Math. It doesn’t make me shudder, but if you ask me to do more than calculate 30% off a new blouse or subtract purchases in my checkbook, I may need a piece of paper and pencil. And some assistance from my 6th grader.
I’ve always been a voracious reader and consider my vocabulary and grammar pretty high on the scale. (Four-letter words notwithstanding.) I’ve always read to my kids and love the time we spend together deconstructing middle school adventures or rehashing Ramona Quimby’s third grade purgatory. Experts tell us reading to our kids is one of the single most important things we can do to ensure quality time together, a growth in reading comprehension, spelling, and more.
But what about math? Isn’t that just as important? To those who said they’d never use “real math” again after high school, I’m pretty sure the last laugh’s on Euclid.
But I’ve done enough retail math with my elementary school spawn at the grocery store to last a lifetime. Estimating the cost on a week’s worth of groceries in the cart? Done. Is the jumbo-sized box of cereal a better deal than the regular? Yawn. I’m as tired of these games as they are.
That’s why I loved discovering Bedtime Math. It’s a free, once-a-day email, also available on Facebook, that gives wacky, interesting facts about art with plastic spoons or squares on a toilet paper roll. Then, it asks age-appropriate math questions about what the kids just read. It asks questions for wee ones, little kids, big kids and “The Sky’s the Limit” for older kids and, okay, moms like me. I’ve unabashedly asked said 6th grader if my calculation was correct in that category. Many times.
The posts are designed to use before bedtime to get kids’ minds thinking in that direction, much the same way we desire through reading. My family uses them differently. Waiting for our order at a restaurant? Bedtime Math. Sitting in the car with one child waiting for another to finish a sports practice? Bedtime Math. They literally take no more than 3-5 minutes, so any place we’re waiting is appropriate.
Every day there’s a new post and they’re archived and searchable by category. And free. Did I mention that? There are apps built on the web site and silly math related videos, but we’re happy with just the daily post.
Many people joke about have lackluster math skills, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Instilling a love for problem solving, geometric shapes and beginning algebra cloaked in fun topics about Jell-O Lego bricks or tiny people and giant food (http://bedtimemath.org/fun-math-minifigures-big-food/) may be as simple as a five-minute Bedtime Math event.
My family has done these math problems for several years. Don’t expect me to amortize mortgage interest over the course of a 30-year loan, but I bet that 6th grader could do it.
This post is written by regular RMB guest contributor April Conway. April is a Reno resident who grew up in North Pole, Alaska. She recently made the transition from being a working mother as a human resources officer at the Nevada Air Guard to being a Stay At Home Mom (read about this decision here). April enjoys introducing her Girl Scout Troop to new endeavors, concurrently eating a lot of cookies, and desperately tries to find time to moisturize. She’s lived on or traveled to all seven continents and firmly believes that dust and mud from each of those is still embedded in her carpet. April is a wife to Cotter (yeah, it’s a family name) and mother to two school-aged children, a near deaf dog, two cats who understand use of the litter box and one with irritable bowel syndrome who doesn’t. When that doesn’t keep her busy enough, don’t ask how much she’s invested in carpet cleaning, there are also two frogs who happily inhabit her house.