The way adults learned math looks different than the way kids are learning math in the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District. The way most adults learned math did not always make sense…older generations were taught procedural algorithms and had to memorize lists and lists of basic math facts. So now, working with your child, keep in mind they are most likely learning things differently. Children are learning to make sense of numbers and mathematics.
When doing math together, encourage your child to stick with a task even when it seems challenging. Talk through problems with your child by asking them questions about the strategies they are learning, and then ask them to teach it to you. By learning different strategies and ways to solve a problem, children learn there is more than just one way to solve a problem.
Asking Questions is Key To Helping Your Child
It is important to help your child feel empowered by asking them questions about their work and allow them to explain it to you in their own words. Asking questions helps you know if your child fully understands the work they are doing.
Ask questions such as:
- What do you think…?
- Why do you think…?
- Why did you solve the problem this way…?
- Will your strategy always work?
- What else did you try?
Learning From Your Child
We learn the most from our children when we allow them to tell us what they are thinking or what they know. That means allowing them the time they need to think through the questions, we don’t want to be too quick to give them the answer. If your child answers incorrectly, ask them how they came about the answer they got. Continue to probe their thinking so you fully understand where their work came from. If your child didn’t show work, ask them to tell you what it sounded like in their head while you try to mimic their thought process. This work you are doing will hopefully enable you and your child to see where their mistake came from.
By encouraging your child to work through problems together helps them gain a better understanding of the strategy while at the same time teaches you what they are learning. By asking questions, making mistakes, and talking about math together, shows your child you have a vested interest in their work and what they are learning.
Help your child to make connections to what they are learning in class and everyday situations. Discuss with your child which strategy made the most sense to him/her so that they begin to take a better approach to solve everyday problems.
We use math everyday. Learn what your child learns. You will both be better for it.
What additional questions do you have about helping your child with math? Ask your questions in the comment section below.
Written by Sara Kreymer
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