Math is an essential skill that will be used for your child’s entire life. There is no escaping it. Without math, your child would have a frightening future and be unable to do simple tasks such as bake cookies and divide medicine dosages correctly. Here are a few things you as a parent can do to help your child’s math skills soar.
Shopping is perhaps one of the most useful and fun ways to learn math, and to put its principles into practice. One of the first ways to use it is by helping your child to become a thrifty shopper.
Take your child to a variety of stores. Ask them to note the price on specific items, and then to decide which store has the best deals. If certain stores are cheaper in a certain category of items but more expensive in others, have your child decide how to figure out where the most money would be saved, and why.
When you are at each store, have your child hold up different brands of one item, and teach them how to find the answer about which one is cheaper per unit, even if the sizes are different.
Include your child in the conversation when you are talking about family budgeting. Talk about money being earned versus money being spent. Discuss ways to save money, and figure out solutions for budgeting issues.
The more you include your child in the topic, the more involved they will feel in your family’s success. This brings a sense of responsibility and will make them think twice before asking for money for frivolous things. It also gives them a great sense of budgeting, and presents a way for them to use their math skills so that they don’t lose them.
Budgeting provides endless access to subtraction and addition practice, and the opportunity to learn the importance of always double checking your final answer.
When your child is learning about fractions, look no further than baking for the practice they need to make the concepts become concrete in their minds. Play around with recipes. Do the full recipe, then do only half of another recipe, and double yet another.
If you run out of measuring spoons and cups in the proper size, talk about how you can substitute another one. For example, if your 1/2 cup measuring cup is gone, you can fill up the 1/4 cup measuring cup twice for the same amount.
Dinnertime is another great way to practice math concepts such as fractions. Bake a pizza and cut it into 16 pieces, and go from there. This is a wonderful time when you can teach your child about the addition and subtraction of fractions. You can also discuss how different fractions equal the same amount, such as 1/4 being the same amount as 2/8 or 4/16. Dividing fruit such as oranges is another way to learn about fractions.
Any food can be sorted if you have a younger child who needs practice counting, adding or subtracting. Multiplication can also be learned on a small scale this way, with easily sorted foods.
There are a myriad of ways to encourage the learning of math when you are at home with your child. Pick and choose the ones that you feel your child will respond best to. In a matter of time, you will find your child becoming more confident in math than they ever have been before.