With activities for children in preschool through grade 5
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Helping Your Child Succeed as a Mathematics Student
Here are some things that you can do to help your child be a successful mathematics student:
Visit your child's school. Meet with her teacher and ask how your child approaches mathematics. Does she enjoy it? Does she participate actively? Does she understand assignments and do them accurately? If the teacher indicates that your child has problems with math, ask for specific things that you can to help her.
Check math homework and other assignments. It's usually a good idea to check to see that your younger child has finished her math homework assignments. If your older child is having trouble finishing assignments, check her work, too. After your child's teacher returns math homework, have your child bring it home so that you can read the comments to see if she has done the assignment satisfactorily. However, do not do homework for your child! Limit your assistance to seeing that your child understands the assignments and that she has the necessary supplies to do them. Too much parent involvement in homework can make children dependentand takes away from the value of homework as a way for children to become independent and responsible.
Find out whether your child's teacher is highly qualified and whether the school follows state standards for mathematics instruction. Ask the school principal for a school handbook or math curriculum guide. If your school doesn't have a handbook, ask the principal and teachers questions such as the following:
- What math teaching methods and materials are used? Are the methods used to teach math based on scientific evidence about what works best? Are materials up to date?
- How much time is spent on math instruction?
- How does the school measure student progress in math? What tests does it use? How do the students at the school score on state assessments of math?
- Does the school follow state math standards and guidelines?
- Are the math teachers highly qualified? Do they meet state certification and subject-area knowledge requirements?
If you have not seen it, ask to look at the No Child Left Behind report card for your school. These report cards show how your school compares to others in the district and indicate how well it is succeeding.
Find out if the school has a Web site and, if so, get the address. School Web sites can provide you with ready access to all kinds of information, including homework assignments, class schedules, lesson plans and dates for school district and state tests.
Help your child see that the mathematics he is learning is very much a part of everyday life. From statistics in sports to the sale price of clothing to the amount of gas needed to travel from one city to another, mathematics is important to us every day. Help your child to link his "school" math to practical events.
Point out that many jobs require mathematical skills. Your child may recognize that many people must have good math skills to do their jobsscientists, doctors, computer technicians, accountants and bankers, for example. However, she may not realize that many other jobs also require math. Point out that math also is used in jobs such as running a business; being a plumber, carpenter, electrician or mechanic; being a salesperson or clerk; and designing clothesor buildings. Let her know that having strong math skills will open up many great career opportunities.
Stimulate your child's interest in technology. Help your child learn how to use calculatorsbut don't let him rely solely on them to solve math problems. Encourage him to learn to use computers to extend what he is learning and to find math games and math-related Web sites that will increase his interest in math.
Show your child that you like mathematics. Letting your child see that you use mathand that you aren't afraid of itwill go much further to building positive attitudes than just telling her that she should learn it.
Set high standards for your child in mathematics achievement. Challenge your child to succeed in math and encourage his interest by doing the kinds of activities suggested in this booklet and by trying many more activities of your own.