How To Fix That Math Attitude

October 27, 2019by Heather Linchenko


One day, my daughter’s friend came to our house and saw that our big patio window had graphs and arrows written all over it with dry erase markers. This was from a day of brainstorming with my sister and biz partner about our MathHacked business. Naturally, he was curious what we were up to.

When he heard a few minutes of explanation of what our business was and that our aim was to help kids maintain a sense of self-worth throughout their math education, he was instantly enthusiastic and supportive.

His very next comment was (pointing his hands downward like a wedge), “Math was the WEDGE that drove my dad and me apart.” He said he never did regain a good relationship with his dad, that this was the beginning of a downward spiral that had never fully recovered.

Goodness, what a common and sad story! Math as the wedge!

The problem with math is that it isn’t just about the math; it’s about…How the heck do you get kids to do what you want them to do…when they don’t want to do it…without damaging the relationship???

Though the answer to this question is a HUGE part of the math equation (ha, punny), it’s found in no math book I’ve ever heard about, have you?

Even if we parents know the math well enough to help, we can feel at a loss as to how to motivate our kids (short of child abuse) to DO the #%&@ math!

Trying to motivate children through resistance puts parents and kids at odds with each other until they don’t even like each other.

[Hint: I’ve learned that a child’s resistance most often means that a change is needed in either the learning design or the parent’s/teacher’s motivational style.]

On the other hand, our Learning Unleashed style—which you get to “try on for size” through the MathHacked system—takes care of that attitude for you. It removes resistance. It unleashes creativity and self-worth and the hidden brilliance that they normally reserve for their computer games or other things they love doing. Here is the litmus test: If the proper teaching method is used, both teacher and student will enjoy the experience.

And this is a relief: You don’t have to understand why it works, or the many philosophies behind it, before you get to experience it firsthand. Since I’ve already gone to all that trouble (all that failure and learning, that is) you don’t have to. All you do is watch and mimic step by step what you see me do on-line. And as Candice can attest, no previous math knowledge is necessary:

“We LOVE your system! Even I have learned my multiplication which I never ever thought I could! I would easily pay double the price and I recommend MathHacked to anyone I talk to about math curriculum. Once during a session with my son I teared up as I called my husband to finally say “I’m getting it, I’m getting my times tables!!” ~Candice Elton

We’ve had phenomenal success in seeing all children feel smart at math using our system and their parents able to administer it. Why? Because when the right educational design and an effective teaching style are in place—meaning these things are working with human nature, not against it—everything feels easier for everyone.

In case you doubt that there are things YOU must change in your current methods of teaching and motivating to get to better math scores from your kids, I invite you to read the excerpts below from an article entitled “A Radical Way of Unleashing a Generation of Geniuses” []. I share these to illustrate the radical difference a kid-friendly teaching style can make.

…the government-mandated curriculum…was mind-numbingly boring for [Sergio Juarez Correa] and the students, and he’d come to the conclusion that it was a waste of time. Test scores were poor, and even the students who did well weren’t truly engaged. Something had to change. 

These students in Matamoros, Mexico, didn’t have…much hope—until a radical new teaching method unlocked their potential.

young children, motivated by curiosity and playfulness, teach themselves a tremendous amount about the world. And yet when they reach school age, we supplant that innate drive to learn with an imposed curriculum.

It was a noisy, slightly chaotic environment—exactly the opposite of the sort of factory-friendly discipline that teachers were expected to impose. But within 20 minutes, they had come up with the answer.

He’d never encountered a student with so much innate ability. He squatted next to her and asked why she hadn’t expressed much interest in math in the past, since she was clearly good at it. ‘Because no one made it this interesting,’ she said.

I’ve said it before and will say it a thousand times: The way kids feel as they learn is more important to their success than the things we’re trying to teach them.

You know, speaking of feelings, it’s funny; the whole reason we make our kids do their math homework is:

    • so they can get competent and feel smart in math,
    • so they will feel smart generally,
    • so they can become an educational success,
    • so they can become a financial success,
    • so they can have lives with minimal stress,
    • making it easier to be “happy at home” with their families.

This is the end result!

“To be happy at home is the ultimate result of all ambition, the end to which every enterprise and labor tends, and of which every desire prompts the prosecution.” ~Samuel Johnson

And yet, our well-meaning, diligent efforts with math often leave our kids

    • feeling dumb, and angry at us for making them do it,
    • so we try to use our parental authority to make it happen,
    • so they blame us and we become the bad guy,
    • which feels unfair because we are only trying to help,
    • which unfairness adds to our negative feelings,
    • which makes our kids even more resistant,
    • and all this makes us all feel unhappy at home!

If this is you, please know that it’s not your fault!!! This was me too and we’re both wonderful parents! I believe this. And believe me, it’s easy to accidentally shut our kids down. But now that I’ve upgraded my parental mindset, I understand that with the right teaching/learning design and style in place—same parent, same kid—you can get results you love. In fact, you’ll feel like a super parent.

Note: For those of you who happen to be interested in learning about the human-nature philosophies that power MathHacked in detail, we have that information prepared for you in a book called, “Learning Unleashed: How to be Lazy and Still be a Good Parent.” We hate to see you work any harder than you have to (physically or emotionally) for results you’ll love!

Heather Linchenko