Months into the school year, completely unaware my daughter was having difficulties in math, she came home one day upset, saying that she wasn’t smart and that she was in the lowest math group. I met with her teacher who relayed, well after the fact, that my daughter received a very low score on her math assessment in the beginning of the year. After seeing this ‘mystery’ test, it was clear that my daughter did not know her math facts well.
As I was digesting the test with the teacher, I commented that it seems like a simple issue of lack of exposure to certain topics but most importantly, she didn’t know her math facts fluently. I was shocked when the teacher responded that “she wasn’t good at math either.” At the age of 6, the teacher had just labeled my daughter by implying she wasn’t a “math person.”
After all that, my daughter was still eager to improve and practiced 20 minutes a day using flash cards and various math sheets that I found. I spent hours and hours looking for math practice that suited her level. Nothing I found was incremental nor did the practice match what she truly needed. I made math sheets for her and figured out how to use flash cards effectively. In just a few months, my daughter not only caught up, but the following school year she entered the extended math class. This had a huge impact on her confidence.
At such a young age, just a little daily practice propelled her forward. I began wondering about the other children in the school and how many of them had the ability to do so much more, if only they had someone focused on their needs and the practice to match.
I decided to become a math tutor, volunteer math teacher, and eventually an official math teacher and taught 5th and 6th grade pre-algebra. This experience along with many others brought me to where I am now: creator of “Page A Day Math with the Math Squad.”
After years of personal experiences with my children, friends' children, math volunteer-teaching, and finally teaching, I believe there is a huge gap in students’ math knowledge of the basics that makes higher-level math, like algebra and problem solving, exhausting and unenjoyable. This leads to negative feelings about anything having to do with math and prevents students from exploring a multitude of hobbies and careers.
I also witnessed students willing to put in extra time on perfecting the basics, and how they soared.
The most significant takeaway from the last 10 years is that everyone can be a “math person.” Innocently, children are often adversely affected by their parents, teachers, and peers about what they can and can’t do before they have even given “it” their best shot.
I believe that everyone can be a “math person.” My pledge is to change the negative connotations associated with math right from the beginning by creating math books and tools that are exploding with color, fun, encouragement, and inspiration for the child and parent!
The Math Squad,