Every Monday morning, I go in to the kids' school and help out with Math. Math is my thing and I have been tutoring it since I was in middle school, so when the teacher asked, I accepted the challenge. These boys are in upper elementary school and I figured it would not be too bad helping them out. Boy, was I in for a surprise.
The first day I worked with them, we started going over their homework to see where I should work with them. The teacher gave me a list of items that they needed help with, but I needed to give them a feel myself. I was very surprised. One could not write a number you gave to him and the other was having problems with two digit addition and lining the numbers up right. Then the next time, the one having problems with addition could multiply. We play "Shoots and Ladders" to finish up time together and I can change the rules some to add some more math to it.
But, leaving on Monday, I wondered how much math do we really need to teach the average child. I know several of the teens at my church at St. E's are taking Calculus this year. What is the purpose? Sure, it looks good on a high school transcript, but will they use it when they have a career. How much math does the average person use in a day? Some adding and subtracting is used when working with a check book. Other then that, what else?
That is a big problem with math education is that "the big picture" is not taught. What do you think the purpose of math education is?