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How Developing Social-emotional Learning Is Essential To Academic Success

Students spend most of their formative years within the structured confines of schools, where pencils scratch against papers and equations are solved. However, an entire dimension of the learning experience—social-emotional learning (SEL)—is vital for unlocking a child’s full potential. SEL isn’t just about cultivating empathetic individuals—it’s a gateway to academic prosperity. In this exploration, we will understand what constitutes SEL, its impact on academic achievement, and engage in 10 practical activities to embed SEL in the daily lives of elementary school students.

Unveiling The Essence Of Social-Emotional Learning

Social-emotional learning is the child’s capacity to manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. It’s an academic framework that elevates virtues such as self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. 

Students who have a strong foundation in SEL are known to have considerable advantages in their academic life. They exhibit better academic performance, are less likely to engage in disruptive classroom behavior, and show a greater propensity to graduate and pursue higher education. Acknowledging SEL as an integral part of the curriculum shapes a wholesome educational environment, supporting not just the heart but the mind of the growing child.

The Link Between Emotional Literacy And Academic Excellence

The intertwining of emotional intelligence and academic performance has increasingly come to the forefront of educational research, emphasizing social-emotional learning (SEL) ‘s profound impact on a student’s academic journey. The essence of SEL lies in its ability to cultivate emotional literacy among students, empowering them with the skills to navigate their emotions and the emotions of those around them effectively. This emotional literacy is not merely a supplementary skill but a foundational one, critical for academic success and personal growth.

The ability to manage emotions, particularly in the context of stress or conflict, directly correlates with enhanced problem-solving capabilities and conflict-resolution strategies. Students who are emotionally literate can approach challenges with a level head, view problems from multiple perspectives, and devise creative solutions. This skill set is invaluable in the classroom, where complex tasks and social dynamics are part of the daily experience.

Moreover, a positive emotional state nurtures an optimal learning environment. Research indicates that emotions such as curiosity, excitement, and interest can significantly enhance the learning process, making it more engaging and effective. On the contrary, negative emotions like anxiety, boredom, and disappointment can hinder academic performance, underscoring the importance of managing these emotions. 

Social-emotional learning fosters a culture of inclusivity and support within educational settings. When students feel understood and valued, their engagement levels soar. This heightened engagement leads to a more profound connection with the material being taught, enhancing focus and the retention of information. Consequently, students are more likely to develop a genuine interest in learning, exploring topics more deeply and actively participating in their education.

For educators and parents, investing in the development of SEL in students is a strategic move toward ensuring their academic success. By prioritizing emotional intelligence, schools create a nurturing environment that supports not only academic achievement but also the holistic development of each student. As such, SEL becomes a cornerstone of modern education, equipping students with the tools they need to thrive academically and beyond.

Embedding SEL In Academic Spaces: A How-To

Understanding the significance of SEL is just the beginning; the next crucial step is to implement SEL practices in students’ daily lives. Here are 10 activities that seamlessly weave SEL into the curriculum of an elementary school:

  1. Morning Check-ins

Begin each day with a circle time where students can share their thoughts and feelings. Encourage open conversations and teach active listening. This not only starts the day on a positive note but also cultivates empathy and social skills.

  1. Setting Academic and Personal Goals

Help students set academic and personal goals. Show them that personal growth is as important as academic success. Regular check-ins motivate them to effectively manage their time and emotions to achieve those goals.

  1. Mindfulness and Breathing Exercises

Introduce brief mindfulness exercises and deep breathing techniques to help children manage stress and increase attention spans. These practices are great tools for students to use in school and throughout their lives.

  1. Gratitude Journals

Encourage the keeping of a gratitude journal. Students can express thanks for three things each day, promoting positivity and a sense of well-being. This simple exercise encourages positive thinking, improving overall mental health.

  1. Random Acts of Kindness

Challenge your class to perform random acts of kindness. Discuss the impact of their actions on others and themselves. Experiencing how their behavior influences their peers can lead to a deeper understanding of empathy and social responsibility.

