While trying to engage children in their studies, it is of the utmost importance to demonstrate the relevance of what they are learning in school to their everyday lives. Although much of what students learn across subjects throughout their academic careers can be applied outside of the classroom, the areas that perhaps most obviously lends itself to making those real-life connections is elementary school math and middle school math. For parents who are looking for ways to engage their children in their studies outside of the classroom to raise their interest level, motivation and performance, here are two contexts from NYC math tutors to help your child with math in the real world:
Money Management: Beginning as early as elementary school, children can learn how to apply the skills they develop in school to their everyday lives by earning and managing money. Parents can help by encouraging children to complete chores, guiding them in adding and subtracting their earnings and spending, calculating how much change is due for an overpayment, and overseeing their setting of goals and budgets. Children can plan ahead by determining how much they will earn daily, weekly or monthly depending on the chores completed in order to estimate their savings and make choices pertaining to spending. As they mature and progress as students, children can extend their responsibilities to balancing a checkbook, shopping for the best prices, and determining the cost of travel. Engaging children in money management will also help prepare them to understand investments and loans as they plan for future endeavors such as higher education, purchasing a car, or homeownership.
Preparing Food: Another everyday task parents can use to engage a child in concepts related to math is preparing food. Having children participate in this process allows for practice with essential skills such as measurement, unit conversions, and budgeting time. Specifically, parents can create scenarios for children to plan food preparation for a group of people, which could include their immediate family or a larger group. Parents can guide children as they refer to recipes to determine the servings yielded, and consider the servings needed in order to adjust accordingly. Engaging students in this everyday task also provides an opportunity for the development and application of time management skills. Parents can encourage children to determine how long it will take to prepare the food according to the recipe, and have students calculate when they will need to get to work based on their daily schedule and the timing of their meal.
It’s also important to appeal to children’s individual interests. Math is applicable to almost every aspect of life in some way, which means that parents can make math more appealing to their children by highlighting its relevance to their hobbies and interests. For children who enjoy playing and listening to music, parents can engage them in analyzing the patterns in the structure of the piece, in addition to counting beats and notes. Children interested in sports can calculate statistics of teams and individual players in order to determine standings and make predictions for the season’s outcome. Kids interested in building and design can consider the measurements of space and materials needed as they plan for and complete projects.
The opportunities to help your child with math tutoring in the real world are endless when everyday tasks relevant to all people—and especially to the individual interests of your child—are considered. Making these connections between the classroom and their everyday lives allows children to see the value of their education, and consequently results in greater engagement, motivation, and performance. In addition, parental involvement provides an opportunity for children to connect with their families, and appreciate the investment in their growth and progress. In taking the time to tutor your child with math in the real world, you are helping to facilitate their academic, social, and emotional development, all while strengthening your relationship with your child and communicating that you care.