Resources for Working with Families

Engaging Parents and Families Around School Mathematics

Schools and Families: Creating a Math Partnership by Megan Murray (2002). Written specifically about the first edition of Investigations, this book is an extensive guide aimed at helping teachers and administrators answer the question, "How do we engage parents as partners in the work of improving mathematics teaching and learning for all students?" Published by Scott Foresman.

Getting Your Math Message Out to Parents: A K-6 Resource by Nancy Litton (1998). This book explores numerous ways teachers can communicate successfully with parents about their child's math education. Published by Math Solutions Publications.

The Mathematics Education Collaborative: Engaging Communities in Support of Quality Mathematics in Schools. "MEC … recognizes the critical need to improve mathematics education for all learners" and believes that "only with an informed public will we secure the kinds of high quality mathematics programs that are urgently needed in schools." The Math at Home section recommends websites and includes one-page resources about Games, Homework, and Questions.

Beyond the Classroom: Linking Mathematics Learning with Parents, Communities, and Business and Industry by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (February, 1998). A special issue of Teaching Children Mathematics.

Family Involvement in Education by ENC (1998). This special issue of ENC Focus "examines the ways that the family culture influences student learning. Articles explore the changing family structure, effective collaborations between families and schools, and the value of at-home hands-on learning." (Available, with paid subscription, at

Teacher Advice on Connecting School and Home by Leah Poynter (1999). This article describes the ways "veteran elementary teacher, Margaret Riddle, has made communicating with parents a top priority. She finds that once they understand the curriculum, parents feel more comfortable in helping their students learn mathematics." (Available, with paid subscription, at

Building a Case

Helping Children Learn Mathematics edited by Jeremy Kilpatrick and Jane Swafford, editors (2002). This booklet "provides comprehensive and reliable information that will guide efforts to improve school mathematics from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade." Published by National Academy Press. This website, started and maintained by "a national grass-roots group of teachers, administrators, teacher educators, parents and mathematicians … concerned about the future of mathematics education," provides information about "the rational reform of school mathematics" and includes "diverse success stories - both anecdotal and data-based."

Sensible Mathematics: A Guide for School Leaders by Steven Leinwand (2000). "If you're trying to implement change in your school or district's mathematics program, it's your job to make the case for change as clear and compelling as possible. This highly useful guide provides the tools you need to make a vision of sensible mathematics a reality for all students." Published by Heinemann.

What Are You Teaching My Child? by Marilyn Burns (1994). In this videotape, "Marilyn Burns orients viewers to the continually changing world of math instruction and the ways in which these changes will benefit students. Woven throughout the video are scenes of classroom instruction, interviews with parents about their own math schooling, and visits with professionals using math in real-world contexts." Published by Math Solutions Publications. Also available in Spanish.

About Math Anxiety

Fear of Math: How to Get over It and Get on With Your Life by Claudia Zaslavsky (1994). This book uses math autobiographies to explore the cause of many people's phobia about the study and use of mathematics, and suggests methods for reducing this anxiety. Published by Rutgers University Press.

Math: Facing an American Phobia by Marilyn Burns (1998). This book "uncovers the reasons behind math's dreadful reputation and shows us how we can help prevent our own children from adopting similar phobic attitudes." Published by Math Solutions Publications.

Math Power: How to Help Your Child Love Math, Even If You Don't (Revised Edition) by Patricia Clark Kenschaft (2005). This book offers suggestions for ways parents can encourage children in math at home, and contains advice for evaluating math education and approaching teachers and administrators to suggest improvements. Published by Pi Press.

Overcoming Math Anxiety by Sheila Tobias (1995). This book is an "analysis of what makes math 'hard' for otherwise successful people and how women, more than men, become victims of a gendered view of math." It is about achieving "math mental health … the willingness to learn the math you need when you need it." Published by W. W. Norton & Company.

Making Conversations Productive

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler (2002). This book aims to provide tools for successfully having difficult and important conversations. Published by McGraw Hill.

Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss what Matters Most by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, Shelia Heen, and Roger Fisher (2000). This book aims to illustrate how to handle the challenges involved in effectively resolving "difficult conversations." Published by Penguin.

Resources for Doing Math with Families

The following books of activities contain "the full curriculum for Family Math courses, with activities and information appropriate for families at home, mathematics in-service, or for Family Math classes." Published by Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California at Berkeley.

Family Math by Jean Kerr Stenmark, Virginia Thompson, and Ruth Cossey (1986).

Family Math II by Grace Dávila Coates and Virginia Thompson (2003).

Family Math for Young Children by Grace Dávila Coates and Jean Kerr Stenmark (1997).

Family Math: The Middle School Years by Virginia Thompson and Karen Mayfield-Ingram (1998).

The Journey—Through Middle School Math by Karen Mayfield-Ingram with Alma Ramirez (2005).

Matemática Para La Familia by Jean Kerr Stenmark, Virginia Thompson, and Ruth Cossey (1987).

Math Packs (Counting Games: How Many In All?; Number Games from 10 to 20: More Less, or Equal?; Data Games: Use the Clues!; and Computational Games: How Close Can You Get?) by TERC (1997). These sets of math games are designed for use in a wide range of settings-at home, at parent evenings, as a library resource, at after school programs or clubs, and in class with a substitute teacher. Published by Pearson Learning.

Supporting School Mathematics: How to Work with Parents and the Public by Ruth E. Parker and the Mathematics Education Collaborative (2006). This set includes a facilitator's handbook and "six comprehensive workshop modules for effectively engaging with parents or any stakeholder in mathematics education." Two modules focus on helping with math at home, and four focus on content areas (addition and subtraction, multiplication and division, fractions, and the basics and more). All modules include hard and soft copies of transparencies and handouts, in both English and Spanish. Published by Heinemann.

Ten-Minute Math by Cornelia Tierney and Susan Jo Russell (2001). This book is a collection of quick and easy-to-use but mathematically rich activities. Published by Dale Seymour Publications.

About Homework, Math Homework, and Helping with Math at Home

Beyond helping with homework: parents and children doing mathematics at home by Marlene Kliman (November, 1999). This article, from Teaching Children Mathematics 6(3), 140-146, "offers ideas on helping parents do mathematics with their children as part of everyday family life." Available with NCTM Membership.

Beyond homework help: guiding our children to lasting math success by Suzanne Sutton (1998). This article, from ENC Focus 5(3), discusses what parents can do to help foster positive mathematics attitudes and performance at home. Available, with paid subscription, at

Math Homework That Counts: Grades 4-6 by Annette Raphel (2000). This book "explores the purpose of homework and how teachers and school administrators can create more inventive and meaningful assignments." Published by Math Solutions Publications.

Helping your child with homework by the US Department of Education (2005). Available in English and Spanish, this booklet helps answer "questions that parents, family members and others who care for elementary and middle grade children often ask about homework. It also includes practical ideas for helping children to complete homework assignments successfully."

Helping Families Do Math Together at Home

Bringing Math to Families by Marlene Kliman and Jan Mokros (1999). This article, from TERC's Hands On! 22(2), describes ways to help today's busy parents find ways to do math with their children that mesh with the realities of their time constraints, commitments, and experience with math teaching and learning.

Helping at Home by Kate Kline (April, 1999). This article, from Teaching Children Mathematics 6(3), 140-146, explores how "the engaging nature of games prompts children to play them repetitively, which allows them to practice important skills. Not only are the games more inspiring, but the potential for learning and reasoning about mathematics is much greater, as well." Available with NCTM Membership.

Math Resources for Families

Games and Activities to Do Online

Games and Activities to Do Offline

Mathematical Children's Literature

Math Reference Material for Children and Families