  1. Role-Playing

Engage students in role-playing scenarios to help them understand different perspectives. This will nurture empathy and aid in conflict resolution skills.

  1. Collaborative Projects

Institute projects that require collaboration and teamwork. This practice instills social skills, cooperation, and effective communication, all of which are essential components of SEL.

  1. Emotional Vocabulary

Teach students to articulate their feelings using a variety of emotional vocabulary. This helps them understand themselves and others better, leading to stronger relationships and more effective interactions in the classroom.

  1. Problem-Solving Circles

Create regular circles where students can discuss problems they are facing. This helps in developing listening skills, empathy, and collaborative problem-solving strategies.

  1. Reflective Practices

End each day by reflecting on what they learned and how they felt. This level of introspection fuels self-awareness, a foundational element of emotional intelligence.

The above activities, while simple and enjoyable, are powerful agents of change. When we prioritize SEL, we do not just ensure that children are academically proficient; we equip them with the life skills necessary for success beyond the classroom. Introducing SEL into the educational ecosystem is not just an investment in the student’s future but our collective future.

SEL At Home

Developing social-emotional learning (SEL) at home is equally vital as it is in the educational setting, providing a strong foundation for children to grow into well-rounded individuals. Parents and caregivers play a crucial role in this developmental process by modeling positive behaviors and employing strategies that encourage emotional growth. Setting aside time for meaningful conversations, where children feel heard and valued, nurtures their ability to express themselves and understand others. 

Establishing routines that include acts of kindness, gratitude expressions, and collaborative family projects can further reinforce the lessons of empathy, cooperation, and problem-solving. Additionally, creating a safe space at home for children to express their emotions, make decisions, and face the consequences of their actions encourages responsibility and self-management. By integrating SEL into daily home life, parents and caregivers can significantly enhance their child’s capacity for emotional intelligence and social interaction, supporting their success in various life aspects beyond the academic sphere.

A Strategic Necessity

In conclusion, the integration of social-emotional learning in academic settings is no longer a debated luxury but a strategic necessity. It’s a conscious, communitywide effort to foster environments where both cognitive and emotion-driven skills are valued and honed. Such a synergetic approach doesn’t just guarantee an academically robust future—it molds more empathetic, responsible, and engaged citizens for the world at large.

Armed with this knowledge, educators and parents stand at the forefront, ready to redefine the boundaries of academic success. With SEL as a key component, the educational landscape becomes a richer, more nurturing field, where every child’s potential is not just recognized, but profoundly realized.

For more information on helping your child with their social-emotional learning and other parenting tips, sign up for our Bulletin today!

Pillars of Math

The Benefits Of Homeschooling

When you hear the word’ education,’ what comes to your mind? Classrooms filled with children, teachers scribbling on chalkboards, and stacks of assignments, right? But what if we told you that there’s more to education than this traditional framework? Enter homeschooling — a personalized, flexible, and child-centred approach to learning that’s earning accolades both for its effectiveness and its empathy.

Before delving into the specifics, let’s first understand what homeschooling is. It is essentially a practice where parents or private tutors educate a child at home rather than sending them to a traditional public or private school. Sounds interesting? We bet it is, and over the course of this blog, we’ll walk you through the incredible benefits of homeschooling, answering why more parents are considering this unique educational model for their little one.

Unlocking Test Success with Homeschooling

When discussing why homeschooling is good, one cannot overlook the impressive test scores amassed by homeschooled students. A comprehensive study involving 20,000 children under the homeschooling model revealed exceptional performance, especially among those who had experienced homeschooling up to the high school level. Particularly in the context of the SAT test, these students outshine their peers, scoring approximately 67 points above the national average.

Contrary to popular belief, homeschooling doesn’t hinder a student’s ability to excel academically. Instead, it seems that the personalized, focused approach it offers might contribute to their excellent performance in standardized tests. The one-on-one instruction method is tailored to the child’s learning style, potentially making it easier for the student to comprehend complicated concepts and reducing their chances of lagging behind.

