Did you like math when you were in school? For some people, the experience of getting lost in a world of numbers and mathematical reasoning was the reason they looked forward to getting up for school every morning. For others the mere mention of the word math was enough to send them running for cover! Let’s face it, math is EVERYWHERE! Wherever you look and whatever you do somehow math is there. There is no escaping it and now that your child is entering school some of those same feelings may be coming up for them as well. So whether your student is the next Einstein or turns into a world class sprinter when the word math is mentioned, these tips will help you to strengthen their math skills at home and have them enjoying math every day:
- Keep Math Positive - The first and most important tip for strengthening your child’s math skills and not making math a dirty word is to remain positive about it. Don’t say things like “math is hard” or “I hate math.” Instead, show them that math is everywhere they look and start building a strong foundation from a young age.
- Play Math Games - Along with portraying math in a positive light, play math games with your child to help them see that they shouldn’t be afraid of math. Yahtzee, Monopoly, and Connect Four are examples of popular board games that can be used for teaching math skills while having fun. This site has a list of even more popular games and how to use them to reinforce or teach math skills. http://www.brighthub.com/education/homework-tips/articles/42512.aspx
- Show Real-World Examples – Include your child when you do everyday activities that include math – paying bills, grocery shopping, cooking, figuring out a tip, etc. Allow them to participate in these activities so that they can see how important math is to everyday life and how often they will use math.
- Make it Relevant – One of the best ways to increase interest in math is to show a child how it is relevant to them personally. If a child plays or enjoys sports, have them figure out statistics for their favorite player or team. If they like to cook, have them adjust recipes to accommodate different numbers of guests. If you are taking a family trip, have them calculate the arrival time based on speed and distance. There are many ways to give it context so be creative!
- Practice skills – Remember the saying “practice makes perfect”? It applies here. When you have a few minutes before breakfast or dinner practice the multiplication tables. On the way to school or practice is a great time to work on some math vocabulary. Setting aside just a few minutes a day can have an impact on your child’s math comprehension.
- Mental math – Encourage your child to ditch the smart phone calculator and to solve problems in their heads. Have them estimate the cost of groceries or arrival time to grandma’s house. Mental math teaches your child “number sense” which gives them understanding and confidence to become better problem solvers.
As you can see there are many ways to help your child improve their math skills and make math fun. Should you have any further questions or would like more information on improving math skills don’t hesitate to reach out to anyone on your child’s academic team. Remember you can run (and we encourage you to do so) but you can’t hide (although hide-n-seek is fun, especially the counting part) because math is everywhere!