How Is My Second Grader Doing In School?


  • If you are shopping in a drugstore or another place where there are small items for sale, give your child a dollar to spend on anything he wants. Chances are, he will amaze you with his addition and subtraction abilities!
  • Watch your child count change. You may assume that she will of course start counting with the larger coin values. Some children do this naturally; others do not. If she starts with the pennies, show her how much easier it is to start counting the big coins first.
  • Ask money questions like the following:
    • How many quarters are in a dollar? How many dimes? How many nickels?
    • If I have 17¢, what coins might I have?
    • I have 36 pennies. How many dimes can I get?
    • If I trade 9 pennies for 1 dime, am I getting a good deal?
  • Whenever a job needs to be done, challenge your child to race the clock: "I bet you can't get dressed by quarter after eight," or "Let's see if we can empty the dishwasher by quarter to six."
  • Play I Spy using fractions: "I spy with my little eye something that is almost half blue" (a blue-striped shirt).
  • At a restaurant, a ball game, or any other place where there is a list of prices, numbers, or statistics, give your child an answer and ask him to make up the question. For example, at the post office you might say, "The answer is 34¢. What could the question be?" One possible question: "If you bought a 32¢ stamp and a 2¢ stamp, how much would it cost?"
  • Introduce your child to Venn diagrams. Draw two interlocking rings on a large piece of paper, or make the rings out of string or yarn. On slips of paper, label the rings Things Made of Metal, Things Made of Plastic. Label the overlapping section Things Made of Metal and Plastic. Dump out the junk drawer, have your child sort its contents into the three groups, and place each object where it belongs on the Venn diagram.
  • Whenever you are scoring points -- in a ring toss or badminton game, for example -- up the ante by making each point worth 2 or 3 or 5. Suggest that your child skip-count to figure out the score.

Copyright © 1998 by Jennifer Richard Jacobson

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