Mathematics is now more essential than ever for future opportunities in colleges and careers.
Many job growth industries such as health care, computers, and engineering depend heavily on technology and math.
Here are a few tips to make sure your child enjoys and becomes successful in the subject of math:
Make Practice Fun :)
Kids who enjoy math have a better chance of success, so make it fun!
• Play together - Parents can create positive experiences playing games such as Monopoly, Yahtzee, Rummikub, Scrabble, cards, bowling and other sports (especially averages, stats, etc.).
• Cook together - Try cooking together to practice measuring, fractions, and proportions - with the added benefit that you can eat what you make as a reward!
• Shop together - Practice calculating percent discounts while maintaining a tally to keep things “under budget” while you shop.
• Let the kids “keep the change” so that they will be motivated to figure out the most efficient use of their money(cost per pound) and acquire the most change possible. Then make a game of who can save the most at the bank.
All of these activities demonstrate how math is applied in everyday life. It generates interest in the subject while answering the question “Why do we need to learn math?”. It also develops life skills critical in a child’s development.
Use Graph Paper
25 percent of math problem errors are due to sloppy number writing and maintenance of number columns.
Have your child use graph paper to practice keeping numbers in line while adding and subtracting.
Check Your Work
Kids can also do self-checks to correct their own errors or perhaps play “teacher” and help a younger sibling with their math homework. Not only does this develop the student’s skills, but the process will instill a sense of confidence in the older child.
During a math test, students should look over the entire test first and complete the problems that they know. This will boost their confidence! Then they can attempt the math they are less sure of, being careful not to spend too much time if they get stuck. Show all work so the teacher can give credit as it applies. Practice timed math tests at home before taking a class test. All of these strategies enable students to get the best grade possible.
Remember that math is built upon what has been previously learned. If there is a problem area, it will become magnified and compounded with time. Grades and self-esteem suffer, often producing anxiety in math. The way to prevent this from happening is to get help right away. Encourage your child to ask their teacher or a knowledgeable classmate questions to clarify concepts. Some students may need additional help to work on specific learning techniques which can be done by a parent or a private tutor.
Signs of Difficulties with Math
• Struggles to understand the wording of directions
• Unable to recall basic math facts, formulas or multi-step procedures
• Makes lots of “little mistakes” such as copying problems incorrectly, wrong signs, etc.
• Overloaded and “gives up,” avoids doing the homework
• Anxiety with math tests, especially timing
• Poor grades
Low self-esteem resulting from difficulties in math extends into other subjects as well as behaviors at home. As a parent, it is important to recognize and provide your child with the help they need to succeed on their path towards college and a fulfilling career.