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Parent Info | Math Tips

Math Tips

Math is a critical skill that we use everyday. Whether we are setting our alarm clock, keeping score at a soccer game, buying groceries, mixing a baby's formula or measuring the flour for a cake, we use some type of math to help us.

We should encourage our children to think of themselves as mathematicians who can reason and solve problems. Although calculators are readily available for our students, we must help our kids understand that a calculator can only compute numbers -- but it cannot think.

Below are some helpful tips of what parents can do to help their child learn math:

  1. When it comes to learning basic math (adding, subtracting, and multiplication), there is nothing like repetition, repetition, repetition. Provide your child with 10 quick problems a day to help reinforce these skills.

  2. Help your child do mental math problems with small numbers. For example, ask questions like, "If I have 4 balls and I buy 8 more, how many would I have?" Have the questions become progressively harder if your child is able to quickly provide the correct answer.

  3. Encourage your child to estimate the answer. When estimating, try to use numbers that make it easy to solve the problems quickly in their head. For example, when figuring 19 plus 27, an easy way to get a "close" answer is to add 20 + 30 = 50.

  4. Ask "Is your answer reasonable" to encourage critical thinking. For example, is it reasonable that I added 16 and 41 and got 407? Why or why not?

  5. Play family games that use math. Card games like Go Fish, War, and Dominoes teach children to count, sort, and use different strategies. Games such as Monopoly Jr. use "play money" which teach how to count and make change.

  6. For birthdays and rewards, purchase computer games that reinforce math (and other subject area skills) that make learning fun and entertaining at the same time.

  7. Be positive and encourage children to solve problems. Even if they come up with the wrong answer, learning how to find the correct answer is a lifetime skill. Many times, there is more than one way to solve a problem.