This week, my daughter asked me a question. "Quick, name three things you use every day." I don’t remember exactly what I said, but three essential items like a toothbrush, toothpaste, etc. Eliza’s response, “Notice how you didn’t say math.” She then proceeded to tell me there is a video circulating social media where a calculus student asks her professor the same thing. The professor answers, a toothbrush, a knife for peanut-butter toast, and his car. The student’s response to the professor, “Notice how you didn’t say calculus.” Hence, Eliza’s response to me even though she likes math. Oh man. Really? This is how math gets a bad reputation in life. Of course, I responded by saying I do use math every day but I was thinking about actual items not concepts. :-)
Also, this week while in line at Target, a checker and customer in front of me were counting cans of cat food to speed up the checkout process. The checker had already scanned a couple of cans so they were trying to subtract that number from the total number of cans to key it into the register. Both checker and customer were confusing each other and laughing about how they needed to go back to school.
Math. I LOVE to teach math because I love math. In real life outside of school, I really do use math every day. I don’t remember math ever frightening me in school or in life, even though it was often challenging. Sadly, I often see little faces of confusion and sometimes fright when faced with a math challenge. If you are ever in one of my math classes, you’ll probably hear me say more than once, "Don’t make it harder than it is." Math tends to scare children, and even when they know the answer, they are afraid to say it out loud because the answer seems too easy. Math is difficult. Math is confusing. Math doesn’t make sense. Math is too hard. Sad face, sad face…No my little friends. Math is fun. Math is finding the pattern. Math is all around us. Math is essential.
I’m going to get off my soap box in just a moment, but first I want to challenge you as parents. Don’t be afraid of math. Don’t say out loud that math is hard. Find the fun in math. Yes, I said fun. Bake something and double the recipe or cut it in half. Let your child use cash to purchase some frozen yogurt. Count some coins. Decide how much longer it is until bedtime by reading a clock. Play a fun game like Rummikub or Uno. Use math and talk about using math. Empower your kids to love math too.
God even asked Noah to use math!
This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high. Genesis 6:15 NIV