Questions to ask when helping with mathematics homework

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Mathematics homework can be a challenging time in many households, so how do you improve your child’s confidence when the stress runs high? You can start by asking the right questions.

It’s important to remember to stop yourself from taking over your child’s homework when they ask for help. Doing so can encourage them to give up too easily or to ask for help whenever a problem starts becoming difficult.

When you ask questions, you’re giving your child the opportunity to explain the problem they’re working on. Often after simply explaining it out loud, they get much closer to figuring out a solution.

Some good questions to ask after you’ve been summoned for help include:

  • What is the problem you’re working on?
  • What does the question say?
  • Are there any words in the question that you don’t understand?
  • Where do you think you should begin?
  • Can you find some help in your textbook or notes?
  • What have you done so far?
  • Is there anything that you already know that might help with this particular problem?

And, even if you know the answer already, you can ask:

  • Why don’t we look for help together on the Internet?

It’s important to empower your child with crucial problem solving skills to figure out things for themselves, and be proactive about finding a solution when they get stuck. By showing them how to seek out answers when you or their teacher isn’t there, you’re encouraging them to become more independent with their learning. Remember, your role is to support homework, not to do it!

About Mathseeds

Mathseeds is the fun online mathematics program for ages 3-6. Children work through a sequence of interactive mathematics lessons and enjoy collecting exciting rewards, watching vibrant animations and singing along to catchy songs throughout the program.

Visit www.readingeggs.com for your free 2 week trial of Mathseeds and Reading Eggs and see for yourself how your child’s mathematics skills can improve.

Teaching kids to apply their mathematics knowledge to real world situations

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How many times have you explained a mathematics concept to your child, only to have them ask, “When am I ever going to need this?” Here’s how you can help them apply their new skills to real world situations.

We all love to learn, but usually we need to understand how the knowledge we’re about to learn will be useful to us. It’s no different for young children – once they realise how the knowledge they’re learning can be applied to real situations they see in the world, they’ll become more eager to listen, ask questions, and look out for more opportunities to show you how well they’ve grasped the key concepts.

Here are a handful of ways you can do this at home:

1. Implement school lessons at home

For example, if your child is learning about different temperatures at school, ask them to help you check the temperature at home and outside. You can start off by asking them if they think it’s hot, cold or warm, and to predict the temperature in Fahrenheit or Celsius. Then, you can consult the thermometer together to see how close your predictions were.

2. Create a simple budget

Sit down with your child and plan a household budget for the month. Subtract regular expenses such as rent, bills and car payments, and encourage your child to try and come up with as much money as possible to remain leftover after expenses.

3. Go shopping together

Plan a family shopping day and prepare a shopping list together. Ask your child to help you pick out items from the list and cross them off as you go. Ask them to stay within a set budget and to estimate the amount of the overall purchase while shopping. This activity helps them incorporate several mathematics skills at once, such as budgeting, subtraction, addition and estimation.

4. Cook together

Following a recipe is a great (and delicious!) way to practice fractions and measurements. Show your child different measuring tools in the kitchen and talk about the concept of fractions, such as explaining how two ½ cups make one whole cup. After all the ingredients are assembled – guess how many servings it will produce.

5. Host fun competitions

How many cookies are in the cookie jar? How many minutes will it take to wash up all the dishes? What is the average weight of this week’s shopping bags? Almost everything can be turned into a fun mathematics game – and by keeping up the fun, the learning is sure to come!

Mathseeds is the fun online maths program for ages 3-6. Children work through a sequence of interactive lessons and enjoy collecting exciting rewards, watching colourful animations and enjoying great songs throughout the program.

Visit www.readingeggs.com for your free 14-day trial of Mathseeds and Reading Eggs and let your child experience the fun way of learning early mathematics.

5 Ways to Teach your Kids to Tell the Time

learning-the-timeLearning to tell the time can be tricky and frustrating for young kids, but parents can play a big role in making the experience a lot more fun and engaging. 

Children learn to read the time from early on in school, but parents can play a big role in encouraging them to apply their knowledge in a fun and supportive home environment. Try these activities to get your kids telling the time … in no time!

1. Practice counting to 60

Before you try to teach your child the minutes in an hour, make sure they can comfortably count to 60. By taking this early step, you will ensure that they learn with confidence and ease, without growing frustrated early on and losing motivation.

2. Invest in a good-sized clock

What could be worse than learning to read the time while squinting at a tiny wristwatch? There are so many affordable, fun and child-themed clocks on the market, to make the whole learning experience much easier. A clock without a glass or plastic cover is ideal, so you can easily manoeuvre the hands.

Once your child has developed more confidence, you can then bring in a digital clock, and get them to match the digital time with the analog by moving the clock hands.

3. Get creative!

Cut out a circular piece of paper (or use a paper plate) and fold it into four equal sections. Teach your child how to draw the face of a clock on the paper, using the creases you’ve made as a helpful guide. Your child can even create ‘pie slices’ by drawing a line from the centre of the clock outwards to piece off each ‘hour’, and then colouring each pie slice differently. Use a pencil to act as clock hands, and use the pie slices by explaining that anything within a certain slice is _ o’clock (e.g. the first red slice is 1 o’clock, the second orange slice is 2 o’clock etc.)

4. Practice counting by 5’s

This helps with one of the trickiest parts in learning to tell the time; associating the hour ‘number’ with the minutes (e.g. if the little hand points to the number 8, this indicates 40 minutes). Practice counting by 5’s together, until they can do it fairly quickly without pausing. Then try pointing to numbers at random on the clock, until your child can quickly figure out the minutes that correspond with the number. Mathseeds Level 77 lesson teaches kids to count by 5s in a fun and interactive way.

5. Count down to an exciting event

It can be anything from New Year’s Eve, your child’s birthday or reaching your destination after a long road trip. You can prepare a bag of delicious treats and share them around each time your child reads an hour passing.

Mathseeds is the fun online maths program for ages 3-6. Children work through a sequence of interactive lessons and enjoy collecting exciting rewards, watching colourful animations and enjoying great songs throughout the program.

Visit www.readingeggs.com for your free 14-day trial of Mathseeds and Reading Eggs and let your child experience the fun way of learning early mathematics.