Top 10 Tips for Making Math Meaningful

Math is one of the more challenging subjects for most children. Because of this math is often viewed as the “subject I hate.” Yet, in math achievement U.S. students are far behind most of their international peers. In fact, the US is not producing near enough engineers to fulfill the global demand. So, other countries are stepping up to the challenge. In our day, math undoubtedly is a vital part of education. Many of the requirements from when we were in school no longer hold true. A heavier mathematics load is now considered basic in most US states, with Algebra I being completed in 8th grade. With the increased demands for better prepared students, our children need a stronger math foundation. As homeschooling gows in various forms from unschooling to roadschooling, staying on top of the educational demands of our day is a relevant issue. We need to prepare our primary/elementary age students by:

1) Using manipulatives, manipulatives, and more manipulatives… the more hands on and concrete examples you can use for math, the better your child will understand it.
2)Equipping them with a complete memorization of all basic math facts will give a foundation that will help them transition easily to higher math. This doesn’t mean all fact cards…start with concepts and then work on drill as they age.
3)Make cool experiments, conduct surveys, and make charts and graphs.
4)Use estimation to help kids think through the problem first.
5)Use mathematical tools such as scales, weights, protractors, compass, calculators, spreadsheets, and graphs.
6)Encourage them to find ways to earn money saround the house and then how to budget that money.
7)Allow music to help instill mathematical sense. Learning how to play an instrument is the best way to do this.
8)Get involved in math competitions. This will help children with problem solving strategies.
9)Use family games to incorporate mathematical reasoning.
10)Point out how you use math in everyday living, and encouarge them to help you. Things like sorting clothes, dividing desserts, clipping coupons, planning grocery lists within budget, doubling recipes, and even making a purchase.

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