Tis the season!

Report card season! Now, as a math coordinator, I don’t write report cards myself, so how do I know it is report card season? Because this is the time of year, when parents start to panic about their child’s performance and race to school to find out: what can I do at home to support my child in math?

Well, I have compiled a short list of do’s and don’ts to help you out:

Do’s:

• Talk math with your kids.
• Provide math settings for your kids.
• Encourage children to make sense of math.
• Stay positive and have fun!

Don’ts:

• Don’t tell your kids that they are smart: tell them learning and hard work will help them achieve at the highest level.
• Don’t share stories of math failure or dislike: your child’s achievement will go down, especially if they are a girl.
• Don’t help them through problems step-by-step; it takes away learning opportunities for them.
• Don’t drill, drill, drill; it will kill their love of math!
• Don’t time children or encourage faster work; it creates math anxiety and the stress blocks working memory and makes it harder to recall facts!
• Don’t ask for more homework; the evidence shows that there is no correlation between homework and performance for elementary-aged children!

The best thing you can do is develop your child’s mathematical interest! And once you get started, it is easy!

Here’s an example: Rory and I were late for school last week because of an appointment. Rory then asked, “How late am I going to be?”. Great learning opportunity! So we figured it out: the time was 9:10 and his school starts at 8:45 so we added 15 + 10 = 25. Then a few minutes later…how late are you now?! We kept playing this game all the way to school. We had to do it mentally (I was driving the car!) so we talked about the different ways to mentally calculate. Rory didn’t realize he was building fluency, and he loved figuring it out every time!

Still don’t believe that it is easy to talk math with your kids in a natural fun way? Well, click here for Activities for the Familyand I hope to convince you! I have created a list of things you can talk about or do to support your child’s development in mathematics.

Still think your child needs a tutor or extra support? Well, if your teacher is good (and I’m sure he/she is!), they would have already contacted you to let you know that your child may need learning support to get to grade level. Did you receive that call? If not, then play with your children! Inspire your children! Have fun with your children! Show them that math is a creative, beautiful subject and that math problems are everywhere!!!! That way your child will grow up loving math and want to learn and do more.

Remember, you are the biggest influence in your young child’s life right now. Take advantage of that by building positive happy connections with math. For more on this, see my very first post: It all starts at home.