Welcome back! I hope everyone had a wonderful summer and is ready to work on becoming mathematically empowered this year. Parents, it is well known that you play a very important role in your children’s academic lives. Your child’s attitude and success toward mathematics is influenced by your feelings toward math. Some children, as they move through elementary school, may begin to lose interest in math when they see it as simply memorizing procedures. However, you can foster interest and development by encouraging your child to think about and use mathematics in everyday situations. Below, I have included a list of helpful suggestions on how you can continue to support your child’s learning of mathematics at home.
Helpful Tips for Doing Mathematics at Home
- Be ready to talk and listen to your children about mathematics.
- When you yourself don’t know how to solve a problem, ask your child to explain the meaning of each part of the problem. This will probably be enough to find strategy.
- Be more concerned with the process of doing mathematics than with getting a correct answer. (The answer to any particular problem has very little importance, but knowing how to find the answer is a lifetime skill.)
- Try not to tell your children how to solve the problem.
- Once they have been told how to do it, thinking usually stops. It is better to ask them questions about the problem and help them find their own methods of working it through.
- Practice estimation with your children whenever possible. Estimation helps students make sense of a problem before it is solved. It is one of the most useful and “sense-making” tools available.
- Provide a special place for study. Expect that homework will be done. Look at the completed work regularly.
- Try to keep your comments positive. Praise your child for asking questions, and look for places where you can ask questions about the work.
- Avoid negative messages (“I was never good at math either.” or “I don’t like math.”)
- Model persistence and pleasure with mathematics. Include enrichment, recreational mathematics in your family routine. Try to introduce math ideas (with a light touch!) at the dinner table, or while traveling, even to the grocery store.
- Seek out positive ways to support your child’s teacher and school. Offer to help prepare materials such as games. Volunteer in your child’s classroom.
Get involved with the PTO.