Jan 252012

Can you get a visual here? Have you ever tried to bathe a cat? It’s the funniest thing in the world and it can totally traumatize your cat. They eventually dry out and forget about the bath but it leaves a lasting impression on them. The same is true with some kids and math.

Most kids enjoy the beginning stages of learning math. They love to learn all their numbers and to count things and divide things (especially when dividing candy equally amongst each other—you know, “One for me, one for you.”). It’s fun to learn how to cook using measuring cups and teaspoons. That’s one of the best ways to learn fractions. Telling time involves using numbers and time-out teaches them to appreciate every slow minute as it passes. Measuring their height as they grow is always something fun for kids. They love to count money and when they begin to earn money, they also begin to value it and their time.

But somewhere along the way, math gets hard. It turns into Algebra, Geometry, Statistics, Calculus and Trigonometry. You no longer teach 1+1=2 or 5×5=25.

You have to teach x + 23 = 3x + 45 or 3×2 + x – 2 = 0 or Area = l x w or Area of a regular polygon = (1/2) N sin(360°/N) S2, etc.

You hear the question over and over, “When am I ever going to use this?” You can’t help but think the same thing. I used to think about the fact that I had not used any of that math since school except to homeschool my kids.

Sometimes it’s only certain maths that snag up a child. One might like Algebra and another thrives with Geometry. I remember having to bribe my daughter with those little Halloween pumpkins or candy corn type candies—every time she got a problem right, she got a piece of candy. Algebra II and Trigonometry were pretty difficult for her, thankfully, or her teeth would have rotted out. When it came time to teach my son these higher level maths, I was exhausted and simply didn’t want to do it again. Continue reading »