Why is Math Important

By:  Rachel Mork,

Are your children asking: Why is math important? Having trouble explaining to your children why getting A's in math is essential for a comprehensive education that will set them up for a successful future? Instead of explaining the history of mathematics to your child, try making math concepts such as economics and engineering computations practical to them. Try these activities to help your child value math:

Family Economics Project/Basic Accounting Skills
Have your child look through the family budget with you. Using a spreadsheet or a notebook, have your child add up the monthly expenses for rent or mortgage, transportation, food, utilities and miscellaneous. Use real bills and real statements. Show your child your paystubs, and have them compare what amount of money goes in and what goes out each month. By making this concept real to your child, you can teach the value of budgeting and of having good math skills so you can track if you are sticking to your budget or not.

Projected Expenses/Basic Investing
Look up a local college your child might attend. Have your child calculate out how much it will cost to send her to college for four years. Talk about the value of a college education and what types of careers will be possible with that education. Then show her how much money is currently in her or your family's savings. Estimate how much money she will need to come up with before college if she wants to pay for it all by herself. Come up with a plan for the family to save a portion of the expenses, and explain the concepts of investments and savings. If some of your savings are in investments, use one of your investments as an example, and show your child how much you invested and what the investment is worth now.

Home Improvement Project Calculations
If you have a home improvement project in the works, such as building a deck or a rabbit hutch, involve your child in doing the measurements and calculations to discover exactly what materials you will need. Have your child join you for the trip to the hardware store, and enlist your child as the expense calculator as you estimate how much the project will cost. Keep all of your receipts as you complete the project. At the end of the project, compare the estimates for cost with how much it actually cost.

Look for ways to make arithmetic practical, and your children will learn to respect math.