As a math tutor for 15 years, I have tutored hundreds of students from all the grade levels. I found most of the students were not comfortable with mathematics. More than 80% of them said, the mathematics is very hard. Why do most of the students find mathematics a hard subject and try to avoid it? The answer for the above question is hidden in a simple example. I always give the example of stairs to my students, and giving the same example in this article. I compare the steps of a staircase to the concepts in mathematics. As this is very hard to reach higher floors of a building without stairs (or elevators these days), same way learn higher concepts in mathematics without learning basic concepts is very hard.
Now, consider one person is jumping on the ground to reach the third floor of a building. Can this person make it? Never, if he is not Spiderman. For this person, to reach the third floor by jumping is impossible or very hard and finally he gave up saying that it was very hard to reach third floor. But another person used the stairs to reach the same floor. This person found it very easy and reach there with little effort. Compare this person to a student who knows all the basic concepts learned in elementary grades. To learn grade six or grade seven math for this student will be easy. But there is another student in grade six and does not know the lower grade math concepts such as, times tables, factors or number system. This student is in the same situation as the person, who is jumping to reach third floor from the ground level.
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I believe in the importance of mathematics in our daily lives and it is critical that we nurture our kids with a proper math education. Mathematics involves pattern and structure; it is all about logic and calculation. Understanding of these math concepts are also needed in understanding science and technology. Learning math is quite difficult for most kids. As a matter of fact, it causes stress and anxiety to parents. How much stress our kids go through?
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Today we all know that benefits of math are considerable. Math is not a subject one learns by reading the problems and solutions. American children have very little practice with multi-step problems, and very few opportunities to think their way in to and through problems that do not look like all the others. With a packed curriculum and the increased emphasis on testing, our children are taught tons of procedures - but procedures disconnected from when to use them, and why. Sustained thinking - the key ingredient to math success - is painfully absent in too many math classes.
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