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Why Your Teen Needs to Care About Math

This week, SchoolFamily.com presents a guest blog authored by Clare McIlwraith and Chris Whittington, a.k.a The Study Gurus. This dynamic duo specializes in teaching student how to study effectively. They share their years of studying and tutoring experience at thestudygurus.com.

Is your teen uninterested in math?

Do you know they could do better in it?

You’re not alone. Math is by far the most unpopular subject in high school.

Fortunately we have a solution for your teen that will help them break out of their “I hate math” funk—and we’re not even going to mention a single math formula!


Why teens hate math so much

It’s a defining trait of human behavior that we simply don’t do something if we don’t have a reason to. (Or sometimes if we don’t have a good enough reason not to—in the case of procrastination!)

For a lot of teens math seems like a pointless exercise. While this is terribly frustrating for so many parents, we can’t blame our teens, because in most cases no one has actually bothered to explain to them why it’s important.


If your teen doesn’t know why he needs math, then why should he care what X equals?

Some teens are just naturally motivated to want to do well at school—even in math! But probably the majority of students aren’t—and they need to know why the subject is important in order to get motivated about it. Otherwise, their understanding will suffer, along with their grades…


What can you do to help?

You don’t have to force your teen into studying. Or have yelling matches about why she should care more.

The best thing to do is to just have an open and honest chat with her about the importance of math after school.

The point of this conversation is not to transform your teen into a math-loving mini Einstein overnight. It’s to plant the idea that math isn’t taught to torture them, but because it’s an incredibly important aspect of life in the ‘real world’.

It is used daily by pretty much everyone who has a career that isn’t flipping burgers.


How should this conversation go?

If you have some, you could start by sharing how you use the math you learned at school on a daily basis. Or maybe how you sincerely wish you had tried harder and done better at math because then X, Y, and Z would be so much easier.

Another approach could be for you to talk about all of the professions that use math every day, because there are a LOT…

Not just the obvious ones—engineers, architects, and accountants; how about doctors, builders, teachers, electricians, computer technicians, scientists, nurses… the full list is long!

The fact of the matter is that most (if not all) satisfying and well-paying professions require a reasonable level of math.

You don’t want your teen to learn this the hard way—when it’s too late and their hopes and dreams are dwindling down to the size of a Big Mac.

Now is the time for them to make the most of school and seize the day—even when they have math class.

For more math advice, visit The Study Gurus website.

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#2 Bon Crowder 2012-01-13 17:48
Usefulness of a subject does not imply that they will do better. Being comfortable and familiar with a subject, on the other hand, does lead to success.

Also - having " an open and honest chat" means having A TALK.

No kid wants A TALK.

Instead get them comfortable and familiar with math without A TALK by noticing where you use math as it happens. Then say it out loud to yourself - not to your teen. MODEL the fact that you do math all the time.

Like this...

Making coffee: "I don't feel like being jittery today. I'm going to mix a little decaf in the coffee. Maybe three scoops of decaf and 5 scoops of regular. Hmm... that sounds like ratios or fractions or something I just did. That's math."

Setting your alarm clock: "I need to leave at 7:15 tomorrow. So I need to set the clock at 6:15 to wake up. Hum... I just did subtraction and that's math."
#1 Alisia 2011-10-27 19:59
Because math will be used in everyday life

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