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Your 8-year-old now
Among the math skills your child will be expected to know before fourth grade:
- fractions and decimals (including coin and currency values)
- working in three-digit numbers, including adding and subtracting
- skip-counting by fives
- the basics of multiplication, memorizing times tables
- working in word problems
- predicting reasonable estimates
- measuring time using clocks and calendars, measuring temperature, units of measure for weight
- geometry basics, such as perimeter, area, and volume; drawing two- and three-dimensional figures; understanding terms like "parallel," "perpendicular," "congruent"
You can help your child by staying on top of her progress and moving quickly to get help when she's stuck. This is important because in math concepts build progressively on one another.
Show your child how to review the relevant section of the textbook when doing math homework before moving on to the worksheet. If there are optional bonus problems, encourage her to complete them all; the more practice she gets, the easier it will be next time. When new terms are introduced that puzzle her, work together until she clearly understands them.
Third-grade math is largely stuff any grown-up knows. But if math isn't your strong suit, you may want to find a high school student who can tutor your child in problem areas. Some kids benefit from grade-appropriate workbooks over the summer to help them retain key concepts.
Your life now
Who nurtures your child? It's healthy for a child to be nurtured by a variety of people, not just you. Kids with older siblings, for example, can benefit from their example and time, especially when they're quite a bit older and less wrapped up in rivalry. A grandparent is another obvious candidate.
If your child's grandparents live far away, maybe other trusted adults in your world can step in to offer some mentoring care. Exposure to teachers, tutors, coaches, and neighbors is also enriching for a growing child. Consider becoming actively involved in family-oriented activities that feature adult leaders, such as religious youth groups, scouting, or youth sports. Some communities offer mentoring programs for disadvantaged or impaired children.
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