By Dr. Raymond J. Huntington
For some students, math skills come easily, as do the aptitudes needed to be a successful math student: analyzing patterns, thinking logically and critically and solving problems. However, for others, math concepts are difficult to grasp, and the more complex they become, the more students want to give up altogether.
If your child isn’t one of the fortunate students for which math ‘clicks’ effortlessly, it may not be possible for you to convince him or her to like math. However, you can encourage your child to appreciate math for the practical and useful life skill that it is. Here are a few tips on how to help your student appreciate math and its importance.
Point out math in everyday life. You don’t have to look too hard to find math in day-to-day life — from weather forecasting to telling time to using cell phones and computers. From the time your child is old enough to understand the basic concepts of math, highlight math being used everywhere you go.
Call attention to math in various careers. Certainly, it’s easier to see why professionals in accounting, engineering and science need math. However, the reality is that math is a skill required by many jobs. For business owners and entrepreneurs, math is an essential part of the company’s purchasing, budgeting, finances and other functions. Those working in real estate or sales likely have monthly sales targets to meet in order to earn carefully calculated bonuses. Landscapers or architects use math skills to create scaled drawings and to calculate and order the right amounts of supplies.
Use money. Your child might not enjoy worksheets of math problems, but there’s a good chance he or she is interested in money — or at least interested in earning money. Help your child open his or her first bank account and teach him or her how to maintain the savings register. Together, calculate how much interest he or she could earn each month based on the account’s interest rate. Put together a spreadsheet that gives your child a weekly savings goal to save up for that iPad.
Discuss your own relationship with math. Does your child see you using math? Be sure to explain how and where you use math in your daily life. If you maintain the family budget, have your child help you with this task so he or she gets a sense of how your family keeps track of your income, expenses, savings and more. Show your child how you use math in cooking and when comparison shopping.
Your child might never feel enthusiastic about math, but with some effort on your part, you can impart in him or her an appreciation for the importance of the subject. Look around and you will find a multitude of opportunities to show your child math in use — from complex math to everyday math.
Keep in mind that math is a subject that requires students to continually build skills. If your child struggles with basic concepts, more complex math will only prove frustrating. If your child is struggling, call Huntington. We can design a customized program to help your child overcome any problems with math and get back on the road to school success.
Helping Your Child Learn Math by Eileen and Raymond Huntington offers tips, strategies and activities to help your child learn math at home and on the go.