One of the biggest issues in life is second grade math. No, hear me out; it is a problem. Second grade math is so complicated that educated, grown adults cannot even understand the instructions or the problems themselves without an email to the teacher, who then tells you that you’re one of every single parent in the class who needed assistance with the homework their kids brought home because ‘new math’ is so complicated and ridiculous that no one understands it. That’s a problem for me. My husband and I feel that as 30-somethings with intelligence, education and even my husband’s financial career and love of math, one of us should be able to understand our seven-year-old daughter’s math homework.
We don’t; and her teacher is adamant that every single year she teaches these math lessons and skills to her kids, she also has to teach them to the parents yet she’s still only getting paid to teach the kids. That’s a life problem. The old way we subtracted numbers was fine with me. Or just teach kids basic addition and subtraction and let their phones/calculators/computers do the rest for them after teaching them to adequately use those items. I’m just saying – I have never once in my adult life used any type of math other than the basics except for during college. My husband is a banker and even he doesn’t have to do math.
What we need to be teaching our children is schools is something a bit less mathematically challenging and something quite simple. We need to teach them the things that they need to know to become successful adults, successful people, and not to grow up to become poor and financially challenged. The most common sense math issues they will face growing up are the ones that kids are not taught in schools. It’s the balancing of the checkbook. It’s the young adults that think they don’t have to balance a checkbook because no one taught them, and because they can look online to see their balance (why don’t they know that this balance is only what has already cleared and does not include any outstanding balances?). The problem is that they aren’t aware of what an outstanding balance is.
They don’t know about sales tax and interest and credit scores and savings and retirement and expenses. However, if you need my kids to take your ten-dollar bill and figure out what half of ten is using a 24-step process, they can certainly do that for you. Here’s what kids need to learn in school; real life math they will use every single day of their lives. If they want to pursue careers it mathematical fields, then they get to learn much more. But regardless what kids are learning in school, someone needs to get with the program and understand they need to learn common sense life skills that are no longer all that common. Here’s what your kids are not learning in school that you need to teach them.
How to view money
Did anyone ever teach you to view money as something that you need for certain things and not for others? This type of money mindset is imperative. When you are not taught to view money as a positive thing, then you might learn to use it incorrectly. For example, if you are not taught to view that money is great for providing you with food and shelter, then you might view it as something that will provide you with happiness. When it does not, you will have other issues with which to contend.
No one taught me about emergency funds until I was already in college and my dad asked me about it. Never once did they tell me that I needed to have a certain amount set aside for emergencies so that I would not find myself in a financial bind, and I learned all about it that day. But still, why should a college student not know this?
I never learned to budget in school, but my parents did teach me to budget. They didn’t teach me to budget everything that I needed to budget, but they did teach me the basics. For example, when I got my first job out of high school and bought my first car, they pointed out that rather than taking my entire first paycheck of the month and allotting it toward my car, it made more sense to take out half now and save it and half two weeks later and then make my car payment. They taught me to do the same thing with my insurance and my cell phone plan, too. I was fortunate that they taught me that, but did you know that many young adults have no idea how to budget?
Balancing checkbooks, learning what a credit score is and how it works, why it’s important to apply a down payment to a house purchase, why it’s important to save, how to invest, how to save for retirement; these are things that we all do on a daily basis, yet they are things that not one of use knew how to do growing up because we were never taught. These are the math lessons we need to teach our kids now so that they grow up with the most financially motivated mindset.
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