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How to Take the Fear out of Learning Math

A train leaves St. Louis, traveling east at 78 mph and another train leaves Philadelphia, traveling
west at....
Who cares?

We all remember those word problems in school. And we were certain that NO ONE, literally NO ONE would ever need to figure out those kinds of problems. Not in real life. But think about it. You want to paint your kid’s bedroom? How much paint do you need? Sure, you can just go to the hardware store and ask them. But why not take the opportunity to engage your kid in the process?
Kids can help measure in any projects, big or small!
Photo credit: Nickferrybuilds

A child of any age can hold one end of a tape measure while you figure out the area of one wall. And then another and another and another. And your kid can help you add up the areas of the four walls. And then you can talk about the need for a 2nd coat, or for extra paint, etc. Take them to the store with you. Read the paint label’s guide to the paint coverage. Talk about it after the room has been painted. How much did you have left over? What part of a gallon did you use? The recipe makes 12 pancakes? Is that enough for the family of 4 to each have 3? What if everyone wants 4 pancakes? Do you have to double the recipe? Or can you make 1 1⁄2 times the recipe to have enough? How much flour is in 1⁄2 the recipe? How about milk? Is it possible to use half of an egg?

Yes, but it’ll get you thinking....It's never a good idea to tell your child that you were “terrible at math.” You don’t want to give your kids an excuse to not try. And you are giving your child’s math teachers a huge hurdle to overcome. Math is math. It isn’t hard or easy. It just is. And the truth is that we all use it everyday. Fine, you don’t actually do the painting? You just hire someone else to do it? Ok, not a problem. The painter tells you that it will take 12 hours to do your kid’s room. Now you’re calculating....if he comes early Thursday, will he be finished before I leave town at noon on Friday?

Cooking is one of the best way to incorporate math into practical life skills for kids.  Tiny helping hands love to learn through natural curiosities.

Photo credit: Siloandsage

Obviously, and you didn’t consider it a huge challenge to figure it out. But the truth is, you’ve just done some multi-step calculations. 12 - 8 = 4. Wait, where did the 8 come from? To you, an adult, you know that a typical workday is 8 hours, etc. You did the whole thing in one thought; but your child doesn’t know what you know and doesn’t think the way you think. Don’t miss those opportunities to draw them in. For your child, those multi-step problems really can be a challenge. One that will get them thinking. And isn’t that what we all want? By the way, to get 1⁄2 an egg, beat the yolk and white together and then divide it. And while you probably won't need to know where those trains are going to meet, knowing how to halve an egg... That’s something!



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