Podcast Episode 10: Two Math Skills That Your Can't Just Leave to the Curriculum

These two critical math skills are important for so many deeper math skills later in their academic career! Be sure to help your child become fluent in them. In this episode, I'll talk about these two skills and give concrete ways to practice them daily.

Audio version:


Welcome to Decoding Learning Differences with Kimberlynn Lavelle. This episode is two math skills that you just cannot leave to the curriculum. So this episode, we're going to be talking about two very important math skills that if you only use the whatever curriculum you're using, that's your only way of teaching this. Your children are not going to get the skills most likely. It's just something I see over and over and over again.

And I kind of get a little frustrated because it's not hard for parents to teach it. And when they leave it to just the schools to teach, it just doesn't happen most of the time, at least not, not in a very deep way or a fluent way where they really become fluent with these Skills. So I will mention that I do have a checklist for choosing curriculum.

So as you're choosing your math curriculum, you can download the checklist, www.yourparenthealth.com/choose-a-curriculum. And it'll walk you through some things to think about as you're choosing a curriculum and there's videos, that'll go along with walking you through how to use this checklist. So get it in the link below, but You're going to also want something more than curriculum for the two skills.

So we're going to be talking about today, first skill telling time. So You just don't like if you have one chapter in a math book about telling time, kids just don't learn how to tell time. They might Understand it sort of in a, like, this is what it says in this very perfect worksheet kind of world. But if you ask them,

what time is it on an analog clock? They don't know. And they become sixth graders that don't know how to tell time. They become ninth graders that don't know how to whole time. They become adults that don't know how to tell time until they take it upon themselves to figure out how does this work, how it like, or they start learning it slowly,

but it takes a long time if they aren't just, it's not just dropped to them little by little over and over. So that's what I would really want to encourage you to do is make telling time a part of your child's day-to-day all the time. It's just, it's not a big deal. It's something that we practice all the time, but not in a we're practicing this math skill kind of way.

You're just practicing, practicing. And by doing it, you're just telling time. So a couple of things to make sure you are doing have clocks analog, non-digital have analog clocks around the house, all over the house. You might have different Hines. You might have the little ones that don't have numbers on them, because it makes them think and figure things out in a different way.

You might have ones that have Roman numerals that makes them think about things in a different way. They have to really understand how to use those. No, to start with, I would make sure that the clocks that your children are seeing most often do you have regular numerals and they don't have to, you know, standard standard numerals that we're using so that they don't have to like figure out what is this?

I don't know. It's like, you know, you don't want to be teaching them multiple things and confuse them all the more and make them just not even want to learn to tell time. So you just make it natural. You just have clocks around the house and you talk about it as you're going about your day. Oh, the long hand is almost on the 12th.

So it's the next hour almost. Okay. It's almost three o'clock or, Oh, it's on the three. That means it's five, 10, 15 minutes after three o'clock. So it's three 15. What? That's also called a quarter after three. 

If you kind of just talk about what you're seeing on the clock, theoretically, you know, throughout the day, then when you do have those structured lessons in the curriculum, they're like, "Oh yeah, I've heard you talk about that." And after you've had those, and you're still talking about that to be like, "Oh yeah, I can see that. We, you know, we've worked on that and I know what that means. And I'm practicing it."

Even by listening to you, practice it, they can get it. You don't have to quiz them all the time. I'm never going to tell you to quiz your kids all the time, ask them what time it is. Every day at five o'clock and four, you know, before the lunch, ask them what time it is and always have this, you know, don't quiz your kids all the time ever.

It just makes them like, get frustrated and feel like you don't respect them. And you don't trust that they know stuff and makes them feel stressed out. And especially if their mind is on something else and then you pop in with it. What time is it in your life? They're like, I don't know. I'm focused on this. And now I figured out what time it is.

