Math can be a challenging subject, and one that seems to intimidate even the strongest of students. It doesn’t have to be that way, says Eileen Huntington, co-founder of Huntington Learning Center.
“Math often conjures up fear and anxiety in children, even before they’ve given it a fair chance,” she says. “Certainly, helping a child acquire the essential math building blocks helps make the subject more enjoyable and less frustrating. But we always tell parents to encourage their children to view math as much more than memorization and right-or-wrong questions and answers. Math is the foundation for exciting careers, the key to some of the world’s greatest mysteries, and quite simply, it can be a lot of fun.”
How can parents send that message to their children? Huntington offers these suggestions.
Discuss math as a life skill
From a practical standpoint, there’s no denying that math is a life skill that helps people make smarter decisions. From planning a road trip to comparing prices of products, from reading and understanding graphic information to making sense of a financial portfolio’s performance as an adult, math is truly everywhere.
Talk about mystery behind math
Yes, your child must learn the math basics: addition and subtraction, multiplication and division. However, mathematicians will tell you with passion that math is about asking deep questions and thinking abstractly. While you might not feel qualified to go into the nuances of math in detail, you can share examples of math’s incredible power and influence. Math helps scientists understand the earth’s patterns: from the planets’ orbit to the setting and rising of the sun. Math is used to predict what things will do (the weather, for example) and how things work (the connectedness of electricity and magnetism, for example).
Explore careers that use math
It’s easy for children without a strong aptitude for math to write it off as a subject that they’ll never actually need down the road. However, it can be enlightening to point out careers that use math — even the not-so-obvious ones. Budding drawers might be interested to know that architects and drafters use math for drawings and plans. Share with students interested in entrepreneurship or business how accountants, economists, financial analysts and others need math to make sound business decisions. For the hands-on child, talk about the many exciting careers that incorporate math, such as civil engineering, electrical engineering and urban planning.
Play fun math games
Children who fear multiplication and division might not realize that math is an integral part of some fun games. Try games such as UNO, Phase 10, Head Full of Numbers, dominoes, dice, chess and Sudoku. These games build problem solving, critical thinking and reasoning skills. Search the app store on your smartphone for new games to download when you travel.
Building a solid mathematical foundation is important, so if you find your child not only disinterested in math, but slipping in his or her abilities, call Huntington. We’ll help your child close the gaps and develop the math skills that he or she needs to succeed — and maybe even enjoy it.
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Huntington is a tutoring and test prep leader. Its certified tutors provide individualized instruction in reading, phonics, writing, study skills, elementary and middle school math, algebra through calculus, chemistry and other sciences. Huntington offers prep for the SAT and ACT, as well as state and standardized exams. Huntington programs develop the skills, confidence and motivation to help students succeed and meet the needs of Common Core State Standards. Learn how Huntington can help at www.huntingtonhelps.com. For franchise opportunities please visit www.huntingtonfranchise.com.