How Parents Can Help

Dear Parents,

Most parents have power to influence teens’ choices and attitudes. Many people think that teens ignore their parents’ advice. But, teens do listen to their parents. Teens listen most about important things, like their education and job choices.

We hope that you will talk with your teen about the importance of mathematics in their lives. When you talk about the importance of mathematics, you are helping your teen discover relevance between mathematics and their lives. As a result, your teen may become more engaged and interested in learning mathematics. They may become more successful in math. They may also become more successful in their future jobs and careers.

Three Simple Steps to Connect With Your Teen

Ask a question about mathematics that would make your teenager think.

For example, you can ask:

What are you learning in mathematics now?
How do you think you might use what you are learning in math?
What do you want to be when you grow up?
How do you think you will use math in your future job?
How do you use mathematics in your daily life?
What is the most interesting thing you have learned in math?
Do you believe students should study mathematics? Why do you think so?
What is mathematics good for?
Could people do their jobs without knowing mathematics? Why do think so?
What jobs/professions require the use of mathematics?
How important is mathematics to you? Why do you think so?

Listen to what your teenager has to say. Be patient. Give your teen time to answer your question.

Connect with your teen. Say something that would encourage your teen to connect math to their life.

For example, you may say:

Did you know that many people use mathematics in their hobbies?
I have learned that even athletes use mathematics.
Did you know that people who learn many math skills at school have better jobs later in life?
I’ve heard that teens that take many math courses in high school have better paying jobs when they graduate.

When you ask, listen, and connect, you help your teen see the relevance of mathematics for his or her future. We encourage you to create those moments to connect with your teen. Please use the examples and information from the website, brochure, and Facebook posts in your conversations. Help your teen to be successful in life!

Resources for Parents,

We would like to share some helpful resources with you. We encourage you to use these resources in talking with your teen about the importance of mathematics. We briefly describe the content of each resource so you can select material that interests you. Please click on a corresponding link to view the selected resource. We hope that you will find the information useful and helpful.

Making Connections: Helping Your Teen With the Choices Ahead

In this brochure, you will find information on how you can help your teens make the best choices for their future.

Making Connections: Helping Your Teen Find Value in School

This brochure is a resource for both parents and teenagers. There are examples of how topics in math and science are related to students’ daily lives and future jobs. It also has suggestions for how parents can talk with their teens about how their schoolwork is relevant.

TED Talks

These video materials at talk about the meaning and purpose of learning. There are many examples about the importance of math in the real world. Your teenagers may become fascinated with these videos. Please search math TED talks by using their online search engine available on the website. You may type in “math” or “mathematics”. You may also search other subjects such as “science”. Here is one link that you may follow to look up TED videos about math.

Ask Dr. Math “Why Study Math”

Dr. Math answers students’ questions about the reasons for learning math. Dr. Math does an excellent job explaining why studying math is such an important thing in every student’s life. On this Math Forum students have posted questions related to math education.

Career Cornerstone Center

This website is a great place to find career-planning resources for mathematics. You you will find information about math-related jobs, career preparation, profiles of mathematicians, earnings, and much more.

Why Must I Learn Math?

On this web page, you and your teen will find answers to many questions that teenagers ask when they learn math. Also, you will find a list of professions that use math.

STEM: Good Jobs Now and for the Future

In this article, you will learn about the great benefits of taking courses related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) during secondary school years and beyond. You can also watch a short video that summarizes the article.

Want College to Pay off? These Are the 50 Majors With the Highest Earnings

This article talks about 50 majors your teens could pursue when they go to college. These majors are likely to help your children earn more money after graduating from college than other majors. You can also watch a short video that summarizes the article.

Why Study Math?

In this report, mathematicians from the Duke Trinity College talk about the growing careers in mathematics and their benefits.
You can also watch a short video that summarizes the article.

Careers by Major/Interest

This website provides web links to different careers that your adolescent may be interested in or would like to learn more about. It also has information about specific occupations and professions.

Khan Academy

On this website, Mr. Khan explains many mathematical concepts that your child is or will be learning in math. This site is a great place for your teen to get help with math. Your child can choose the math topic he or she wants to learn more about. Then Mr. Khan will explain the math topic in a short video.

Homework Help

This website provides math help with Pre-Algebra, Algebra, and Geometry courses. Your child can choose math topics he or she wants to learn more about. Your child will be able to read information about different math concepts and practice his or her skills.

Note. Partial content of this web page is adapted from Making Connections: Helping Your Teen Find Value in School brochure (Hulleman, Harackiewicz & Hyde, 2007). Please refer to the link to the brochure under the useful links for parents tab if you would like access to the full brochure.

Download our Brochure

Helping Your Teen Discover the Importance of Math



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Math Matters
Lee Shumow