You’ve probably heard the saying that math is everywhere. Depending on your attitude towards math this could be the best news you’ve heard all day or you may be groaning right now. Regardless of your feelings about math, we have a few tips. Use the following to help you keep on the right track.

**• Organizing** – We strongly recommend completing math problems outside of the textbook on a separate sheet of paper, allowing adequate space to show one’s work. Many students find it helpful to utilize graph paper to keep numbers neat and orderly. Graph paper comes in a variety of grid sizes allowing a parent to choose the size most appropriate for a student’s handwriting. Writing one numeral in each box can help a student to keep numbers lined up appropriately for computation. Another alternative is to turn regular lined paper on its side. Rotating the paper causes the horizontal lines to become vertical thus helping a student to keep his columns straight for improved computation. Showing your work is beneficial for both students and teachers. Reviewing a student’s work enables both teacher and student to determine where an error occurred. This allows the student to know if the error was a calculation error or if there was a procedural mistake in completing the problem.

**• Memorizing Math Facts** – Knowing the basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts allows a student to complete work in a timely manner and prevents careless computation errors. Mastery of facts allows students to focus on the task of solving more difficult problems. Your student may enjoy the challenge of bettering his or her own time. Give your student a 100 question fact quiz and time your student to see how long it takes. You can then administer the quiz weekly with the goal of completing it more quickly each time. In the meantime, there are a number of activities you can implement to practice facts. Popular study techniques include flash cards, computer games, play a game of “War” using flash cards to memorize facts, write facts on a beach ball and then toss it back and forth while giving answers to the problems. In addition, there are a multitude of worksheets and computer based games and activities available on the Internet. Searching for “math facts” should yield a number of results.

**• Writing Constructed Responses** – Students are asked to write constructed responses across the disciplines. This type of response requires students to think deeply and analyze their own thoughts and then to explain in words how they derived an answer. When writing a constructed response for math, take care to follow a few key steps.

• First, be sure to read the question thoroughly. Look at all the data presented and determine which information is relevant for solving the problem.

• Second, decide what strategy you will use to solve the problem. Will you use an equation or another strategy to solve?

• Third, solve the problem being sure to show your work.

• Finally, explain with words how you solved the problem.

It may be helpful to encourage a child to write as if she were explaining to a friend how to solve the problem. Many students find it helpful to include diagrams while explaining how to solve a problem.

**Sample Problem:**

Mary makes and sells quilted wall hangings. Her standard design is a square measuring one foot on each side. Tom wants Mary to make a quilt that would be four times the size she usually makes. If she creates a design that is four feet long and four feet wide, will it be what Tom is asking for?

**Sample Answer:**

Mary’s plan will not work. Tom wants a quilt four times the size Mary usually makes. The usual size is one square foot and looks like this:

To create a quilt four times the size I would need four squares.

A square quilt that is four feet long and four feet wide would be made up of sixteen squares and would therefore be sixteen times larger, not four times larger.

** • Teaching Math Through Everyday Activities** – Keeping a daily schedule can help students learn to tell time. In addition, students can learn to calculate elapsed time. Older students can even be tasked with calculating the rate of completion for each subject area. Money is another topic that can be taught to students through daily activities in the classroom of life. Young students can learn about the value and names of coins as they deposit them in a piggy bank. As students mature. they can begin earning an allowance. Many families see value in teaching children about the importance of dividing the money into categories such as spending, saving, and donating. If your child is particularly interested you could even take things a step further and teach your student about investing and interest.

There are many websites available to assist you in guiding your student through this concept. You may consider looking at these sites: http://life.familyeducation.com/money-and-kids/personal-finance/34481.html or http://www.itsahabit.com. Cooking and baking allow students to work with fractions and measurement through practical experience. Students can learn about equivalent fractions, mixed numbers, and even conversion between different units of measure. Older students can expand their skills by working to determine the rate of speed or the miles per gallon of the family vehicle as you travel about town. These are just a few of the math topics that can be learned through everyday activities but there are countless others that can be incorporated if you are open to the possibility.