America may celebrate Pi Day on March 14th with gusto, but math is all around us all the time. The Episcopal Center for Children offers tips to help parents assist their children with learning math at home.
“Helping a child with math can be a hard task for any parent,” said Dodd White, president and CEO of the Center. “But you can help your child see how math is connected to our daily activities. When children understand that math is part of life, it helps.”
Tip #1: Explore math in everyday life. Count out forks to set the table. Pour a cup from a gallon of milk. Talk about the time when a favorite TV program starts. When driving, talk about how numbers help us determine how fast we drive, the distance traveled, the mileage the car gets per gallon of gas, and how long it will take to get home.
Tip #2: Expose your child to money. Have your child collect coins in a piggy bank and count them out regularly. If your child receives an allowance, have them keep track of the amount. You could open a bank account for your child.
Tip #3: Use games to explore math concepts. Incorporate games involving numbers and math into playtime — from flash cards for learning basic math facts to board games involving money, time, and logic.
Tip #4: Ask your child questions. When helping your child with math, ask questions to guide your child through the process, such as “Where do you begin?” “What do you need to find out?” “Can you show me in a drawing how you got the answer?”
Tip #5: Model analytical and mathematical thinking for your child. Be a problem solver, pose questions, and find solutions. Show how math is more than learning addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Math also teaches us to analyze, reason, and plan.
White also advises parents who struggle with math anxiety, to not worry. “It’s OK to say that you don’t understand a math problem,” said White. “You don’t have to know everything. Review the lesson together to see if you’ve missed an important piece of information.”
Tips adapted from www.GreatSchools.org.
About the Episcopal Center for Children
The Episcopal Center for Children is a private nonprofit, nondenominational day treatment facility for emotionally troubled children and their families from the greater Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Accredited by the Joint Commission, the Center offers a day treatment program for children who are 5-12 years old, and focuses on enabling children to return to the public school and the community, while being able to re-engage with their families and build a positive future for themselves. More information is available at ECCofDC.org.