Anyone have a child out there who hates math? . . Do Math lessons often end in tears of frustration for both of you? Is your child stuck doing endless math worksheets without ever learning to apply the concepts to real life?
Did you know that math can actually be enjoyable? That your child can learn at least to not hate math. I know . . . because this was our story.
I had a child who hated math and we would often end our lessons in tears. Today it is a completely different story. Today we enjoy math, for the most part. That is not to say we never have days or concepts that may be a struggle. Nor am I trying to say that math is always fun and never any work.
I tell my children that everything worth doing takes work. If you want to play the piano you will have to work at it, if you want to write a book, it takes work if you want to learn to draw you will have to practice. The same is true for math, however, there are ways to make this subject flow naturally and with more ease.
The biggest mistake we can make while teaching our child math is in not relating it to real life. It is imperative that our children have opportunities to use and practice the concepts they are learning in real life! They need these concepts grounded in the things that matter to them.
So how do we do this?
Make Math Meaningful:
Your child still needs to do the work of learning math so don’t throw your math program out . . . just yet . . . ok, maybe never!
What I am suggesting is that you add practical projects here and there that require your child to use the concepts they are learning about. By doing so you will make learning come alive! This is especially important if you have a child who struggles with math.
I also highly recommend the use of math games to practice facts and skills. Games like numbers war, go fish for number pairs, match the clock face with the time card etc . . .
Practical Math Projects:
- A budget grocery shop. Allow your child to plan a family meal on a budget. You pick the budget. Your child can pick and plan his menu but he has to stay on budget! At the grocery store, no calculators allowed, have him mentally add/estimate the items he needs to purchase. Does it go over budget? Then something has to go back or the meal plan has to change.
- Have your child make her own ruler, using a 1-3 foot long wooden slat. Have her mark inches and half inches or centimeters if using the metric system. Make a 1-foot ruler or a yard/meter stick. Now use your new measuring tool to measure things around the house.
- Plan a garden plot. Keep it to a manageable size for your child, no bigger that 4′ by 4′. Have your child measure and mark the perimeter of the garden using their new homemade measuring tools:)
- Build a birdhouse or a step stool. Something super simple. Have your child plan a simple design on paper with approximate measurements. Now they can take their rulers or measuring tape and measure and mark the pieces to be cut out on wood. These can be cut out by an adult or if your child is learning woodworking, with hand tools and adult supervision. Once cut out the child can assemble them fairly easily with a hammer, some nails, and a watchful adult eye.
- Baking is another excellent way to practice measurement. Make bread dough and weigh out 1 ounce dinner rolls or 1 pound loaves.
- Try your hand at cheese making, good for practicing liquid measure.
- Bake pies, cakes, pizzas and cookies to cut up into fractions. Visualize and eat the fractional parts! Allow your child to discover that the fractional parts get smaller and smaller as the denominator in the fraction gets bigger.
What practical math projects have you tried? What has worked for you and what has not? Let me know in the comments below, I would love to hear about it!
Happy Homeschooling to you and Blessings on your Monday!
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