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Does Math Matter?

Yesterday when I wrote about the 8 yo kid here learning algebra, I left out one caveat.  Math is kinda one of our things around the house.  We’re all immersed in it all the time.  My partner studied physics with a minor in math.  I studied engineering.  We both enjoy math, and consequently, we talk about math often, whether the kids are nearby or not.  So, math might be easier to pick up at our house just by virtue of being there.

Here’s the thing though, when everyone frets “yes, but how will the kids learn math?”  Beyond the fact that if their interested in it they can find resources to learn it, beyond that fact, maybe it just doesn’t matter.

Every family is into something, lots of things really.  If the family's cooking along without anyone knowing trigonometry, perhaps that’s because the things they’re passionate about just don’t need trigonometry.  And guess what?  The kids in that family will be immersed in those passions.  Passions all the other kids may not be as exposed to a frequently.  Maybe, just maybe, everything will work out ok.

Who says something like math, or even writing has to be be all to end all?  Share the things you do need!  They’ll be different for everybody.  That’s what makes life interesting.

What you do know how to do is worthwhile to your life.  Share that stuff with your kid.  There’s so much that each and everyone of us knows.  There’s so much each of us can share.

What about the stuff you don’t know?  The stuff you think the kid should be exposed to, or even better yet, the stuff that the kid really wants to learn?  Find other resources.  Find someone else who does have a passion in that area.  Find books.  Find classes.  The knowledge is out there, and if a kid’s interested in it, they will learn it.

The 8, 6, and 4 y.o. kids here constantly pick up knowledge from other places.  They’re interested in so many things I don’t know much about: art, various sports, cooking, all sorts of things.  For example, have no ability whatsoever to throw a football pass.  The ball doesn’t spin the way it should.  Instead, it develops a wobble.  Sometimes it gets there, sometimes it doesn’t.  Tossing the football around is not a thing the kids and I do. 

But, there are other parents in our lives who do toss the football with their kids.  At a birthday party last year, then five year-old No. Two hollered “Hey Dad!”  just before the football he’d winged at me hit me hard, square in the chest.   He’d learned how to pass a football—better than I ever will—just a few minutes earlier from his buddy’s dad who’s a physical trainer.

I think all the knowledge is out there.  I think kids will learn what they want to learn, when they want to learn it.  I think everything, yes everything will be OK.


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