Why do I need math?
Has your child asked why he or she needs to learn math? Or maybe you’ve heard him or her say, “When am I ever going to use this in real life?” Here are some replies you can use the next time your K–12 student asks why he or she needs to know how to multiply, divide, measure, do fractions, or any other type of math calculation:
1. Handling money appropriately with math
Even students in elementary school can understand the impact that math has on their piggy banks. At an early age, you can help them learn to skip-count using five- and ten-cent coins.
Older K–12 students can learn math concepts by handling bank accounts and learning about 401(k) plans, budgeting, credit cards, and interest rates. How will you know if that deal you’re being offered is actually a good deal? How much will your monthly payments have to be if you want that credit card paid off before the promotional 0% APR ends? Making wise financial decisions requires a solid foundation in math. Talk to your children about these complex issues before they leave the nest so they’ll be prepared to handle these challenges on their own.
2. Telling time and using math
While many watches and clocks are now digital—and Alexa and Siri are omnipresent and ready to provide the time—knowing how to tell time on an analog clock face is still an important skill. Not only is there a whole language that comes along with understanding quarter and half hours, but kids also need to learn how to add and subtract to get to school on time. They need to know how much time is left until they have to go to bed, get up in the morning, or until video game time is over.
3. Baking and cooking with fractions
Many people enjoy creating tasty treats in the kitchen, but has it ever occurred to you that cooking requires math? Measuring amounts, calculating ratios of ingredients, and doubling or tripling the batch—it’s all math! To avoid unpalatable results, you need to understand the difference between a cup and a tablespoon.
Next time you host a big family gathering, remind your student that the recipe instructs you to calculate the cooking time—for example, 12 minutes per pound. Correctly multiplying the minutes by the number of pounds will ensure a juicy turkey or ham—while getting it wrong could ruin your dinner!
4. Shopping and using math to make a budget
Whether you are grocery shopping or shopping for a new outfit, it is important to stay within a budget. Have your student keep a running estimated balance and compare it to the balance on your receipt after checkout. Look for discounts or use coupons. If an item is on sale for 30 percent off the retail price, let your student calculate the sale price for you!
5. Figuring out sports through math
Not only can you use basic geometric concepts to understand how to hit a ball or the arc that your basketball shot needs to travel to swish through the hoop, but you may also want to have a basic understanding of statistics. Statistics are used every day in baseball to calculate a hitter’s batting average and on-base percentage and a pitcher’s earned run average (ERA).
Our hope is that by showing your student how useful math is in an everyday setting, you can help motivate him or her to stick with it and learn new concepts. To learn how you can add a challenging and inspiring math curriculum to your student’s day, visit Connections Academy®. Or to learn about online private school, visit International Connections Academy’s website.