Math is a Skill
This is a guests blog post written by Logan Schoolcraft
Math is a skill. Just like welding, carpentry, running, singing, or any other worthwhile endeavor. Maybe people don’t give it enough credit, since it’s one of those things that we seem to use on a daily basis.
Perhaps that is part of the problem with some people’s math “skills”—they take them for granted and really don’t work on them. It’s like exercise. If you think you walk and do a lot of physical stuff during the day, but actually you don’t, you are probably not going to be in shape.
On the other hand, if you take time every day, (or some regular routine), to exercise, you’ll start to see and feel the impact it makes. The same is true of your math skills. Keeping sharp doesn’t mean doing math problems (or exercises) all day long. It simply means not letting the already developed skills deteriorate. If you do enough to develop new skills, then all the better.
I made a connection the other day when reading about Abraham Lincoln. He made the comment he was going back to his office to, “practice some more law.” That line got me thinking. He wasn’t going to go fill out another form and have someone sign it (even though that might have been done), but he was going to go look into more law. Law itself. Maybe read on it, study an old case, or develop his own current case.
It’s this “practice some more ____” that I want to instill. If you consider yourself a professional anything, then odds are you do quite a bit of that; whatever it is. Likewise, if I want to be a professional at math, then I need to do quite a bit of it myself. Just a little every day of direct study works for me.
Yeah, I’m one of the people who probably doesn’t need to practice and hone my math skills— especially the basics. But I have to tell myself that I’m not the same person who learned the basics years ago. Things will look and feel different. And I’ll come away with something new learned. Hopefully, I’ll be able to apply that to even more stuff I’ve learned along the way!
So don’t think of math as a bore or a class to be forgotten. Think of it as a skill to be held up and honored for all it can do for you. And if you get the chance to learn a little more…take it! (It won’t hurt you.)
“Habits are at first cobwebs, then they become cables.”
Logan Schoolcraft is a private math tutor specializing in distance math tutoring. You can find out more about him and his services at schoolcraftmath.com.