When I was in fifth grade, I had a math teacher who would drill us on our multiplication skills by giving us a timed quiz with 50 questions once a week. You had to be super fast to complete questions correctly. I hated it. I hated it because I was never fast enough to finish all the questions (very few children did), but I did get better throughout the year.
As an adult, I can appreciate what she was doing. She was trying to ensure that our fundamental math skills were practiced often, so they would become second nature. But, at that point, I had already decided that I was better at language and reading subjects and that I wasn't as good at math.
So, it is interesting to read that most girls think that way without realizing they are just as good at math as boys are. There's a dangerous thought cycle described on that opinion piece: I am just as good at math as the boy sitting in class next to me, but I am better at language skills. So, I am going to focus on the language skills and not practice the math. Eventually, because I am not practicing, the boy will become better than me at math.
I am not sure how to explain all of that to a young girl though.
My takeaway from the article is that math is one of those subjects that everyone needs to practice - boys and girls - to get better at it. And it is through that practicing that parents can remind their children how all their hard work is paying off.
We just have to encourage them to practice first.
How are your math skills holding up in adulthood? Tell me in the comments.