Math Strategies for Parents (And Tutors, Too!)

This is part two of an article that first appeared in the Palmetto Literacy Council in April about how parents can help their students with math. You can find the first part of Math Strategies for Parents on the PLC web site:

Provide some math activities at home or while tutoring

Each person rolls the dice and adds, subtracts, or multiplies the numbers.

Dice and money. Each person rolls a die and gets the number of pennies as dots shown. When someone gets five pennies they trade it in for a nickel, dime, and so forth, until they’re trading for a dollar.

For two people, give each person 13 cards from a deck of cards, have each person flip a card, then have your child decide whose card has the higher value to determine who wins the set of cards. In a tie, place three additional cards face-down, then turn the last card up; the higher card on that turn wins all the cards. Play until one person has all the cards in the deck.

Newspapers and magazines. Find numbers in print and cut them out, then glue them in the correct order onto a larger sheet of paper.


Count orally by twos, fives, or tens.

Complete connect-the-dot pictures.

Have your child make a number book that contains a page for each numeral from one to ten. On each page, have your child glue clippings from newspapers and magazines illustrating that number concept (two dogs, three ducks, or four horses). As your child progresses with number recognition, they can add to the book and add numerical figures used in various ways.

Count and pair objects found around the house and determine whether there’s an odd or even number of items.

Review math facts at home, in the car, waiting in line, or during other downtime.

Provide your child with verbal math problems. “Take the number five; add six; multiply by three; subtract three; divide by five. What’s your answer?” Speak slowly at first until your child gets better at solving these mental problems.

Help your child identify percentages in signs, newspapers, and magazines.

Encourage your child to read nutrition labels. Have them calculate the percent of a specific nutrient in each item.

Editor’s note: This information is from the Northwestern Evaluation Association.

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