What can I do to help my child?
Not everyone loves maths. But everyone uses maths in their everyday life, so it is important for your child's future that they are successful in mathematics. One of the easiest ways to help ensure that this happens is to be supportive of their experiences in maths. Do you spend as long helping your child learn about maths as you do reading? Do you show a positive attitude towards your child's maths homework? You are your child's most important role model and their attitude towards maths is likely to reflect your own.
It is easy to be interested in the books your child is reading, the writing they are doing, and the sports they are playing at school. Try to be equally interested in the maths they are learning.
Listen to them
The Numeracy Project aims to encourage children to think about different ways of solving problems, and to be able to explain them to others. If your child is explaining how they answered a question - LISTEN. They may not answer it the same way that you would, but that does not mean they are wrong. Expect your child to use different strategies to solve problems. Encourage them to explain their thinking. Sometimes you might need to use materials, such as counters, or pen and paper for them to demonstrate what they mean. Be prepared to try different strategies yourself!
Give them opportunities to do maths
Maths is everywhere! Regardless of the age or ability of your child there are opportunities for them to practice their maths.
If your child is learning to count - count things. You may count the number of steps in a staircase, the number of toys on the floor, the number of cars driving past, or anything else you can think of. The more your child counts, the better they will get.
If your child is learning to add - add things. This could be easy things such as the number of knives on the table plus the number of forks on the table, or more difficult things such as the cost of items at the supermarket. Don't forget to subtract as well.
Ask your child what they are doing in maths at school and try to use it in everyday life. If they are learning about fractions, ask them about fractions "What fraction of people in our family are children?" "What fraction of the milk is left?". This will not only give them practice, but also show them that maths relates to the 'real' world.
Some great contexts for maths are:
- Money - counting and calculating. Pocket money, banking, shopping...
- Measuring things - lengths, areas, volumes, cooking ingredients...
- Travelling - reading numbers on signs for young children, calculating distances and speeds for older children.
- Games - Monopoly, Bingo, board games, cards...
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