- Practice math every day in every way. You’re in the grocery store. You have a coupon for $1.00 off of detergent. The coupon is doubled at the register. Ask your child how much you’ll get back. Better yet. Tell her that she can keep the doubled amount if she gets the answer correct! Keep a jar of coupon earnings at home. This will help with money management skills, as well!
- Encourage your child to ask you math questions. Play “stump the parent.” Your child asks, “What is 6 times 5 times 3.” Hopefully, you’ll get the right answer, but you’ll also know if your child got the answer correct if you each write the answer on a piece of paper. If the papers match, everybody wins!
- Make math relevant. Your child brings home a paper filled with numerical problems. This can be daunting to a kid who just learned how to add two-digit numbers. Instead of constantly going over the rules, add some fun and relevance to the problems. Get out his favorite book (animals, trucks, superheroes, cars – it doesn’t matter – as long as he has an image before him of a favorite topic.) Now when he has to add 36 plus 29, change that to a topic with relevance – A farmer has 36 animals. The neighboring farm has 29 animals. How many animals are there altogether? This may take a bit longer to do the math homework, but it’s more interesting, and definitely longer lasting in your child’s memory.
- Post keywords near the homework desk. Math carries its own skill-set of vocabulary words. In third grade, the teacher drills them with the acronym MDAS for the basic order of operations. In sixth grade, that same child will learn about nets to expand a 3-dimensional object. By 12th grade, the student is learning about logarithms and complex equations. A pictorial reminder (have your child draw a picture of something on the definition card) will go miles toward achieving the destination of math excellent to slay the Math Monster in the room.
- Find books related to math concepts. Your local children’s librarian will help you find one that is age and ability appropriate. Certainly, these shouldn’t be the only books you check out of the library, but a clever parent can slide one into the stack of other books on crafts or weather.
Entelechy Education offers books, games, and other learning experiences that combine STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) topics with character education and language literacy.