Simple ways to build math skills at home

How you can help at home: Build your child's math skills with these easy strategies.

By Kathy Rank, Consulting Educator

Use these tips to build your child's math skills.

Positive attitude about math

Do you like math or does it make you anxious? Your feelings about math can greatly influence your child's perception of math. Help your child enjoy math by talking about it in a positive manner. Think out loud when you are using math skills so your child will hear your thinking process. Let her know that there are multiple ways to solve problems.

Problem solving with real-world math

Math has evolved from the computation we most likely experienced in math class to an emphasis on problem solving. Computation is still important, but it is used to solve real- life problems. The emphasis is generally on math processes that enable your child to learn multiple strategies to become a proficient problem solver. Model the importance of math in the real world and encourage your child to help when you:

Games that build number sense

Play games with your child to reinforce number sense. Try Racko by Hasbro. This game involves putting numbered cards in order from greatest to least. Yahtzee is perfect for working on multiplication facts and reinforcing addition skills. There are many fun card and dice games that utilize math skills.

Practice multiplication facts

Your child is expected to know multiplication facts. Have your child bounce a basketball as he says the multiples of different numbers. For example, he can practice the multiples of 9 for each bounce 9, 18, 27, 36. Then he can say them backward: 81, 72, 63, 54. Research shows that kinesthetic movement helps the brain learn facts.

Kathy Rank is a fourth-grade teacher in Piqua, Ohio. She has implemented a school program for at-risk students using community volunteers. Kathy has taught for 15 years, holds a master's degree in education and was named Ohio 2005 Teacher of the Year. She is a National Board Certified Teacher and a recipient of the Presidential Award for Math and Science Teaching.