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Using Math in Everyday Life

Using Math in Everyday Life

Using Math in Everyday Life

 

With Independence Day behind us, summer is winding up and back-to-school sales are already hitting the stores.  Even as an adult, there is something magical about crisp, white pages in a new notebook and a pack of new pens.  It is as if everything is brand new and the world is ours for the taking.

 

Yet, for many children, the end of summer brings disappointment and anxiety.  Some children become apprehensive about the upcoming school year as the summer ends, specifically concerning the subjects they have struggled with in the past.  One area that many children wrestle with is math.

 

All subjects have language specific to their own topics, and math is no different.  When it comes to math, children must accomplish two things.  First of all, they must learn the definition of the mathematical word.  Second, they have to learn how to apply it to solve problems. Additionally, as children age, mathematical concepts become less concrete and more abstract, leading to frustration and anger.

 

However, there are many things to do at home to help children grasp what they are learning in math class and none of them involves sitting down and “drilling” them over facts tables.  Here are just a few:

 

  • When helping your child with homework, find ways to make math real and applicable to their lives.  For example, if one of their math problems is -4 + 10, and they are struggling with it, try phrasing it like this: “If you owe your sister $4 and you do a chore and earn $10, how much will you have left after you pay your sister back?”  
  • Encourage your child to help you cook in the kitchen.  This is a fantastic way to work with them on measurements, multiplication (i.e. doubling a recipe), and fractions.  Once the recipe is complete, you both can divide it among the family members in the house.
  • Look for examples of math in your everyday life.  If your child enjoys baseball, figure out their favorite player’s batting average.  If they enjoy going to the movies, have them estimate how much money they would need if they wanted to go with five of their friends.  

 

These are just a few examples of how to help your child grasp different math concepts.  Once they begin to see how they use math in their daily life, they will begin to enjoy it more and dread it less. This will make heading back to school much easier.

 

For more information about Calvary University’s Family Literacy Program, check here.

Using Math in Everyday Life

What is STEAM?

What is STEAM?

 

The field of education is all about acronyms and abbreviations.  STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math and it has become quite the buzzword in educational circles over the last five years.  In the last decade, student achievement scores in the areas of math and science have gone down considerably in the United States.  This decline puts us at a disadvantage when it comes to competing with other nations.

 

All across the nation, STEAM academies and in-school programs are popping up as a way to combat this problem.  By using project based learning (PBL), schools are working with students to develop skills such as working collaboratively, creative problem solving, and thoughtful risk taking.  Educators are finding that by posing questions instead of giving lectures, children are more engaged in the learning process and are eager to be in school.

 

For example, the first grade class at a STEAM program in Atlanta attacked the following problem: how can we prepare for natural disasters?  They studied the causes of natural disasters and how to adequately prepare for them. Then, they graphed daily weather patterns and tallied the number of natural disasters that occurred in different regions.  Students used technology and recorded news broadcasts and animated videos to teach people how to prepare for natural disasters.  They designed robots to help clean up debris and constructed murals depicting natural disasters.

 

As parents, what is our role in supporting the STEAM movement?  One way is to encourage children to invent creative ways to solve problems.  Let them try out their solutions, even if you are not sure that they will work.  They just might surprise you.

 

You can apply these principles to children of all ages.  For example, if you take your young child to the grocery store, talk with them about the things they see.  Have them weigh fruits and vegetables for you.  Ask them to guess what foods weigh more.  When you get home with your groceries, have them sort them into categories for you.  Read different stories to them about food and grocery stores.  Find a recipe and have them help you prepare it.  All of these things are part of STEAM.  

 

Some of these activities may take a little more time and preparation, but they do not have to cost any extra money.  Children are naturally curious, and STEAM activities take advantage of that curiosity and turns little questions into large learning opportunities.  

 

For more information about Calvary University’s Family Literacy Program, check here.

 

Using Math in Everyday Life

Teaching Your Child about Financial Literacy-Part 3

 

 

Teaching Your Children about Financial Literacy (A Three Part Series)

 

Part 3: Teens…The Final Frontier

 

The teen years can be a tricky time: as our children are trying to spread their wings and want their independence, parents still have important things to teach.  As much as teens want parents not to tell them what to do, they still need our guidance and support.

 

By allowing teens to make mistakes, parents help them learn important lessons while the “fallout” is relatively small.  Our job as parents is to provide real life “examples” that teenagers can learn from indirectly, without feeling as if they are being given orders.

