I think one of the best ways to encourage interest in math is to show your elementary school child how often you use math in life. Math is one of the harder subjects. It's not a story, it's not a process of discovery; it's a tool. Math really is something that we use. Anytime you're doing math, do it out loud - bringing cookies for the bake sale, how many you need to bring in order to make a profit for the school, etc. Think about math and talk about it. You're trying to figure out how many cupcakes you need for the birthday party, so do it out loud and let your child see that you're using math. You're trying to figure out a sale in the store or which coupon to use. These are things that if you do it out loud, your child can see that you're using math all the time. As they get older, you can even ask them to help you figure out the simpler math problems. Thus, they can see that, "Oh, math may not be my favorite thing in the world, but I'm going to use it so I want to be good at it. I want to be good at figuring out the sale price and I want to be able to do all the things that mom and dad do." If you think about it, even when your child's learning basic counting skills - anything where they roll the die and have to count - that's learning about math. Dominos uses math, too, through recognizing the same number. If you play war with your child, they have to know which number is greater than, which number is less than, and a lot of them have a hard time with that. Basically, think about the things that you do and try to make them age-appropriate for your child. If you can consider what math your child is learning, and turn it into a game, that's a great thing. I let the kids at our learning center play Battleship when they're learning about graphing on a coordinate plane, because they have to go over and up. It's the same process that you do when you're graphing in algebra. It's a matter of being open to thinking that the games your kids are playing might actually enhance their math skills. Encourage them to do that.

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