Helping your child at home


Talk to your children - Talking regularly with your children is crucial in building a wide and varied vocabulary, and confidence with a range of sentence structures. These are necessary to be successful in reading and writing.

Listen to your children - The skills your children are using while putting together ideas, constructing sentences and ordering their thoughts are skills that are also used in the reading process.

Praise your children - This is very important. Reading can be hard work, and children need all the encouragement they can get. After all, they are doing the best they can.

Buy books - Choose interesting books that will appeal to your individual children, buying them for birthdays, Christmas, or for special treats. Take your children with you when you are browsing in the bookshop and let them choose with you, or allow them to choose books from the school book clubs.

Read in front of your children - When your children see you enjoying books, newspapers and magazines, they follow your example.

Visit your local library regularly - Enrol your children, and offer your help in selecting their books, but resist the temptation to impose your choices.

Have a family reading time - Put aside half an hour every weekend when all the family enjoy their individual reading matter. Make it a treat, you can even supply something nutritious to nibble on while you read.

Cook with your children - Read the recipe together. Reading, measurement/quantity, time, and time for social discussion.

Read the TV guide with your children - Discuss the options, and plan your viewing ahead - also helps when talking about concepts of time - before, after, tomorrow, yesterday etc..

Go shopping with your children - Read the road signs together, notices of any specials in supermarkets, the labels on packets. Give your children a list of things to look for.

Encourage your children to write letters or send emails - Write thank you letters or party invitations together. Encourage them to write to Gran and Grandad, Father Christmas or to the local newspaper. Reading and writing go hand in hand.

Play a board game with your children - Often such games have lots of fun things to read as well as including maths and strategy eg Payday, Monopoly etc.

Make something with your children - Figure out the instructions together


Attitude is the key to success - If your child expects to succeed, success will come. Encourage a positive, have-a-go, you-can-do-it atmosphere.

Books and stories are full of maths - When you share your bedtime story with your child, discuss things like "How many Billy Goats Gruff were there?" "Which one went over the bridge first?" "How many had crossed the bridge before Big Billy Goat Gruff came?"

Counting is not just reciting a sequence of numbers - Encourage your child to touch the object as it is counted so 1:1 matching is established.

Development in maths - Understanding occurs at a different rate, and often in a different sequence, for each child, as does learning to walk and talk. Be patient and be positive.  Expect you child to master the task eventually, but don't expect too much too soon.

Errors are a vital part of the learning process, particularly when they inspire your child to ask "Where did I go wrong? Why? What can I do to fix it?"

Feedback is crucial because no one can achieve in a vacuum. Praise success and offer support and encouragement to try again in a different way when things don't work out.

Games are a powerful way of learning - Even old favourites like Snakes and Ladders or Chinese Checkers teach the child much about how are number system works.

Hands-on means exactly that - exploring concepts using hands-on materials.  Remember the old Chinese proverb ...
I hear and I forget
I see and I remember
I do and I understand.

Investigations are a key learning strategy as your child has to identify the problem, decide how to tackle it and then trial several different solutions to find the best.

Jargon is "unintelligible words, gibberish, speech full of unfamiliar terms." - If today's maths is jargon to you, make an appointment with the teacher to have things clarified. Much has changed since you were at school and teachers welcome parents being involved.

Kiss and tell your child as often as you can how proud you are of him/her and what they do. 

Lend an ear, if not a hand, when your child wants to talk about a problem. Often just expressing it aloud is enough to clarify thinking.

Mental calculation is still critical but it is now underpinned with understanding, not just rote learning. The tables chart on the back of the toilet door is still a useful tool.

Numeracy means being able to choose and use the appropriate mathematics to solve a problem. It includes number, measurement, space, algebra, chance, and data gathering and interpretation.

Open-ended questions such as "How many ways can you find ...?" allow your child to achieve and succeed at their own level.

Parents are key players in a child's education and a positive parent/child/ teacher partnership is a powerful combination.

Questions are how children find out. If you don't know the answers, ask your child, "How do you think we could find out?"

Real-life maths involving everyday situations gives maths its relevance. Look for ways your child can become involved in the maths needed to run a home.

Solving problems is why we do maths and often the search for the solution provides the greatest learning experience and satisfaction.

Talking with your child shows you are interested and helps your child clarify their thinking. Being able to explain what they have done and why, is the final link in the chain of understanding.

Use the language of maths when talking to your child and encourage them to do the same.

Visualising a problem and being able to make a model, diagram, map or plan is often the first step in solving a problem.

Writing about what they have done helps your child to clarify and communicate ideas and understandings, as does making lists, charts, diagrams and graphs.

Expect your child to understand and enjoy maths and you won't be disappointed.

"You can do it!" may be all your child needs to hear to be encouraged to keep trying.
ZZZZZZZZZ - what maths should no longer do! - Palmerston District PS, NSW)

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HOW TO HELP YOUR CHILD AT HOME - This page contains some information on how to help your child at home.  The information on this page should assist you in helping your child learn how to learn. 

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