Math Help

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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If your child balks every time you offer him or her math help, it may be your approach that's to blame. Any armchair child psychologist will affirm that kids resist anything that's forced upon them for their "own good," which is frequently how parents pitch the idea of learning math. "You'll need this stuff one day," you say, painfully aware that you fought with just as much vehemence when your parents tried this line on you.

As an alternative, try giving your child the math help he or she needs in a more artful way. Board games are a great place to start, as Monopoly, Life, and other titles use "funny" money throughout, while Connect Four, Mastermind, Battleship, and Risk all require logic, spacial reasoning, and probability. Chess combines all of the above (without the money, of course) through a more intellectual approach, one that has attracted to the game some of the greatest minds in history such as Bobby Fischer and Gary Kasparov.

Other Fun Ideas for Math Help

Sports are one of the best places to turn to give your child math help without his or her even realizing it. Computing batting averages, ERAs, quarterback ratings, and free throw percentages often requires more than just basic addition and subtraction. ERA (or earned run average), for example, measures the number of runs a pitcher allows over the course of nine innings. Since pitchers don't play in nine-inning bursts, this calculation is always a multi-operational one.

If your child detests sports, try grocery shopping instead. Make deals with your kid to buy him or her snacks you'd ordinarily forbid in your home, provided your child can do the math to figure out how much they cost per ounce or per liter. You can always try variations on this theme such as picking snacks that present the best value for their money as expressed by the volume or quantity received for the price paid.

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