Five Ideas for Making Math Come Alive

language of science, and can be found in everything from the notes on a piano to the arrangement of flower petals.  In this article, we are going to look at some ways to help you make math more engaging and exciting for your children.

Interaction

Math doesn’t have to be just pencil and paper.  For years, many classrooms would use an abacus to help students visualize addition, subtraction, and more.  Just about anything can be used to help a child learn to count, from buttons to jelly beans.  Fractions can be taught with cookies or with paper circles.  You might also consider interactive software packages for subjects like geometry.

Visualization

Topics like pre-algebra, algebra, and calculus are difficult subjects for many students, but visualization tools are invaluable in overcoming many of these difficulties.  Make sure you child has access to a graphic tool, whether it’s part of a math teaching package, an online tool, or a graphic calculator.   This will help them visualize concepts like slope, intercept, and rate of change.  This is another example of a tool that takes math off the paper and puts it into your child’s hands.

Open-Ended Problems

Students often get frustrated with math because it seems that there is only one correct way of doing things.  While that may be true for some problems, there are other problems that do allow creativity in how to approach the solution.  As your child’s teacher, try assigning them a fair share of open-ended problems that let them explore the solution on their own, rather than following a prescribed set of steps.  This will also help them learn the practical applications of mathematics.

Math in the World around Us

As mentioned in the introduction to this article, math can be found in so many vastly different areas of life.  Encourage your child to research the mathematics behind music, art, biology, and science.  The goal is to help your child see that math is not their enemy, nor is it a dry, boring subject.  Once they see how math is connected with so many areas of their life, they might just find it a bit more interesting.

Math is Part of Daily Life

Take some time to help your child see the importance of math in a practical way.   Calculating change (and this can be done with real money for practice), balancing a checkbook, calculating area for carpet, determining if a TV will fit in an available space, estimating travel time … the list can go on and on.  The key is to help you child see that the math skills they are learning don’t just end when class is over.

Conclusion

If you want your child to be good at math, then take some time to make math come alive for them.  Provide them with basic tools for visualizing and interacting with the concepts, assign them opened-ended problems that require creativity, and help them see math everywhere, from the music they enjoy to understanding savings accounts.

For 15 years Mimi Rothschild has been privileged to help hundreds of thousands of homeschoolers educate their children at home. The MorningStar Academy is a private online Christian school offering diplomas and teachers. The Jubilee Academy is an online Christian curriculum provider offering over 150 full year online Christian courses for PreK-12.