Suggestions for Making Math Real for your Elementary and Middle Schoolers

Praise the Effort
Praise the Effort

Here are some suggestions for things you can do to help your child with math outside of school.

Every night during dinner or after, have a math minute: ask your child what they learned in math class that day. Was it fun? Give your child a mental math problem based on what they learned that day.

Make sure the mental math problems aren’t too hard. If necessary, make the problems easier – but never be negative or display disappointment. Just be excited when they get one right. Always praise the effort, regardless of the results.

Additional suggestions:

    • Make a point to praise your child’s effort in math, regardless of the results
    • Ask if class was fun today, was the test fun?
    • If you cook, have your child help you with the measurements, especially if you have to adjust the recipe.
    • If you don’t know the meaning of a word on the homework, don’t be afraid to look it up, but don’t use yahoo answers, wikipedia is fine, or a math website.
    • Have your child re-teach you what she learned in class today
    • Take your child shopping and compare prices in differently sized bottles. On your smart phone show her how to check the price per ounce (before you show her that it is often written on the shelf) to decide which one to buy.
    • Shopping: if something is on sale, have her figure out the discount and the price.


Singapore Math Emphasizes Mastery of Basics

Kerri Gega teaching Singapore math in Scarsdale, N.Y. The district initially spent $145,632 for books and teachers' materials. New York Times.

The New York Times has an interesting article briefly describing the evolution of math education in the United States since the sixties and the latest development – an emulation of the Singapore process which moves more slowly at basic levels in an effort to achieve a stronger fundamental understanding of numbers and basic operations, allowing faster gains at higher levels.

Making Math Lessons Easy as 1, Pause, 2, Pause,…