Moreover, homeschooling allows children to focus on their academic goals without wasting energy on navigating a conventional school environment. The absence of distractions such as peer pressure and bullying allows them to channel their concentration exclusively on their academic pursuit.

Students’ sense of achievement is also often amplified in the homeschooling environment. Being in the driver’s seat of their learning experience, these students can have an intensified sense of pride in their academic accomplishments. This self-motivation approach to learning could be another factor contributing to their better performance on tests.

Beyond giving students better odds at acing tests, homeschooling provides a solid foundation for further learning and success in adulthood. The nurturing, customized learning environment cultivates life-long learners, equipping them with a robust learning foundation that extends beyond rote test-taking into comprehensive understanding and critical thinking skills.

Emotional Freedom: A Homeschooling Advantage

It’s undeniable that traditional schooling often entails a unique set of stressors. Many students feel the relentless pressure to conform to peer influence, constant scrutiny, or even bullying. Furthermore, in a competitive classroom environment, it’s all too easy for subtle anxieties to spiral into deeper emotional struggles. However, the benefits of homeschool stands as a beacon of hope amid these concerns, offering students a safe space for growth.

Homeschooling circumvents these adversities, providing students with the breathing room they need. Emphasis is placed on individual development rather than group conformity, allowing students to follow their inclination without fear of reprisal or judgement. This encourages the development of self-confidence, leading to healthier levels of self-esteem amongst homeschoolers compared to their traditionally schooled counterparts.

Additionally, homeschooling enables parents to cultivate a more positive and supportive environment for their children. Without the need to ‘fit in’, students are free to explore their individuality and strengths at their own pace. No longer are they hindered by the unnecessary constraints of ‘group-thinking’. This form of learning allows students to become more emotionally mature and resilient, ultimately guiding them toward becoming more fulfilled adults.

Susannah Sheffer’s book, ‘A Sense of Self: Listening to Homeschooled Adolescent Girls,’ offers some revealing insights into this topic. She found that girls who were homeschooled didn’t experience the prevalent loss of self-esteem seen in traditional schooling. More often than not, these girls grew up to be emotionally mature, joyful adults.

Indeed, emotional freedom is a crucial advantage of homeschooling, encouraging independent growth and fostering an empathetic, nurturing educational environment. This ultimately results not only in academic success but also plays a significant part in raising confident, emotionally balanced future adults.

Socialization In Homeschooling: Breaking The Stereotypes

Does homeschooling mean isolation? Quite the contrary. The notion that homeschooled children are socially awkward or isolated is a common stereotype, but it’s not supported by the facts. Yes, homeschooling offers a different path for socialization, one that often leads to less ridicule and bullying and much more exposure to adults.

Although some people assume that homeschooled students have a smaller circle of friends, they tend to have deep and meaningful relationships with their peers. These homeschoolers may not engage daily with large groups of same-aged kids, but they interact through extracurricular activities such as sports, music, or art clubs.

Homeschooling also provides more unique experiences, allowing children to interact with people of different ages, backgrounds, and perspectives. This exposure can create well-rounded individuals who are adept at relating to a broad range of people. It’s important to remember that social development isn’t solely about being part of a large group – it’s also about quality interactions and learning to engage with the wider world.

However, the reality of homeschool socialization varies with each family’s approach. It’s up to parents to ensure their children participate in community-based activities and engage with peers, offering them a balanced social experience.

It’s crucial to weigh the pros and cons accurately. The perceived limitation of social interaction is balanced by the opportunities for unique learning experiences, more family time, moral teaching, addressing developmental needs directly, and allowing students more time for their hobbies or interests.

So let’s dispel the myth. Homeschooling doesn’t equal social isolation. Rather it offers the flexibility to learn and grow in diverse, engaging environments, promoting the development of resilient, adaptable, and socially adept individuals.

Flexible Schedules: A Homeschooling Perk For The Whole Family

You’ve probably witnessed the classic morning rush scenario at least once – hastily prepared breakfast, backpacks flying, and a mad scramble out of the door to make it to school on time. This is a typical morning for many families with school-going children. This, however, is not the case with homeschooling families.

