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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.