Most parents want to support their child’s development and understanding of numeracy at home. The Montessori materials are likely different than the way you learned when you went through school, so how can you support your child’s progress with math without interfering with the Montessori process?
- Let your child know that everyone can learn math.
- Let your child know that you think math is important and fun.
- Point out the ways in which different family members use math in their jobs. Talk to them every day about the different kinds of math calculations you perform. For example, tell them, “We have to be at Aunt Jo’s for 6pm and it takes 35 minutes to drive there. What time should we leave?”
- Be positive about your own math abilities. Try to avoid saying ʺI was never good at mathʺʺ or ʺI never liked mathʺ.
- Encourage your child to be persistent if a problem seems difficult. Show him how to break down a problem into small steps, and encourage good guesses even if it’s not the right answer.
- Praise your child when she makes an effort, and share in the excitement when he or she solves a problem or understands something for the first time.
The three areas where you can easily “play” with math are time, measurement and money. Showing children the everyday application of math to your family life is of far greater value than getting them to do math operations work (adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing) which they are learning through the Montessori materials. Remember that the old fashioned card games and board games are wonderful ways to encourage mental math!
- Keep a family calendar low down on a wall and encourage your child to write his playdates, sports lessons, and trips on it himself. Talk to him about the passage of time. How long to Granny’s birthday? How many weekends until our trip? How many Saturdays in a soccer season?
- At MMA we begin with telling time on an analog (12 hour, round clock). We start with the hours e.g., 7 o’clock and then show her the half hours, which means the minute hand has moved half way around the clock. When she can do this easily, we introduce the concept of quarter past and quarter to the hour. We show her how these are like a quarter of the circle. Then we tape on slips of paper showing the five minute intervals. This is a great reason to learn skip counting by 5s! You can support this sequence at home.
- Talk to him about duration. How long does it take to get dressed? To drive to school? To eat dinner? Bringing this sense of time to his awareness helps him with planning and being more independent in managing time.
Approaching math in this way at home greatly supports the work we do in our classrooms; much more so than work sheets or memorization drills.
Happy math-ing! Have fun!
Special thanks to Miss Lesley for contributing to this post.