 

In addition to the ideas given in the last post, here are some ideas specifically geared toward teenagers:

 

  • Instead of taking your teen out shopping for school supplies and clothes, load the money you would spend on a pre-paid card, and allow your child to make their own decisions about what they are going to buy.  In our home, the only stipulation we put on spending was that the money had to be used on supplies and clothing.  We also made it clear that they would not receive any additional money.  It was up to them how to spend it.  This is also a great idea for monthly allowances.
  • If your teenager is working a part-time job, show them how to check their pay stubs.  Everyone, including employers, makes mistakes and teens need to learn to make sure that they are accurately paid.
  • Allow your teenager to plan and organize a yard sale.  Not only will you get your house decluttered, but you will also teach your teen valuable skills such as making change and bartering skills.  If you feel particularly generous, you can even let them keep the proceeds.  
  • Talk to your teen about the importance of having an emergency account.  This account is for true emergencies: a blown out tire, a phone dropped in a toilet, a blown out transmission.  A new pair of sneakers at the mall is not an emergency; it is something that to save for.  It may take several months to develop, but for a teenager a good amount to shoot for would be $500-$1000.  
  • Talk about the importance of giving with your teenager.  Research five charitable organizations with them, and then pick one that the entire family will support.  This gives them a sense of ownership in where their donations are going.  With this ownership, it becomes more likely that donating money to worthy causes will be a part of their lives into adulthood.

 

For more information about Calvary University’s Family Literacy Program, check here.

 

Using Math in Everyday Life

Teaching Your Child about Financial Literacy-Part 2

 

 

Teaching Your Children about Financial Literacy (A Three Part Series)

 

Part 2: They are Off to School, but Your Job Continues

 

When we send our children off to kindergarten, many parents feel that their role as their child’s teacher has ended.  As they walk into that brick building for the first time, we relinquish some of the control to a teacher, to mold and shape their young minds.  However, that does not mean that our jobs of educating our children are complete.

 

This particularly holds true in the area of financial literacy.  The schools will teach our children the value of coins and how to add and subtract money, but parents need to teach them how to use money.  Here are a few ideas to do with your elementary aged child:

 

  • Give your child an allowance.  Whether it is given with “no strings attached” or attached to completion of chores is widely debated.  The point is children need to have money before they can learn to manage it.  A popular way to do this is to give $1 per year of age per week.  For example, an 8 year old would receive $8 per week in allowance.
  • Create jars labeled “Spending,” “Saving,” and “Sharing.”  As a family, decide what percentage of your child’s allowance will go into each jar.  Our children split it this way: 40% spending, 40% saving, and 20% sharing.  This does two things.  One, it teaches your child the importance of saving and sharing.  Two, it begins to teach your child how to budget their money.
  • Once your child has at least $20 in their “Saving” jar, take them to the bank to open up a savings account.  Many banks have accounts specifically for children, with special prizes and bonuses.  Your child will have the opportunity to learn to fill out deposit forms and other banking forms.
  • Use weekly grocery ads to teach your child about comparison shopping and pricing.  Teach them about price per unit and talk to them about quality vs. quantity.  For example, the store-brand paper towels may be less expensive, but do they work as well as the name brand?  
  • Involve your child in planning an event, such as a birthday party or family barbecue.  Allow them to help plan the meal or activity, and teach them to figure in “hidden” costs such as paper goods and transportation costs.

 

Most of these activities will require minimal effort from the parent, but can reap huge rewards for children as they continue down the path towards financial literacy.  Check back on Monday, June 12 for the final segment of this discussion: helping your teenager with financial literacy.

 

 

For more information about Calvary University’s Family Literacy Program, check here.

Using Math in Everyday Life

Teaching Your Child about Financial Literacy-Part 1

 

 

 

Teaching Your Children about Financial Literacy (A Three Part Series)

 

Part 1: The Earlier You Can Start, the Better!

 

According to Wikipedia, financial literacy is the ability to understand how money works in the world: how someone manages to earn or make it, how that person manages it, how he/she invests it, and how he/she donates it to help others.  These topics are something that many adults could use help with, not to mention the youth of our culture.  

 

While elementary schools teach money skills in the early grades, parents also need to assume responsibility in teaching their children the value of money, as well as the values that the family attaches to money.  For example, is it important to the family to contribute financially to local charities? Does the family tithe?  Parents are the best ones to teach these values to their children.  

 

Like many other types of literacy, it is never too early to begin teaching your children financial literacy skills.  Even toddlers can begin to learn some of these basics.  Here are a few ideas to use with your toddler and preschool age children to start building a foundation in financial literacy:

 

  • Take advantage of the times when you are waiting in line with them (at the grocery store or playground) to start talking about how sometimes we have to wait for the things we want.  This becomes the foundation of teaching them to save up for things they want.
  • Use everyday interactions to talk to them about needs and wants, how people earn money by going to work, and how you need money in order to buy things that you need and want.  
  • Talk to them about how bills and coins have different values.  Play money (purchased at dollar stores or homemade) can be used to play store with your children.  This begins to teach them the basics of commerce.  
  • Allow them to use safety scissors and clip coupons for you.  Then, when you are at the grocery store, have them search for the products they have coupons for.
  • You can begin to teach them basic economic principles, such as opportunity costs.  For example, you offer them a choice of a granola bar, an apple, baby carrots, or fruit snacks for snack.  They do not like granola bars or carrots, so they automatically say no to those, leaving the apple and the fruit snacks, both of which they enjoy.  They choose the apple and, in doing so, pay the opportunity cost of not being able to have the fruit snacks, which they also like.  

 

These are just a few ideas of activities you can do with your small children to begin teaching financial literacy skills.  Check back on Thursday, June 8 for suggestions for elementary students!

 

 

For more information on Calvary University’s Family Literacy Program, check here.