7 Ways to Strengthen Your Child’s Math Skills This Summer

The following post is from Jennifer, a lifelong educator:

Homework Helps {Make Learning Fun} | lifeyourway.net

See all of the Homework Helps posts here.

Because American students lag behind much of the world on standardized tests, most schools are increasing the emphasis on math.  Summer is a great time to help your child solidify the skills that they learned this past school year.  In doing so, they’ll be more prepared for what’s to come.  Parents can play a big part in giving their child an advantage in the classroom.

kids shopping
source: USDA.gov

Math instruction today focuses on understanding and application.

Memorizing basic facts is a starting place, not an end.  Knowing that 5 + 5 = 10 is important, but it’s also critical that a child comprehends that you can “move one from the five on the left” and “give it to the one on the right”, resulting in 4 + 6 = 10.  Talking about all the combinations that equal one number will help them understand numbers as more than something to simply be memorized.

Study numbers in everyday life.

When children work with numbers in everyday life, they better see how numbers and groups fit together.

Here are some ways to give your child those opportunities.

1. Have your child help you in the kitchen.  As they measure, talk about fractions and equivalent measurements.  For example, ¼ + ¼ = ½.

2. When you go to the grocery store, discuss the capacities of containers:  ounces, pounds, cups, quarts, gallons, liters, etc.

3. Let your kids bag the produce, estimate the weight, then verify on the scale.  Take it one step further and have them estimate the cost.

4. Use the items on the shelves to reinforce the arrays of multiplication.  For example, three boxes of cereal across the shelf times five boxes deep is the perfect picture of 3 x 5.

5. Have your child explain how they arrived at the answer.  Then, stretch their thinking by asking, “How else could you do it?”

6. Give your child every opportunity to work with real money in real situations.  Comparison shop the best value, which reinforces addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.  When it’s time to pay, use cash and let them make sure you received the correct change.

7. When your child is learning division, teach them to check their work by making a poster with these quick checks:

The number is divisible by:

2 if the last digit is even.

3 if the sum of the digits is divisible by three.

4 if the last two digits form a number that is divisible by four.

5 if the last digit is 5 or 0.

6 if the number is divisible by both two and three.

7 if you can double the last digit and subtract the sum from the rest of the numbers, and get a number that is divisible by seven.

8 if the last three digits form a number that is divisible by eight.

9 if the sum of all the digits is divisible by nine.

10 if the number ends in a zero.

What best helps your child understand how numbers fit together?

Jennifer is passionate about children and education. She homeschooled her two sons for five years, established and directed a Christian school in Maryland for 20 years, and currently teaches in a public school in a Chicago suburb. She loves investing in relationships and delights in every moment that she spends with her family.