Homeschool To Do List: Learn the Math They Need to Know — Part 2

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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.

A Cup, A Pint, and A Quart with Dogwood Blossoms
A Cup, A Pint, and A Quart with Dogwood Blossoms

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.
Proverbs 11:1

As we work faithfully on these tasks year after year, I believe our children will learn the math they need to know.

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  1. I absolutely LOVE this post! While my husband and I both took–and enjoyed–higher math in college, only 1 out of 5 children in our household had a “bent” toward math. It was a relief to relax the expectations and, as you say, focus on what was most practical and most useful for each individual. To your list, I would add making sure they know how to balance a checkbook, compute and compare unit pricing at the grocery store, and what makes a good/bad investment. We also emphasized STAYING OUT OF DEBT. My only contradiction to your list is that if I’m not mistaken, 1 stick of butter, which is 8 Tablespoons, is only 1/2 a cup.:-)

  2. I have found this post to be so helpful! I am so not a math person and don’t want my children to grow up that way. I was left behind in math in public school though I was in honors classes in other subjects. I have found that in teaching my children , I’m learning what I should have years ago in math. I think consumer math skills are one of the most useful in daily living. I also have enjoyed the homeschool to do list. Awesome!

  3. Excellent advice (as usual) Charlene! Especially in these days of frenzied, stressed out, college-prep homeschooling mamas. I am a mathmatically-challenged mom, but I must say that God provided for our needs each step of the way (outside classes, computer programs, the right curriculum, etc.). And because of my weakness in this area, one positive was that it did help me focus on what my children really needed to know in their daily lives. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I love this and would like to “pin” it on Pinterest but it says there isn’t a usable link to pick up….I’m not sure what this means in computer speak but can you see if that’s something you can fix? I would love to keep this for future reference.
    Thank you!

    • Rebecca,

      In the gray bar at the top of the blog post page, there is a Pin It button. That works for me for in adding the link to Pinterest. It is not picking up the image, so that is something I should figure out…

      • No, it keeps saying it’s not a “pinnable” link. I think because there is no picture?? (I am not a techie so I’m not much help).