Homeschool Math: How Much is Enough?
When students are home schooled, there are many issues that they face as they progress in their curriculum. When it comes to fulfilling the requirements to get accepted to college, math appears to be a key factor in the decision process. This begs the question, is math the only indication of how a student will do in college? Whatever happened to writing skills?
According to Don Peter, associate professor of engineering at Seattle Pacific University, these are common questions parents find themselves asking when homeschooling high school-level students.
"Math requirements vary by school. You don't necessarily have to have extra math to get into a college, but you do need it to be well educated," said Professor Peter. "Upper level math can train your mind. Math is a good discipline, and teaches problem solving in a variety of subjects, beyond math."
Societal expectations have a lot to do with math achievement. In one example, Professor Peter discussed a story about meeting a student from Japan who was going into a business program, and apologizing that he only had two years of calculus under his belt.
In the US, our math expectations are so much lower than the rest of the world. We project those low expectations onto kids even from the grade school level; telling them that math is so hard and it's no fun.
According to Professor Peter, that "promotes a negative view of math. It is a cultural issue that trains children to think 'I can't do this.' The only real solution is a cultural shift in the perception of math," he said.
Math is fundamental to science and engineering. Right now many of our country's science and engineering professionals are nearing retirement, yet there are few up-and-coming students able to take those jobs. There are too few people the math skills necessary to take those jobs.Continued on the next page