Model the Importance of Math to Your Children
Episode #4 of the course Helping your child become a better student by Rebecca Jordan
In yesterday’s lesson, we learned how reading with your children every day will mold them into better students. Today, we are going to learn how demonstrating to your children how math fits into everyday life will strengthen their educational foundations.
Repeat after me: “I am not bad at math. I am not bad at math.” Perhaps even click your heels together like Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. Believing that because you yourself struggled in math in school, so your child’s genetic predisposition will most likely cause them to endure the same fate, is the KISS OF DEATH for your child’s success in mathematics in school. Obviously, math does not come easily to everyone, but that is simply because the people who do not have a natural number sense (number sense is an educational term defined by Marilyn Burns in her 2007 book, About Teaching Mathematics, as when “students come to understand that numbers are meaningful and outcomes are sensible and expected”) weren’t given opportunities at a young age to explore numbers in order to make sense of them. Therefore, in order to set your child up for success in math in school, one must do the following:
Expose your children to experiences with math. A trip to the grocery store, cooking, measuring items for your home, clipping coupons, watching sports, telling time, and even sorting laundry can all serve as experiences to expose your children to math. If children are aware that they need to have basic math understanding to complete tasks in daily life, then they will value the learning of math in class. It will be relevant to them.
Maintain a positive attitude. As I previously mentioned, throwing up your hands and claiming that you were “bad” at math in school, and thus your offspring will inevitably be the same way, is the wrong attitude. In my experience, students who have this type of background are maintaining a self-fulfilling prophecy! As frustrated as you or your child may become when solving math problems, do your best to stay positive. If there is something causing stress for either of you, simply write the teacher a note, and they will take care of it! If you follow the steps outlined in Lesson 2, this is will go swimmingly, and the teacher will provide you with the tools you and your child need to be successful in math.
“Common Core” is not a dirty word. Yes, there is much debate about the validity of “Common Core” and the “new way” of elementary math, but let me explain the fundamental purpose. The purpose of these drawings, boxes, or seemingly convoluted illustrations is to illustrate the foundation of the algorithms. Additionally, your child’s teacher is not the embodiment of evil for teaching this witchcraft, they simply doing their job the way they have been mandated to by the federal government. When I was in graduate school learning these strategies, I often had to work backward to break down the process. Be patient, take a deep breath, look at Khan Academy Kids or Duck, Duck, Moose, and don’t be afraid to try something new!
The next day’s lesson will focus on how to avoid becoming a “lawnmower” parent in order to help your children be better students.
The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind by Daniel J. Siege, and Tina Payne Bryson
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