Q:What things can be done to enrich my kids math skills?

Math is an area of focus for many students at Study Hut. One of the biggest issues affecting students that we see is a lack of a solid foundation in mathematics. This leaves many parents wondering about what things can be done to enrich their kids’ math skills.

It is worth pointing out how the adoption of Common Core Skills changed how math is taught and learned across the country. The curriculum taught to previous generations was focused specifically on HOW to solve a given problem. The updates made to what kids are now being taught emphasize understanding WHY they are doing it.

That is to say, the logistics are still being taught to students, but along with knowing what to do to solve, children today need to have a conceptual background and they need to be able to explain the reasoning behind the method they have chosen to use. This is something to consider when you are developing ideas to enrich your kids’ math skills.

For example, making a recipe together can be a great opportunity to apply math to a real life situation. Measuring ingredients, or calculating how much food to make for a group, or halving a recipe are all chances to practice fractions and simple math computation. Ask your child to find solutions to math in the kitchen, and then ask more questions to find out what technique he or she used to solve. “Eat Your Math Homework” by Ann McCallum is an entire book dedicated to edible math projects.

Calculate the time it will take to arrive to your final destination on a road trip using the distance formula, figure out the tip at a restaurant, or estimate the cost of the 3 pounds of peaches you just put in your grocery basket. With a little patience, whatever situation arrises in your life that uses math can be a chance to see math in action in the real world.

Furthermore, modeling confidence with numbers and approaching math as a practical and useful tool teaches kids to do the same. This alone can benefit children by giving them positive experiences that can help shape their self-perception. As we know, internal belief systems play a tangible role in performance in all areas of life, including math.

So while many adults are shaking their heads at Common Core math and getting frustrated over how different the current model of computations look, it behooves your son or daughter to approach math with a can-do attitude. Whether working together on homework, or calculating how much dog food to bring with you on your next vacation, ask your kids how to solve along with why they chose that strategy. And don’t forget, irregardless of the task at hand, your own attitude and approach to math is something children will definitely pick up on.