Thursday, July 17, 2008

What Do You Do If You Have a Math Freak?

If you find yourself with a child who is good at math and likes it, then you can have some real fun.

Do whatever you can to nurture this gift without burdening the child with forced advanced study. This could create a burned-out resentful child who closes his or her mind down to the fun of math.

Things you can do for your mathy kid:

Preschool -- count everything. Do counting songs, counting games, and make numbers and counting things be something you do all the time. Do quiz nights with addition, or months of the year or days in a week or year. Give her dominos or base ten cubes or tangrams to play with.

Elementary -- give your child a list of items when you go to the grocery store. Let him locate the items and add the total cost up, on paper or in his head. Work on estimation. Have him do the tax ( percentages) for the total bill. Have him figure out which items are the "best deal."
Get some math game books out of the library and play them. Do fun quizzes on math facts when you are stuck in traffic.

Middle school and high school -- if your child has a real love for math, have her join the math club at school. They often have competitions, and can take advanced classes. Try an online class or a math and science summer program. If your child is really advanced and self-driven, get some advanced math textbooks in the house for reference or working through. Encourage a community college class. Hobbies for mathy kids include astronomy, computer programming, orienteering, sailing, geocaching, and other GPS treasure hunting games. They might want to check out some of the archived college math department websites here.

Be proud of your math kid, even if you yourself don't speak "Math."

PS - If the opposite is true, check out these tips and help her overcome her "math anxiety".

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