Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Are Math and Science all that Matter?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Are Math and Science all that Matter?

    I know this is a potentially loaded question on this forum... but I'm asking fellow mommas/thinkers to dig deep, and maybe even play devil's advocate, in order to help me to arrive at the truth.

    Here goes: In our current academic environment, it seems to me like Math and Science as academic disciplines are really all that is "left" in terms of things that are Taken Seriously, and considered to be Worthy of Study in what is left of academia. Nothing else is treated seriously or truthfully in most major institutions- at least from what I have seen.

    I struggle with this. Even though things like philosophy and literature and theology and language and art and music and archeology and history (real history) and poetry and I could go on-- even though all of these have intrinsic value that I would fight to the death over-- well, it troubles me as a mother that I am raising my children to be well-suited to these disciplines that are no longer valued by society. I keep thinking: "What are academic disciplines, in themselves- what value do they have- if not socially engaged in, explored, and fully appreciated?" A person can live in a bubble where no one has the capacity to understand the value of their thoughts or maybe their wonderful flights of fancy- but isn't the point of learning, and teaching, and writing, and poetry- to engage and share socially, to experience together?

    I worry because I have a young relative who went to a small but prestigious classical boarding school, and then an excellent classical college, graduated with a BA in philosophy- and now cannot find reasonable work into his 30's to even support his family- in spite of his intelligence. He is getting along ok, but... I don't think it is wise for me to look away from the reality of this- even though I think it is equally unwise that the next generation is often unable to read!

    Maybe my real question is: Does money have value?

    So what do you think, fellow thinkers?
    Last edited by Girlnumber20; 10-11-2017, 08:58 PM. Reason: grammar badness
    DD 12, using 6M core with 7th Grade COTR
    DS 10, using 5M core

    #2
    Re: Are Math and Science all that Matters?

    I'm an engineer. My husband is an engineer. Our close friend is a chemistry professor. My dad is a chemist with a bs in math. Basically we live and breath math and science. My answer to your question is that beyond any doubt in my mind a classical liberal education in grades k-12 is far superior than any STEM focused program. Even if you are talking about money and careers- the majority of successful engineers and applied scientists can THINK and COMMUNICATE well. Those skills are very effectively learned in a classical liberal arts education. Of course math is a key component of a liberal arts education, but so is Latin and literature. A k-12 education should be well rounded and teach the student to think well and communicate clearly. He can then use that solid education as a basis to pursue whatever interest he has in college or career. I honestly feel this modern focus on STEM is hurting our students. Math and science is great for what it is, but it focuses on an end (creating, building, designing something for a profit) rather than on a journey and life is a journey. We are more than our money making ability. We will have need for other skills than math and science in life. Spreading the faith, advocating for laws, setting up charities, running a youth sports league, being on a school board or church finance committee- all these community service (not money making) endeavors require right thinking.
    That said, I would greatly hesitate to help my child major in general liberal arts type majors in college without a very clear idea of how to make a living after graduation. I have a son majoring in philosophy but he wants to be a priest so it is a great foundation. Plus he is dual majoring in chemistry too (priests need to be well rounded too!)
    Debbie- mom of 7, civil engineering grad, married to mechanical engineer
    DD, 25, BFA '17 graphic design and illustration
    DS, 23, BS '18 mechanical engineering
    DS, 21, chemistry major
    DS, 18, Physics major
    DD, 15, dyslexic, 10th grade customizednMP plus co-op
    DS, 12, super squirmy, possible dysgraphia, MP 7A
    DD, 6 , K- finally one who seems to like drawing and writing- first one since my oldest!

    Comment


      #3
      Re: Are Math and Science all that Matters?

      This is a great topic. I can't wait to see how people respond.

      Our family, the whole family, husband, wife, grown daughters, younger children, work in our family business. We are in waste management. So, quite literally, we suck crap for a living. Aside from an AA that I have, none of us have a college education and we all live quite comfortably. Education never ends for us. I have always believed that Classical Education would teach them to want and seek truth, not settle for mediocre or just get by, to give them a real education, not one based on what my government says is best for them, but what I truly know is best. Teach children the basics thoroughly and how to think and speak well and you will have adults that can do anything, whether it's a four year college or a trade school, or a mom educating the next generation.

