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Why is Math so important to teach our children?

Submitted by on July 15, 2012 – 11:19 am2 Comments

Child Counting Change

by Ashley Parks

I must admit, I’m a bit biased.  See, I was that child who actually enjoyed math class.  Math was this wonderful new tool I could use to solve problems.  Whether it was addition and subtraction, multiplying or dividing, I was able to solve every day problems with this new way of thinking.  There was a new game that my sister and I had to share equally.  Well, there are 60 minutes in an hour so I got 30 minutes and she got 30 minutes.  Convincing me that I get to spend 20 minutes on the game was not in the cards since I knew how to divide by two.  Take money for example—you need to know how to make change, count, earn interest and so forth.   The “Rule of 72” in finance refers to the concept of how long it will take for money to double.  Divide 72 by an interest rate, say 6, and you get that it would take 72/6 = 12 years for your money to double.  With interest rates currently at fairly low levels, see that 72/2 = 36 years for money to double at a 2% interest rate.  Now that can come in handy!  The thought of Algebra can send many people running in the opposite direction.  Truly, I use Algebra all the time.  Here’s a real world example:

You want $1,000 after taxes and your tax rate is 20%.  How much do you need to earn before taxes?  Here’s the Algebra:

$1,000=x-.2x

$1,000=.8x

($1,000/.8)=x

$1,250=x

You need $1,250 before taxes to net $1,000

When our kids enter math classes this next school year, let’s get them excited about how math can improve their daily lives by showing them a new way to think and an understanding of how to solve some practical problems.  Take the time to do homework with them to not only support them in their efforts, but we can always sharpen our skills in the process.

When our children grow up, math will be present in most every career they choose.  Let’s think of a few: Architect, Cashier, Veterinarian, Teacher, Doctor, Banker, Business Executive, Planner, Engineer and so on.  Math will be used at the grocery store, everyday shopping, reviewing invoices and household budgeting.  If we can normalize math, show it’s wonderfully practical uses and get our kids excited to learn, we’ve served our children well.

When they’re young, simple questions like, “How many sides are on this Triangle?”  Have your child point them out to see there are three.  Next, “How many angles?”  You’re teaching them geometry with these simple conversations.

At the grocery store, give them a $10.00 budget for certain items.  Help them to use math to add up the cost of the items they want.  Maybe they need to subtract an item from the basket to stay within budget.  Again, very practical daily activities can lead to math confidence and ability.

In my book, The Saving Seed: Growing a Financially Healthy Family Tree, I do into detail in each age and stage of your child’s development great practical ways to introduce the concept of money and math in their daily lives.  Let’s plan healthy seeds in our children to grow our family financial trees!

The Saving SeedAshley Parks is a Certified Financial Planner and Author of The Saving Seed: Growing a Financially Healthy Family Tree; www.thesavingseed.com

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