Helping Your Child With Today’s Math

By National Education Association

Today’s math is designed to help your child compete and thrive in a rapidly changing world—academically, professionally, financially and socially.

Math education should prepare your child to graduate from high school, get into college, start a career, and make smart, informed decisions in every area of life. To do this, today’s math education may look different than it did when you were a child. That’s because the world is different.

We live in a different economy, with different jobs, requiring different skills. For your child to compete in top fields like science, medicine and technology, or even to create their own path, math—and the mental problem-solving skills it instills—is critical.

Math is also essential to making good decisions in daily life—whether applying for financial aid, comparing mortgage rates or planning for retirement.

Today’s math is meant to prepare students to manage and enrich their lives.

What does today’s math mean for my child?

The idea behind today’s math is not just to do it, but also to understand how and why we do it. Students do not just learn numbers, equations, angles and theorems, but also put in context why these concepts matter in life.

As a basic example, let’s consider a second-grade classroom. In this classroom, two apples plus two apples still equal four apples. But the teacher asks students to go a step further. How many apples would they need for a classroom party? What is the cost to buy those apples? How much money do they need to have in the class budget?

Working through this series of questions helps your child develop problem-solving skills, which they can apply over and over to everyday life. The same goes for solving complex equations in a tenth-grade classroom. The students don’t have to become mathematicians to apply the logical thinking they develop. Employers in every field value this skill. Because of this deeper approach to learning, math problems may take a bit longer, but there also may be fewer assigned. Help your child stay focused.

Encourage them to talk through the problem and the solution, and ask them to demonstrate their process as well as the answer.

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