The Way We’re Teaching Math Is All Wrong – Here’s How To Improve It

Last Updated on January 16, 2024 by Lori Pace

If your child’s least favorite subject is math, they aren’t alone. It’s common, and almost expected, for math to be a child’s least favorite subject. We know that math is an incredibly fascinating subject that’s important in day-to-day life, so why is it so boring to learn?

It’s because we’re teaching math all wrong. In this guide, we’ll look at what modern schools get wrong with how math is taught. We’ll also examine how moms can make learning fun. 

What’s Wrong With How Schools Teach Math? 

Whats Wrong With How Schools Teach Math

Maria Droujkova, a math educator, wrote in an Atlantic article about the pitfalls of modern math education. The hierarchical progression of counting, addition and subtraction, and so on, is actually counterintuitive to how children think and learn. Math is best learned through play-based activities as these grow our “number sense.” This is vital for all math education.

According to Maria Droujkova and the studies she cites in the Atlantic article, it’s possible for children to learn math in two years’ time if we postpone math education until the seventh year. This includes everything from memorizing PEMDAS to learning high-level calculus. 

What Moms Can Learn From This Research

Unless moms are able to pull their children out of school for a well-structured homeschool education, there isn’t much they can do about the way math is taught. However, parents can use this information to improve their children’s relationship with math while improving their skills.

What Moms Can Learn From This Research

How Single Moms Can Teach Their Children Math

If your child is struggling with math, there’s a good chance they aren’t being taught in a manner that brings out the best in them. Here are a few ways moms can help teach their children math.

Intimately Understand Math Concepts

Studies show that a mother’s own educational achievements and the child’s learning environment have a direct correlation with how well children are able to learn math. 

Mothers who understand math concepts are better able to teach them to their children, but that’s not the only thing that improves a child’s education. If parents read to their children, take them to the library, and play with numbers, it tells the child that learning math is really fun.

While it’s true that practice makes perfect, being in the right mindset and getting taught by a great teacher can make all the difference. Get your child in the mood for learning!

Use Real World Scenarios to Teach Math

Modern education is, well, modern, but numbers and math aren’t a new concept. Children used to (and still do if left on their own) learn math by applying concepts to real-world scenarios.

For example, say you’re with your children at the grocery store. While in the store, you can ask questions like, “I need two boxes of cereal for the week. How much will that cost me based on the price tag?” Your child could then use information in their environment to solve the problem.

This not only gets some practice in, but it also directly shows your children how math is used in everyday life. This shows them without telling them how important understanding math can be.

You can even do this with complex calculus problems. For example, say your child plays an instrument. You can use calculus to calculate the acoustics of any room they play in.

Incorporate Body Movement and Fingers

You’ve probably seen your toddler use their fingers to solve math problems. Children are quickly taught out of this habit because it’s seen as childish, but this is far from the truth. Before this expectation was placed on us, it was quite normal to use our bodies when doing math.

In fact, the part of the brain used for numerical representation is related to finger motion. Full movements, like walking while talking, are more valuable than speech when comprehending complex topics. If you encourage your children to move, they’ll learn math more easily. 

Disassociate Math With Fear of Failure

This is likely the hardest thing for any parent to do, especially since fear of failure or fear in general is often seen as a legitimate motivator. While fear is a good short-term motivator, it isn’t sustainable in the long term and actually causes a person to resent or avoid a problem entirely.

To see if your child is afraid of math, consider how they approach the subject. If they say negative things about their own abilities or they avoid doing homework, those are signs of fear.

It’s not abnormal for teachers to instill this fear in children, thanks to the grading system. 

However, one way to prevent this fear is by praising improvements, avoiding punishments for failure, and making math fun. Most children can be great at math with the right instruction.

In Conclusion… 

Rote memorization has its place in academia, but this can make your children disconnected from the point of learning concepts entirely. If you want your children to learn math, making it fun and applying it to real-life scenarios is the best way. With the right tools, anyone can learn math! 

Lori Pace
Lori Pace

Lori Pace is a single mother of three daughters ages 7 and under. As a working mom from home, she balances kids, work and two crazy dogs with humor and love. Follow Lori as she honestly gives tips and advice based on her own experiences as a single mom!

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