Parents have the wonderful opportunity and responsibility for nurturing children. This nurturing process takes place in several areas of development: physical, emotional, and intellectual. While parents can usually find time to read a story to their children, thereby instilling a love for literature, they are often at a loss as to how to instill a love and appreciation for mathematics.
Like reading, mathematics is a subject that is indeed necessary for functioning adequately in society. More than that, mathematics is a subject that should be more enjoyable than it sometimes is. Along with getting children more interested about maths, the task of nurturing children’s confidence in their ability to apply their mathematical knowledge to solve real-life problems is a challenge facing every parent today.
Over the next three Facebook posts, I’ll present resources that will enable parents to fulfill their responsibility for developing their children’s abilities to do mathematics, while at the same time encouraging more positive attitudes toward mathematics.
Activities in the Home
There are methods by which parents can easily become involved in their children’s mathematics education. Several resources (including my page) provide parents with games and activities that engage children in mathematical thinking and problem solving and, at the same time, build their self-confidence and appreciation for mathematics. An example of this type of resource is the book, “Helping Your Child Learn Math”. Published by the U.S. Department of Education, the book contains 26 activities for children aged 5 to 13. The activities illustrate the mathematics that children can experience at home, at the supermarket, and while traveling. Some meaningful activities on a long car trip can alleviate the boredom that so often results in children fighting with each other or asking repeatedly, “Are we there yet?”
Parents’ attitudes toward mathematics have an impact on children’s attitudes. Children whose parents show an interest in and enthusiasm for mathematics around the home will be more likely to develop that enthusiasm themselves. “You Can Help Your Young Child Learn Mathematics” helps parents communicate the importance of mathematics to their children and become more involved in their children’s mathematical education. This book discusses ways that parents can help their children develop good study habits, and it presents activities through which families can make mathematics a part of their daily lives as they travel, cook, garden, and play games.
Reading to children is a treasured activity in many homes. What better way to integrate mathematics into the lives of children than to read them stories that bring mathematical ideas to life? Children’s books related to mathematics can be separated into four categories: counting books, number books, storybooks, and concept books. A bibliography of 159 children’s books that make a significant connection with mathematics, compiled by Stavroula K. Gailey and published in the January 1993 issue of the Arithmetic Teacher, provides many excellent suggestions for mathematical children’s literature to read at home. As the bibliography is long, I’ll provide books from the list on this page some time in the future. In the meantime, here are some of the titles you could pick up at either bookdepository.com or a local library:
- “The Five Chinese Brothers” by Claire Huchet Bishop
- “Ten, Nine, Eight” by Molly Bang
- “Paddington at the Zoo” by Michael Bond
- “How Much is a Million?” by David Schwartz
Keep an eye on this page, as I’ll share with you very soon more resources you could use to enhance your child’s mathematical studies!