One of my most favorite complaints in math was when am I going to ever use this again?
Well, the joke is on me. Math is everywhere. This is the concept I’m learning right along side my daughter. The problem I face is coming from a mind-set of math is in a textbook; its hard to break out of that thinking. I look at it as, here’s your assignment, you do it and are done for the day. Yet, it’s really a narrow way of looking at math (or any subject for that matter). Math is in the grocery store, in my budget (or lack thereof), playing a game, building a bunk bed, playing billiards and many other places. Truthfully, math concepts are used continuously in our day and yet I still scorn it. It’s hard to change the attitude of my childhood even when I can now see all the many places math lives.
Fortunately God doesn’t leave me in my ignorance. Nor am I condemned to perpetuate that ignorance in my children. I frequently ask my kids to utilize their math concepts…asking them to make change at the grocery store, figure out what the tax will be on an item or just simply playing a multiplication (or any other function) game with a deck of cards. By doing so, I’m showing to them that God created math to be a part of our lives…that the perfection of numbers and its finite rules displays a wonderful balance that is found in our creator. There is order and structure and they are important. Like our God, it doesn’t change. While there may be new tricks to solving a problem, it’s answer is and always will be the same from one generation to the next. In a world where so much can be changed from history to language, math is a safe haven of absolutes.
In our classical education that is ongoing in our house, we have been challenged to go play on the math playground. By viewing it in light of our Lord and seeing it as the unique language it is, it is less intimidating than what I remember in my own education. True mathematicians play with numbers. What if I taught from that perspective? Could math be fun?