How Do I Support My Child’s Learning At Home?
Children are influenced by the experiences and attitudes that they encounter. It is important for the mathematical development of your child that they have a wide variety of experience and that they hear positive messages about mathematics. What messages should I be giving my child about math? Mathematics is useful, fun, exciting, interesting, and challenging. Mathematics is something that you and your child can explore and do. It is about thinking, trying things out, making mistakes and learning from them.
What is math really?1
- finding, describing, and extending patterns
- measuring time, distance, and amounts
- learning about the shapes of things
- counting items
- collecting information and using that information to make decisions
- comparing objects and amounts
- making predictions
- estimating amounts
- making connections
- figuring out what comes next and solving a problem.
Playing is a child’s work, even after school begins. Many simple games of childhood can help your child to practice and develop math concepts and skills as you spend time together.
- Playing “hopscotch” helps your child recognize the numbers in sequence.
- Playing games, such as Rummy, Go Fish, Uno, Snakes and Ladders, Dominoes, or Yahtzee help with developing number concepts. These games help students understand what the numerals look like, how to match pairs, and how to count moves or dots on the dominoes.
- Lego and other building materials can be used to develop number sense and spatial sense. Have your child build something with a specific number of objects, then ask how many more do they want to add and what the resulting number would be. You could ask your child questions such as what would happen if we put the small blocks on the bottom of the tower or how many blocks could be lined up all the way across the room?
- Ask questions related to your child’s hobby and engage in discussions about what related information can be collected and how it can be analyzed.
Read and discuss with your child how characters in a story use mathematical concepts to solve problem. Look for patterns, measurements and mathematical data within books and during household activities. Cooking, cleaning and grocery shopping provide opportunities to discuss estimation and measurement.
Most schools hold curriculum nights, math nights, parent-teacher interviews, and welcome phone calls. Many schools have websites that give information about the classroom program and expectations as well as offer suggestions of other websites that will offer opportunities for your child to practice and extend the ideas they are learning.
Further Resources (click on the titles below)
- Suggestions for middle years
- Doing Mathematics with Your Child (Ontario)
- Family’s Guide: Fostering your child’s success in school mathematics (NCTM)
- Figure This – a site with math games and challenges for children to do with their parents.
- Motion Math – apps that support mathematics
- Advice for Parents from Professor Jo Boaler2
1Government of Saskatchewan, M. How Do I Support My Child’s Learning of Mathematics?. Retrieved 7 December 2020, from https://www.edonline.sk.ca/webapps/blackboard/content/listContent.jsp?course_id=_3469_1&content_id=_91042_1
2Boaler, J. Advice for Parents. Retrieved 7 December 2020, from https://bhi61nm2cr3mkdgk1dtaov18-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Parent-Night-Handout-vF-1-1.pdf