Instead, imagine waking up at a comfortable time, savoring a healthy breakfast as a family, and beginning a day of learning in the comfort of your home. That’s the beauty of flexible homeschooling schedules. It eliminates the chaotic morning rush, making life simpler and easier for the whole family.

Flexible schedules apply not only to the start of the day but to the entire learning process as well. As a parent, you have the authority to decide the length of lessons according to your family’s particular requirements and your child’s learning pace. Should your child need more time on a certain subject or activity, you can easily adjust the schedule and pacing without worrying about rigid school timelines.

Homeschooling also includes the most liberating feature— the flexibility relating to holidays. Unlike traditional schooling, homeschooling doesn’t confine families to strict vacation times. You can take off-season educational trips, allowing your family to enjoy less crowded attractions while providing hands-on educational experiences. From museum visits to park tours, these field trips can perfectly tie in with the subjects being learned at home, making education a fun and engaging experience rather than a daunting task.

Homeschooling families usually find that their household stress levels decrease and the overall pace of life slows down in a delightful manner. Considering all of this, it’s evident that homeschooling offers a level of freedom and adaptability that conventional educational formats can hardly match.

Customized Learning Plans: A Unique Aspect Of Homeschooling

In the realm of education, one size often doesn’t fit all. The beauty of homeschooling is in its ability to personalize the learning experience for each child, making it a unique advantage of this educational choice. Unlike most traditional educational methodologies, homeschooling is tailored towards the learner’s individual needs, abilities, and interests.

A tailored curriculum further reinforces the concept that learning isn’t just about memorizing facts and figures, but about inciting curiosity and fostering a genuine love for knowledge. The flexibility of homeschooling allows for any topic or subject that sparks the child’s interest to be incorporated into lessons. Whether it’s a deep dive into the world of dinosaurs or an exploration of the stars, the possibilities are endless.

Moreover, homeschooling progresses in sync with the child’s own pace. That means if a child grasps a concept quicker than others, they’re not held back until their peers catch up. Likewise, if they need more time to solidify their understanding of a complex subject, they’re not forced to move on until they’re ready. This respect for personal pace eliminates the pressure often associated with academic progression and creates a more productive learning environment.

Customization also extends to accommodating special educational needs. If a child has learning difficulties or specific conditions, the homeschooling approach can be adjusted to account for these factors. This maximizes the child’s learning potential and ensures that their education is a positive and enriching experience.

Thus, homeschooling, with its adaptable and encouraging structure, sets the stage for a well-rounded and enjoyable education. It prepares children for future academic endeavors, and perhaps more importantly, fosters a lifelong love of learning.

Say Goodbye to Homework with Homeschooling

With homeschooling, the common frustrations and struggles related to homework can become a thing of the past. Rather than coming back from a day at school only to face another several hours of homework, homeschooling creates an environment where learning is integrated into daily life in a far more holistic and balanced manner. This not only fosters a love for learning, but also eliminates the need for excessive amounts of homework.

Direct involvement in the learning process also decreases the need for homework. In traditional schooling, homework often serves as a way for educators to ensure that concepts from class are reinforced at home. However, homeschooling allows for immediate application and practice of new concepts, reducing the need for extensive homework assignments.

The myth that homeschooling could translate into a household filled with rigorous and seemingly endless homework is far from the truth. In fact, one of the enchanting aspects of this approach to education is the flexibility it provides. Learning occurs not just from textbooks or set assignments, but from everyday activities, interactions, and practical experiences as well. The world becomes the real classroom.

Homeschooling parents often remark about the joy of not having to play the ‘homework police’ every evening. As education becomes integrated directly into a child’s life, parents are less pressured to force their child to sit down and complete homework tasks, making education a less stressful endeavor for the whole family.

In a nutshell, homeschooling equates to more learning and less homework. It’s an educational approach that lends itself to a more harmonious blend of lifestyle, learning, and leisure.

