Updated: Mar 17
COVID-19 has placed millions of parents world-wide in the unexpected position of temporarily educating their children at home. The Math for Adults (MAPS) Foundation looks forward to working alongside families as they help their children stay on track mathematically.
First, this is an excellent time to ensure that children are solid on their math facts. Toss a ball and count by 2’s, swing and count by 5’s, or climb stairs and count by 7’s. Assess which facts are hardest for them and discuss how you learned it or how they could figure it out. Then put those facts on note cards. The children should put those facts in their pockets to refer to throughout the day. Ask them about it when you think of it. Keep it fun and give prizes!
Second, reinforce skills that your children have been learning at school. There are many kid-friendly websites with free math games. It is important to spend some time at first with the child to make sure they can use the app correctly and are not just guessing. Also, some sites allow multiple players on different computers. Have them play a game of canoe math at Math Playground with grandpa in another state! See free links at https://www.mapsfoundation.com/gk-12.
Third, bring math into your everyday life--cooking, shopping, car repair, and DIY projects are excellent contexts for discussing fractions, percentages, and measurement. Turn their questions to you into questions for them. For example, if your child asks how much it will cost for a haircut, help them figure it out versus just giving an answer.
Suppose a haircut for your teen is $15.97.
If tax is 7% and you give a 20% tip, how much will the haircut cost?
Tax $15.97*.07 = $1.12
Total Sale: $15.97+$1.12=$17.09
See more examples at www.mapsfoundation.com/blog.
For the more adventurous parents wishing to go deeper into problem tasks, see www.mapsfoundation.com math resources for links to lessons and tasks as well as a full curriculum plus videos developed for parents (https://www.mapsfoundation.com/coordinators-corner).
Most importantly, keep it fun! Short and sweet is much preferable to long drawn-out sessions that end in frustration and tears. Children pick up more than you know with one or two examples, and you can reinforce it the next day. Sometimes their minds need to work on a concept overnight, and it makes sense the second time around.
Parents may not know all of the answers in the textbook, but what they know is important and can be shared with children. When children see that math is important to the parent, they are motivated to learn at school. The goal for this extended time at home should be parent-child interaction around math and building a learning community within the family. Learn things you wonder about--together!