Math Activities Which Will Gain Parent Support for Student Learning
How can we help parents in supporting their child to develop better skills when it comes to the higher demands for learning mathematics?
This is a question that many teachers struggle with every year in our schools. The focus of this blog post is to provide a few printable resources (see table below) and a few talking points to consider when speaking to parents.
In everyday interactions with children, there are many things that parents can do – and do without lecturing or applying pressure – to help children learn to be problem-solvers, to communicate mathematically and to demonstrate mathematical reasoning abilities. These skills are fundamental to learning mathematics.
Without knowing a factor from a function, the parent, more than anyone, is in a position to help the student engage in the struggle of learning mathematics. Parents don’t need to fear this struggle, nor do they need to take in on themselves; it is an essential and important part of learning mathematics.
Providing Positive Reinforcement
Remind your parents that being supportive of your child’s ability to learn math starts with how you talk to your child about math. Although parents can be a positive force in helping children learn math, they can also unknowingly undermine their child’s math abilities and attitudes by saying things such as “Math is hard” or “I’m not surprised to don’t do well in math, I didn’t like math either when I was in school.”
Although parent can’t make their child ‘like’ math, they can encourage them to do so, and they can take steps to ensure that they learn to appreciate its value both in their everyday lives and in preparing for their future.
The goal is to help their child to learn how to use what they have to meet the struggles that learning math might incur, not to fear, avoid or abandon the struggle from a belief they cannot do it. Parents can help a youngster believe and discover he/she can do it! Encourage youngsters to dig in when it gets tough, not flee into excuses.
Our young people have enough of what they need to make it and if the teachers and parents work together, the child will be successful with math.
We need to also remind parents that all to often the answer to “where can I go for help?” is often sitting in at bottom of the child’s backpack. Parents can help their child by just asking their child to see their math textbook on a regular basis. Working with their child to look for how the textbook explains a concept can greater help student in their time of struggle to know that a resource is always within arm’s reach.
What a valuable lesson for students to discover that answers come not from magic, but from reading and thinking and struggling to understand a sentence or an equation in a book they have ready and available.
If parents actively praise and value the effort their youngster makes in pursuing understanding, the youngster gets the message that the struggle is important. They can feel a pride and confidence that is significant even when understanding is slow in coming. Parents can have a great impact in helping their child by reviewing the work students are completing on a regular basis. Just asking your child to explain the work that they did can go a long way in helping them to internalize and become more comfortable with math.
Attached below Teach n’ Kids Learn (TKL) has provided grade level parent activity guides which can be printed and provide to your parents or you can just direct them to this article.