The Benefits Of Homeschool

The merits of homeschooling go beyond academic achievement, as seen in the test scores. Homeschooling nurtures a child’s emotional well-being, encourages them to be more independent and opens up a world of flexibility in schedule management, considerably reducing family stress. It breaks down the fallacy of social isolation often associated with homeschooling and underscores the societal value raised homeschooled children contribute as they mature into socially responsible adults. It emphasizes the essence of child centered learning, addressing their special needs and fostering the spirit of inquisitiveness. Indeed, homeschooling emerges as an alternative form of education and a paradigm shift for healthier parenting and happier children who grow into happier adults.

For more information about the benefits of homeschooling and tips on helping your child with their education, sign up for our eBulletin!


Pillars of Math

What Are The Four Pillars Of Math?

The Four Pillars of Math are four concepts that are essential for students to understand in order to be successful in math. These pillars are: number sense, operational sense, proportional reasoning, and algebraic reasoning. By mastering these four fundamental concepts,  students will be able to solve any problem they encounter in math. In addition, the four pillars of math provide a strong foundation for students to build upon as they move on to more advanced concepts.

The Foundation Of Our Program

At Dropkick Math Academy, the foundation of our math tutoring program focuses on the four pillars of math. These four pillars are essential building blocks for understanding higher-level math concepts. We focus on one or more of these pillars throughout our program in each module. For example, in our first module, Operations, Whole Numbers, and Pirates, we focus heavily on developing a conceptual understanding of both number and operational sense. Without a strong understanding of these operations, it would be impossible to move on to more complex topics like algebra. However, we also touch on the other three pillars in this module. For instance, we use proportional reasoning to explore place value. By the end of the module, students have a well-rounded foundation in arithmetic and are prepared to move on to more advanced modules.

The Four Pillars Of Math

Let’s take a closer look at each of the four pillars:

Number Sense

Number sense is understanding the quantity represented by a number. It is not the same as numeracy, which is the ability to do calculations. Number sense develops gradually. For example, a baby starts by recognizing that they see one person or two people. By the time they start school, they can count up to 20 or more. They learn what numbers mean in terms of amounts and quantities. This knowledge forms the foundation for learning more complex math concepts later on. 

Fractions are an excellent example of a concept that builds on number sense. In order to understand fractions, students need to be able to visualize the quantity represented by a number. For example, if there are four pieces of candy and I eat two of them, then I have eaten half of the candy. Fractions are a way of representing numbers that are not whole numbers, and understanding fractions requires a strong foundation in number sense. 

Operational Sense

Operational sense is a critical math concept that refers to a child’s ability to make sense of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division and use them in problem-solving situations. When a child is able to develop a strong understanding of the operations, they can recognize the relationships among them and develop systems for computing numbers. This understanding helps to form the basis for the four pillars of math.

Operational sense is not just about being able to do the computations but about understanding when and how to use them. For example, a child who knows that addition can be used to find out how many objects are in a group but does not understand that it can also be used to put together two groups of objects has not yet developed operational sense. Operational sense is a critical foundation for success in math, and children who develop a strong understanding of the operations are well on their way to becoming math problem-solvers.

Proportional Reasoning

Proportional reasoning is a unifying theme in mathematics and is often considered the foundation of abstract mathematical understanding. All four pillars connect to proportional reasoning. For example, in whole numbers, students learn about place value which is based on 10s. In decimals, place value is based on 10s with an added number after the decimal point. In fractions, there are different parts of a whole, and students use visual representations to help understand the relationships between those parts. Lastly, in percentages, there are hundredths and relationships are represented out of 100. 

By making connections to prior learning, students see that proportional reasoning is everywhere in mathematics! Proportional reasoning is not just a process but rather it’s a way of looking at the world and solving problems. In essence, proportional reasoning is the consideration of numbers in relative terms compared to absolute terms.

Algebraic Reasoning

Patterns are all around us. They can be found in the seasons, the way leaves grow on a tree, and the numbers we use every day. Understanding patterns is an essential mathematical skill that helps us to make sense of the world around us. 

