Why Math Matters

How many children and their parents groan even if it is inwardly, when it is time to tackle the subject of math? Does your child question why they need to learn math or when it will matter in their lives? I know several of my children disliked the discipline of math and two of them embraced it; even algebra. The answer to the questions of do I really need math and will it matter in my life simply put is yes. Even if your child does not pursue a career directly related to math the study of the subject is crucial to teach the mind to solve concrete problems while thinking abstractly. The reason this is true is that math is a language of logic which fosters a disciplined organized way of thinking. Mastering the language of logic creates higher order thinking habits including the ability to reason, pattern detection and practical guesstimates.  In todays’s world these abilities are crucial because almost every job has some reliance on technology and careers often require familiarity with probability, statistics and geometry.

How can parents and familys break through the math stigma and make it an embraced part of learning? One of the first things any parent can do is never say you were bad at math or that you did not like it because it was hard. These simple phrases foster preconceived notions about the discipline. Start introducing math when your children are young and it is part of play. This is as easy as encouraging your child to count, sort and group while at play or helping with family chores and activities. One of the best ways to instill the fact that math is an integral part of life is to incorporate several disciplines of math together in one learning session. This will be even more beneficial if you use a topic from English, history or any other subject your child is interested in to help show math is a part of daily life. An example of this for a child studying the history of the United States could be to look at the migration of people westward. Which states had the most people moving, what was the person’s home country prior to the U.S., were there certain skills or trades most apt to migrate and how many people traveled alone or in family groups? Gathering the answers to these questions and then analyzing them can lend itself to numerous types of math. A math exercise my young children devised  without knowing it was the sorting and grouping of Halloween candy, which then progressed to trading sessions. The artistic child can use shapes and colors to study math disciplines as elementary as addition progressing to geometry.

The goal is to aid children to learn that math is a useful and integral part of life and not to be dreaded. Any adult taking the time to think about the math tools they use daily and how important they are to their careers and lifestyle will be amazed. Realizing also how important critical thinking is to your career whether you are a sales clerk, attorney, stay at home parent or executive assistant will bring astouding insights into why we need to foster a love of thinking like mathameticians into the lives of our children.

 

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