Monday, July 20, 2015

Math Homework 101: Skip Counting

Let's do some skip counting! Yes, I know this is one of those things that you've got a handle on. I did too. But what I didn't get was why there was such an emphasis on it.

My girls started working on skip counting in kindergarten. In fact, according to Common Core Standards, skip counting by 10's is one of the skills your child needs to have mastered by the end of kindergarten. By the end of 2nd grade, your child should know their 2's, 5's, 10's, and more up to 100. So what's the big deal with skip counting?

The biggest and best answer is that skip counting paves the way for multiplication. 2 x 1 = 2, 2 x 2 = 4, 2 x 3 = 6, etc. See, you're counting by twos. Basically all the times tables are skip counting. If you child can skip count, they're well on their way to knowing their multiplication tables. I missed that memo in elementary school and remember spending so much time memorizing the times tables. I'm not going to let my kids miss the memo. They're still going to have to do the memorization work, but maybe it will come easier for them if they realize they're just skip counting.

Besides multiplication, there are some other advantages to being a pro at skip counting.
• It helps you count money. Counting nickels is the same as counting by 5's. Dimes, quarters... you get the drift.
• It also helps a lot when adding and subtracting - especially when doing it in your head. Skip counting is just one more shortcut they can use when coming up with the right answer.
So how can you help your child? There are tons of ways! I'll be sharing some fun ideas over the next couple of weeks for skip counting games, but first, let's take a look at our hundred chart. (You can find a printable hundred chart here.)  It's easy to visualize skip counting by using a tool that is very familiar to your child. Highlight the 10's column to see how to skip count by 10's. Highlight the 5's column and the 10's column to see how to skip count by 5's. Have your child highlight those columns and practice counting.

Skip counting is easy once you get the hang of it, but, it is a lot to memorize. That's where us parents come in. It's pretty important to help your child become proficient at it. There are millions of ways to practice. Skip count while taking a walk; skip count in the car driving back and forth to activities. Sneak it in when you can. And, once they've got it, they'll have such an advantage!

Other Math Homework 101 posts: