12 August 2008 09:07 AM

Teaching Math To Your Children

by Dr. Rick
Many adults find it difficult to be encouraging and enthusiastic about math. While we would never admit to our children that we dislike reading, we find no such reluctance when talking about math. If you’ve ever passed the bill in a restaurant to someone else to figure out the tip, saying with a laugh, “I’ve never been good at math,” you’re giving your child permission never to be good at math, too.

Here are a few tips to encourage math in your child. They may even help you. The trick is to see math as enjoyable, a way to solve puzzles and problems. As with most problems, there may be more than one way to arrive at an answer. The best way is the one that’s simplest, easiest. Sort of like directions to a destination. You can take a long, convoluted route, or you can take a shorter, more direct one.

1. Show your child math in everyday life. Show him how to count with coins and bills. Point out how you use math in the grocery store, the bank, the pharmacy, the toy store.

2. Show math in the house. Point out how you use math when you cook, when you make repairs around the house, when you figure out what time to set the alarm. Ask him to help you. Have him explain his reasoning. Explaining math helps mastering math.

3. Show math in the car. Have your child help with figuring out distances on small trips, figuring out what time you should leave to make an appointment. If it’s not too painful, have her figure out what it’ll cost to fill up at the pump.

4. Have fun with math. Use playing cards to practice adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing. With your child, make your own math flash cards and worksheets to help her master the basic math facts that need to be automatic. Remember, practice makes perfect. When she’s mastered a skill, go on to the next one. From time to time, go back and review.

I’ll cover more tips for teaching your children math later this week...




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