Some of my favorite blog posts, both on this blog and others, are the ones where the readers share their thoughts on a given topic. It fascinates me and stretches my mind to see the different ideas that people have based on their own experiences, culture, upbringing and education. So I’m starting a series of “What do you think Wednesday” posts to ask you all to share your thoughts on a wide variety of topics. This week…. I’d love to know what you think about math.
More specifically, is mathematical ability genetic and also do you feel that it is necessary for students to learn advanced math (algebra and beyond)?
As a home-school mom math has become a very big deal in my world. I think about it far more often that one would suspect. I would love to know what some of you think as well!
In our little Hippie Academy life can go on quite merrily for some time. Sweet Hippie Daughter is a great reader and flies through books on every topic from American history to astronomy to biographies (though she has a strong preference for the Goosebumps and Bone books over any of those).
She will practice her trombone and write beautiful journal entries. She is working on typing skills, loves to watch documentaries about animals and has a decent grasp of world geography.
Then we come to math and the walls start to crumble. There is crying and yelling and pulling of the hair and general overwhelming frustration. And that’s just ME.
She is slogging through. She can do an acceptable amount for her grade level. She is not excelling, as she has in other areas.
I truly believe that anyone can learn math. I truly believe that anyone can master very nearly any subject, given the proper time, motivation and instruction.
For instance, I can learn to play the piano. There’s not a doubt in my mind that I could master the skills, put my fingers on the right keys and make nice music. I will never play like George Winston or John Tesh (Click here to read about my fascination with John Tesh).
Given enough time and dedication I could become a good basketball player. I will never play like Michael Jordan.
Everyone has various gifts to various degrees but everyone can learn and grow in the right environment.
This article would agree. The author argues that a large part of the reason American high school students don’t do well in math is because they’re told from the very beginning that, if they aren’t achieving at a high level, it’s because they’re just not “math people,” and they never will be.
On the other hand, they argue that advanced math is important for every student. I wonder if that’s true. Math… yes. You have to be able to quickly and accurately do math. You need to be able to balance your checkbook, estimate the cost of your groceries, understand how much 3% inflation is going to cost you, and avoid being ripped off by a payday loan place that offers cash advances at a 400% apr.
But does every child need to know how to figure a tangent? Must each student learn the quadrilateral equation?
I learned those things. Painfully, with great effort, like my daughter, I slogged through all the way to college calculous. I remember, vividly, fighting with my mother and my teachers (as I’m fairly certain every kid does, at some point) and saying, “I’M NEVER GOING TO USE THIS!”
It’s been 20 years. I stand firm. I will never use any of that knowledge.
Solve for x?
Yes. That’s pretty important. I actually do use that, from time to time.
Anything beyond that…. I’m just not sure it was worth the agony for a kid who knew from elementary school that she had no desire to go into any field that would require such knowledge.
But now I’m faced with educating two precious children, so my own predjudices about education need to be set aside in order to equip them with the skills they need to succeed in the 21st century.
So I ask you, what do you think?
Is mathematical ability genetic and also do you feel that it is necessary for students to learn advanced math (algebra and beyond)?
Let us know in the comments here or on Facebook!
And while we’re on the subject of math, I am SO EXCITED to be a part of a great give-a-way, hosted by The Squishable Baby!
She is giving away a one year subscription to Splash Math (a $79 value), as well as 4 one month subscriptions. Splash Math is a great tool to supplement what your child is learning in school (whether school is at home or elsewhere). It provides a platform for them to practice their math skills in a fun way.
*I did not receive any financial or product compensation from Splash Math for promoting this contest.
Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?
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If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!
You may also be interested in:
Reading Eggs Online Reading Curriculum – A review and free trial offer
110 Reasons Why We Homeschool – Our 2nd annual look at “should we be doing this?”
A Week In The Life Of A Homeschool Family – A glimpse into how we do things