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Recognize that you make an important difference in your child's education. Most children develop a sense of numbers way before the "regular" school years. If you have a young child, take advantage of those early years through activities at home that teach and at the same time are enjoyable. You might take your child on a counting walk in your neighborhood to count how many trees, shrubs, plants, houses, birds, dogs, etc. you see. Look for twigs or pine cones or leaves, etc. and have your child count as many as s/he can. Then lay them side by side to compare the length and ask your child, "Which is the longest, which is the shortest? Are there any that are the same length?"
Provide experiences at home that help your child be successful, and seek ways to let children, even very young children, know that they are needed and important. Cooking is a fun way to do this. Help your child follow the directions on a Kool Aid packet or frozen juice can to make refreshments for the family. Help your child cut a fruit or vegetable into halves, fourths, thirds, etc. Let them help prepare a meal while asking, "What do you do first? Second? Third?" or better yet, allow them to measure the ingredients for a recipe.
Parents' attitudes toward mathematics have an impact on children's attitudes; so, be patient with your child. A wrong answer on a math test or a homework assignment is not a time for scolding. It tells you to look further, to ask questions, and to find out what the wrong answer is saying about your child's understanding. Ask your child to explain how they solved the problem. Most importantly, relax! Know that neither you nor the teacher needs to be perfect for your child to learn math. Remember, one bad math assignment/test will not destroy your child's ability to learn math.
But what if you need some assistance? Luckily, in today's world, we can find mathematical help at the click of a button. Below are some great places to go and find outside help if your child is struggling or if you need more information for yourself.
Study Shack is a great place to find or make flashcards, play hangman, do matching activities or crosswords. It has activities for grades 1-6 as well as addition, multiplication, algebra and geometry. Cliff's Notes for Math is site that has notes, examples and quizzes for your older children. The subject areas include Basic Math through Calculus. There are many on-line math dictionaries. My favorite is A Math Dictionary for Kids because it includes animation and interactive activities. Even You Tube is a great resource for students struggling with a concept and needing an alternative way of seeing it.
Finally, talk about people who use math in their jobs, including builders, architects, engineers, computer professionals, and scientists. Point out that even if your child does not plan to pursue a career in which s/he will use math, learning it is still important because math teaches you how to solve problems and how to think logically. AND we use math everyday!
My Cute Graphics offers FREE clip art and images for teachers, classroom projects, web pages, blogs, scrapbooking, print and more. Check out the website by clicking either under the boy sitting on the equal sign at the beginning of this article or on the purple letters in this paragraph.