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Monday, July 7, 2014

Solve for "X" This Summer

Make Summer Count- Part 2 

I couldn’t find the half-cup measuring cup this morning to measure my oatmeal, so I had to use the one-quarter cup measuring cup twice. Then, I had to mail 42 letters with stamps that cost 49 cents each, plus three packages that cost $3.22, $4.12, and $1.61 each to mail. I wondered how much all of this would cost. On the way home, I counted the quarters in my coin box. I had 16 quarters, and I knew that I had 11 more quarters at home. Did I have enough quarters, yet, to make a $10 roll of quarters? Who knows?

These are all real-life mathematics problems that adults have to solve every day. And they are all great opportunities to make summer count by allowing your child to help you solve these problems. Most of us are easily bored with the skill and drill strategies of using flashcards to learn mathematics facts and multiplication tables. And, yes, our children still need to learn those facts, but there are numerous practical ways for them to get in that much needed mathematics practice over the summer.

Begin reviewing mathematics problems similar to those your child completed during the school year. Practice those problems until your child can respond correctly 100% of the time. Then, find out what your child needs to know in mathematics for the next grade level. That information can be found on your school’s website, the district’s website, or on sites that have information about the Common Core State Standards for mathematics. Believe me, you want to check those sites to make sure that you are aware of what your child needs to learn. The standards have changed greatly, and third grade students now complete problems whereby they have to solve for ‘x’ (for example, x + 3 = 5). That’s algebra.

Finally, make the mathematics lessons and activities come alive for your child. We use mathematics every day from setting our alarm clocks to timing our meals and watching how fast we drive. Our children need to know and understand that there are real purposes for developing their mathematics skills. Let’s show them by finding ways to make summer count with mathematics.

Click here to read Part 1 of Make Summer Count.

Veda Pendleton McClain is a mother, grandmother, author, and educator. She recently released her second book on parenting titled, Your Presence Is Requested. It is available through or at .

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