Why Is Math So Hard?
February 6, 2019
In This Issue:
Mercy Every Minute  
I Asked My Kids Why Math Is Hard

I asked two of my kids 1) why math is hard and 2) why it is good for you.

Hope (13): “ It challenges you–and some people don’t like challenges. Those who love math, probably love challenges. Math is good for you because it connects your brain cells and makes you smarter. If you don’t know math, you can’t get through real life problems like staying out of debt or giving change back. Or if you work at a granite shop they need accurate measurements and that is math. A store manager has to count drawers, and inventory, and keep records. Lots of jobs require math.”

Jacob (10): “It makes you do hard things. I’d rather do something active. But I like fractions. Math makes you smarter.”

Now, my turn: I have learned that math is an opportunity to teach children to do hard things and to be overcomers; to persevere and to master a concept.

I have learned that the best curriculum for teaching study skills and work ethic is math! I have seen the research stating that your homeschooled college students will be great at math! I have learned that if I am consistent on a daily basis and work towards progress with my kids that they will become very proficient in math, and I have learned that I can help make it fun, too. 

Keep going! Little by little, the kids will learn and grow in their math skills. And some may even learn to love it as you keep them Home Where They Belong. 

Now a little encouragement for the homeschool math teacher. You need to know math, too. You need to know that if you offer Christ the few things that are in your hand, that He can multiply it to feed many more than you could ask or think. He will take your few crumbs of time, ability, and patience and produce results that you couldn’t have done on your own. He loves to multiply what you offer Him. Come before Him today and offer the little you have to Him and watch Him work in your family and your homeschool. 

Feeling a bit depressed this Winter? Maybe this will encourage you !  

His Face Is Shining on You,

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Why Is Math So Hard…For Me??!!

When looking at the question, “Why is math so hard?” I realize it is an inaccurate question. The truth is math is easy for some people. I’ve met kids and adults who can add strings of numbers, divide large numbers in their heads, and do magical things with fractions that escape me.

They would say, “Math is easy. All you need to do is see the numbers this way, line them up like this, or do this simple calculation.” They might even assert that, “Anyone can do math!”

Wrong-o! Not everyone can do math. In fact, I think the question should be worded, “Why is math so hard for me . . . or maybe why is it so hard for my child?”

For me, the answer is simple to grasp and state—because they’re not math people. We don’t see math like math people. The numbers don’t make sense and certainly are never easy.
That said, most people can learn to add, subtract, multiply, divide, and do simple fractions (I may be stretching that last one . . . for us math-challenged folks). Oh, I took plenty of math during my school years . . . even got good grades, but I never really got it and attribute my good grades to the gift of guessing.

So here’s my answer to your question, “Why can’t my kid get math . . . and what am I supposed to do with him?”

Answer one - He’s not a math kid. Accept that and back off.
Answer two - Be flexible and find a math program that might work for him . . . like Teaching Textbooks. My brilliant math wife used an abacus with one of our children who struggled with math . . . and it clicked. So don’t just keep using what your math kids used and succeeded with. Try something different.

Be real,

PS - Check out this week's Smiling Homeschooler Podcast. We're right in the middle of some great interviews with pioneer homeschooler, Tina Farewell, special needs expert Dianne Craft, and Cheryl Plourde . . . the homeschooling mom of 12 [who never wanted children!]. They're sure to make you smile!!!
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Jodi Riddle
Influence, Training, and Preference

Why is math so hard? I answer that question by saying, “It’s not!” However, there are multitudes of others that do not agree with me, and that is ok. So why do some think math is hard and others do not?

Honestly, it can be summed up by the following: influence, training, and/or preference.

Math abilities are not necessarily an inherited gene that gets passed on, but I do think that when there are parents or other family members who like math and are good at it, that influence can be passed on to the next generation. 

If children see or hear a parent or other family members always saying that math is hard, or they don’t like it, those children quickly learn that there is something negative about math—maybe even before they begin to experience doing math themselves. On the contrary, if a parent is eager to begin sharing concepts with a child early on, the child “perceives” math as something positive and even enjoyable. Influence can have a big effect on a child! 

Training can also have a lot to do with it. Do you have a fond memory of something you learned in your “training” years of schooling? Was there a particular subject that the teacher just made so enjoyable? Do you really like that subject/topic because of it? While this can also fall under influence, that teacher was also training you. Chances are, they were knowledgeable in the subject area and had an incredible way to teach you about it. I definitely had this experience in the 5 th grade and can tell you first hand that is why I love math today and also why I chose to become a teacher! 

Some just have personal preferences based on what they like to do. I personally love numbers, statistics, order, and sequencing. Some like words. They usually are those who love to read and are good with grammar and sentences. Usually the thing you prefer to do is what you will tend to like more. It is just your personal preference. 

Influence, training, and preference are all very connected, which can easily lead to someone thinking math is hard—but it can also cause you to step back and realize that maybe it isn’t that it is hard, it just isn’t your “thing.” Also remember that as you are training your children, your reactions can greatly influence their perspective—encourage your children in all things, and watch them grow into whom God wants them to be! 

Jodi has been with TOS since April 2016. She serves as a Operations Manager and is also the  Homeschooling with Heart  blog manager. Jodi is a pastor’s wife and has three adult sons. She homeschooled for eighteen years and also taught in the private and public-school settings. Jodi enjoys teaching, playing the piano, scrapbooking, and making cards. Her heart’s desire is to help others learn to enjoy these things as well!
"The World Is Your Schoolhouse," so take your family out to enjoy God's Creation. Learn how to homeschool while travelling, and discover how important it is to learn another language. Pre-order your copy of the Spring 2019 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine today for spring shipment.

Look What's Happening This Month! Early Bird Registration for CHEA's 36th Annual Homeschool Convention, Feb 11-14, 2019. Sign Up Now! Contact  CHEAinfo@cheaofca.org  or http://www.cheaofca.org/  for more details! 
NDHSA Home Education Convention at the Jamestown Civic Center, Jamestown, ND, on February 28 - March 2, 2019. Sign up now! Contact Karol Kapelle at  kapklan@gondtc.com  for more details! 
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