometimes. There were parts of science that I had NO idea about. You'll find yourself in the same situation. When you do, don't shy away. STUDY IT yourself. If you want your child to become a lifelong learner, you need to help. If you don't know, that's okay, but be involved. Korean mums are like terminators when it comes to supporting their child's learning. They make it their mission. Perhaps we can't all copy that template, but we can do part of it.

Be involved

What a lovely list, but really, it boils down to one thing. Parents: take charge and get involved: Buy our latest books Check out our curriculum Read our blog We'd love to hear from you in the comments below!

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