And don't just, don't do that to your children. Please. No one will benefit from it, but you can model your thinking all the time and you can have conversations about it. You can even say, okay, well, you know, based on the clock, it's 1130. So it'll be 12. It'll be noon in 30 minutes. Should we eat now?

Or do you want to eat at noon? Right? Like you can kind of have a conversation about what you're seeing on the clock, but also tie it into, usually we eat at now, but I'm not really hungry. You hungry. Should we wait about a half hour? And then when it's on the 12th, it'll be noon we can eat then what do you think?

Yeah. Okay, perfect. Right. Like just having conversations. Another big one that I know helped me a lot as a child and learning how to tell time is when I actually had an analog clock on my wrist as a wristwatch, an analog wristwatch can make a huge difference in a child. Now for me, I think it was partly because I wasn't a public school.

So I was like looking at the time on my wrist all the time. We have clocks in the classroom, but when it was on my wrist, now, it was like always there. And I could work on learning it and really study it and stare at it. It was the same clock that I was looking at all the time. It was easy to read.

It was easy for me to count, you know? Okay, well, what is this? What time would it be? Then I'm looking at it afterschool to the same cop that I'm looking at, you know, Oh, what, how long is it taking to ride the bus? How long does it taking, you know, what time is this?

What time is that? So having that consistency was really helpful. And it was just something that like, if I was bored, I was looking at my wristwatch. So I did learn more about time in that way too. So number one skill that you need to work on throughout your day in very little ways, don't make it a huge thing, but don't rely on any curriculum to be how your child learns, how to tell time.

Please just make it part of their day. Use clocks, use watches, they'll get it. The next one, money. Money is another big one that I see all the time, especially in the age of credit cards. And now it's not even like credit cards, it's you hold your phone up and you just pay. So it's getting really confusing to kids, what money is and how many works.

And a lot of times kids don't know how to count coins, and you might not think it's a big deal, but if your child knows how to count coins, they know how to work with decimals. So it's a huge benefit that if your child knows money, then when they get to learning decimals, they already know decimals to some degree, they already know fractions.

Like it's an introduction to something in a really easy, soft way. So here's my suggestion for money. Well, as with time, make it real, bring it into daily life as much as you can. So here's one idea. One way you can do this is every day, give your child one penny or maybe two pennies.

I like kind of like two pennies better because it makes it even number of pennies, which kind of screws you up when you get to Nichols is not just like every fifth day, you get a nickel, but you can also switch to that. So you could start with one penny and then every time they get to five pennies, they have to trade you for a nickel.

And after they've got a, you know, they'd practice that, and maybe it only takes until they've got two nickels and they've figured that out. And it seems easy then, okay, now they've got two nickels. They can trade you for one dime and you're going to be pointing out to them that it looks like less money, but it's actually the same amount.

That little tiny one is worth more than the other ones. So help them know that, help them understand that, show them that, and have them practice it. And it might take awhile. It might be a penny every day, for months before they start to really understand nickels and dimes. So just pay attention. Does this seem easy to them?

Does it seem confusing to them? At what point are they ready to now bring in quarters? Which can be a little confusing. So for quarters, I would recommend that you run out of dimes. You don't have any more dimes. Oh, you have this roll of quarters. So your nickels, we could trade your nickels for quarters. And then you can talk through five, 10, 15, 20, 25.

It takes five nickels to make one quarter to have them have the same value. It's 25 cents. There's five nickels, you know, talking through how that works and then give them a quarter, Oh, you have another five Nichols. Well then here's another quarter, 25 cents, 50 cents. You have 50 cents. You have half of a dollar,

right? You can talk to them about all of this stuff. Like just make it part of it's a quarter of it. It's and then two of those is half of a dollar, three quarters of a dollar 75 cents a dollar. So then we're also just always practicing like 25, 50, 75, a dollar, just like we count by fives and count by tens.

