Most second graders aren't begging their parents to let them do more math work at home. However, it's very important that your child continues to learn outside of school walls. Math lessons are often introduced in rapid succession, and she will absorb the concepts more thoroughly if she practices multiple times in different situations. Plus, practicing math at home presents the perfect opportunity to review classroom concepts, and to make math fun! Encourage math at home with some of the following activities:
- Give your child play money and other props to create a pretend store, restaurant, or yard sale. Help her use sticky notes for price tags, make construction paper menus, and write "receipts" on index cards.
- There's no need to reinvent the wheel. The best way to practice addition and subtraction is to write problems for your child to solve. Make it more fun by using special paper and pencils (i.e. those Spiderman pencils he begged for). Create timed tests and encourage him to beat his own best score or best time. Provide cumulative rewards, such as a chart with a sticker for each math practice test he completes; after collecting a designated number of stickers, he earns a prize (activity based rewards work best, so try renting a movie, going skating, or inviting a friend for a sleepover instead of offering extra dessert or allowance money).
- To practice measurement, create challenges. For example, ask your child to find three things that are longer than four inches and shorter than eight inches. After she gathers the items and brings them back to you, have her write down the items and the length of each.
- At this age, children can become increasingly involved with helping to follow recipes, a prime opportunity to use volume measurements such as cups, teaspoons, etc. They'll also see fractions in action, and gain experience converting units such as ounces and quarts.
- Hang a thermometer outside your child's window. Help him read the temperature often, and talk about the difference between Fahrenheit and Celsius.
- To practice geometric recognition, ask your budding artist to create pictures using combinations of the following shapes: circle, quadrilateral, rhombus, square, triangle, trapezoid, hexagon, and parallelogram. For example, ask her to make a picture using two triangles and three trapezoids. The shapes can either be drawn into the picture or they can be cut from construction paper, glued on the page, then colored around.
- To practice telling time, assign the task of “timekeeper” to your child. Tell him it's his job to alert you when it's 6:15p.m. and time for dinner or 10:30a.m. and time to leave for soccer.
- Create word problems using activities or characters your child enjoys. For example, a football fan will enjoy a word problem involving field goals and touchdowns.
If possible, try to coordinate the opportunities for practice at home with the skills recently addressed at school. If your child seems to be struggling with a particular concept, continue to explore it as often as possible until you feel he's reached complete understanding.