Growing up this was a dreadful word for me.
Enough to make my blood run cold.
This is a very common thing for many kids. Why??
Computing numbers is just something that does not come easily for many people. Take that and put in the added stress of timed tests and suddenly "I hate math" is just a common language among students.
So how can you help?
1. Use math everyday. Let your kids see you doing math and have them help. Add up groceries, figure out the average for your monthly bills, if you are doing home reno's the math is endless! By doing this you are showing the importance of math and how it is used everyday. Try doing things without a calculator and then have your child double check the answer with one.
2. Make math a game. When it comes down to it your child MUST learn how to add, subtract, multiply and divide. These are the basics. So the best way to learn them is to practice all the time. If you drive your kids to school or some sort of practice ask them facts and make it a game. Something along the lines of "Everytime we come to a red light I will ask a multiplication question, green light is addition...." make it what ever you want (older kids can take over as "teacher" when they are fluent enough). Don't make your kids compete against each other rather have them compete with themselves (last time I got 6 out of 10 right, what can I get on this trip?) The bonus is that they are all together, no one can walk away from the game, everyone can learn from each other. (I also really like "Brain Age" for Nintendo DS, it is a great math game that is fun to play for all ages!)
3. At the beginning of the year ask your child's teacher to compile some sample questions with instructions for how he/she will be teaching things like long division, two by two digit multiplication, etc. When your child is learning these things you can then follow along with the method they are using. Chances are the way you were taught math is not the way your child is learning today. Don't mix up your child by showing "your method" when they might need to prove that they know how to do it the "new way". Good communication from the start of the year will go a long way.
Happy Learning Everyone!!