As important as Algebra, Geometry, Calculus, and Trigonometry can be for many children, I believe that other math skills are also useful in their daily lives. I use information like these math facts again and again in my daily life:
- 3 teaspoons make a tablespoon and 16 tablespoons make a cup.
- 2 cups make a pint and 2 pints make a quart.
- 12 inches make a foot and three feet make a yard.
- 5 pennies make a nickel and 10 pennies make a dime.
- 5 nickles make a quarter and 4 quarters make a dollar.
- a standard card deck has 4 suits of 13 cards which add up to 52 cards.
- a standard die has six sides and each side has either 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 dots.
- if a store has 50% off, a $20 shirt will be $10.
- if a store has a buy one get one half-price offer, 2 $20 shirts will cost me $30.
- if I purchase 2 yards of fabric (or chain or wire or rope) at $3 per yard, I will pay $6.
You get the idea.
When we help children “learn the math they need to know,” we:
- find the curriculum from which each individual child can learn best.
- determine how far our child needs to advance (or does not need to advance) in mathematics by learning what God has created this child to do in the future and by listening to our child’s goals and aspirations.
- find tutors or tutorials or co-ops that will help our child with whatever we cannot teach, while keeping in mind what spiritual influence these will have on our children.
- help them to memorize measurements and equivalents and to know their math facts inside and out. Then, they can shop, play games, make a craft, or buy the right amount of paint at a hardware store without a mathematical handicap.
- remember God’s teaching in Colossians 3:21 not to exasperate our children.
While we take care of these things, we must also train our children in the many ethics lessons God teaches about mathematics. Here is just one verse among many:
A false balance is an abomination to the Lord,
But a just weight is His delight.
As we work faithfully on these tasks year after year, I believe our children will learn the math they need to know.