NEW YORK (AP) -- For some children, math homework is hard.
It becomes easier, though, with some additional math work at home, according to Wayne Wickelgren, co-author of "Math Coach: A Parent's Guide to Helping Children Succeed in Math" (Penguin Putnam).
Wickelgren, a former Massachusetts Institute of Technology cognitive psychologist specializing in learning, is a father of five children who volunteered as an elementary and middle school math team coach.
His at-home teaching tips include:
-- Setting goals and allotting time. To boost a child's interest in math, set aside about an hour a week, perhaps in two half-hour stints, for fun math-related activities such as puzzles, games or reading nontechnical books about math or mathematicians. If a child needs supplementary instruction to the school curriculum, devote between one and three hours per week to organized lessons. (Full-time homeschooling requires much more time, he notes.)
-- Parents should prepare lessons before sitting down with their child. Gather textbooks, workbooks and teacher's guides for the appropriate grade level. Remember to keep concepts in order, such as teaching to count by ones before learning addition, so the child can build upon concepts he already understands. Also, says Wickelgren, assign lots of problems of different types during a session instead of deeply analyzing a small number of problems.
-- Review ideas periodically. People do not remember most pieces of knowledge they've been exposed to just once. Reinforcement should occur over several study sessions, not going over the same thing repeatedly in one sitting -- it's too boring.
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