It should be pretty clear based on my post history that math is one of my stronger subjects. I really love numbers and finding patterns. Mostly this is due to there often only being one answer. I live in grey, so any time I can get a pure answer, that’s great!
I live in Ontario, which about 15 years ago implemented a new math curriculum in elementary school. Helping my kids with their homework isn’t easy, because I find the approach ridiculously overlong. Multiplication tables aren’t a requirement, and everyone has a calculator in grade 1. Fine though, I wanted to give it the benefit of the doubt and judge on results. For a wide variety of reasons, the general results have been increasingly trending downwards. There’s no single factor to blame here, everyone in the process has something to bring.
To me, math is like breathing and walking. I don’t really think about it, I just do it. That comes from years and years of exercise. I have a habit of throwing math problems to my kids, in particular in long car rides. At first they were simple arithmetic, but over the years they’ve grown into analytical problems. This year they’ve learned more about budgeting. I won’t hide it, there are parts I’ve taught them that conflict with their teachers. So there have been some nights where we work on multiple approaches, and the kids get to see the logic behind them. At some point, they will find their personal approach for problems solving, and the more they are exposed to, the better.
The provincial government announced this week a new curriculum for math. The devil is in the details, but at a conceptual level this new model appears to address quite a few gaps of the previous. It’s practical math, meaning that it’s in the day to day context of use. If they can find ways to apply the math (like coding, or budgeting as listed), then this simply becomes a daily skill set.
Won’t stop me from having random math tests at home. There are few skills more useful in life than mathematical literacy.