Parents, we’ve moved on to bedtime math. Or maybe it’s Bedtime Math, not sure. However you write it, going over a word problem while scratching your child’s back is now a thing. A thing parents can do (and, I’m sure soon, SHOULD do) with their kids to promote education and bonding and better STEM test scores in the next decade. Ahhh, the pressures of modern parenting!
First, what is Bedtime Math?
Bedtime Math (TM!) was created by Laura Overdeck, an astrophysics graduate and mother of three in New Jersey who turned a fun activity with her kids into a website of the same name. Overdeck told NPR’s Ashely Milne-Tyte that Bedtime Math — or maybe bedtime math — started when her oldest child was two years old. Every night, while tucking her in, Overdeck would ask her a math problem. Her daughter loved it so much, they began doing it every night. More kids came along and the challenge of creating one problem that would keep three different kids of three different ages engaged became ever greater.
Overdeck worked it out. Her friends got interested. The website was born. And now, Bedtime Math is a thing (or at least I think it is. I keep hearing about it this summer.)
In February, Overdeck launched her website, where she posts daily problems and puzzles for kids of different ages. More than 5,000 people subscribe to her daily emails. They’re pretty cute and work nicely as short bedtime stories, too.
Recent studies show math anxiety starts really young and is more prominent in girls, and Overdeck and Bedtime Math enthusiasts think starting young, making math fun and working through problems in a relaxed setting could help. Moreover, other studies have found a huge difference in exposure to numbers among children, and that the more exposure is linked to better understanding of math concepts in school.
As far as parenting “things” go, this is one I really like and sort of already do. We are less structured — we do math at dinner and in the car and whenever we think of it. But still, I’m going to subscribe to Bedtime Math. She has creative problems and, even better, gives three questions to ask kids to solve, based on their level.
Do you do Bedtime Math?