Are parents, even schools, teaching children enough math?
Do you have an analog clock in your home — one with numbers and hands that move around the circle? Can your children count, and count by 5s? Do your children know how many hours are in a day? Can they tell the difference between am and pm? Do they know how many seconds are in a minute, how many minutes are in an hour?
We need to teach our children practical math. Sure, they need to know the basics — how to count, add, subtract and multiply, but they need to know how to use this knowledge. The above is just one example of math that children can know.
Help your children know inches and feet by measuring the table where you eat. Let them measure the ends and the sides of the table with a measuring tape. Let them convert the inches to feet. Add the foot measurement of ends and the sides of the table or multiply the sides by 2 and the ends by 2 and add them together to see the size of your table.
Help your children estimate the distance around the table, the perimeter, by walking around the table putting one foot directly in front of the other and counting their steps in this manner. This should give them an estimate of how many feet there are around your table. Compare their walking steps with the actual measure around the table to see how close their walking steps were to the actual measurement. Talk about how the estimate may be off due to the size or length of their shoes.
Help your children measure, or even weigh, their snacks. Tell them they can have one-half cup of nuts, Cheerios, or M&Ms. Can they weigh their snacks to see how many ounces they can eat or what part of a pound that is?
By helping your children know about money — the value of coins, how some of one can make others, by converting coins to dollars, you help younger children begin to understand money and how to make change. By helping your older children learn how you balance your checkbook, budget, and use your money, credit, and debit cards, you grow their ability to use math. When they begin work, the gross or total amount and the net amount of the check they receive after the taxes and deductions are disappointing to young wage earners. Talk about how to finance purchases and estimate the cost of things.
You get the idea. By integrating math into your everyday life, you and your children can grow your math thinking and problem-solving skills. Strong fundamentals in math are necessary for just about every career choice and are used every day. Math develops thinking and reasoning power. Some uses can be found on Discovery Education and Education World. Math games, such as Mancala, Double Shutter, Yahtzee, Qwixx, and Splat, may be fun and useful.
Do not be afraid of math; it is not boring!
Southern Arizona resident Bette Mroz is a former teacher, reading specialist and principal. As a mother and grandmother, she continues to help her family learn. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org