When children learn math best

Children learn math best when they do so in �real world� situations, i.e., when they are using math to solve a real problem. That is why math games are an excellent method for children to learn math. Children are practicing the basics in a real world way. And, since the games are fun, children don�t even realize that they are practicing learning.

It's true that children learn a lot from things they are interested in. That Pokemon story or Harry Potter book, is helping develop their comprehension, vocabulary and many other literacy skills. This can also be true for children with learning disabilities.

Make sure your child can correctly write numerals. Even when children can count sequentially, they may have difficulties evidenced by reversing of numerals. Taking their hand in yours and tracing large numerals helps very much. Use a large, flat surface. Let your child get the "feet" of the shape. Try doing it with your child's eyes closed. Say the numeral as you trace it with him.

Before and after games, with numbers, are helpful for math understanding. First, know how far your child can sequentially count. Then ask, "What number comes after ?" and "What number comes just before. . . ?" This skill is critical for understanding both addition and subtraction.

Use numbers in a practical way around the house. "Susie, bring three forks to the table please;" or "Billy, will you give your dad five nails?" This gives children the opportunity to count in a realistic setting and to see, over and over again, that numerals in a problem at school represent real quantities. Use this activity in as many ways as you can.

Board games, which involve tossing of dice or spinning that result in a number of moves across a board, are excellent ways to develop sequential math understanding. These games are particularly helpful if there are backward moves as "penalties" in the game. You can even let your child make his own game by using a large sheet of construction paper. Dominoes are a good math activity because, besides being a game, the matching of numbers (in the simple form of the game) is required. Children see the dots, can orally name them, and then can make the correct match.

If numeral reversals continue, help your child with the understanding Of "left" and "right" on his own body. Play games like "Loobie-Loo" that require moving one side of the body or the other. The awareness of left and right also affects letter reversals as well.

Keeping score on games played at home. There are any number of activities that children can do at home winch require tallying. Mom and Dad might play a game, and the child can record points by using the style of clustering four straight (upright) lines with the fifth running diagonally. Then, he can figure the totals by counting by fives.

Give your child loads of opportunities to estimate space. This can be a family game if the conditions for involving other children are satisfactory. "How long do you suppose that table is?" Then it can be measured with a ruler or yardstick. The exact number of inches or feet is not critical. The question can be phrased so that the number of lengths is the critical factor. For example, "How many times would this ruler go across that table? You guess and I'll guess. Then we'll measure it. " You can practice estimating the distance across a room or up a wall, for example, in handprints, footsteps, paces, etc.

Measuring wall. Every home should have one wall that is used for keeping track of growth. Measure your child frequently and date each entry directly on the wall. Let him see how much he has grown as you measure him every month or every three months.

The same thing can be done with plants. There are many bulb plants that grow quickly in a pot or jar. Put a ruler beside the container and let your child record the amount of growth each day. He can, keep a chart, with your help, to determine the daily growth.


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Before the Test

  1. Be sure to find out ahead of time.
    • what material the test will cover
    • what type of test it will be (multiple choice, true false, short answer, essay)
    • how the test will be graded
    • how much the test will count toward the final grade
  2. Study in a place that is free of distractions. Have ready all the things you will need, such as paper, pens, or a calculator.
  3. Study at a time when you are alert and not hungry or sleepy.
  4. Don't wait until the last minute to study! Short daily study sessions are better than one long session the night before the test.
  5. Set a goal for each study period. If you are being tested on three chapters, set up four study sessions, one for each chapter and one for a review of the main ideas in all three chapters.
  6. Repetition is key! Read and reread your class notes and the relevant chapters in the textbook.
  7. While you are reviewing your notes, cover them up periodically and summarize them out loud. Pretend that you are explaining the material to someone else.
  8. Create your own study aids.
    • Make an outline from your notes of just the main ideas.
    • Make a timeline of important dates or the order of events.
    • Make flashcards for studying vocabulary or events and important dates.
    • Make up your own quiz or test based on your notes and have a friend, parent or sibling test you.
  9. Do any practice exams or study sheets provided by the teacher. These will help you focus your study session and give you confidence.
  10. Get help from the teacher if you do not understand something.


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