As a math tutor for 15 years, what I found in more than 80% of the students I met? They have somethingvery common in all of them, that is, they all say, "the mathematics is very hard." Why most of the students find mathematics a hard subject and try to avoid it?
As you know, to reach any of the higher floors from the ground level, we can't jump from ground to reach higher floors, or if we try we will fail and probably will hurt ourselves. You might agree that it is very hard (impossible) to jump to second floor from the ground. So, we use stairs to reach the higher floors in a building. What, if the stairs are broken? Can we still make it to our destination floor with the same ease and comfort? Think about it, and compare the math classes or grades to steps in the stircase and whole mathematics to the high-rise building.The answer for the above question is hidden in a simple explanation. I always give an example to my students, and giving the same example in this article, the example of staircase, we use to reach the different floors of high-rise buildings. These days, all high-rise buildings are equipped with elevators, but they must have stairs to use in case of emergencies. Consider this high-rise has stairs only and no elevators, for the purpose of the article.
Now, the kindergarten, first grade and second grade are like first couple of the steps of the whole staircase to the math high-rise and you can learn this level of math easily and anytime, same as you can jump enough to take yourself to second or third step of the staircase with ease. Also, if you are smart enough, you can learn the kindergarten to grade three or probably grade four math, easily. As it is very hard to reach sixth or seventh step of a staircase by jumping from the ground, exactly the same way to learn grade five or higher grade math is very hard (or impossible most often) without having the good knowledge of the kindergarten to grade three or grade four math.
Now, consider one person is jumping on the ground to reach the third floor of a building, can he make it? Never, if he is not Spiderman. For this person, to reach the third floor by jumping is impossible or very hard and he will give up after trying it for some time. But another person used the stairs to reach the same floor and found it very easy and reach there with little effort. Exactly the same way if a student has all the basic knowledge, he/she obtained in elementary grades, with him/her, then he/she is, let's say, at fifth step already and he/she need not to jump to go to the sixth step, actually the student can do it easily by taking one step to the next level. On the other hand another student is in grade six and doesn't know the lower grade math concepts such as, times tables, factors or number system. This student is in the same situation as the person trying to reach to third floor from ground level by jumping.
I think, its very clear now that mathematics in each grade have the same importance and it lives with us and support us always, (not like a person but like our eyes or other senses, it helps us to succeed in life). So, whichever grade you are in, start focusing yourself on math. Ask your teacher lots of questions. Keep asking until you are not clear about the concepts or topics you are working on. Each grade act as a step in the whole staircase to the mathematics high-rise building, and performing poor in math in any grade is like breaking one step in the whole staircase which will make the whole staircase risky or scary to use in the future.
So, what it takes to be smart in mathematics? My answer is, keep yourself focused on math in each and every level of your studies. Participate in the class math practice sessions. Ask your teacher lots of questions until you are not clear about any concepts taught by your teacher in the math class. Mathematics is a subject which demands lots of practice on solving the problems on paper rather than reading them only.
As in case of Social Studies taking more readings make you smart, in case of math practicing lots of problems and solving them by hand makes you smart. To practice math problems math workbooks are the good source, when you learn a concept in a workbook, then in the same book you have more problems to practice on the same concept you just learned. Another good method to practice mathematical concepts is using math worksheets and you can print math worksheets free of charge from the web.
Finally, choice is yours, you can choose the jumping method to reach your math destination or you can use right and proven path to reach your math destination. The right and proven path to math destinationhas the following steps:
* Start learning math as soon as you start your kindergarten
* Focus in your math classes, listen to your teacher
* Ask your teacher lots of question until you are not clear about the concept, you are learning
* Practice, practice and practice. For this you can use math worksheets or math workbooks.
If you take the proven path, one day you might say, "Math is not hard."