A Worksheet for Math-Phobic Parents
Parents who hate math often fear raising kids who will feel the same.
Many parents who loathe math fear raising kids who feel the same. This is becoming a more urgent concern as the fastest-growing occupations increasingly require skills in either math or science. Sue Shellenbarger on Lunch Break discusses how parents overcome math phobias.
Tammy Jolley is one of them—“a horrible math-phobic,” she says. After struggling through algebra and statistics in high school and college, helping her 9-year-old son Jake with math homework makes her “feel like saying, ‘Aaarghh, this is hard! I know why you don’t get it,’ ” says the Madison, Ala., state-court official. Instead, she forces herself to encourage Jake.
Ongoing research is shedding new light on the importance of math to children’s success. Math skill at kindergarten entry is an even stronger predictor of later school achievement than reading skills or the ability to pay attention, according to a 2007 study in the journal Developmental Psychology.
The issue is drawing increasing attention as U.S. teens continue to trail their global peers in math, performing below average compared with students in 33 other industrialized nations, based on the most recent results of the Program for International Student Assessment in 2010.