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Friday, March 1, 2013

There is hope for the next generation

This week, I made my annual trek to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (HLSR). For 20 days, the community of Houston encourages and promotes the breeding, raising and marketing of better livestock and farm products through charitable, educational and scientific means. Much of the money raised by the HLSR goes to educational scholarships for children in Texas. This year, they awarded more than $12 million in scholarships!


On my flight out of Houston, I started reading the February 25th edition of TIME Magazine and one headline caught my eye: “Beyond Counting Sheep.” (I thought, maybe it was an article about the rodeo!)

It was actually an article about how math has become the new bedtime reading. It highlights the “invention” by an astrophysicist (and mother of three kids under 10), Laura Overdeck, who recently launched a website called Bedtime Math.



Her premise is while most parents know that reading to their young kids each night before bedtime builds strong reading and literacy skills for when, no one had thought of a simple and proven method to build math skills in a fun and engaging way.

Because we are all painfully aware that many young people lack strong math skills and aptitude, it makes perfect sense that if we introduce math at a young age, and in a fun and palatable way, our children will grow up enjoying it.

I very much related to the article (you can read it here if you're a TIME subscriber). Even though I did well in math as a child, I have never thought of “numbers as my friend.” My two daughters both struggled with math, but realize the importance of it in their adult life. Balancing ones’ checkbook, understanding interest rates, filing your tax return, etc. are all math skills that young adults need.

I think it gives us great hope to see that one mom’s epiphany may help us build those math skills in our next generation, helping to keep our nation at the top.

And, thinking back to the Rodeo, I wonder how many kids would benefit from participating in a counting game while touring the Rodeo grounds? How many days until a baby cow is expected to be born? How many chicken eggs were hatched this week?

Hope y’all have a chance to attend a Rodeo sometime – they are held all over the country and you will learn very interesting things about the livestock industry.

Karen

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