Did you know the math your child knows before school predicts their achievement even into college? It turns out that mathematics is the fundamental building block for ALL learning.
In fact, math scores are a better predictor of future reading abilities than reading scores! Preschool math scores predict 5th grade overall scores, including oral language abilities, and vocabulary. 8th grade math scores predict whether you will drop out of high school! ALL subjects benefited from doing more math.
The sad reality is 4 out of 5 kindergarten students start already behind! Children that are behind tend to stay behind, and children that are ahead tend to stay ahead. Almost half of first and second graders report having math anxiety. 2 out of 3 high school students are not proficient in math and 69% of STEM majors switch majors due to math requirements. 50% of Americans report Math Anxiety along with 80% of Community College majors.
We tell our children they can grow up to be anything they want. The truth is, they never had a chance!
We believe our platform at Elephant Learning is the key to turning the corner for this very serious issue in our society.
Children in low-income neighborhoods are on average 3 years behind their funded peers! Imagine entering first grade and being taught to add when you have the understanding of numbers comparable to that of a 3 year old! It contributes massively to a 48% drop out rate in these neighborhoods, and 329 billion in lost lifetime wages we incur each year from high school dropouts.
This is why Elephant Learning is proud to offer the Math Matters! Buy 1 Give 1 program. When you purchase a subscription, we give the same subscription to a family in need.
Math anxiety — a fear of getting math concepts and problems wrong and the resulting avoidance of math because of that — is something I’ve seen many times over my life and not just in children. It’s just as prevalent in adults and, believe it or not, despite my PhD in math, I experienced math anxiety as a child, too. While some children allowed their math anxiety to grow into a lifelong avoidance of math, mine fueled my competitive spirit and led me to push ahead of my peers, learning advanced math concepts even when I wasn’t able to get into the advanced math classes my middle school offered.
It is never too late to understand math. At a young age, many of us had the experience of being told that “we are just not a numbers person.” Books have been written on this social phenomena, and half of all Americans report Math anxiety. As it turns out, mathematics is really about learning jargon, a jargon that is so fundamental to humanity that we consider it vocabulary.
At the end of the day, algebra comes down to these three steps: define, recognize and produce. No matter if your child is in middle school or a PhD math program, it’s all about defining (can you understand it?), recognizing (can you identify it?), and producing (can you use it to produce results or new research?). If you can help your child with these three aspects of algebra at home, they’ll be better set up for success in the classroom and the future.
Most students learn to multiply in school by memorizing their multiplication tables. There’s nothing wrong with memorizing multiplication tables, but a child must know what the multiplication tables mean. If they’re multiplying seven by six, they need to have that picture in the back of their head of six groups of seven or seven groups of six. If not, they don’t have a true understanding of what multiplication actually is and it won’t serve them later on in life.Take, for example, a child who knows that five times four is 20. She can solve the multiplication problem with ease.
In early elementary education, the first concepts that we work with are counting and comparisons — that is, quantity comparisons versus what's bigger and smaller. We might show a child an image of four objects and an image with 12 objects, and ask them to identify which has more or fewer. It's important for children to know the difference because it sets the stage for addition and subtraction.
Making math fun for your child within the confines of your everyday world is easy. Let’s say you’re walking down the sidewalk with your child and they say, “Oh, there’s a train.” That’s an opportunity for you to ask how many train cars they can see. How many engines are on the train? Even if it’s just their toys sitting out on the floor, you could ask them, “Can you give me three toy dogs right now?” Then your child has to identify what’s a dog, what’s not a dog and how many of them equal three.Take whatever your child can identify and formulate a math lesson that’s on their level.