Is Math Only About “Math”?

There is so much more to math – it is not just the content that a child learns.

My son was on the plane working on some math homework when the attendant walked by, stopped and asked him what he was doing. Nathan said he was working on his math homework. The attendant then proudly announced, in a voice loud enough for many people to hear, “I was never any good at math”.

When people say that they were never any good at math, most often they are thinking that math is just about calculations and algebra. There is so much more to math – it is not just the content that a person learns.

Let’s have a look at some of the skills that are taught in a thoughtful math program – skills that go beyond a procedurally based focus.

1. Perseverance – the ability to stick to a problem until you finally get the answer. When a person has learned how to persevere through a deep thought-provoking question in mathematics, they will not have a new way to process their thoughts.

2. Learning how to ask the right questions to get to the solution to a complex problem.

3. Logical and creative thinking. When math is taught to children where they are forced to apply the procedures by using independent thought, then they develop logical and creative ways to think that go beyond mathematics.

4. Organizing a large amount of data and making sense of it. Those students who have learned how to organize their data can make sense of the information that they have.

The thinking required of our future leaders must be grounded with a solid proficiency in mathematics, combined with excellent thinking.

Studying a mathematics program that is geared to just teaching procedures or how to do large calculations is not enough. There is so much to learn in such a short period of time. As a parent you will want to ensure that your child has the opportunity to learn, and love math at a meaningful depth so that other skills sets can also be developed.

Kimberley Langen is the CEO & Co-Founder of Spirit of Math Schools. Kim taught elementary and high school students in public and private institutions and was the Director of Academics for a private girls’ school. She is now Spirit of Math‘s CEO and a consultant for private and public school divisions. She has a B.A. and  a B.Sc. Hons., both from Queen’s University, as well as a B.Ed. from the University of Toronto. She was instrumental in putting together the curriculum and teacher training programs to form what is now the Spirit of Math method. After Gwen passed away in 2001, Kim wanted to ensure this system continued, and she transformed Spirit of Math from a program based on the three “Ledgers” to one that would include many other people. Spirit of Math has been recognized in 2014 and 2015 by PROFIT Magazine as one of Canada's fastest growing companies. Kim Langen is an entrepreneur of the year finalist by EY Canada in 2015 and is on Chatelaine Magazines W100 list of top female entrepreneurs for 2015. For more information on Spirit of Math Schools, visit

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