If you caught my last post, you already know how math determines your child’s success in seemingly unrelated academic areas and in their future career. Now I want to dig deeper into the more specific skills and concepts a child learns when they’re truly understanding math (versus just memorizing some facts), that can then help them in all areas of life. When you have a mental tool like math, it really can change the way you think about everything thing else.
I mentioned analytical skills and problem-solving, but what are some examples of this? Personally, I saw math develop my own analytical skills in high school, during a time when I wasn’t even pursuing math as a career. I had just found my way into computer programming and that math-based field was teaching me math skills in ways I, at the time, didn’t even realize. At the same time that I was taking computer programming in high school, I was also involved in speech and debate. I’m 100 percent sure that the logic I learned from computer programming affected my performance in this extracurricular. It gave me the precision and logic necessary to poke holes in the opposition’s arguments and do so in a succinct way that easily led to victories for my debate team. The precision and logic that stem from math are irrefutable; math is just facts. When you learn the facts for math specifically, the logic and precision skills stick around, playing in the background when you take on other mental challenges and need to formulate an argument or a theory with the best chances of irrefutable correctness.
Children who grasp mathematical reasoning at an early age go on to use their reasoning and logic skills to better both their careers and their worlds. In one study, two cohorts of 13-year-olds in the top 1 percent of mathematical reasoning ability were followed throughout their lives. After 40 years had passed, those students with the highest mathematical reasoning skills had gone on to accomplish incredible things. Across the nearly 1,700 students, they had…
Their math acumen (and their corresponding aptitude for logic and reasoning) predicted their creative contributions and occupational leadership.
Children who never grasp basic math concepts conversely go on to become older students and then adults without the same precise, logical abilities. When this happens, it’s easy to invent stories about why you might not be good at math. Maybe you tell yourself that you’re not a “numbers person” (an excuse not to succeed at numbers-related tasks). There aren’t really “numbers” and “not-numbers people.” Everyone has the same mathematical abilities. It just comes down to whether or not you’re correctly exercising that part of your brain — the logical, precise part — that makes math easy. The more you use that part of your brain, the stronger it gets. Math is simply a tool you can use to strengthen your logic and reasoning. However, if you’ve invented a story for yourself about why you’re not good at math, or if you’ve had a bad experience learning math and have resulting “math anxiety,” you’re less likely to want to develop that part of your brain later in life and learn math-related skills, because you associate math with pain.
Preventing your child from becoming an adult with math anxiety isn’t difficult. All it takes is giving them the right experiences with math as a student so that they (a) are comfortable exercising the logical parts of their brains using the tool of math and (b) understand math as a logical way of thinking versus simply a series of numbers and formulas to memorize.
Elephant Learning teaches math concepts from a logic and reasoning perspective, so students learn the underlying basic skills of math before attempting to tackle intimidating numbers and equations. These basic skills are the aspects of math that set up your child to succeed throughout the rest of their life. Get started with the Elephant Learning app and see how I used my knowledge as a Ph.D. mathematician to change the early learning math experience to remarkable results. Our users learn at least a year of math in three months, just by using the app 30 minutes per week, or your money back.
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