By Deanna Hurn, Founder and Executive Director of Miracle Math Coaching
Last week, I provided some general ideas for helping your child improve his or her academic skills. It’s such an important topic, that I’m back with more advice. But this time, it’s all about Math.
Let’s say your child is struggling with counting or can’t remember shapes. What do you do? Usually, parents sit down and try to help their students themselves. Not a good idea.
Research shows that parents who are anxious about Math do more harm than good when they try to help their students with studying and homework. It’s better to TALK about Math.
A 2015 study shows that the most effective way to get your student on the right track when it comes to Math is to TALK about it in everyday situations.
The more “Math words” – add, subtract, larger than, smaller than, etc. – spoken to a child before he or she entered Kindergarten, the better they did in Math later in life, according to a University of Chicago study.
The website, Talking Math with Kids , reports that “immersing your child in numbers is low stakes and opportunities are everywhere… As a general principle, anytime you encounter a number in the company of your children, you can talk about it.” Here are some topics that could prompt a conversation about Math:
- The gas gauge in the car
- The scales in the produce section of the supermarket
- The cost of stamps at the post office
- The teams, players and equipment on the soccer field
- The amount of television time allowed
- The ingredients used in making breakfast, lunch or dinner
- The rocks in the backyard
- The furniture in the living room
- The number of toys and books in the house
- Opportunities are almost endless.
You can also use a Math app or visit a Math website to jumpstart a conversation. In a study reported in Science Magazine, researchers gave parents an iPad mini with the Bedtime Math Mobile App . Parents were to use the app to engage their children in non-homework related Math talk. Children whose parents used the app to talk about Math increased their Math scores significantly compared to a control group whose parents did not talk with them about Math.