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Parents and Children Doing Mathematics at Home

Many parents claim that math is not their forte. Math was hard for them in school, they did not like the subject, and seem resigned to the idea that their children will not do well in math because they themselves had not done well. As a result, they do not know how to help their children in math.

“Ongoing parental involvement in mathematics – as in any subject – can provide a solid foundation for children’s learning and attitudes. When parents maintain high expectations for their children’s performance in mathematics, regularly do mathematical activities with their children, and display a positive attitude toward mathematics, children benefit. They are more likely to feel confident in their abilities; to enjoy and learn more from the mathematics they experience at school; and to develop a sense of richness, usefulness, and pervasiveness of mathematics”. So says Marlene Kliman, whose current work focus is on developing materials and methods for involving parents and their children in doing mathematics together.

Learning math takes effort and interest on the part of the learner and support on the part of the parent. And while math seems to come “naturally” to some people, most of us need to work at it.

You have what you need to help your child with math because:
• You have a great deal of important mathematical knowledge to share.
• Children learn best from the people who most accept and respect them.
• Learning is more lasting when it takes place in the context of familiar home experiences.
• Children must see that math is not just a subject studied in school but is used constantly in everyday family life.
• The home is an ideal place in which to learn mathematics because the problems encountered there are real, not just paragraphs in textbooks.

There is a wonderful way to take the pain and drudgery out of helping your child with math and effectively instill in your child an interest in math – play math games. I can hear you muttering to yourself, “Play math games? Is that legal? Are you allowed to have fun with math?” The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics says, “Make mathematics fun!”

Math games for kids and families are the perfect way to reinforce and extend the skills children learn at school. They are one of the most effective ways that parents can develop their child’s math skills without lecturing or applying pressure. When studying math, there’s an element of repetition that’s an important part of learning new concepts and developing automatic recall of math facts. Number facts (remember those times tables?) can be boring and tedious to learn and practice. A game can generate an enormous amount of practice – practice that does not have kids complaining about how much work they are having to do. What better way can there be than an interesting game as a way of mastering them?

This summer keep your child’s mind fresh with review, as well as new ideas, and keep those brains in tip-top shape for the following school year – play math games!

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