curriculum around and for him and his
passion than follow a sterile academic
“scope and sequence.” I know some things
have to be done, but we often have a great
more flexibility than we even realize.
For math we must remember that
math is in all nature and all subjects:
music, sports, astronomy, race cars,
cooking, etc. With your child, identify
his interests and then use that as the
bridge to mathematics.
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TOS: Is there a point to studying calculus
if you’re not going to be an engineer or
pursue the hard sciences?
Dr. Callahan: That is a hard question to
answer, but here are some factors we
suggest people consider. First, if you are
trying to maximize ACT or SAT scores for
scholarships, then the more math you take,
the higher the math score. That fact is
documented. Second, the use of calculus is
not limited to the hard sciences. Calculus is
the study of change, and in business we
have lots of things changing. For instance,
how does the change in gas prices impact
the demand for gas? This can be modeled
and will likely end up in a calculus equation. Third, we encourage parents and
students to think about what they plan to
do. Does it require college? If so, what
degrees are needed and what schools
should be sought out? Ask that college
what they want from your student.
One other argument we hear from
parents with daughters is that “our
daughter is just going to marry and have
children, so she has no need for the
advanced subjects.” As the father of two
daughters, I understand the idea, but I
believe being well educated has nothing to
do with going to college. Any young
woman will still be living in this society.
Advanced subjects help her understand
and interpret the world around her.
Furthermore, what if she becomes the
educator of her children? She will surely
need it then.
TOS: How does a parent prepare their children for the high school math years and
Dr. Callahan: Algebra is just basic math
made abstract. To take algebra you need
to know basic math operations, the
concept of a variable (which most second-graders can get), how to graph points, and
the idea of an equation. Once they get this
and can think in abstract terms, then they
can do algebra. The rest just follows. I
find that kids are ready for algebra sooner
than we think.
TOS: You wrote an excellent essay about
what to teach in high school. Your starting
point was God’s Word. Why do you