Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Encouragement in strange places
I do not generally make a habit of reading the introduction to textbooks, but that just might change.
As we cracked out the Algebra 2 book I wanted to check that the book covered trigonometry concepts as well, so I took a glance through the chapters, the table of contents, and the introduction.
What I found there prompted an interesting discussion with my son Blake. He has often asked about the purpose of Algebra, and we give a few (very few) real life situations that have required us to put our knowledge of the subject to use. And, aside from that we tell him that just about any college degree in math or science will require algebra and then calculus.
Let's just say, he hasn't been too swayed by our reasoning. He has a great math mind, but does not particularly enjoy the subject of algebra.
Well, in the intro to Saxon Algebra 2 we found some great reasons that I hope will encourage him a bit more. The writer said that even he did not particularly like Algebra! How's that for one who wrote the book? However, he is so grateful that he took it because of the doors it opened. He had to have it to get into the engineering program in college which he had to have to become a test pilot for the Air Force (if you would like to read more of his bio, you can find it on the Saxon site).
He went on to say that you need to take advantage of every opportunity to learn because you never know when you might need something. And, at the moment of opportunity you will not find time to cram in the knowledge needed just then. This truth has such great application to all academic areas. Whether a subject they love or love to hate, our kids can tackle them with motivation of what the future may hold. Both core subjects and extra-curriculars fall under this encouragement.
We cannot know now what we might need to know in our future, but if we neglect opportunities now, we could miss opportunities later.
Of course, we tied this into our Christian walk as well. Neither Blake nor I can know at this point where his life journey will lead. We don't know how God plans to use him in the next year let alone the next 60 years! We both want him to move through life without regrets over having missed some learning opportunity which could limit his impact for Christ.
God can even use algebra, even just the introduction to algebra.