Friday, November 14, 2008

Everyone Enjoyed Family Math

See the slideshow of the event on the sidebar!

You know it has to be a good time when you get responses like “Family math rocks!” from some of the twenty-eight participants in the Exeter-Milligan Elementary school evening Family Math event.

Haven't heard of Family Math before? According to Exeter-Milligan elementary teachers Marla Weber and Anita Mueller it’s “A chance for parents to get involved with their children’s math education.“

The event held in the Exeter cafeteria was open to all families with children in kindergarten through sixth grade. Family Math was developed through the University of California, Berkeley. Weber and Mueller attended a two-day training program in 1991 to learn how to set up a successful family math event.

Since their training the pair have offered ten sessions and hope to continue offering more opportunities for learning in the future.

As the parent/child teams entered they had some Venn diagrams to sign and three different items to estimate. There were also math centers to explore which included Toothpick Farmer, Bug Block, Nimble Calculator, Cut a Card, Ten Card Arrangement, Tanagram Kits and Math Maps.

At the beginning of each session Weber and Mueller demonstrated several of the math activities and then participants were allowed to choose activities. Each activity could be tailored for the age and skill of the child. “This is a springboard for parents to show math is easy to do whenever and wherever you are to make it a positive experience,” said Weber.

More than just teaching math skills Weber felt it is “challenging for parents and children, it involves more strategy than basic math skills so it is fun for everyone. Some of the parents are still asking for answers to some of the tanagram puzzles.”

The parents wrote in their evaluations that they enjoyed having the bonding time with their children and thanked the teachers for volunteering their time to help the kids have some fun with learning.

**********Here is some advice from the Family Math book by Jean Kerr Stenmark, Virginia Thomsen and Ruth Cossey (Regents, University of California, 1986)******

1) Let your child know that you believe he/she can succeed.

2) Be ready to talk to your child about mathematics, and listen to what he/she says. Ask your child to explain the meaning of each part of a problem.

3) Be more concerned with the processes of doing mathematics than getting a correct answer. The answer to a particular problem has little importance, but knowing how to find answers is a lifetime skill.

4) Try not to tell your child how to solve the problem. It’s better to ask questions and help your child find his/her own methods of working it through.

5) Practice estimating with your child whenever possible. Estimation helps them think about a problem that precedes the doing, and it helps kids understand whether their answers make sense.

6) Provide a special place for study. Allow your child to help gear the place to his/her learning style.

7) Encourage group study, especially as your children grow older.

8) Expect that homework will be done, and look at completed homework regularly, but keep your comments positive. Praise your child for asking questions.

9) Try not to drill your child on math content or create hostilities by insisting that math work be done at one specific time or in a specific way.

10) Don’t expect that all homework will be easy for your child or be disappointed that it seems difficult,

11) Let your child see you enjoying mathematics. Include recreational mathematics in your family routine. Try to introduce math ideas (with a light touch!) at the dinner table, while traveling, or while at the grocery store.