Math is all around you. The ability to teach and include math into your daily life with your children is surprisingly easy.
From the age of ten I was a competitive runner and a natural consequence was comprehending distance and spatial awareness, rate and speed per mile or quarter mile. I learned to quickly convert miles to kilometers or in the reverse, height and angle from watching and studying pole vaulters. I no longer struggled with fractions since I could think about how a mile was divided up and quickly figure it out. As an adult, I was easily able to travel and use kilometers and those skills translated to ease with converting money and understanding various linguistics features of various languages that helped me immensely while having students from all around the world and during my time teaching in China.
My nine year old’s current obsession is Pokemon Go. In order to evolve eggs a player has to walk a certain number of kilometers for each. Often, multiple eggs are hatching so he has to constantly convert to miles to know how much more he needs to walk or bike. He needs to understand place value and decimal points in order to make these calculations quickly and easily. Initially, it took awhile to do the conversions but he didn’t balk at continuing to practice his skill since it was necessary for the success of his game.
A couple of months ago, when we were quarantined at home, we would set up ramps and obstacles like our recycling bins that came in various heights. We would discuss the angles of the ramps, his speed, what would increase or decrease his speed or height and the physics of gravity and force. Physics and geometry are naturally embedded into children’s lives and we just need to give them the vocabulary and language of math to apply to what they are learning through play.
You are already teaching and supporting your child’s math development unintentionally when you teach them to use their legs to swing higher, playing legos, planning a garden, teach them to use proportion when drawing, running at a track or up a hill and sprinting down or cooking just to name a few.
What part of your child’s life seems just right for a math study?