Although many people may have problems with doing math, it is a part of everyday life. To help your children understand the importance of math – and to hone their skills – you can work on math as it arises in your life on a daily basis. Home schooling parents, in particular, should focus on math skills in daily life.
One of the easiest ways to show your children about doing math is by letting them help you in the kitchen. Cooking is one of the most math-oriented tasks we do everyday. You can let your children help by asking them to get three-quarters of a cup of water or 2 cans of cherries. Be sure that you go over other measurements. Ask your children what they would use to get one-quarter cup if that measuring cup isn’t available. Make them think through the math, and while of course, you should double check for them, let them determine the answers on their own.
Money is another math-involved activity that you use everyday. When you go to the store, ask your children to determine how much change you will get. Then you can ask how that change could be given. While three quarters is the obvious way to get 75 cents in change, ask your little one what the clerk could give you if she didn’t have quarters available. Let your child work through these everyday problems. An allowance for children also can give them a good idea of how money works. Help small children with saving and spending concepts and introducing the basics of investing and compound interest to older children.
There are other ways you can let your children help, too. If you are running the soccer carpool, you can say, “We started with five children in the car. We dropped off two people, so how many are left?” These kinds of problems are great for smaller children who may not understand how the math they learn in class translates into real world problems. Home schooling moms and dads especially can use these concepts to reinforce the math they teach during the school day. You can point out these questions to your children when they believe that they have trouble with word problems. These real-life situations are the same as word problems they face in class.
If you do any home improvement work, you are doing math as well. Little ones should not do the final measuring for projects, but they can help. You can ask them to measure four feet from the front door or make similar measurements. For older children, you can ask them to perform small conversions while you work. “This picture frame is 24 inches long. How many feet is that?” Let your children see that they may need to use math skills to perform everyday tasks.
There is no reason for your children to believe they aren’t good at math. Many people go through life thinking of math as a big mystery, but you can help your children get over that hurdle. Make math fun, and your children will learn.