For Immediate Release
December 21, 2009

Illinois State Board of Education encourages families to practice math skills during winter break

Parents can help their children succeed in mathematics

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Education is encouraging families to practice math skills during winter break to help maintain gains made so far this school year. Parents can help children sharpen their math skills through games and everyday activities such as shopping, cooking and household tasks.

“Mathematics is a part of daily life,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “When students see the application of math principles to real life they are more likely to retain those concepts as they progress through their education. Parents can be great models by talking through activities and sharing when and how they use math.”

One resource for parents across the state is The Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics (ICTM), a 60-year-old organization that provides resources and activity ideas in its Parent Handbook, posted on its Web site at

“Parents have a strong influence on how children view mathematics,” said Fern Tribbery, president of the ICTM and a math consultant. “One way they can help their children achieve and maintain good math skills is to promote math at home with activities, games and puzzles. Another is to model a can-do attitude about using mathematics and learning new math skills through the years.”

The ICTM encourages parents to talk about math during everyday activities, such as shopping. Parents can ask children to estimate the total cost of items on a shopping trip, including sales tax, and determine the change due. They can talk about fractions during cooking or baking and ask their children for proper ingredient amounts when cutting or doubling recipes. Children can help measure furniture, rooms, doors and windows during home renovation projects.

For more ideas, visit the ICTM’s Web site at: ISBE and the ICTM also encourage parents to visit the following Web sites for more tips or math games: