Monday, September 30

HOW TO strengthen math skills at home

Math exists all around us in almost everything we do, and it's important to stop and use everyday math to help children improve their math skills.  When children use math in a real world application, they are far more likely to understand and remember the skill used.  This real world application alongside a consistent math regimen allows children the comfort and precision necessary to build a strong foundation in all areas of math.  

Have fun! Don’t be afraid to make a game out of some of the more mundane math activities such as math fact flash card drills.  For every fact a child gets correct, they get to keep that card and later can try to throw their correct cards into a hat or bowl.  The more cards they get into the hat, the greater rewards they can earn.

Let’s bake!  Rarely will you find more math involved in an everyday activity than in baking. Whether it's counting chocolate chips, doubling recipes, or just learning units of measurement, baking will teach children important math skills...and the end result is delicious!

Let’s shop!  Stores are excellent places to reinforce estimation, percentages through sales or taxes, and money.  Include children in every part of the process from budgeting to cost analysis. Let them decide which size package is a better buy at the market or what the price of an item on sale will be.

Let’s travel!  Using distance, speed, and speed limits, children can find out how long a trip will take. With so much information available online, children can look up the speed of airplanes and find distances from one locale to another.  Make a game of seeing if Google Maps has made a correct estimation of travel time.  Children can also use math to deduce whether their parents have violated a speed limit or two! Travel games can be used on a daily basis on the way to and from school.

Unfortunately, learning math doesn’t always involve yummy treats, shopping, or speeding. Math is one of the few subjects where extra practice and repetition is the key to success.  All subjects require understanding, but math requires hard work and diligence at home in order to attain speed, skill, and mastery.

There is never any substitution for a child carefully attacking his or her math homework each and every night.  Fairmont provides home access to Accelerated Math and Math Facts in a Flash.*  These programs along with excellent math instruction at school have allowed our students to take classes such as Algebra II and Pre-Calculus in 8th grade. *There are other great no-cost or low-cost math apps available such as XtraMath and Operation Math.

A love for math needs to be established both at school and in the home.  Math can be a burden or an adventure.  It is all about the positive attitude we create in the home for our children.  If we help keep math entertaining and meaningful our children will be more excited each and every day when math class begins.

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Contributed by Matt, Fairmont Private Schools

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