Prepare children now for new school year

READERS:A little preparation before the first day of school will help relieve some of your children's anxieties, whether they are entering preschool or their first year of college.

Talk with your children now and find out what worries them about the start of the new school year. Are your children worried about having a new teacher, making friends or being ready to handle new and more difficult work?

Making a list of what concerns they have and then talking about what can be done to eliminate each fear definitely will help them feel less anxious.

Another thing that helps younger children is role-playing the situations that are causing fear and concern.

It also is wise to remind all children that every year presents new opportunities to succeed in school.


Summer math activity No. 9

School is just around the bend. Whether it is going to start this week or next month, now is the time to review basic math skills before the new school year. This is especially important for children in kindergarten through grade six.

Multiplication presents problems for many children who have a hard time committing the basic facts (1 x 1 through 9 x 9) to memory. It is a very important skill that they will need in order to handle more advanced math, especially algebra. The task of learning the multiplication facts is much easier if your children build upon facts they have previously learned.

Here are some ways to help your children master multiplication. Use a set of multiplication cards (1 x 1 through 6 x 6) with the answers on the back. Have your children choose a card at random and use plates and counters to see the problem. For 2 x 3, they would use two plates with three counters on each one. They also can illustrate problems by using arrays of blocks. Next, have your children use a set of flashcards with the facts 2 x 7 through 6 x 9. They should show each problem with an array of blocks. For 2 x 7, the array would have seven blocks across in two horizontal rows.

Then the array should be broken into two arrays as close to the middle as possible. The children would then write the multiplication fact for each array and add the two together for the answer. This will help them see that the product of 2 x 7 is equal to the sum of the arrays 2 x 3 + 2 x 4 — facts that they should know. The next step is for children to use blocks or arrays to show that the product is the same for 2 x 7 and 7 x 2. Finally, the children should master one of the tricks used to multiply 9's.

Once you are sure that your children understand multiplication, have them drill, as practice will pay dividends. Search online for "one-minute multiplication drills."

Math puzzle No. 9:Have your children use their knowledge of mathematical terms by answering these questions: (1) What did Noah build? (2) What do you say when a parrot is dead?

Answer to puzzle No. 8:Plant the bushes in the shape of a star.

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