Anyone who ever attended school, which presumably is all of us, knows first hand that people are generally better at one subject in school than others. Some of us were better at reading or english while others thrived at math or science. Some fall in between and excel on both ends of the spectrum. One of the subjects that gets a bad rap from students and parents everywhere is math. Math education is often harder to adopt than other subjects because it is an abstract concept. Students learning English are speaking and reading the language all the time, but they may not realize how they’re using math from day-to-day.
If you have a child who struggles in their math education, you know too well the frustration that can arise for the whole family at homework time.
Building A Foundation For Your Child’s Math Education
Math is a skill that builds on itself. If the foundation of a child's math education isn’t strong, the tower of their math knowledge won’t grow very tall. Before a child can learn to add or subtract, he must know how to count. This is why early math education is so critical to his or her development. As young children learn to count, recognize patterns, and solve problems, they’re building the foundation on top of which their math education will stand.
You don’t have to be good at math to support your child’s math education at this young age. Your young child doesn’t need to know advanced math concepts. But they must begin developing and formalizing some critical math skills. To support your young child, work with them to develop skills in counting, addition and subtraction, measurements, and basic geometry (shapes).
Practicing Math In Real Life
A complicated aspect of math is that in all of its abstraction it also requires a lot of precision. Meaning, there is generally only one right answer to a math problem and a single wrong move in the calculation may lead a student in the wrong direction. Unlike in some other areas of education, math doesn’t leave much room for interpretation. This fact alone can be intimidating to children, but recognizing the opportunities for math practice in your everyday life can help develop an affinity for the type of problem-solving that math education requires.
Tipping a service provider is an excellent opportunity for your student to practice the use of multiplication and percentages. Next time you order food at a restaurant, help draw the connection between this everyday task and their math education. Additional opportunities like this include measuring ingredients for a recipe, using tools to build an object for your home, calculating discounts or estimating your change at the grocery store, or even determining the amount of time it will take to arrive at a destination. As adults, we use our math education every day of our lives. We may not have to pull out graphing calculators, but the skills we developed as children enable us to function in our society.
Math Education Supports Other Subjects
No part of a child's education stands alone. Each of the subjects we teach goes hand in hand with the others. You can study poetry or history if you can’t read, and you can’t study science or music without a basic understanding of math principles. Developing strong elementary math skills enables children to thrive later on in their lives. And beyond the importance of the learning that takes place in the classroom, math education helps students learn to think critically and develop the discipline required in advanced subjects.
Integrating math education into your daily tasks is endlessly valuable to your children and can turn math into a family activity. There are fun board games that can help develop their basic math skills, or for even less of an investment, consider some games that you can play using only a deck of cards.
Too often we see our students who struggle in math have a negative impression about the subject. They talk often about how hard it is and how much they don’t like it and it makes an impression on how hard they try in their math education. We urge you to change the narrative around math in your home. Your child may never love math, but they will benefit from developing a respect for the subject and some confidence in their ability to perform in the subject.
When you teach your children how to persevere through parts of their education that are difficult to them, they develop strength, self-confidence, and resiliency that they will never get from the subjects that come easy to them. If your child is struggling in math or any other subject matter, feel free to contact our office for support.