Taking Fear Out of Math: A Self-Help Guide for Parents and Students

: Read Me First
This book is for you if:
1. You can’t help your kids with their math homework
2. The very thought of having to take a math class terrifies you
3. You can’t handle the math in science class
4. You tutor struggling students
5. You finally realize that your lack of math skills will hurt your income potential.

Hi, I was one of those kids that just didn’t get math. If you are like me, you may have had to struggle through math classes. When I started at Seneca High School, in Seneca, South Carolina, the school would not allow me to take the courses that were supposed to prepare people for college. Instead they put me on what I call the cotton mill track.
Math-One was taught by a woman who spoke with a nasal monotone and seemed bored with life. When she opened her mouth, my attention span flew out the window. Math-Two was taught by the football coach. You can imagine how much math I learned. That was all the math the school system required for me to get a high school diploma.
As a high school junior I had to beg the administration to let me take freshman algebra. After that, I struggled with math all the way through college differential equations.
Two things happened to get me reoriented with mathematics. First, while in graduate school, I sat through a noncredit algebra review course. In a matter of weeks the gentleman teaching the class changed me from a math-paranoid to a math-freak.
The second was that, while I could struggle through math classes, I could not add simple numbers in my head. I learned that lesson at a blackjack table in Las Vegas, not the place to learn it. You see, in blackjack the dealer does not have time for you to get out a piece of paper and a pencil or a calculator. You must be able to add numbers in your head rapidly and decide if you want another card or not. There is not even time to speak, just a single finger motion.
So even after several college level math classes, I could not do the most basic requirement in math, adding simple numbers in my head.