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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 them to 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. Once one 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, I explained to them that everybody is actually a Mathematicians. Even everyone int heir family i a mathematicians. But my mother doesn t do counting in her work, Miss? another one asked curiously. Then I answered, eventhough your mothers are at home, they will deal in Mathematics too, their are mathematicians. Try to image while she is baking cakes for you. If your mother does not measure ow much flour, sugar and butter she needs, the cakes will not be delicious or while she is 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 they said that their family members canot help them doing their homework because they cannot do Math and some of them even hate Math alot since they were in school. In that time, I realize that the feelings of hating Mathematics has been contagious on them. The attribute of thinking that Math is difficult has blocked their interst to find the enjoyment of learning mathematics, and the worse thing happen when they bring their mathematics homework home. They stuck and end up of doing it carelessly. This issue might happen because of several causes. One of them is lacking of family support. I am not talking about the assissting children in doing their hoimework physically or frequently, but more to the quality. Sometime we thought that we had helped the children to do their 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. Research supports the conclusion that parents attitudes toward their children s education, and their involvement in it, have a significant impact on classroom success. A good attitude about Mathematic is very importance to give a positive role model to the children. 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 about themselves as mathematicians. They need to understand that mathematical literacy is just as important 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 the classroom that we used to experience when we were in school. Sometime, we even feel uncomfortable 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 will gain more engangement to children. These following activities are examples of things you can do at home to build the children s Mathematical literacy.
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Count, count and count! Children, especially young ages love to count and will count everything and anything. Encourage the children to count out loud the number of candles on their birthday cakes, or crackers on their plate. Practice classifying by separatiing toys into sets, such as cars, blocks, or dolls. Ask questions related to size and quantity: Which is larger? Which is larget? Which is smaller? Which is smallest? Do you have more dolls or more bears? How many more or less? Are there fewer dolls or fewer bears? Find two and three-dimensional geometric shapes, such as circles and spheres. Remember, that Mathematics is not always about counting like in Algebra. Some children who are not really good at counting might be the master in Geometry and able to deal with space-related problems in math. Let your child help set the table. Fold napkins as rectangles one day, then as triangle he next. Find the number of chairs needed to match the places set. Determine the number of knives, forks, and spoons needed. Let your child sort the laundry (ask them to help their housekeeper at home if it is usually done by your maid). Before washing, have your child to sort the piles by colors or by family members. Practice counting and making change. Ask your child to help you figure out how mucuh money you have in your pocket. Let your child pick out the paper currency and change needed when making a purchase, and have your child tell you how much change you should get back. This activity can build their sense of value that they will further learn in the future.

Supporting mathematics Homework
Creating a positive climate at home is very important in supporting the children in dealing with mathematical problems they bring from school. This can be done by giving a chance to them to explain their ideas and ask question that make sense to them. Also make sure that they are not afraid to take risks and knnow that it is acceptable to struggle with and soome idedas and to make mistakes. Acknowledge the fatcs that Mathematics can be challenging at times and that persistence and haradwork are the keys to success in solving mathematical problems. Struggling at times in Mathematicsc is 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 than only on getting the right answer. Incorrect answers and ideas are not simply judged wrong. 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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These are some quentions and comments to support mathematics homework What s the problem you re working on? What do the directions say? What words or directions do you not understand? Where do you think you should begin? What do you already know that can help you work through the problem? What have you done so far? Where can we find help in your textbook or notes? Do you have similar problem to look at? Can you draw a picture or make a diagram? Can you explain what the teacher asked you to do? What problems like this one have you had before? Can you tell me where you a re stuck? Who can you call to get help? Can you solve it by using a calculator? Can you go on to another problem and come back to this one later? Where can we look for some help ont he internet? Can you go in before or after school for help from the teacher? (This will need agreement from the teachers previously to avoid children from neglecting doing their homework at home). Should we tackle this prolem another time?

(Source__ A Family s Guide: Fostering Your Child s Success in Schools mathematics)

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