If your kids fail to understand why they need to learn math, rest assured that they are not the only kids with this problem. In fact, you probably did not see any sense in learning math, when you were a kid yourself. What makes math so special and why do we need it in our lives?
Not only for experts
Understanding math is crucial, if you plan to become a scientist. A solid portion of physics and mathematics is also required, if you plan to pursue a career in IT. However, university programs and admission tests for specializations with no direct relations to math also include math issues, why is it
so? When you are learning math, you are also learning how to approach problems in a logical and methodological manner. To solve math problems, you need to be able to read with understanding, identify the facts you already know and use them to find the solution in a rational and orderly manner. These skills are essential not only for math students, but for everyone, who wants to conduct any kind of research.
It is assumed that students, who are good at math are also more logical and rational in their approach to other disciplines. Therefore, many university admission tests include math problems. If you stop learning math too early, your chances of finding a good job will be much slimmer.
It’s good for your understanding of the world
Nobody questions the fact that we need to know how to add, subtract, multiply and divide to be able to function in today’s world, but what about more complex algebra? Those skills can be just as useful. For example, let’s say that one store is offering a 20% discount on their products, but their regular price is already quite high. If you know how to calculate percentage, you can quickly decide whether their offer is competitive or not.
Thanks to math, you are a more conscious buyer and you do not overpay. Math will also help you understand other everyday problems. For example, if you want to get from one point to another and be there in 30 minutes, how fast do you have to drive to be able to make it in the given time? Without the ability to quickly solve math problems in your mind, these situations would be extremely puzzling and you would be constantly making wrong decisions.
How to make math more practical?
The main problem is not whether math is useful or not, but what makes you feel that math is not practical? Good chances are that the way you were taught math at school gave you the impression that it is a purely abstract thing. Math programs and math training for teachers are often too focused on the abstract dimension of math and overlook the importance of presenting math concepts as concrete issues.
Luckily, educators have also noticed this problem and nowadays teachers and students have access to more practical math curricula, such as the Singapore math method. Those programs are most successful, when they are introduced very early on, in kindergartens and elementary schools. If you feel that your kid does not see any positive sides of learning math, maybe it is time to completely change his or her perspective.
Marta Gromadzka is a writer and editor with a wide variety of experience, including writing for websites internationally and editing books on many different subjects and in a variety of formats.