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Math Power: How to Help Your Child Love Math, Even If You Don't [Paperback]

Patricia Clark Kenschaft

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Book Description

3 Oct 2005 0132205947 978-0132205948 1
You may be shocked to learn that there are no strict maths requirements for prospective primary school teachers. Until  teachers are required to learn more maths, parents are their children's primary hope. Pat Kenschaft, a mathematician and mother of two, believes that although maths phobia is rampant, it is unnecessary. With this guide, any child can overcome mediocre maths teaching in school and parental maths anxiety at home. Kenschaft shares with parents her strategies for understanding and teaching math concepts, explaining what maths really is and how it works. Her lively techniques for understanding maths, through games, questions, and conversations, as well as specific maths activities can help preschoolers to ten year olds develop math ability. Accessible and authoritative, MATH POWER will help you inspire your children mathematically by giving them the tools they need for academic and real-world success.

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From the Back Cover


In America today, many elementary school teachers are woefully unprepared to teach math. Parents are their children's primary hope. With Math Power any child can overcome mediocre math teaching in school and parental math anxiety at home. Pat Kenschaft, a mathematician and mother of two, shares with parents her easy-to-follow and concrete strategies for teaching math concepts. Her lively techniques—including games, questions, conversations, and specific math activities—are tailored for children from preschool age to ten years old.

Kenschaft shows parents how to assess the math education their children are getting at school. She argues that rote learning and standardized testing cripple a child's natural love of learning, and she shows how parents can effectively supplement their children's math education at home.

Math Power—now with a detailed appendix for homeschoolers—is the only book by a mathematician for parents of young children. It gives parents the tools they need to help their children achieve academic and real-world success.

"Pat Kenschaft's love for mathematics comes across in this dynamic guide for parents. This should be required reading for all parents of elementary schoolchildren."

MAX A. SOBEL, former president, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

"When I was reading Math Power, I didn't want to put it down until I got all I could from it."

ANGELA MCBRIDE, president, Parents' Advisory Council for Children with Special Needs, Newark, New Jersey Public Schools

"This book contains explicit, easy-to-follow instructions that can be used successfully by even the least mathematical adult to help children learn math and to see it in the world around them."

SUE GELLER, professor of mathematics and director of Honors Programs in Mathematics, Texas A & M University

"Thank goodness for a book which fills in the gaps between 'how to' and theory. Parents who want to help their child's growth in understanding, appreciation, and love for mathematics must add Math Power to their book collection!"

EVA L. EVANS, Ph.D., international president, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

"I hope many parents will read this valuable book. It shows how parents can set positive switches in their kids that will help them enjoy mathematics both in school and out."

HENRY POLLACK, former president, Mathematical Association of America

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Patricia Clark Kenschaft is professor of mathematics at Montclair State University in New Jersey. In addition to teaching university students, she has taught mathematics to thousands of elementary schoolchildren. She is the author or coauthor of 8 books on math, including the forthcoming CHANGE IS POSSIBLE: Stories of Women and Minorities in Mathematics.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Follow this book - make a better world - Great book on math 21 Oct 2005
By S. A. Corning - Published on
Math Power deals with some tough issues. This book actually delivers much more than it promises. Professor Kenschaft is a great writer on a complicated subject. NO, math is not the complicated subject. But the politics and culture which gets in the way of learning math is complicated. There are lots of ideas on encouraging and teaching math to children. However, she also removes some of the myths of math, such as making problems easy to build self-esteem. This book has a lot of good ideas (age appropriate), for making math interesting, and exciting. She also makes a good distinction between boring arithmetic and math, (the study of patterns and use of patterns to solve problems).

You will also obtain a better understanding of how professional mathematicians work and solve problems.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-Have for Parents 14 Mar 2006
By J. Baker - Published on
This book provides much insight not only into math instruction, but teaching children in general. The author is a well-seasoned, successful and well-loved educator, full of wisdom for those who want to learn to teach. I am a homeschooling mother and found this book to be invaluable to me in helping me come to a right understanding about WHY we learn math. The author makes fantastic argument that math is a tool that helps us enjoy life to the fullest. Too bad most of us were taught it in such a way as to dread it. I used to push my children to learn math. Now, we sit and enjoy it. We play math games, and "talk" math. A key point the author makes is that we want our kids to "talk" math in the earlier years, more than just get them to say the right answers. The right answers will come if they feel that they can fail and then think about it in a safe environment...basically, learn at their own pace. This woman is brilliant.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Extremely disappointed... 7 Nov 2007
By R. Taylor - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
...the title is totally misleading...I bought the book searching for ways to make math more interesting and accessible to my kids...the first hundred and twenty pages offers up some ideas...however, most of these are directed to preschool math experience; only about twenty pages offers any advice for school age children...and what advice is offered is really not directed towards making math interesting but more towards alternate methods of teaching various concepts...and then the next TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY pages consist basically of nothing but a rant against the current educational system and its methods along with recommendations for improving the system...aside from a chapter that very vaguely recommends games like "war" and dominoes, I basically found no useful advice for making math interesting...and the only practically useful chapter was one regarding the linguistic causes of math confusion -- e.g. recognizing when children don't understand a problem because they can't interpret the instructions correctly...I was very disappointed and don't recommend this book to anyone seeking ways to make math interesting.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Math Power makes EVERYONE love math! 23 Feb 2006
By Jk Salser - Published on
I bought it to be able to help my grandson. Ms. Kenschaft changed MY 60-year-old attitude against math. Her clear presentation in ordinary words sparked an interest and gave me hope that I just might be able to understand more. She is a master teacher and a master writer.

The book gives practical illustrations, examples and hints that coach even the most handicapped in math dare to believe that there is a way to understand math and use it.

I gossipped so excitedly about the book that two people bought their own copies and three people checked it out of the library.

This is a book that will be helpful to classroom teachers and homeschool teachers.
5.0 out of 5 stars Math Language is part of everything you do (or can be) 29 Oct 2013
By one mom in texas - Published on
I read this book when my child was first born and found some concepts laid a great foundation for how I thought about "math". It's not all "3 + 4 = 7". It's quantity/number sense (think of counting things while standing in line). It's patterns and logic. When my child asked me on her 4th birthday, "if 3 - 2 = 1, then what's 2 - 3?"... and she came up with "zero zero" because she didn't know the language of "negative" but had a number concept of quantities relating to each other... then teaching the 'math' became a language lesson. she already had an intuitive understanding of negative numbers because we'd been building number sense since day 1.
When she was little I didn't stop counting to "5" just because her preschool toys only went that far. we counted everything so she could hear number-words associated with different objects and understand there was something more than identifying a noun going on.

This book was instrumental in my approach to math education at a very early age. Understand that some kids may be listening to you talk even when you don't think they are. Say that you "hate math" or "never understood it" and you are starting to close the door for you child. But keep your mind open to building a better future for your child by trying to learn with them to build math concepts into every day activities and you will begin to build a child with appreciation for logic and number. Truly a gift for the next generation.

I wish that every parent who brings home a baby would get a copy of this book and at least consider adding math enthusiasm into their vocabularies - to give their kids the opportunity to love such a misunderstood approach to life/thinking.

Ms. Kenschaft handles the topic well and while it would be nice if there were more practical application suggestions, perhaps this book is laying the foundation for the next generation to write it! ;)

Nicely done!
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