Algebraic reasoning is a way of thinking that uses mathematics to solve problems and understand relationships. It is an essential skill that is introduced in the early years of learning and continues to play an increasingly important role through grades 4 to 9.

Algebraic reasoning can be used to solve problems in a variety of ways, including by using algebraic equations, graphing, and creating tables and charts. It is a powerful tool that can help us to understand complex ideas and make predictions about the future. By understanding algebraic reasoning, we can better understand the world around us and our place within it.

Learning Skills

The approach used in Dropkick Math Academy teaches children certain skills along with the four pillars to set them up for success in their future education. These include:

Concepts – Concepts are the building blocks of math. If students don’t understand the basic concepts, they’ll struggle to progress. That’s why we focus on teaching concepts in a way that is clear and easy to understand. We want students to really grasp the material so they can build on it later.

Fluency – Fluency is about being able to do math accurately. It’s important for students to be able to recall math facts and equations quickly so they can focus on solving problems. We use a variety of techniques to help students improve their fluency, including games and practice with real-world applications.

Problem-solving – Problem-solving is an essential skill for all students, not just those interested in math or science. Breaking down a problem and finding a solution is a valuable life skill that will serve students well no matter what path they choose. We encourage students to approach problem-solving with confidence and to persevere when they find themselves stuck.

Mastering The Four Pillars

The Dropkick Math team is committed to helping students master the Four Pillars of Math. We believe that this is the best way to set students up for success in their math education. We have created a variety of resources, such as articles, videos, and games, that all focus on helping students understand and master these four concepts and better understand math operations. Visit our website today to start exploring these resources and learn more about our math help services. By taking our FREE assessment, your child can begin to build a strong foundation in math!

Pillars of Math

What Are The STEM Majors?

What Are The STEM Majors?

What Are The STEM Majors

When your child looks to their future, what do they see? If they see themselves in a career that requires math and science skills, they will most likely focus on a STEM major in higher education. A STEM major is a field of study in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. These programs are designed to give students the skills they need to succeed in high-demand fields. In this blog post, we will discuss math concepts that are important for students who want to pursue a STEM major in university. We will also talk about how our math intervention program can help prepare your child for success!

The Buzz Around STEM

Recently in elementary education, there has been a buzz around science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It is well known that our country needs to produce students skilled in the STEM fields to fill jobs and continue our country’s tradition of innovation. However, understanding that we need more children to get excited about stem majors and actually growing the number who go into that field are very different matters.

The STEM majors list includes:

  • Astronomy
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Computer science
  • Engineering
  • Earth sciences
  • Health Sciences
  • Information technology
  • Mathematics
  • Physics

There are numerous branches of study within these individual disciplines leading to various career paths. 

Skills Built From An Early Age

Evidence is mounting to show that STEM skills built from early learning can help students to develop the habits and knowledge that will last them a lifetime of understanding and proficiency. Children naturally learn by exploring, asking questions, and discussing their findings, so it is important to encourage STEM learning early in school.

Early childhood education teachers are currently trying innovative new models to include more STEM education in their classrooms. In elementary school, creative teachers have managed to find STEM-related activities so that children can develop their math, science and technology skills.

In early education, children have the gift for exploration and experimentation already in place. When those natural impulses are matched with math concepts, students can gain a solid foundation to help them move forward throughout school. At Dropkick Math, we offer innovative, online, engaging activities and hands-on offline games to guide students’ exploration while building a solid foundation in mathematical skills.

Math Foundation

It is never too early to get your child interested in a chosen career path. But if that career choice includes math and your child struggles with the subject, our program may be able to help. If you have been wondering, “Is there a math tutor near me?” Dropkick Math can offer a solution. Our programs differ from a traditional math tutor in many ways, including providing your child with the foundation of mathematics in a fun and engaging way. 

