Friday, November 2, 2007

The stuff dreams are made of

I've mentioned in other posts how un-mathy I am. I studied it through college level, even received my share of A's in the subject, but I've never considered myself a math person. I am an interpreter. I am a translator. I like to read and write. I live and breathe words, not numbers. That said, I use math every day and as an adult I'm learning to love it in a way I didn't imagine possible when I was in school.

My children, on the other hand, love, love, love math. That is a sweet victory. The fact that they are actually very strong in math is just the cherry on top. I still won't commit to a nature versus nurture argument on this one, but I do know I have worked diligently to let them formulate personal attitudes towards math. In fact, they started Kumon in kindergarten precisely because I wanted them to have a positive experience with math. I didn't want any of my unmathiness wearing off on them.

Lately, I find it so exciting to learn all the wonderful applications of mathematics. I'm talking really important, exciting stuff too. The cure for cancer, the war on terrorism, fighting crime and now even fighting fires are the work of mathematicians. How cool is that? Answer: Very Cool!

Building a strong foundation in mathematics, becoming fluent in the language of numbers, and solving complex equations with confidence is the stuff dreams are made of. It's really that amazing. The way I look at it, math means opportunity. Math equals choices. Many of those choices will require the premium math ticket. My kids are happily collecting a whole lot of math tickets these days. They'll be ready to hop onboard to the destination of their choosing when they decide they want to.

You just can't put a price on that.


PaulaV said...

"Math equals choices."

Yes, it most certainly does. My husband always tells our two sons to not just learn math, but learn it well. This is the ticket.

You say you put all your kids in Kumon during kindergarten? Are all of them above grade level?

concernedCTparent said...

Yes they've all done Kumon and are above grade level. Right they are all doing Singapore Math so we've taken a sabbatical from Kumon. They do work well together, though. I think when I begin homeschooling all three, we may just start up again.

PaulaV said...

My first grader is doing Singapore Math, but my fourth grader is in Kumon and does some Singapore. It is hard to fit it all in since both are in school. We do most of it on the weekends.

Last week my husband attended both parent/teacher conferences (I was out-of-town). He learned that my first grader's teacher just loves TERC math investigations. The fourth grade teacher didn't say much about TERC. However, my husband learned our fourth grader is on a fifth grade math level.

My oldest son was judged as having a "disconnect" in math by his principal at the beginning of third grade. He has been in Kumon for over a year and he is now above grade level ahead. His teacher asked my husband to stop teaching him so much at home and "leave something for me to teach".

concernedCTparent said...

His teacher asked my husband to stop teaching him so much at home and "leave something for me to teach".


I have heard this before, however. These words should not be uttered, EVER. Unbelievable.

Thank goodness you aftershool and do Kumon. At some point if children don't have the proper outlet I really believe they just give up trying. They can easily become underachievers. That's much too great a loss of potential.

Catherine Johnson said...

That's exactly the way I feel -- about myself, too.

I just ordered a textbook on wildlife management that is filled with equations that represent mathematical models of population growth in the wild (at least I think that's what they represent).

Within the next few years I want to be able to read the math in a textbook or an article, not just the English.

That's my goal!

Catherine Johnson said...

My husband always tells our two sons to not just learn math, but learn it well. This is the ticket.

Oh, that's funny!

This reminds me of my dad who always told us girls (3 of us & 1 boy) to "learn to type so if something happens to your husband you'll be able to support yourself."

I type 100 wpm.

Catherine Johnson said...

I graduated from college into a recession spent about two weeks looking for a job.