In this article:
- Why do We Need Math in Life?
- Why People Dislike Math
- What is Math?
- Why do We Learn Maths?
- How to Help Our Kids in Math
- Why we need math in life
Why do We Need Math in Life?
Do you know, kids usually struggling with math when they didn’t have enough chance to understand the foundation, or when they couldn’t relate to math. So do we really need math in our life?
Imagine your first grader stared blankly at the stack homework sheets in front of her. She sighed heavily, grumbled a long complaints, “Why do I need to do math? Can’t we just leave those numbers alone…..”
Does that sound familiar to you?
Why People Dislike Math
According to this survey, many Americans report feelings of anxiety and frustration when faced with having to do math.
Nearly a third of Americans (30%) say they would rather clean the bathroom than solve a math problem. Oopss..
So if math is really that scary, why bother to learn it, right?
Kelly T King, an educational consultant, discussed about the reasons why students hate math in her article published on HuffingtonPost.
She emphasized that ‘nurture’ plays a bigger role rather than ‘nature’ challenges, in causing this fear and anxiety among children towards math.
By nurture, she mentioned that math often portrayed as an intimidating lesson, and students are not given enough time to relate math with their daily life.
Instead, some of them may encounter math as just how to count correctly on paper. It became something unseen, difficult to grasp.
Frankly, I think all children are born curious with everything around them.
Seeing Real Math Around Us
Looking at numbers on the door or bus, counting candies, playing with different shapes and patterns, measuring water, sugar, or flour. Guess what, all of those are, doing MATH.
It’s often when they actually sit on class and rushed to understand the abstract concepts of it, then it becomes a pressure.
When they are not given enough chance to see and understand the real math around them, they could hardly enjoy it anymore.
What is Math?
This article defines math as the science that deals with the logic of shape, quantity and arrangement.
OK now we stop for a while and let it sink into our brain.
Things related to shape in our life?
Like, wedding ring and car wheels are round, TV is a boxy shape, cabinet drawers are rectangular (can you imagine if a drawer is shaped like a ball?)
Quantity? Think about, how do you mix your muffin ingredients, or how much to put salt and pepper in your cooking?
Do you know how long do you need to take to prepare your daughter before she headed to her school bus in the morning?
Arrangement, is like things done repeatedly so that you have routines you’re familiar with, and scheduled out.
How often do you need to wash your bed linens every month, or cut your kids nails?
It’s all math at work.
Why do We Learn Maths?
I can think of three main reasons why math is essential and beneficial to our life.
- Math is needed in daily life. As I explained above, we use shape, numbers, measurements every day. Math is around us, in everything we do.
- Math helps to organize our thinking.
- Math improves patience, carefulness, and attention to details.
How do we use math in our daily life?
Here are 5 uses (out of many!) of mathematics in daily life:
- In the morning you need to know what time you had to wake up, so you won’t be late for school. Know how to read time, is math.
- On the way if you’re taking bus to school, you had to know how many stops before you need to alight. Know how to count, is math.
- During your lunch break in the canteen when buying a meal, you had to know how much money you need to pay. Know your notes and coins, is math.
- When teacher gives you a bag of candies and asked you to share equally to all students in class, that’s math too.
- At home when you want to make that warm chocolate milk, you have to know how much sugar, chocolate powder, and milk to mix.
Have you tried putting in too much cocoa powder in your drink? Taste awfully bitter! Knowing how to measure a proportion, is math too!
- And on, and on.
Math helps to organize our thinking
Math is the language of logic.
Math is an ability to find pattern among seemingly chaotic conditions.
Concept of sequence, for example, actually trains our minds to think in a more systematic and logical manner.
In adult life, when facing with a big project, we’d learn how to divide it into smaller chunks of tasks.
Then deciding which part should be finished after which. Then next. And next.
Without realizing it, we’re using math concepts.
Math promotes patience and carefulness, attention to details
Everyone knows you have to be patient and very careful doing math problems.
This is so you don’t miss a step, and you’ll be able to actually solve the problem until the end.
This too is an important ability to support us in our grown up life.
It teaches us endurance in overcoming life’s challenges.
How to Help Our Kids in Math
Kids understand better when they’re seeing it, hearing it, and doing it with their hands.
This is the main idea of, HANDS-ON LEARNING.
They will benefit more when we encourage them to do hands-on activities in learning math.
Use Common Household Items to play Math
Hands-on learning doesn’t have to be with some expensive ‘educational toys’.
You can make use of many daily objects to teach math at home.
You will read more in details on other posts throughout this site, but here are some of our favorite math supplies at home:
- popsicle sticks, the top of my list. I used both the plain ones and color ones.They’re great for counting, learning sequence, making shapes, making puzzles, etc. You can read my post on counting to 10 with jumbo popsicle sticks here.
- paper plates (or you can use any kind of disposable paper/bowls).These are great as containers, to act like spindler box Montessori style, to use in sorting colors/shape/numbers. They’re also good to make into a clock.
- wooden blocks or legos. Counting, color and shape recognition, even fractions.Another favorite of mine at our home is this wooden dominos. This is a perfect Montessori’s number rods’s spin-off!
Read my post on using wooden dominos as number rods alternative here.
- beans, or rice. Bigger beans are great for counting (number bonds are easier with this!), rice or other small things are good for pouring practice for measuring.Sometimes I would prefer this instead of pouring water in my living room. Speaking about preference on cleaning up after. Lol.
- Any kinds of containers and used plastic bottle you can find in your kitchen. Enough said.
Read math stories to them
For my kids, reading books makes deep impact on the stories and values behind it.
There are some children books which tells stories as well as math concept. This is different from informational books on math.
The latter usually only tells them about number, counting to ten, examples of shapes, opposites, and so on, without a story plot. They’re still good books, but sometimes kids get bored easily on that types.
But not so if the books are really having a story.
(psst! You might want to save and get this Learning with George books set).
How about you?
Do you have your own favorite at-home materials to use for play, or favorite math story books? Let me know in the comments form below!