Ideas to Support Maths at Home (ref. nzmaths web site)
Not everyone loves maths. But everyone uses maths in their everyday life, so it is important for your child's future that they are successful in mathematics. One of the easiest ways to help ensure that this happens is to be supportive of their experiences in maths. Do you spend as long helping your child learn about maths as you do reading? Do you show a positive attitude towards your child's maths homework? You are your child's most important role model and their attitude towards maths is likely to reflect your own.
It is easy to be interested in the books your child is reading, the writing they are doing, and the sports they are playing at school. Try to be equally interested in the maths they are learning.
Listen to them
The Numeracy Project aims to encourage children to think about different ways of solving problems, and to be able to explain them to others. If your child is explaining how they answered a question - LISTEN. They may not answer it the same way that you would, but that does not mean they are wrong. Expect your child to use different strategies to solve problems. Encourage them to explain their thinking. Sometimes you might need to use materials, such as counters, or pen and paper for them to demonstrate what they mean. Be prepared to try different strategies yourself!
Give them opportunities to do maths
Maths is everywhere! Regardless of the age or ability of your child there are opportunities for them to practice their maths.
If your child is learning to count - count things. You may count the number of steps in a staircase, the number of toys on the floor, the number of cars driving past, or anything else you can think of. The more your child counts, the better they will get.
If your child is learning to add - add things. This could be easy things such as the number of knives on the table plus the number of forks on the table, or more difficult things such as the cost of items at the supermarket. Don't forget to subtract as well.
Ask your child what they are doing in maths at school and try to use it in everyday life. If they are learning about fractions, ask them about fractions "What fraction of people in our family are children?" "What fraction of the milk is left?". This will not only give them practice, but also show them that maths relates to the 'real' world.
Some great contexts for maths are:
Money - counting and calculating. Pocket money, banking, shopping... Measuring things - lengths, areas, volumes, cooking ingredients... Travelling - reading numbers on signs for young children, calculating distances and speeds for older children. Games - Monopoly, Bingo, board games, cards... Time/timetables. You can also download a PDF of this section in:
Daily living: By building onto activities you already do, e.g. setting the table, how much food do we need? Time – your light is to go out at half past, estimate how long a certain activity will take… look at shells on beach, use pegs, run around the house, how many steps you walk , looking at the calendar… Look for patterns and shapes on the floors, wallpaper, plants, animals, building.
Story time: Look for opportunities where you could include question about counting, comparing, shapes, number rhymes etc
Out and about: While on a walk find things to count, compare and tally. Parking money, express checkout at supermarket, food prices/ cheapest most expensive, 50% off, phone numbers
Household chores: sorting, weighing, cooking, rosters, etc. Talk about pocket money. Help them to add it up week by week and work out whether they can afford a particular toy or treat. Shop using money and calculate change.
T.V programmes: Often there is counting or a number focus
Games: Card games ( snap, 500…), Dominoes, Monopoly, Snakes and Ladders, Mancala and other games that depend on numbers, counting calculating and scoring. ‘Battleships’ is a fun way to use graphs. Invest in a range of puzzle books. Draw objects made of triangles, rectangles or squares
Food: Halve and quarter apples, sandwiches, pizza, Takeaways, pouring drinks, sharing food, lollies
Hobbies: Capitalise on hobbies. Watch and play sports that involve scoring, timing, counting, measuring.