Math is EVERYWHERE! Of course mathematics is used for the sciences such as biology, chemistry, physics and even economics, psychology. sociology and engineering. It's also used in technological fields including computer science, rocketry and communications. It's even used in the liberal arts fields of sculpture, drawing and music. Further, by teaching your students math, you are giving them a better understanding of the world and an appreciation for the amazing advances of man!
No matter where your child's natural abilities lie, learning will be important to keep as many doors open as possible while on their educational journey. Just because you're not a wiz at Elementary Mathematics or even Algebra doesn't mean you can't do it. For most people, it just takes work and practice!
What can you do when your child is having a hard time with math?
1. Slow down. Stop looking at what the public school system has deemed necessary for the age group and let them move at their own pace. Just like reading, even if they are behind at the beginning, if they take their time and properly learn the material, they will probably race ahead in later Elementary and Middle School.
2. Use manipulatives. Abstract ideas such as mathematics are made easier with the concrete idea of a math manipulative. My children even learned complex ideas such as long division and square roots using manipulatives. Sets can be purchased such as the Shiller Math set, or use the power of the internet to find items you can make at home to make difficult concepts easier to understand.
3. Read to them or have them read some books about the amazing people who brought us these wonderful equations and their stories. Some "non math" brains need this kind of learning.
Here are some that we loved.
The brilliantly bizarre, engaging books had even my most reticent math child enjoying learning math concepts. Life of Fred is a fun and educational companion to any math curriculum. We love Life of Fred.
In this book about Pythagoras, the concept of the triangle is presented in a fun, but memorable way. The explanations are well presented with amazing visuals. How fun to learn about the Pythagorean Theorem in an inspirational way.
The Number Devil is for grades roughly 5-8. It deals with many topics that are typically thought of as difficult or challenging. It's fun to have students read a chapter specifically about a topic, and then teach it to them. Break up the monotony!
Millions to Measure covers introductory concepts of linear, weight and volume for early elementary. It has wonderful illustrations and covers the concept of measuring throughout history. Teach your students to learn the metric system with this great book.
The Math Curse is another amazing book covering a wide variety of mathematical topics in everyday life! Math is everywhere. It begins with the teacher, Mrs. Fibonnaci, telling her class that "You know, you can think of almost everything as a math problem." It's an entertaining book and many children can relate to how frustrating it can be to not understand something.
The most important thing to remember when educating our children with a challenging subject is not to let them give up on themselves. They CAN get this...and with gentle guidance and the proper curriculum for the child, it can be very rewarding for you both, just don't get discouraged.