Is Math A Problem?

Is Math A Problem?

Do you have trouble with math?

A lot of people do. For twenty-five years, I have had many students convince themselves that math is scary and to be avoided at almost all costs.

This is not entirely their fault because many parents and even some teachers are traumatized by math – even the thought of math gives them the chills. In other cases, people have just given up on math altogether, pretending it doesn’t exist.

Here is the good news. Math is not a monster, ghost, or boogeyman hiding under your bed. It is not an unconquerable subject.

You can do it!

In fact, math skills are some of the most useful bits of knowledge you can place in your toolbox. After all, math is used in everyday life including recipes, gardening, home renovations, and – perhaps most importantly – personal finance and investing.

A solid base in math can keep you from falling into many financial traps. It, along with some logic and reasoning skills, can also guard against all the misleading claims and fake news “facts” being promoted incessantly.

jump-inIt is often the fear of math rather than the math itself that holds people back. The solution is to take it one step at a time.

Step One:

Have no fear. Jump in and try!

Step Two:

Know what you know. How can you advance or attack the weak spots if you don’t’ know what they are? Look at your current level and ability and start there. In this way, you can learn incrementally without defeating yourself.

Step Three:

Now that you know your base, start challenging yourself to complete more complex questions. For example, if you know how to add and subtract fractions, move toward multiplying and dividing fractions. If you have a handle on solving one-step equations, move on to solving two-step equations.

Step Four:

Check your answers. Do not shy away from mistakes. They are your learning opportunities. If you are not making any mistakes, you are not challenging yourself! Take the time to work “backwards” to see where you went wrong on the questions that didn’t work out. Then try again.

Step Five:

Repeat. And repeat, and repeat – always moving up a level to challenge yourself more until you have reached the proficiency you desire.

Throughout all steps, use the resources you have at hand. If you are practising from a workbook or textbook, always read the directions and use the examples as a template moving forward. (Shocking how many skip these steps!) Access online resources which are vast and include helpful videos that will walk you step-by-step through almost any math topic. Use a calculator, if you need one, particularly on advanced math equations, but also try to improve your mental math skills on more basic operations.

If you are taking a course, you should be able to access your teacher.

A tutor can be a valuable resource as well. He or she will be able to pinpoint your weak spots and help you build on the foundation you already have. Over the years, I have taken many students from a dread of math to enjoying it and wanting more.

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