In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 2, 2008 / 26 Adar II 5768

‘Math’ no longer defined as ‘misery’

By Marybeth Hicks

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "Homework?" I ask as Amy settles into the van and clicks her seat belt.

"Math and English. And I have to color a page for social studies."

I figure these tasks will consume roughly a half-hour of my daughter's afternoon — just the right amount of time to support the day's lessons, but not so much that she'll still be sitting at the kitchen table hovering over her books when it's time for the rest of us to assemble there for dinner.

"Sounds easy," I say.

"Mom, it's math," she says.

Say no more. I feel Amy's pain with respect to math because this subject presented my most difficult academic challenges. As I'm fond of admitting, I could sooner write an essay about an algebra problem than solve one. (Maybe this also was true for the person who invented story problems).

It pains me to hear Amy complain about math. I worry that I have communicated my own "mathphobia" to her like some genetic defect. Or perhaps I've done it insidiously, in the same way I don't serve foods to my family that I personally don't prefer.

In a world that needs more mathematicians and fewer people with their sights set on getting a Disney sitcom of their own, I somehow have neglected to inspire my fifth-grader toward an enjoyment of all things numeric.

I guess I always just assumed I was like most females — more verbal than spatial, more interested in language arts and social studies than in "hard" subjects such as science and math.

Recently, a Miami University survey of 2,000 girls in grades four through eight found that enjoyment of math and science is high for female students. In fact, research revealed that fourth-grade girls start out liking math and science best. Their interest in these subjects wanes by the eighth grade, but it decreases no more than their interest in other subjects.

In fact, it turns out that eighth-grade girls lose interest in all things academic. The survey doesn't tell us what subject consumes their interest at that age, but I think we can assume it starts with "B," ends with "S" and rhymes with "noise."

This study reminds us not to stereotype girls, a lesson it seems should have been learned a generation ago. A better reminder came to me from my friend Kimberly Thompson, a Harvard professor, math whiz and, most important, a mom.

"It's a big issue for me that many people inadvertently discourage their children from pursuing math by saying it was too hard for them," she told me. "We have to break the cycle of 'I'm not good at math' as an excuse for avoiding it, to 'Math and numeracy are as essential to your development as reading and literacy.' "

She's right, even if math really was too hard for me.

So here's the new strategy around my house: We've gone cold turkey on math. No, wait — I mean cold turkey on complaining about math. No one is allowed to "dis" math. Not even me.

No more groaning about math homework.

No more fussing about a challenging problem.

No more whining about a bad math grade that "isn't fair."

Most of all, no more snarky comments about how you never use algebra or geometry again, so what's the point in learning it.

From now on, we're opening a new book on math — a book that says math is easy; math is fun. OK, this book has a bit of fiction thrown in, but work with me. It's a new attitude — a new "mathitude," you might say.

When I convey our new math-minded world view to Amy, she's underwhelmed.

"OK," she says, "but just because I can't complain about math doesn't mean I like it."

"I know," I say, "but at least we can stop feeding the belief that you can't do it. You're smart. You can do anything."

Do I think our positive vibe will prevail? You never can tell. All I know is, I only have three more years until Amy is in eighth grade.

That's the year they spell math b-o-y-s.

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"The Perfect World Inside My Minivan -- One mom's journey through the streets of suburbia"  

Marybeth Hicks offers readers common-sense wisdom in dealing with today's culture. Her anecdotes of her husband and four children tap into universal themes that every parent can relate to and appreciate. -- Wesley Pruden, Editor-in-Chief, The Washington Times
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JWR contributor Marybeth Hicks, a wife of 20 years and mother of four children, lives in the Midwest. She uses her column to share her perspective on issues and experiences that shape families nationwide. To comment, please click here.


© 2008, Marybeth Hicks