In the introduction, the authors say that teachers were asking for resources they could give to parents "to use at home to help their children in mathematics. They told us that parent were frustrated in not knowing enough about their children's math program to help them or in not understanding the mathematics their children were studying". With a grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education, the authors developed the activities in Family Math.
The activities are hands-on, with objects like blocks and beans. As the authors say "traditionally, these materials are used mostly in the early elementary years and paper-and-pencil mathematics becomes the rule after second or third grade. This is unfortunate, since much of mathematics can best be explained and understood using the tools of manipulative materials and models; and, in fact, many research and applied mathematicians do just that."
Also in the series:
Family Math for Young Children: Comparing
Family Math - The Middle School Years: Algebraic Reasoning and Number Sense