“When schools encourage children to practice reading at home with parents, the children make significant gains in reading achievement compared to those who only practiced at school” (Tizard, J.; Schofield, W.N.; & Hewison, J. (1982); Collaboration Between Teachers and Parents in Assisting Children’s Reading). We believe the same holds true for math. Math Homework can be a stressful, frustrating process between parents and children. Parents often feel that the steps that schools are now requiring the children to do are far different than what we did and we don’t understand why. But parental involvement is crucial in a student’s academic achievement. Parents’ attitudes toward mathematics have an impact on children’s attitudes. Children whose parents show an interest in and enthusiasm for mathematics around the home will be more likely to develop that enthusiasm themselves.
Teachers can help guide parents in helping their child’s mathematical education by providing the following guidelines (Doing Mathematics with Your Children, M. Hartog, P. Brosnan):
- Setting up a system of home study;
- Helping parents understand the sequencing of mathematical skill development
- Suggesting materials and activities that are entertaining and suitable for their child’s level and which can be done in a reasonable amount of time;
- Providing clear guidelines on how to use materials;
- Providing feedback on the successes and failures of home activities; and
- Knowing when to stop working with a child on an activity so that a good working relationship is maintained.
One great way to encourage supplemental learning is to provide a ‘library’ of materials students can check out and take home to work on. Students can grab a MANGO Math game to play by themselves or with their friends or family at home. Giving students options and allowing them to take initiative in their own learning will build their confidence and excitement to learn. Sustainable and reusable games like those found in a MANGO Math Kit makes this easy, because the students don’t have to furnish any extra materials to play the game, or worry about replacing consumable materials. Parents are given an opportunity to help their child in math in a fun and engaging way. This also provides an opportunity for students to understand and use stated assumptions, definitions and previously established results in constructing arguments and conjectures and to build a logical statement to explain their strategy for playing the games.