by Ike Prudente
There are parents who are allergic to Math and who say MATH is an acronym for
Mental Abuse To Humans
They conclude that just because they are allergic to math and are certified math-haters, they cannot teach math to their children. And I’d tell them the first and most important MATH lesson you can teach your child is “Mathitude.”
Mathitude is the term I use to refer to the attitude to use in approaching Math (and many everyday) problems. Among the more important things that I taught my children are:
- Most problems can be solved.
Complex problems can usually be broken down into simpler parts which are more easily solved.
- Problems can have different solutions.
Obvious solutions may not be the best.
- You can develop shortcuts in problem solving, but do not take shortcut in education.
One must not only learn, but also master, the basic concepts. Each succeeding math course builds upon the previous courses. If they find the current lesson hard to understand, then they must review the previous lessons.
- The cliché “practice makes perfect” is especially true in Math.
Math is learned not just by reading but by also doing. I ask my children to solve every available exercise or problem about the current lesson.
- Teaching helps learning.
I ask them to teach their classmates or younger kids. You cannot teach what you don’t know.
- Try to solve problems first before asking for help.
Study lessons before they are discussed in class. This helps the children develop self-reliance. But don’t be afraid to ask questions if needed.
- Understand and not just memorize.
Math is best learned by understanding the basic concepts and not just memorizing the math facts and solution steps.
Ike Prudente is a Math Advocate, creator of the Math-Inic system, and the best-selling author of the book
“25 Math Short Cuts.”