Bedtime Math

August 1, 2012

At some point in the last several decades, people began to realize that reading to their children was a great way to help their children learn to read. “Read to your kids at bedtime!” experts and educators exhorted, and still exhort. And it works. Kids who are read to at home have more success in school, and higher literacy rates.

We’ve discussed the idea of how nice it would be to have a similar practice at home, and we’ve been playing around with how to make games and puzzles part of families’ everyday mathematical practice. The only thing we agreed on was that doing math before bed probably wouldn’t work too well: it would excite the mind rather than relax it. When I do math too late, I slip into insomnia all too easily. Plus, it’s nice to be sharp when you work on a puzzle, rather than tired.

Well, we may have dismissed math at bedtime too quickly. I just got an email from a friend referring me to Bedtime Math, a website that supplies math problems to pose to your children at bedtime. What about the difficulties of doing math late at night? Replied my friend:

“My older daughter will do anything that can push her bed time out by a few minutes” 🙂

Maybe this whole Bedtime Math concept is worth trying after all. It’s getting press right now in a big way, which is great, and if it works for kids, it’s a wonderful way to incorporate a little bit of math into your day. If anyone with kids tries this, I’d love to know about your experience of it.

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