## Mastering Math

__Top Ten Ways to Help
Your Child in Mastering Math __

Mastering
mathematics is absolutely essential for future opportunities in school
and careers. Your children will need to reach a certain level of
competency in math to take many advanced high-school courses, to be
admitted to college, and to have a wide variety of career choices.
Here's how you can help them maximize their math-smarts.

**1. Make sure your
children understand mathematical concepts.
**

Otherwise,
math becomes a meaningless mental exercise of just memorizing rules and
doing rote drills. Have your children manipulate objects to figure out
basic concepts. For addition, they could add one, two, or more blocks to
a pile of blocks and then tell you how many blocks are in the pile.

**2. Help them master the
basic facts.
**

Mastery
of a basic fact means that children can give an answer in less than
three seconds. Considerable drill is required for children to give quick
responses. Use flash cards to help your children learn the basic facts.
When they don't know an answer, have them lay out objects to solve the
problem.

**3. Teach them to write
their numbers neatly.
**

Twenty-five
percent of all errors in solving math problems can be traced back to
sloppy number writing. Improve your children's number-writing skills by
having them trace over numbers that you have written. Suggest they use
graph paper to keep the numbers in problems neatly aligned.

**4. Provide help
immediately when your children need it.
**

Math
is one subject in which everything builds upon what has been previously
learned. For example, a failure to understand the concept of percent
leads to problems with decimals. Consider providing additional support
by using a tutor or learning center.

**5. Show them how to
handle their math homework.
**

Doing
math homework reinforces the skills your children are learning in class.
Teach them to begin every assignment by studying the textbook or
worksheet examples. Then have them redo the examples before beginning
the assignment to make sure they understand the lesson.

**6. Encourage your
children to do more than the assigned problems.
**

Considerable
practice is necessary for your children to hone their math skills. If
the teacher only assigns the even problems, having them do some of the
odd ones will strengthen their skills. The more time your children spend
practicing their skills, the sooner they will develop confidence in
their abilities.

**7. Explain how to solve
word problems.
**

Mathematicians
have an expression: To learn to solve problems, you must solve problems.
Teach your children to read a word problem several times. Also, have
them draw a picture or diagram to describe it. Make it easier for them
to understand the steps in a problem by teaching them to substitute
smaller numbers for larger ones.

**8. Help your children
learn the vocabulary of mathematics.
**

They
will never get a real feeling for math nor learn more advanced concepts
without an understanding of its vocabulary. Check that your children can
define new terms. If not, have them use models and simple problems to
show you they understand how the term is used.

**9.Teach them how to do
math "in their head."
**

One
of the major ways to solve problems is by using mental math. Kids should
use this method frequently instead of using pencil and paper or a
calculator. When helping your children with a problem, help them
determine when it would be appropriate to use mental math.

**10. Make mathematics
part of your children's daily life.
**

Mathematics
will become more meaningful when your kids see how important it is in so
many real-life situations. Encourage them to use math in practical ways.
For example, ask them to space new plants a certain distance apart,
double a recipe, and pay bills in stores.

Source: Peggy Gisler and
Marge Eberts