Does this ever happen to you? You?ve been teaching your child his math facts and he has them all down cold. He makes few mistakes on his worksheets, but then, when a situation involving math in real life comes up, he doesn?t know what to do. I have seen this lately in my daughter. She knows her math facts on paper, but when a situation comes up for her to apply this knowledge, she doesn?t realize that she needs to use them.
That is why I came up with ways for her (and all my children) to make the connection between what was taught in the workbook and how it is used in real life. She enjoys the real-life math so much, she doesn?t want to do any workbook math. This happened with her older brother and sister as well. I am fine with that. After all, if she can?t apply it, what good is it?
Six ways to use everyday life to teach math
- Math Problem of the Day. This is my family?s favorite way to do math. A few times a week, I create a real-life problem for my children to solve. These are problems that don?t come up every day and are associated with household projects, such as painting rooms, building a fence, tiling the kitchen, or creating a garden plot.
- Number Scavenger Hunt: Make a list of items to find in your house that are multiples of five or multiples of three or multiples of some other number. The kids can then go around the house finding those items. You can also mix it up so that they have to find one item that is a multiple of five, one item that is a multiple of seven, etc.
- Newspaper Statistics: This is a hunt for percentages hidden within newspaper and magazine articles. Ask your child to find them and when they do, show them to you. You can even use a timer to make more fun. Talk about what they mean. Make a graph, if appropriate. See if you can find the answer to ?percent of what??
- I?m going shopping: Give each of your children five dollars and a grocery store challenge. Say something like, ?Whoever can buy all the components for our family to each lunch and not go over $5 gets a special treat.? Or, you can give them a small list of items and see how they do with their money.
- I?m Throwing a Party: Give your child a list of party items and the number of each that you need. Send them into the store to find out how much you would spend, including items on sale, and sales tax.
- I?m Catering a Party: Give your child some recipes that you would make for a party of 30-50 people. Ask him/her to do the necessary math for the fractions of cups of flour and sugar and such and then submit the new recipes to you.