Just barely mumble the words, "Don't you have some math homework to do?" and you are likely to hear enough moans and groans to make you want to throw in the towel right then and there. Although it is not always the subject of choice, math does not have to be a nasty word either.
Educators are well aware that a concrete grasp of the basics builds confidence and challenges at the higher levels are more easily met. Here are some suggestions straight from the experts to help your child get a solid start:
Find Out if Your Child is on Track
Jean Katayama who tutors in math and language arts encourages parents to find out if their child is meeting the objectives as outlined by Alberta Learning. Gaps may precipitate a parent teacher meeting or it may mean more research to find out if there really is a problem. The Alberta Learning website at: www.learning.gov.ab.ca lists goals for each grade level from ESC to Grade 12. The Learning Resource Distribution Center also publishes similar information in a small handbook called: Curriculum Handbook for Parents.
Watch for Early Problems
Cliff Elle at the Sylvan Learning Center teaches parents to watch for problems like loss or lack of interest or below average marks in grades as early as 3, 4 and 5. Confronting and resolving the problem earlier is easier and less expensive than in grades 7, 8 and 9 when children are often reluctant to seek help from their parents and teachers, especially when it just might not be "cool" thing to do.
A parent's attitude is important. If negative, it will often be reflected in the child's approach towards solving problems or how they value the importance of math. Even a parent who never liked math can be instrumental in connecting their child to someone who does.
Most teachers are delighted when a parent is involved and is willing to help their child. Teachers will often be aware of trouble spots and will have ideas for how parents can help strengthen weaker skills. Check out your local library and bookstore for books, videos and cd-roms that approach math in way that might more appropriately suit your child's learning style.
Researchers have found a strong link between math and music and it deserves a second look. Research conducted by University of California at Irvine found that after learning about eighth, quarter, half and whole notes, 2nd and 3rd graders scored 100% higher than their peers who were taught fractions using the traditional method. HAVE FUN Parents can start early by making math fun. A weekly family games night is a great way of introducing number games such as Cribbage, Black Jack, Backgammon, Monopoly, Pass the Pigs, Yahtzee and Manacala. If you are still worried about troubles in math consider the words of Albert Einstein who said "Do not worry about your problems with mathematics, I assure you mine are far greater."
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