Why We Learn Math in School

The other morning I was talking with Kelsey about how Roo's morning had gone, as it was my turn to get up and feed her. This is nothing out of the ordinary. We try to keep each other in the loop when it comes to the day-to-day operations of parenting. As I was filling her in on what time she ate, had her diaper changed and went back down for a nap, I had an epiphany.

This is why I learned math in school!

My teachers always told me I would use math every day as an adult, but until now, I thought it was hogwash. Now, I know they were right.

I find my mental math skills being tested and sharpened every day. Trying to keep a 10-month-old on a schedule, or at least knowing and remembering when certain things have happened, make it so much easier to anticipate the future.

Rooney Math Parenting

This is Rooney, saying "Here, Dad, you're going to want to write this down."

Of course, if you're a parent you know that the difference between anticipation and reality with children is a very thin, fuzzy line. My only wish was that those super hard, critical thinking math problems would have been something a little more practical. Do you remember?

A non-stop train leaves city A for city B at 60 mph. At the same time, another train leaves city B for city A at 50 mph. How far apart are the trains one hour before they meet? (Knowing how far apart they were when they started is irrelevant in order to solve this problem.)

If I were a math teacher in our school systems today, I would totally rewrite these types of problems into more practical situations. For example:

  1. A baby drinks four bottles a day, and the bottles are spaced four hours apart. If baby takes her first bottle at 5:37 am, when will baby's last bottle of the day be?
  2. A baby drinks four 8 oz. bottles a day, and 8 oz. requires four scoops of formula. One can of formula can make 170 fl. oz. How many cans of formula do you need purchase per month?
  3. Using your answer from #2, If one can of formula costs $25 and a round of golf costs $50, how many rounds of golf do you have to give up per month?
  4. Diapers cost $50 per box at regular price. You can sign up for a Target REDcard and get 5% off every purchase plus free shipping. Diapers at Babies 'R Us cost $65 and they give you a $15 gift card with your purchase; however, you can only purchase them in store and it only works on Huggies brand. Which diapers do you buy?
  5. Your morning routine usually takes 30 minutes. Feeding your baby, changing her, getting her dressed and putting her back to sleep takes 25 minutes. What time do you have to set your alarm to make it to work by 7:30 am. (Hint: Don't forget to account for snoozing.)
Maybe it's just me, but I'm thinking these types of problems would have come in much handier at this point in my life.

What are some ways you use math as a parent?

P.S. Time with my family is way more important to me than playing a round of golf and losing all the balls in my bag...