Archive for February, 2010

Does Your Negative Attitude Towards Math Influence Your Child?

Saturday, February 27th, 2010

At book fairs, some parents tell me they weren’t particularly good at math.  Some will go even further and say they hated math. Some go even further than that and say, “My daughter’s a dummie in math like me.”  What’s shocking to me is they tell me this with their child standing at their side.

STOP and think what this message conveys to your child:

  • Mom/dad wasn’t good in math so maybe I won’t be either.
  • Mom/dad wasn’t good in math and doesn’t expect me to be good in math either.
  •  I’ll show up mom/dad by if I do well in math.  They won’t like it if I’m smarter.

If you say you hate math, be aware you are shaping your child’s attitude toward math, particularly if you’re a mom speaking to a daughter.  Your daughter loves you and seeks to be just like you.  She may pick up the false message math isn’t for girls.  Now most moms would never say, “I hate reading.  I hate books. I haven’t read a book since high school.”  Yet somehow it’s okay for parents to disparage their math skills. 

If you say your child is a dummie in math like you, you are setting your child up for failure.  Your child may choose not to disappoint you.  Like father, like son?   Like mother, like daughter?

My recommendation:  do not to share your negative math experience with your children but encourage them.  If you feel you must share this experience, frame it this way:

  •  I had trouble with math but you won’t because you have a parent who really cares about your success in math and will help you.
  •  Your teacher also cares about your  success in math and will help you. 
  •  You have resources I didn’t have such as great math books, video tutorials, multiplication CDs and math video games.

My point is:  your negative experience stays with you.  Although you had a negative experience, you expect your child to have a positive experience.  You expect your child to succeed in math.  Your child will fulfill these expectations.  There are few parents who do not have the basic skills to make sure their 3rd grade child succeeds in math.  The formula for success is the following:

     Parent’s  POSITIVE expectations  + HELP for child =  SUCCESS

This formula works for any subject matter: English, reading, science, etc.  So think about what message you’re imparting to your child.  Separate your negative experience from your child and make clear that your child will succeed.  Your child deserves no less.

Happy Valentine’s Day Book Recommendation: My Love for You by Susan Roth

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

How to express the depth of your love for your child on Valentine’s or for that matter any day  of the year?   Do you tell your child, “I love you as big as the sky” as I did with my children?  With this little counting book, you can express your love for your child as you teach numbers 1 through 10.

Through the eyes of a white mouse and a smaller brown mouse, you will journey on a wild-animal adventure.  The book begins: MY LOVE FOR YOU . . . Turn the page and read:  is bigger than 1 bear.  The next page tells you: taller than 2 giraffes.  And the next: larger than 3 blue whales. (Notice we’re developing good language skills in the use of comparative adjectives.)   The books ends with the sentiment that “my love for you is greater than all of these together . . .  forever.”

The illustrations in the book are delightful!  The landscapes are made of multi-layered, translucent tissue-paper collages similar to those your child will make in school.  These give the pages an amazing depth.  Some of the animals  are made out of construction paper. Explore with your child how the patterns on the 5 pythons are made out of simple  rectangles, squares and triangles.  Why not sit down with your child and construct your own as an art project?  Or maybe cut out two giraffes and apply small brown squares to  make a  giraffe mosaic?  This book will inspire you.

I recommend this book not only for its lovely sentiment (the two little mice can represent a parent and child, an older and younger sibling or simply two friends), the counting skills it imparts but also the art.  This charming little book will delight your child on Valentine’s or and other day!

Book recommendation: EZ Times Tables by Tom Biesanz

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

                         Tom Biesanz,  a formez-times-tableser math teacher in Santa Barbara, contacted me soon after publication of my workbook and told me  he’d posted the following review on Amazon:

[Teach Your Child the Multiplication Tables]  is a big book full of fun pattern and number exercises for kids that make learning fun. I thought about creating a book of worksheets to go with my EZ Times Table book, but this book does such a great job, I would rather just recommend this one.

We chatted on the phone about our interest in teaching the times tables through patterns, which we both believe is a much better way of teaching multiplication. Fun to hear from someone who shared my passion! Tom sent me a copy of his book and I posted the following review on Amazon:

Learning the times tables becomes a game as children learn fun patterns while filling in the EZ TIMES TABLES charts. Instead of leaning one math fact at a time (which is not only difficult but highly inefficient), children learn a pattern for the entire table. Table by table, they construct a times tables matrix for tables 1-10. Pattern play develops number sense. EZ TIMES TABLES will intrigue your child.

If you child has become fascinated by pattern play, check out this excellent resource.  Why not have our children and students discover the magic of math at an early age?  If your third grader is intrigued with math and pursues this passion, just think of the great careers open your child.

Book recommendation: Brown Rabbit’s Shape Book by Alan Baker

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

brown-rabbits-shape-bookSee what happens when a mysterious package, a big yellow box, arrives for Brown Rabbit.  Page by page, Brown Rabbit discovers, as will your child, all sorts of interestingly shaped objects inside such as:  a rectangle, a circle, a square and so on. Beautifully illustrated, this deceptively simple book packs a  big lesson in basic geometry.   The storyline is fun and engaging. Brown Rabbit is a delightful character to explore the world of shapes with.  Highly recommended for your preschool child.   

I came across this book at my library’s “Friends’ Bookstore.”  Be sure to see if your local bookstore has one as it’s a great place to buy books for your children.  Over the years, I have bought hundreds of books priced 25 to 50 cents!  Some of the pop-up books are a bit more expensive but still a huge bargain.  Your home should be filled with books.  As I’ve said before, reading to your child, sharing a picture book with him or her is an act of love.