The Transfer Of Knowledge

Evidence suggests that basic addition and subtraction math concepts can be used to build upon later in education to accomplish more complicated skills. The “transfer of learning” can often help a child understand a different principle. Transfer of learning has been demonstrated repeatedly in early education studies. For example, early understanding of a mathematical skill can set the stage to incorporate that knowledge later as math processes expand into more complex questions. This is one reason why it is important for children to understand the basic principles of math at an early age. Dropkick Math can help students build on these skills at an early age to help with their math comprehension and overall academic performance throughout their learning years.

The Four Pillars Of Math

At Dropkick Math, we offer fun and engaging programs that involve the parent/caregiver while learning the four pillars of math. The four pillars of math include algebraic reasoning, proportional reasoning, operational sense, and number sense. The approach we use provides alternative studies that allow for conceptual understanding. We recognize common areas of difficulty in mathematics that students may have, and provide instructional practices for addressing these areas of difficulty.

Your child will need to excel in mathematics to continue to a STEM major. But we know that a weak pillar can significantly impact future math success. The gap in learning caused by the pandemic has also affected some children in math. So, we have built our programs so that your child gains a conceptual understanding of mathematics and can get caught up with any missed learning caused by COVID. Contact us today to learn more about our programs and how they can help your child stay on track with their education for the future.

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How Important Is It To Be Involved In Your Child’s Learning

How Important Is It To Be Involved In Your Child’s Learning

How Important Is It To Be Involved In Your Child's Learning

Even parents who were top of the math class when they were in school may find themselves perplexed by modern math curricula. But, in this time of disrupted traditional instructions, parents and teachers need to work together to support their children’s math learning. This is why at Dropkick Math, we believe that parent involvement is vital to the success of a child’s math education. By being actively involved and setting high expectations for your child, you can help guide them towards having high values of doing well in school.

Get Involved

One of the main problems is that most parents simply don’t know how to play a more significant role in their children’s math education. This situation can be complicated because many parents struggle with math themselves. This can make it more difficult for them to help their children and often inadvertently pass on their math anxiety. 

What students discover, observe, and learn outside the classroom can benefit them greatly. In real life, they can get practical education applicable to real-life situations, and in school, the instruction focuses on theoretical and the abstract. Parents can help to merge these two realms.

An easy way of interacting with your child and teaching them that math is used in everyday life is to talk aloud as you work through daily tasks. Thinking aloud and asking questions can allow your child to hear how you think which will help them develop the essential skills needed for solving problems. For example, if you were eating cookies, count how many you have, ask what happens when you break them apart and talk about their shape.

When trying to stay involved with your child’s learning, there are some steps that parents can take:

  • staying in touch with the child’s teacher
  • encouraging a child to talk through their math assignments
  • embracing informal math thinking, such as playing games that focus on patterns or counting

A Stressful Time

Educators say to remember that we are in a uniquely stressful time for parents, children, and educators. Many families are still struggling to make remote classes work which means many children have a varying level of support.

Both parents and teachers should be encouraged to talk with one another, not just about the subjects that may need work, but about the student’s skills. Parents should also take time to speak to their children about math. If parents don’t understand the math themselves, they can ask their child to explain it to them, adding to a child’s self-confidence.

Parent Engagement

By learning math with your child, you can become a role model for them. The Ministry of Education recently released information on “Parent Engagement,” which said, “Parent engagement matters. Study after study has shown us that student achievement improves when parents play an active role in their children’s education, and that good schools become even better schools when parents are involved…” 

Practice Perseverance

If you are a parent that is struggling to be engaged in your child’s learning, it is worth the perseverance. Getting parents involved can be productive for everyone involved, and an educationally attentive home setting has been proven to impact student achievement positively.

Learn how our programs at Dropkick Math can help you learn alongside your child. Our programs focus on the four pillars of math and allow the parent and child to work together in a fun and interactive learning environment.

Pillars of Math

How To Easily Apply Mathematics In Everyday Life

How To Easily Apply Mathematics In Everyday Life

How To Easily Apply Mathematics In Everyday Life

If you take a quick look around your home or out on the street, you will quickly come to realize that numbers are everywhere! From the numbers and minutes displayed on a clock to the sequences of numbers on the license plate, there are various opportunities for children to apply their mathematical skills in everyday situations, whatever their age.

