As parents and educators, we are all fighting to answer the question “How can I get my kids to learn math?” Today’s generation has plenty of distractions to pull their attention away from their math classes or the desire to learn math. With video game sales going through the roof, social media, cable television, fantasy sports and Youtube, who wants to do math?  Parents need to use these “distractions” to lessen the suffering that math brings to children worldwide.

Sports are another way to get your child involved in math.  With the baseball season in full swing, you can have your child start calculating their batting average, find their average time in swimming or track, or their average yardage per game in football.  Fantasy sports are full of endless opportunities that can have your child finding solutions to multi-variable linear equations.  In fact, your child can create their own scoring system and get all of their friends involved with a little of your help and some incentive to win.

The internet is full of opportunities to teach your child how to do math.  Chances are that if your child is involved in social media, they are probably following Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Lil Wayne, Katy Perry or One Direction. Twitaholic.com lists statistics for these artists and many more, so that your child can start projecting how many times their favorite celeb will be tweeting over the course of the next year, or how many tweets this celeb has made per day since signing up.  In addition, you can then talk about how companies look at the amount of followers a person has in order to use them for sponsorship purposes and marketing.  The same can be done with Youtube videos as well, showing them how Psy became such an overnight sensation.

Lastly, comes the dreaded question that leaves you stammering; “When am I ever going to use this?”  This question can be tough to address because a lot of times, we don’t know the answer.  Instead of answering the question for them, have them research the topic and it’s applications.  If your child has an idea of what they might want to choose for their profession, have them search for applications of current math topics in their field of choice.

My most successful lessons as a teacher have come when I used the interests of my students to teach math for the day, whether it was finding the average cost of a Louis Vuitton purse, 25 % off sales at Banana Republic (having the student find the cost of an outfit), or using “The Walking Dead” TV show to teach Geometry.  Using these methods will not only inspire your child to do a little work on math, but will also help you to share in your child’s passions as well.

Article Written by Quintan Russell, TLC Lead Math Teacher