It's really good to count by 20 fives, at least up to a dollar so that they know and can easily count by quarters. This is where a lot of kids really just like they, they kind of get the fives and the tens I, when I see them counting like on a worksheet, they have to write down all of the values and add them up paper, pencil.

They can't like just fluently, count it in their head and they need to. So having them do it all the time is helpful. If you give your child an allowance, especially if a child's a little bit older. I'm when I was talking about like one penny a day, I'm thinking of a child who's just getting introduced to money is like one minute.

If they're kind of getting good at money and if you give them allowance or if you just want to start randomly giving them money, I would say, give them a weird amount as their allowance, like 79 cents. Even if it's 79 cents every day, whatever, and then have a pile of change, mixed up change and put it on the table and tell them they have to count out their allowance.

And then they have, I have to figure out how to count to 79 cents if they really like using diamonds to do that. No problem. Okay. Makes sense. But maybe then the next time you give it to them, there's not as many dimes and they can't just use that. Yeah. So if you kinda, you gotta like force them to use different strategies,

but just not having all of this, all of enough of that type of coin that they have to start mixing things up and then maybe you're going to give them a raise. And now they're their allowances, 93 cents. Again, it can be 93 cents a week, 93 cents a day, 93 cents, twice a day. I, you want, I don't care about that.

I care about them just practicing money. And this is kind of a fun way to do it because it's been money that they like get to keep and they get to do something with it. So whatever works for you, it's really good to just give your kids actual coins to work with and to think about. And then of course, at some point you get to give them a full dollar.

After they've gotten to however many quarters and nickels and dimes, and you might, they might have like $10 worth before you give them $1, because maybe they just need a lot of practice with the coins. And it's fun. You also can just play games with like grabbing a handful and they grab a handful. And then you both count how many coins are in your handful and who has a bigger value.

And your they're going to know that if they grabbed the area that has all the quarters, even though their hand might be smaller than yours, if you're grabbing the area that has all the pennies there, they might have a bigger value than your hand. So in that can just be a game like it doesn't have to be that they win the money. It's just, who has, who has more or who has less just talking through it, just a game of like grabbing, counting, grabbing, counting.

If they have friends that they're doing it with, if they have siblings, everybody can get involved. Mom, dad, everybody, you know, gram, grandpa, whatever you can have, you can encourage grandma and grandpa that instead of a gift, give them a bag of coins. We're going to just count and play and whatever.

So you also, if you have a lot of coins in your house, if you're one of those people, that's like big jugs, go get those little paper rolls and have them start like counting out money for you and really notice, like, what does it feel like to have this much worth of, you know, $20 worth of quarters or whatever, whatever it is that your working with them.

Okay. So Time and money, real life learning is critical. You have and make it fun. Fun is critical. That's my other big one. Fun is critical, but real life learning is critical to making them really understand how time and money work in a way that's just fluent.

That's what we want here is like, we don't want it to be something where they have to get out a piece of paper and a pencil, or like be counting on the top of Five, 10, 15. It's the same every time. So every time they see the four, they should know 20, right? So we want them to really get used to it.

It also then helps with multiplication. It helps with fractions, like thinking about the top clock as a fraction. That's huge. So if your child knows time, if your child does money, it spills over into so many other math skills. I really am big on teaching time and money. And that learning is just critical to make it fluent so they can quickly and easily figure out the money or the time.

So make it fun, make it less. Non-stressful make it real life day to day. And if you are in the market for curriculum, I do have the checklist. You can download the checklist at www.yourparenthelp.com/choose-a-curriculum. The link is below. So look for that and that'll help you kind of walk through what curriculum you want. And I do have videos to go with it for picking a math curriculum, language arts curriculum, and a science or social studies curriculum.

So check that out and email me, let me know what you thought of this episode. What other episodes you'd like to see here and how things are landing for you? I am Kimberlynn@DecodingLearningDifferences.com. And I can't wait to hear from you.



All of these episodes are designed to be super helpful to you! 
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Decoding Learning Differences