Why Study Math?February 11, 2020
Post sponsored by Mathleaks
There are students who find math easy and there are those who dread nothing more than opening a math book to do homework. However, regardless of how students feel about math, most have thought about why they are studying math and how they will benefit from it!?
Given the many helpful devices we have in today’s modern society, studying math might feel unnecessary. However, the moment a student moves out of their parent’s home, they have to understand math. For example, everyone has to be able to budget monthly expenses which requires basic addition and subtraction. If you need a loan, you have to be able to calculate the monthly interest payment. Or, you might want to renegotiate a mortgage loan and need to know how much a 1% higher interest rate will impact your payments. Maybe you want to buy a new computer or a pair of shoes but, after some quick calculations, find out that you cannot afford it. Yes, it is certainly understandable that it is good to know math if you want to be in control of your life.
The Current Situation – a Dilemma for the Homeschooler
Usually, as a homeschooler, all studies happen from home. Unlike many other subjects, math gets continuously more difficult as the content progresses; it builds upon itself. Without a good instructor and sufficient training material, it can be difficult to move forward. Unfortunately, the available textbooks are not making it any easier. They are thick, heavy, and packed with thousands of exercises, most of which students will never do.
Additionally, the available textbooks are not self-instructional nor learning-focused. They do not allow students to test their knowledge nor do they inform students about their progress. Many homeschoolers are therefore forced to search for additional training material on the internet which can take a lot of time. Doing so, students often struggle to find material that is relevant to their current studies.
Since textbooks have a vast number of exercises, it is not easy for the student to know which exercises to practice. Furthermore, the student cannot be certain that the exercises are at an appropriate difficulty level for their abilities and there is no way to ensure that the student will meet their goals. Finally, perhaps the most frustrating thing that will certainly happen, the student will get stuck on a problem and not know how to proceed or fix their error.
There is a Need for Change
Today’s math textbooks are not ideal for homeschooling. They are, to a high extent, focused on classroom-studies and are not making homework any easier. Students need to practice on their own outside the classroom but struggle to do so.
This sentiment is supported by a survey conducted with 41 homeschool families of which 93% agree that pedagogical solutions to the exercises would be helpful.
Students must be allowed to take control of their math studies. They should be able to study outside the classroom whenever they want and with genuinely helpful training material that allows for efficient studies and expected results.
The way forward for the Homeschooler
What is needed is a way to study math smarter. Math is hard enough as it is. Students need learning-focused textbook solutions to all exercises – both even and odd – with answers, hints, and step-by-step solutions with explanations to all applicable math concepts. Over time, digital courses with theory, exercises with solutions, and quizzes will be needed; this should also be aligned to the Common Core curriculum.
All training material should be directly related to the student’s current studies – a 1:1 situation. The student should not need to spend time searching the internet for material.
The training material should also be digital and interactive, as well as allow for usage on all platforms: mobile or desktop and for both iOS or Android.
The homework helper app Mathleaks is delivering all of this already today and much of it is free. Mathleaks is the student’s personal instructor and tutor 24/7. It allows students to take control of their own math studies.
As of today, Mathleaks provides Algebra 1, Algebra 2, and Geometry textbook solutions for most major publishers in addition to its own Common Core-aligned courses. But more is to come! Additional courses, likely PreAlgebra and PreCalculus, will be introduced in September of this coming school year. Mathleaks is here to make math studies easier and smarter for homeschoolers. As a homeschooler, you can sign up for a free month to try Mathleaks right now.