Math Can Be Fun

Mathematics (Photo credit: Terriko)

“Show kids that puzzling through problems can be as cozy as reading Goodnight Moon … they may never decide that math is no fun.” This sentence in an NPR report about a website called Bedtime Math that was started by a mom who gave her kids math problems to solve at bedtime strongly caught my attention.  I thought that this was a fantastic way of describing how my husband and I feel about teaching our kids math and when it is appropriate to start.  How many of us grew up thinking we’re “no good at math?”  We don’t want our boys to ever think that about themselves.  We feel that, starting from a very young age, exposing our kids to math concepts only gives them an advantage.  We count stairs as we walk up or down, decide how many avocados to buy at the grocery store, talk about money, and discuss whether we want more or less ice cream.  So many people, including numerous teachers, believe various age groups should be taught only certain math skills because they are deemed developmentally appropriate for that group.  Peg Tyre wrote in The Good School, “But now research suggests that children often don’t know math at an early age not because they are not developmentally ready for it but because they haven’t been exposed to it.  What children are “ready for” is largely contingent on prior opportunities to learn.  In general, early experience with numbers and quantity at home builds into early math learning, which sets the stage for more math.”  What it comes down to is background knowledge.  Children need a solid background knowledge to be successful in not just reading, but in math as well.  We hope to provide that for our own boys in order to allow as many doors of opportunity to open for them as possible.

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