Over the holiday break, my kindergartner informed me that she wanted to find a new school. Concerned, I tried to figure out what she was thinking. Was she having a problem with friends? Had she gotten in trouble with her teacher? Was someone being mean to her?
It turns out she just wanted to find a school that doesn’t have math.
She tried to convince me that she already knew all of the math she needed to know. Ever.
So I handed her a pile of coins and asked her to count how much money was in the pile – knowing she wouldn’t be able to get very far. She got the point.
It can be easy to forget that math is more than addition and subtraction worksheets, school classes and memorized facts. So I’m trying to look for ways to show her how math is such an important part of our everyday lives: cooking and shopping, art and music and computers – it’s all math.
Here are some ways parents can help their kids connect and practice math in “real life.”
- Have your child count down the time (weeks, days and/or hours) to a special day or holiday
- Have your child measure ingredients for a recipe you are making
- Encourage your child to track or graph scores or stats for a favorite sports team
- Ask your child to count the change at the grocery store, or to estimate the total cost while you are shopping. Or, with older kids, to help track the family budget.
- Explain what you’re doing whenever you use a measuring tape, a scale, or a ruler. Ask for your child’s help.