A summer away from school can be a lot of fun, but it can also result in the notorious summer slide, when math concepts and skills deteriorate. It’s important to start getting children’s math muscles warmed up now so they can hit the ground running when they get back into the classroom.
Larry Martinek, Chief Instructional Officer at Mathnasium, has come up with five ways to help kids sharpen their math skills that have the added value of being fun.
“When you’re at a restaurant, give your 3rd or 4th grader the bill and ask him to calculate the change. Or, when you are heading to an appointment, tell your daughter when you need to be there and how long it takes, and let her figure out what time to leave,” Larry says.
Here are Larry’s five back-to-school math tips, based on the same general approach used in Mathnasium Learning Centers across the country.
- Change: Have your child calculate how much change you should receive when shopping at restaurants, retailers, and grocery stores.
- Time: Ask your child to figure out when to leave for destinations by explaining what time you need to arrive and how long it takes to get there.
- Fair Trades: Tell your child you have 6 quarters and ask how many dimes that equals.
- Problem Solving: When your child is invited to a birthday party, ask how many months younger or older the friend is than your child. Ask how old your child will be when the friend is a certain age.
- Splitting in Half: If a pound of candy costs $6, ask your child how much ½ pound costs. If ½ pound is $1.50, ask how much a whole pound costs.
The everyday nature of these questions will emphasize that math is an important and useful skill in children’s lives, and asking them will help math climb right back to top of mind.
Mathnasium offers free booklets with additional study ideas titled Math Tips for Students and Math Tips for Parents, which are available at most Mathnasium franchise locations in the United States.