Parent Math Corner
Mission: to make the following sentence disappear....
"I'm not a math person."
More Tips for Parents Helping Students Learn Math At Home
When your child is struggling with a math problem, encourage them by looking for right mathematical thinking and asking questions to help persevere through solving.
Math is not a race; do not time your child when they are working on math fluency. Speed has little to do with math ability.
Talk about math in a positive way. Our mindset shapes our self views and we don't want students thinking at a young age (or any age) they are bad at math. You can share that you made mistakes in math when you were younger, and that mistakes are opportunities to learn, but please don't share if you hated math and feel you weren't good at math in school.
Encourage number sense (the ability to separate and put numbers together flexibly) by talking with your child about how you solve math problems. Often times the way we do math in our heads is more efficient than a procedure we do on paper.
Encourage a growth mindset, the idea that ability and "smartness" change as you work more and learn more. Encourage persistence; it takes time and hard work.
Talk to their teacher and ask questions if you do not understand why or how something is being done in the classroom.
Overall, my biggest suggestion is to promote a positive mindset in mathematics (even if you didn't have the best math experiences in school). Children mimic adults, the more we say "I'm not a math person" the more one starts to believe that, especially at a young age. We may not understand it...yet. I don't get it....yet. Practice doesn't make perfect, practice makes better. There is usually a reason your teacher is doing things the way they are, if you don't understand, just ask!
My other big suggestion is to find math opportunities in the world around us. Authentic moments where you find opportunities to play games, count, find shapes, perform operations, percents, fractions, etc. Math is around us, even when we aren't aware or it isn't obvious. Math is so much more than a set of memorized rules and procedures. Yes, there are things students will need to memorize and they will, just maybe not as early as you would like. Students will still memorize their multiplication facts and they will still do the procedures that we learned in school, some of that just comes a little later than when we learned that in math. We need to make sense of the world around us and work flexibly with numbers to be able to do it easily in our heads. We estimate and reason our way to figure out an answer mentally. I could list examples for days, months, years, but below are a just few to get you thinking...
While watching a game:
Which team has more points? How many more points?
How many more points does ___ have to score to win?
If they keep scoring at this same rate, what do we think the final score will be?
Their record is 12 : 4, what does that tell me about the team?
They said he is a 75% free throw shooter, what does that tell me about him/her?
In a football game, is it possible to score 22 points?
While watching TV pause and show the DVR line:
Have we watched more than half or less than half?
How many more minutes of the show do we have left to watch?
If we broke it up into four sections (watch it in 4 intervals) how many minutes would we watch at a time?
Muffin pan, if there are 4 fours and 3 columns, how many muffins are we making?
This recipe makes 6 servings, I need at least 20 servings for a family reunion, how many of these recipes should I make? Or opposite of that, this recipe makes 6 servings, I only need half of that so how much of each ingredient will I use?
We need 3 cups of flour, but I have have 1/2 (or other fraction) measuring cup, how many if these will I have to do?
What time should we start cooking if we want to eat at 6:30 and this takes ____ long?
At the dollar store, I have $____, how many things can I buy?
Which is a better buy? (In many places, it's actually more expensive to buy the larger item)
If this is 25% off, about how much will I pay?
If I buy 3 of these shirts, about how much will it cost?
About how much will I pay in tax? (Always estimate using 10% because it's easier to work with in you head, when was the last time you found exactly 7.5%?)
Almost any board game and card game have so many math connections! Chutes and Ladders, Uno, Rummy, Candy Land, Sequence, Monopoly, etc. Some would say Scrabble is a word game, I say Scrabble is a numbers game. These games lend themselves to math already, but think of opportunities to throw in a few math questions while playing.
Time: Time is a hard concept for students. Think about any ways you can ask questions about time. Example: On our way to the beach and GPS says we will be there in 25 minutes, it's 10:50 now, so approximately when will we get to the beach?