Math is one of those subjects that kids of all ages either love or hate. Some kids are just born with a left brain and love to do those calculations and learn math concepts. Let’s face it though, there are many kids that dislike math from the first moment they see 1+1 in Kindergarten. Doing homework is a battle and you struggle to help your child with math because they would rather be doing other things! Here are some tools to help you help your kids with math.
Math is everywhere and we use it everyday.
Make math relatable to them. Teach them that math will help them in their life and not just on the next test. We use math when we grocery shop, balance our checkbook, spend our allowance, count our trading cards, make a cake, keep score at a game, and even in figuring how long a trip will take. Some day they will have a job and more than likely it will involve math in some way. Carpenters use measurement to build houses; musicians count beats and keep time; business owners use math for inventory, ordering, keeping records, and paying employees; teachers teach math concepts to children; chefs use measurements to cook, scientists make precise calculations when experimenting; and the list goes on. Make a list together of how people use math everyday.
Use manipulatives to teach math concepts.
When concrete objects are used to teach math, it becomes more than just pencil and paper. Use manipulatives to teach the concepts that your child is learning; for counting use buttons or gummy bears; when sorting use Skittles to sort and then figure out which color has the most, the least, etc.; give them real money to figure out money word problems, get an inexpensive clock, take off the plastic front and use it to practice time; use rulers and have them measure things around the house; during measurement study, bake a cake together or double a recipe and have them use fractions to figure out the new measurements. Be sure to invest in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division flash cards. The better they know the math facts, the quicker they will do calculations. The key to learning fractions is to memorize the multiplication facts. Whatever the concept is, make it real to them! You can purchase math manipulative sets or make your own.
Math can be fun!
Math is not the most exciting subject so you will have to get creative in order for it to be fun! If they have a page of problems to do, give them a penny or nickel for every problem they get correct. Gather the family and help them act out word problems. If they are adding or subtracting, give them gumdrops to use as counters and eat when they are done. Using flash cards to help your kids memorize math facts doesn’t have to be boring. See how fast they can go through the stack and then challenge them to do it again faster. Let them be the teacher and ask you the facts first. Vary the location that you do math as long as this does not cause distractions. Let them go outside to the picnic table or on the couch. Spend an evening at the local library doing homework. The car is a great place to practice math facts. Make math fun!
There are many resources available.
There are math computer programs available that are both fun and educational. The Internet is a great place to find games that teach math concepts and offer practice worksheets that reinforce what your child is learning in school. Your child’s teacher can be a great wealth of knowledge. Talk to other parents to see how they help their children.
Math homework will probably be coming home every night as your child gets older. Be ready and prepared to help them face the challenge of learning math.