Often times parents feel intimidated, frustrated, worried, or confused when their child brings home a math assignment.
Some ideas to keep in mind:
1. Math instruction continues to evolve just like everything else. We were mostly taught procedures in math, and not really why they work. Our focus today is on conceptual understanding so students understand what they are doing. In these times kids can use a calculator, phone, or computer for the procedures. As technology advances or research improves, we adapt. In some cases, kids have discovered better, more efficient ways to accomplish the same task!
2. Educators don't value speed in math as much as we used to. While growing up the focus was often on right and wrong; on answers rather than work. It was ingrained in many that performing with the least resources, time ,and effort showed more intelligence.
Today, being effective is far more meaningful than being efficient. The goal is for students to be thoughtful, intentional, and reason through mathematics.
3. We need to not only teach children the math for today, but also prepare them for math in the future. In doing so, we must anticipate math that will be useful in the work force. From the World Economic Forum: Future of Jobs Report, three of the top ten skills for the work force are complex problem solving, critical thinking, and creativity. Building this in math is key!
What can you do to support your child in math?
1. Ask your child's teacher questions. Email them if you are confused. There are many short videos and demonstrations with information on how to do math that may look different, and they should be able to send you a quick link.
2. There is a culture of reading with our children every night. How often do we do math with our kids? This can be done in the form of games. Many games have math embedded in them. I have a list and some websites in my newsletter blog.
3. Help build a growth mindset (vs. a fixed mindset) in ourselves as parents, and our children. This website offers free lessons to parents to help move from a fixed to a growth mindset.