Why is it Important to Teach Your Kids Maths at Home?

You may not realise, but your attitude towards maths may be affecting family wellness. This is according to Education Department director of numeracy and literacy Rod Nancarrow, who says that parents are unintentionally sending the wrong message about the importance of learning maths and often feel uncomfortable helping their children with the subject.

You may have not been much good at maths when you were at school, but telling your kids so makes the subject unappealing. According to Rod Nancarrow, ‘This type of statement has become too accepted and conveys a negative message. We don’t want children to think it’s OK not to enjoy it or be good at it. Many parents are uncomfortable helping their child with maths … we need to make maths comfortable and engaging.’

It’s not just Rod Nancarrow who understands the importance that your attitudes have on your child’s educational wellbeing; SA Primary Principals Association president Steve Portlock agreed many mums and dads had misgivings about the subject. He noted ‘They often think of the algebra they did at the end of high school and think “I wasn’t any good, I can’t help,” but that’s certainly wrong … research shows when parents show an interest in homework students succeed more.’

If you do feel uncomfortable teaching your children maths, UniSA early childhood education expert Associate Professor Dr Susan Hill advised reading aloud. Not only does reading to your children help them improve their literacy skills, but there are plenty of books out there that can also help you teach numeracy at home. Dr Hill commented, ‘Books like The Very Hungry Caterpillar do this really well. Many books are full of concepts to do with time, place and numbers.’

So how do other parents do it? Denise Mourtzios encourages her daughter, St Peter’s Girls School Year three student Angela, to tackle maths in many ways. She explained, ‘We do a lot of baking and use cups and scales to weigh things, play board games like Junior Monopoly and add up the numbers on car number plates.’ St Peter’s Girls School principal Fiona Godfrey added, ‘Maths, more than ever, is a shared responsibility between school and home.’

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