Wednesday, September 21, 2011

How much math do we need?

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?


  1. My children haven't started on school yet. Well my personal opinion..Math can be fun depend on how the approach is..I am not good in math as well but will keep the interest in my kids in future..

  2. Such common sense. Thank you. Our school recently changed to Singapore math and many kids are struggling with the new concepts. At home I try to create math games to keep them interested so they learn while having fun. When I was a kid math was taught in such a strict way that I learned to hate it. I don't want that for my children.

  3. Math education is important for a child I believe. That being said math these days are all about teaching a lesson and taking a test to get a grade. I think math should be applied to everyday things, like the area of a fence to paint or how much money is needed to be raised. If you know your career path will have a math base then higher math should be taken but most of the time it us not! I love this post!