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Building math skills at home

TUESDAY, AUGUST 04, 2015 13:12 PM

Math is a subject that can become increasingly frustrating for kids. From kindergarten to high school, learning to grasp various equations and formulas is difficult, but parents can make an effort to instill relevant mathematical knowledge from an early age. There are several strategies adults can use at home to teach kids how to develop their understanding of numbers.

Making learning fun is one of the best ways to increase a child's comprehension. Games are a wonderful teaching tool because kids don't even realize they are being taught about numbers, they just want to win and have fun. A few board games that are beneficial for younger kids include mancala and Chutes and Ladders, Too Small to Fail says. Both of these options require players to count up to 12, but since it's fun, kids won't mind working on their numbers.

Card games are also useful for this purpose, including crazy eights or go fish. When playing with cards, children get the chance to work on their numeral recognition. Engaging kids in card games can work for older students as well. By teaching middle and high schoolers how to play games like cribbage, parents can help them work on mental math abilities. This is accomplished because players have to hit certain numbers throughout the game in order to score. 

Real-world applications
Kids are constantly curious and asking questions about the world around them. They want to know how everything works together, so show them how math fits into their everyday lives. The next time you're at the store give some money to your child to pay for the items. Help them count out the bills and coins to get the correct amount. Kids are frequently interested in money, so this activity will show them its worth. Allowing children to participate in this exercise is also a great way to work in the importance of good money management.

Another real-world application students can perform is adding up the items bought as you make your way through the store. Have your child write down the price of each item you grab and add up the various amounts until you're done. Compare the final grocery price with the list to check the math. For older kids, allow them to help out at home by balancing the checkbook. Again, they'll get the real-world aspect of the task and learn why it's important to keep track of finances. 

By letting your kids help out with these various tasks, they'll learn why the subject is so useful, and they'll also be given a chance to sharpen their skills outside of the classroom. Don't stop at these real-life equations, either. Challenge your children to use math every day. School Family suggests having children figure things like the final price after a discount or a restaurant tip.