As a parent, you can make a difference and support your child’s learning by making math a regular part of your day-to-day life at home. You can help your children make connections between what they learn in school and everyday experiences at home and in the community.

You can:

  • find ways to incorporate math at home
  • inspire a love of learning and better understanding of math
  • talk with your child about their math school work
  • show an interest in what they are learning in class
  • help make learning fun by finding real world applications of what they are learning together

Make math part of your day-to-day routine

You can use the following methods to help make learning fun and find real world applications of math.

  • Math games – math puzzles, or card and board games can show that math is fun. They also require trial and error thinking, enhance numeracy and logical thinking, and promote discussion.
  • Math in digital games – if your child enjoys using technology, introduce them to fun and educational online games and activities.
  • Math at the grocery store – talk to your child about how to weigh items on a scale or how to estimate the total bill as you fill your cart.
  • Math with money – create a budget together or save to make a special purchase to help your child manage money. You could go shopping together and ask your child to estimate the amount of a purchase, calculate tax and check their change.
  • Math in the kitchen – bake, cook and prepare food with your child. There are many great math opportunities in the kitchen, such as measuring ingredients.
  • Math on TV – watch educational TV shows. Many shows, for example, TVO Kids, have websites with activities to do together, including free games, apps, math crafts and songs.

Ways to support math learning at home

Learn how to help inspire your child’s love for learning and better understanding of math. You can support mathematics learning at home, based on the grade your child is in. Your child’s teacher can also provide more ideas specific to what is being covered in class.

Primary: Grades 1 to 3

Children in primary grades, 1 to 3, tend to be curious, creative, and imaginative. Their listening skills are developing, as are their fine motor skills, including activities such as holding a pencil or catching a ball.

Most children in primary grades:

  • love math
  • begin to make connections between school math and the world around them
  • tend to work quickly
  • like to change activities and tasks often

Sometimes children reverse letters, such as b and d, or numbers, 31 instead of 13.

To support mathematics learning at home, you can:

  • schedule homework completion at the same time and location each day
  • create a homework drawer or basket and fill it with supplies your child will use, such as pencils, erasers, scissors, rulers, graph paper, construction paper and a calculator
  • write on scrap paper or sticky notes to create math “word walls” about the topics your child is studying at school
  • use and talk about the math tools that you have around the house already, such as thermometers, clocks, measuring cups, measuring tapes and coins
  • ask your child to teach you how to do the homework problems
  • stay positive if your child makes an error, it is an opportunity to learn

Junior: Grades 4 to 6

Children in junior grades, 4, 5 and 6 tend gain independence and develop interests and hobbies. In these grades, children begin to compare themselves to their peers and may be self-conscious about their academic, social and athletic abilities.

Most children in junior grades enjoy:

  • learning
  • talking
  • contemplating abstract concepts and ideas

To support mathematics learning at home, you can:

  • praise your child’s efforts and encourage your child to take new risks
  • task your child to explain what they learned. Ask them to show you how to do a math problem
  • encourage your children to double-check their work so you can celebrate correct solutions and learn from mistakes
  • post helpful posters and keep handouts with math strategies in a reference folder or notebook
  • create a budget together to help your child manage allowance money
  • read math-themed books and play math games together (including those that involve using technology)
  • seek advice from a trusted advisor, such as your child’s teacher or a member of a community outreach program, if you believe your child would benefit from extra help or tutoring

Remember that before children can become interested in math, they must be comfortable with it. Before they can be comfortable with it, they must believe that they can succeed.

Intermediate: Grades 7 and 8

Children in the intermediate grades, 7 and 8, tend to express their individuality and independence, while they also want to conform to their surrounding community.

Most children in intermediate grades:

  • start thinking about the future
  • thrive in settings that encourage them to interact with others and develop strong friendships and close one-to-one relationships
  • have longer attention spans than they used to and are capable of high levels of abstract thought

To support mathematics learning at home, you can:

  • help your child look ahead to the future and to set goals
  • encourage your child to take math and science courses in secondary school to keep opportunities and options open
  • ask your child to teach you how to use math software that they use at school and is licensed for students to use at home
  • show your child how math is important in everyday life, such as using a spreadsheet to determine an affordable cell phone plan or calculating the price of a take-out dinner for the family using coupons or discounts
  • review the latest sports stats
  • ask your child’s math teacher about the possibilities of enrichment or additional challenging math opportunities, if you believe it would benefit your child
  • look into area mathematics events, such as games and Olympiads, that your child may be interested in
  • encourage your child to believe that success results from effort, determination and learning from mistakes

This information is adapted from Inspiring your Child to Learn and Love Math, Council of Ontario Directors of Education (2015).