No - I'm about to get all ranty about those people who loudly, proudly even, declare that they "hate maths" and "don't get it".
Memes like these have done the rounds of Facebook, and yes, I've even shared them:
All amusing stuff and even I had a giggle. But you know, I get a bit sad because apparently it is cool to hate maths. Admit you hate maths, and you get a bunch of people joining in and saying "hey, me too!". This disturbs me somewhat, because in general, you don't get the same sense of collective pride from admitting you hate reading (or can't read) or don't value literacy.
I had this response from an English teacher on Facebook yesterday when I dared to be different and declare my love for maths:
"Maths has never been beautiful for me. Beauty doesn't exist in an x = mc 2"
I can't tell you how sad this statement, made so vehemently, made me feel (apart from the fact she got the world's most famous equation wrong). It wasn't just that she didn't get it. It was that she was proud to say it out loud. And that she was so shut off as to what "beauty" could be.
She has obviously never played with patterns of numbers:
or explored the golden ratio or Fibonacci:
or done origami:
or played with proportions:
or seen a fractal:
or watched a Vi Hart video:
Maths is not easy for everyone. I totally get that. I don't totally get the above video, but I love it! I don't pretend to be a mathematical "genius" - my daughter is infinitely faster and more perceptive about maths than I am! But I can appreciate it. I have my eyes open to glimpse the beauty and my mind open to new possibilities.
I'd like to think that just because my strengths are in science and maths that I don't exclude language arts or humanities or creative arts in my world outlook and even in the other interests I pursue. Hell, I can even appreciate physical achievements (marathon runners, gymnasts, weight lifters), even if I have issues with organised team sports and the over-emphasise our society places on them.
I think we actually teach Maths Aversion and Maths Phobia much more effectively than we teach mathematics! Maths is soooo much more than arithmetic, but you wouldn't know it in our average classroom (and by default, largely, in the average homeschool home). We don't teach creativity and inventiveness in maths - the answers are either right or wrong and there seems to be a never-ending stream of drill and kill arithmetic stretching onwards forever (and the prospect of getting more wrong as you build on stuff you never learnt properly in the first place).
I find this really sad, this concept that maths doesn't contribute to human society in the same way as poetry or music or art does. Oh, but it does! So much of our world is a result of mathematical thinking - creativity and inventiveness and "playing" with numbers. What a pity so many people don't view it that way.
So I leave you with this thought, from the inspiring words of L.M. Montgomery and Anne (of Green Gables fame):
So are you a maths phobe? Do you openly or even sub-consciously pass on your fear and dislike of maths to your children? Or is it something you don't think about much? Or is it something you love and feel should be defended?