Making real-life connections to numbers can help children with their counting, estimating, adding and subtracting skills. Many don’t even realize they’re using math as they count the number of seconds before they hunt for a friend in a game of hide and seek or play hopscotch on numbered squares in the school ground.

There are many opportunities to demonstrate to children how the need to use mathematical skills is all around us. In the supermarket, while cooking dinner, or on the walk to school all offer many chances to speak about math. And with a bit of nudging, it’s also a chance for children to show you what they already know and how they can work problems out by themselves. This can help build the child’s confidence based on what they’ve previously learned.

In The Supermarket

Taking your child to the supermarket can provide a wealth of opportunities to use their mathematical knowledge. Start by looking at price labels, special offers, and ask them to help calculate a discount on reduced items. Show them how to use multiplication to determine the best value when looking at multibuy offers. Involve younger children by using scales and weighing some of their favourite fruits or vegetables. Also, try to use cash to familiarize your child with handling money and calculating change at the checkout. This is a great way for children to start to understand money and budgets, and it can be fun for them to try estimating the value of the final shopping basket at the checkout.

Algebraic reasoning can also be practiced in the supermarket. Although it may seem like a foreign concept to many children, believe it or not, we do use it regularly. For example, you will need to use an algebraic equation to figure out how many hamburgers you would need for a party if you wanted two hamburgers for every adult, one hamburger for every child, and an extra three just in case. 

Cooking At Home

Try cooking with your child at home using simple recipes that utilize several mathematical skills. Choose a recipe such as muffins that produces a larger amount than the number of people in your family. Have children rewrite the recipe by halving amounts or doubling them. Children can also learn to weigh out ingredients to the appropriate amounts and learn how to read varying increments on a weighing scale.

On A Field Trip

No matter if a child is going on a daily walk around the house or a long car journey, they can begin to understand the use of numbers in the world around them and start to develop mental dexterity. For example, ask them to keep count of silver cars and red cars simultaneously, or use a pedometer to record steps on their regular walk to school. Younger children could be asked such questions as “how many shoes are on the shoe rack?” This can help to encourage children to use unique and complex skills such as counting in twos.

While out on a walk, children can also be encouraged to find patterns in nature. Depending on their age, the more complicated the pattern they may be able to find. This can help them develop their skills in geometry. 

Number Sense

To understand math deeply, the brain needs to form connections. So seeing it in real life can help children form these connections between abstract math concepts and real everyday life. When math becomes more relevant for students, they become more interested, engaged and willing to participate. By incorporating mathematics in everyday life, you could help to develop your child’s number sense.

The Ontario mathematics curriculum for grades 1 to 8 states that “In integrated learning, students are provided with opportunities to work towards meeting expectations from two or more subjects within a single unit, lesson or activity. By linking expectations from different subject areas, teachers can provide students with multiple opportunities to reinforce and demonstrate their knowledge and skills in a range of settings. Also, the mathematical process that focuses on connecting encourages students to make connections between mathematics and other subject areas.”

This helps explain why the curriculum focuses less on memorizing facts and equations and focuses more on critical thinking and problem solving about mathematical concepts. Parents can help extend this learning at home by making the connections between a child’s activities and the math concepts.

Career Choices

Some children are focused on the fact that their favourite career doesn’t have anything to do with math. Therefore, they are not motivated or engaged in learning mathematics. So, it is a great idea for these children to get them looking into the courses they will need to take to earn their degree/diploma in that field. Researching the career more to figure out what is actually required in that position often shows students how math can help them get into the career they choose. Once they see the math behind the career, they may be more motivated to excel to go into this profession in the future.

At Dropkick Math, we understand children need to encounter math in everyday life to help develop their fundamentals in the four pillars of math. Our programs focus on algebraic reasons, operational sense, number sense, and proportional reasoning. With a fun and engaging learning environment, your child can build on their math skills and gain the confidence they need to excel in mathematics. Learn more about our programs today!