Home > Departments > Mathematics > Useful Information for Parents

Useful Information for Parents

Guidelines on the use of Calculators

Home Supervision in Mathematics


How can I help my child learn Mathematics?
Early math skills are often not only strong predictors of later math achievement; they can be predictive of later reading achievement as well as the acquisition of early reading skills
As our children go about their daily lives exploring and discovering things around them, they are exposed to the world of mathematics. And since mathematics has become increasingly important in this technological age, it is not important for our children to learn math in school, they should also learn math at home.
It is important for us to be aware that our feelings will have an impact on how our children think about math and themselves as mathematicians. Take a few minutes to answer these questions:
Do we think everyone can learn math?
Do we think of math as useful in everyday life?
Do we believe that most jobs today require math skills?
If our answers are "yes" to most of these questions, then we are probably capable of encouraging our child to think mathematically. Positive attitudes about mathematics are important for our child's success.
Helping our child learn to solve problems, to communicate mathematically, and to demonstrate reasoning abilities are fundamental to learning mathematics. These attributes will improve our child's understanding of and interest in math concepts and thinking.

A problem solver is someone who questions, investigates, and explores solutions to problems; demonstrates the ability to stick with a problem to find a solution; understands that there may be different ways to arrive at an answer; considers many different answers to a problem; and applies math to everyday situations and uses it successfully. We can encourage our child to be a good problem solver by involving him or her in family decision making using math.

To communicate mathematically means to use words, numbers, or mathematical symbols to explain situations; to talk about how you arrived at an answer; to listen to others' ways of thinking and perhaps alter their thinking; to use pictures to explain something; and to write about math, not just give an answer. We can help our child learn to communicate mathematically by asking our child to explain a math problem or answer. Ask our child to write about the process she or he used, or to draw a picture of how he or she arrived at an answer to a problem.

Reasoning ability means thinking logically, being able to see similarities and differences about things, making choices based on those differences, and thinking about relationships among things. We can encourage our child to explain his or her answers to easy math problems and to the more complicated ones. In doing so, he or she will be sharing his or her reasoning.