Everyday Math

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Girl at the table counts moneyAs a second grade teacher, one of the most frequent questions I’m asked by parents is “What are some things we can do at home to help support classroom learning?”  Reading is absolutely essential to intellectual growth and should begin when your child is a baby and continue even when your child can read to himself.  Writing begins with drawing simple pictures to adding labels and short lines of text to these pictures. Children begin to develop number sense by counting items or holding up their fingers to illustrate how old they are.

Once children begin school, much of the learning is transferred from home to the classroom.  Parents can transform daily chores into valuable learning opportunities for their children as they take concepts learned in class and transfer them into real-life settings.  Math opportunities abound throughout the day that can increase your children’s mathematical abilities, no matter what their age.  These concepts taught in school are easily transferred to home and can make learning fun!

Classifying and sorting

  • Do the laundry. Examine and talk about the different patterns and designs in fabrics with your child.  Measure the detergent, and talk through the steps involved in the sequence of doing the laundry.  Use terms like first, next, then, and finally to help your child sequence the actions.
  • Make patterns with coins.  Expand simple repeating patterns such as penny, nickel, dime, penny, nickel, dime to include growing patterns like penny, nickel, nickel, dime, dime, dime, etc.
  • Children love to have collections of objects from shiny rocks, to trading cards, to cars or dolls.   Sort these collections by different attributes, such as color, size, function, and design, depending on the collection.

Working with money

  • Before going to the store, give your child a list of items to locate. Once at the store, read the signs above the aisles, and ask your child where they think the items can be found.
  • Older children can look at the unit prices or price per pound and calculate the costs.
  • Have an extra calculator? Kids love to use a calculator to add up the costs of items and figure out the correct amount of change.
  • Use the scale in the produce department to estimate and weigh fruits and vegetables.
  • Have your child open a bank account. Calculate interest, subtract withdrawls, and add deposits.

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