This is good advice
for parents of math students,
serious about actually studying.
Lead them to be as smart as they can be and to never stop learning!
I apologize if you haven’t heard this before, however, at the university level it is expected that students arrive already having a thorough understanding of all three levels of algebra and trigonometry for all math majors (obviously) and all science majors in general.
Ideally a student should have already "mastered" high school algebra as a prerequisite. For many U.S. students this is not the case, and further complicated by middle aged and older adults attending university, it is not uncommon for some students to start on intro algebra while others start in trigonometry or even calculus. Those students who must catch up are at a substantial disadvantage.
Parents may not be able to control whether their children attend or complete a university level education. However parents may at least ensure the possibility, by ensuring his or her child has mastered elementary and intermediate algebra, and trigonometry, or as much as possible, by the time he or she graduates high school.
This does not mean one can’t go to university and become a math major without having done so, but rather on arrival one would begin by catching up on the necessary pre-requisite math before continuing to take other required core math courses. Not only for math majors, but also in physics, chemistry, and engineering one must qualify, meet minimum pre-requisites, to take the first year core required courses based on the level of math an individual has previously mastered.
We all hear about the importance of including reading in family activities, the input of content for discussion, debate, analysis and critical thinking, parents reading to their children and having children read stories to parents or one another, individual readings and family discussion about what each other has read. That is absolutely important. Math as the study of logic and quantitative reasoning is all about demonstrating the importance of rational thinking and logic, in thinking about situations, in making decisions, in analyzing the news, pop culture, and the larger world around us on a daily basis. Practicing the kind of intellectual analysis math offers, as an interactive family activity is also absolutely critical for intellectual development and intellectual empowerment. With the developments of the 20th and 21st centuries in wars, propaganda, population explosions, energy crunch and environmental concerns, the knowledge sets and skill sets in genuine clear understanding and analytic reasoning are critical to our future. Teaching children that careful logically consistent reasoning and complete sentences are as important as any other academic goal. Let children know that math is important to you. Let them see you use math, work on math puzzles, and math games. Pose questions about the world around them which they can answer using math. Let them know how smart they are when they use math.
Are you aware that less than 1 in 1000 students, in the United States, have worked every problem in his or her Elementary or Intermediate Algebra book. I mean every problem, worked through the odd and even, review, test prep, and any tests in the book, front to back. And something on the order of about 1 in 1 million students, in the U.S., have actually worked every problem in his or her text books covering everything from Elementary Algebra, Intermediate Algebra, Algebra III (Pre Calculus) with analytic Geometry with Trigonometry. Imagine your child actually working every problem in his or her Elementary Algebra textbook, front to back. And then putting that book on display as a trophy. Accomplishing that would make them one in a thousand, head and shoulders above the competition. Your child would have a whole new confidence, certainty and faith that he or she is capable of learning anything. Not able to be brow beaten by anyone. This is a goal one could work on at his or her own pace, chipping away at it, one day at a time. And if he or she actually did the same for all the math books from Elementary Algebra through Pre Calculus, he or she would be one in one million. Each text book is a trophy and proof of real accomplishment. That’s something that should be made the bold title of one’s resume or cover letter! Confidence is the result of repeated accomplishments. Such a person would be capable of accomplishing anything, and would know it. All personal fears and doubts would be gone forever. That’s a gift worth giving. Give that gift to your child. When they leave home as an adult, let them go fully prepared, with the intellectual ability to tackle any problem.