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Building Mathematical Literacy at Home

Building Mathematical Literacy at Home

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Published by Reny Handayani

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Published by: Reny Handayani on Mar 29, 2011
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Building Mathematical Literacy and Helping themto deal with Mathematics Homework 
By RENY hANDAYANI
The Importance of Family Involvement
It was not the first time I heard some of my students said I hate Math or I cant do Math.Even some of them keep whining without trying their effort to work on it at the beginning. Onceone of them asked me Why do I have to learn math? I want to be an artist? Or a famous painter?.Then I explained that they could not get away from Mathematics in their entire life, furthermore, Iexplained to them that everybody is actually a Mathematicians. Even everyone int heir family i amathematicians. But my mother doesnt do counting in her work, Miss? another one askedcuriously. Then I answered, eventhough your mothers are at home, they will deal in Mathematicstoo, their are mathematicians. Try to image while she is baking cakes for you. If your mother doesnot measure ow much flour, sugar and butter she needs, the cakes will not be delicious or while sheis going to make a cloth for you, the cloth wont fit to your body if she cannot measure the length of your arms or your waist.This phenomena also happened in my nephews and nieces everyday life. Sometime theysaid that their family members canot help them doing their homework because they cannot do Mathand some of them even hate Math alot since they were in school. In that time, I realize that thefeelings of hating Mathematics has been contagious on them. The attribute of thinking that Math isdifficult has blocked their interst to find the enjoyment of learning mathematics, and the worsething happen when they bring their mathematics homework home. They stuck and end up of doingit carelessly. This issue might happen because of several causes. One of them is lacking of familysupport. I am not talking about the assissting children in doing their hoimework physically orfrequently, but more to the quality. Sometime we thought that we had helped the children to dotheir homework, but it just did not work alot. Again, it is not the frequency but more to the quality.Family support on childrens Mathematic learning program is very crucial. Researchsupports the conclusion that parents attitudes toward their childrens education, and theirinvolvement in it, have a significant impact on classroom success.A good attitude about Mathematic is very importance to give a positive role model to thechildren. We as adults frequently make comments such as I cant do math or  I dont like math.Our feelings about Mathematics can affect the childrens thinking about Mathematics and aboutthemselves as mathematicians. They need to understand that mathematical literacy is just asimportant as reading literacy, since almost every activities in our daily life is related to Mathematics,and every body is a mathematician.We need to understand that the mathematics classroom today may look different from theclassroom that we used to experience when we were in school. Sometime, we even feeluncomfortable or have misconceptions about the mathematics the children learn today.
 
 Doing Mathematics Together
For young shildren, emphasizing that Mathematics is all around us is very important. It willgain more engangement to children. These following activities are examples of things you can do athome to build the childrens Mathematical literacy.
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ount, count and count!
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hildren, especially young ages love to count and will counteverything and anything. Encourage the children to count out loud the number of candles on their birthday cakes, or crackers on their plate.
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ractice classifying by separatiing toys into sets, such as cars, blocks, or dolls. Askquestions related to size and quantity: Which is larger? Which is larget? Which issmaller? Which is smallest? Do you have more dolls or more bears? How many more orless? Are there fewer dolls or fewer bears?
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Find two and three-dimensional geometric shapes, such as circles and spheres.Remember, that Mathematics is not always about counting like in Algebra. Somechildren who are not really good at counting might be the master in Geometry and ableto deal with space-related problems in math.
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et your child help set the table. Fold napkins as rectangles one day, then as triangle henext. Find the number of chairs needed to match the places set. Determine the numberof knives, forks, and spoons needed.
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et your child sort the laundry (ask them to help their housekeeper at home if it isusually done by your maid). Before washing, have your child to sort the piles by colorsor by family members.
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ractice counting and making change. Ask your child to help you figure out how mucuhmoney you have in your pocket.
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et your child pick out the paper currency and changeneeded when making a purchase, and have your child tell you how much change youshould get back. This activity can build their sense of value that they will further learn inthe future.
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pporting mathematics Homework
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reating a positive climate at home is very important in supporting the children indealing with mathematical problems they bring from school. This can be done by givinga chance to them to explain their ideas and ask question that make sense to them. Alsomake sure that they are not afraid to take risks and knnow that it is acceptable tostruggle with and soome idedas and to make mistakes. Acknowledge the fatcs thatMathematics can be challenging at times and that persistence and haradwork are thekeys to success in solving mathematical problems. Struggling at times in Mathematicscis normal and is actually necessary to,and valluable in, understanading mathematicsc.We should responds in ways that keep the focus in thinking and reasoning rather thanonly on getting the right answer. Incorrect answers and ideas are not simply judgedwrong. We need to help them identify parts of their thinking that may be correct.Sometime, this will even lead them to new ideas and solutions that are correct.

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