Family Learning - helping parents to help children learn


Early numeracy - stacking blocksNumeracy probably gives parents more worries than any other school subject. Everything seems to be taught differently now and it's easy to lose confidence in your ability to help your child.

Don't worry, help is at hand! This section of the family learning site will give an introduction to the different areas that children will learn about in their numeracy lessons. There are plenty of free online games which will help them to develop their skills.

Numeracy includes counting, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Also, measuring (distance, time, weight etc.), fractions and decimals, shapes (2d and 3d), graphs and much more.

In numeracy your child will learn to understand and make sense of mathematical ideas and how they relate to everyday life.

When I was at school I remember being taught rules of how we do things. We didn't question and often we didn't understand why we were "carrying ten" or "borrowing one". We just did what we were told and came up with an answer which got a tick or a cross depending on whether it was right or wrong.

At schools now children learn many numeracy and mathematical skills through practical activities, games and tasks which have a real relevance and meaning in everyday life, so that they can see links between new ideas and things which they already know.

There are lots of opportunities to help your child with maths at home. Here are a few ideas:

  • Counting - early on you can count with your child and when they are able, ask them to count things. This could be counting the stairs up to bed, counting out six apples in the supermarket or the number of roads you cross on the way to school.
  • Telling the time - at first you can talk about morning, dinner time, bed time. Later you can point out o'clock times which relate to their lives, such as the need to be at school by 9 o'clock. Children also need to develop an idea of time passing. You could use a kitchen timer or egg timer to see if they can tidy away their toys or get dressed in less than three minutes.
  • Cooking together - this provides lots of opportunities to develop maths skills. You will be measuring liquids (capacity) and solids (weight), counting and estimating.
  • Looking for numbers - encourage your child to choose a number when you set out on a journey and see how many times they can spot their special number on registration plates, signs and house doors. As they get older you can challenge them t add the digits in a car registration number or to predict which number will come next as you're walking down the street, e.g. 2, 4, 6, ?

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