      I would agree with the statement from momgineer when she said..."I would greatly hesitate to help my child major in general liberal arts type majors in college without a very clear idea of how to make a living after graduation".

      Also, I would say though don't stop at the books though. Give your kids some skills. Hard, dirty skills. Great joy comes from watching my grown daughters take off the work boot, get dressed up and head off to the symphony or my 9 year old son stand mouth agape, covered in dirt, hammer in hand, memorized by the Queen of the Night that was playing on the computer as he walked thru the room.

      https://www.facebook.com/attn/videos...gxPamKTWd8VoPc

      Comment


        #4
        Re: Are Math and Science all that Matters?

        Speaking from a STEM heavy family here as well, here just are a few of the reasons why they are NOT all that matter:
        1) Creating knowledgeable citizens - so many people do not understand how government works and the history and philosophy of our government. In order to have a robust, engaged citizenry, we need well educated citizens who can discuss ideas in historical context with thought and logic.
        2) Creating with beauty - we were created in the image of the master Creator, meaning we have a drive to create not just things of usefulness, but things of elegance and beauty. Studying literature, art, and music help us do just that.
        3) Merging of skills - Mathematics is music, music is math. The two go hand-in-hand. Struggling with a hard math problem? Take a break to do something musical, then go back to the math problem and see how much better your mind is able to work out the problem. We are not machines, and we function best when we don't act like machines.
        4) Communicating ideas - I know good Engineers who cannot communicate their ideas clearly because their writing is so poorly done. Great Scientists and Engineers know how to communicate in writing clearly with proper grammar so that their ideas can reach fruition.

        Comment


          #5
          Re: Are Math and Science all that Matters?

          These comments are beautiful.

          Tanya

          Comment


            #6
            Re: Are Math and Science all that Matters?

            Originally posted by klwalukas View Post
            We are not machines, and we function best when we don't act like machines.
            Yes!
            I also believe that God created us each individually with unique gifts and talents, and the world needs a variety of strengths and skills, not just engineering. If my kids are interested in STEM careers- great, they will likely have no problem finding successful employment. If they choose to be English teachers, lawyers, or vocational ministry- great, God can help them to flourish in the capacity He designed them for.
            Money matters, obviously, and it would be foolish to claim that it doesn't. But there are also things that matter even more, and I would not sacrifice those just to earn more money. As Proverbs says, wisdom is more desirable than gold. I will not push my children into a certain path just so that they can potentially have higher incomes. Instead, I will encourage them to be who they are and use their skills and interests to the very best of their abilities. Instilling in them the beauty and values of classical education, along with the very practical thinking skills it provides, will help them be the best -insert occupation- that they can possibly be.
            2018/2019
            Dd 12: MP 7A and First Form Greek
            Ds 10: MP 5M
            Ds 5: MP K

            Comment


              #7
              Re: Are Math and Science all that Matters?

              There are a lot of engineers in our area, as there are several major employers (including the labs in Oak Ridge), and science majors also deal with the same issues your nephew is facing. The engineers that make it beyond entry-level pay are a) geniuses (rare) b) chose and are gifted in a field that stays in very good demand or c) have the communication and people skills to be promoted into management. So, so many of them are frustrated because they are not working in the field they were trained in--but a project gets closed down, technology changes, etc., and they have to take what employment is available to support their families.

              Honestly, being smart has its own disadvantages--pride from being told over and over how much money/success you'll have, praise from teachers (from what was average work from you but exceeded by far the average student), a lack of "real-world" experience (parents and teachers are more likely to advocate that a smart kid fully devotes themselves to study rather than have a part-time job, learn a skill, etc., as a scholarship is far more valuable financially than minimum wage work), and on-and-on. I know someone with a masters in biostatistics that is working low paying work (3 years after graduation) because research funding was on hold at the time of graduation, and this person became so frustrated that she just gave up looking. For this individual, it was definitely a character issue--she was used to the "smart kid red carpet" and didn't like how it felt to be treated like everyone else.

              Very few successful people are successful because the path was smooth--it's usually the ones who say--"Wow, this isn't working, how can I adapt/learn new skills/etc." that succeed. In my opinion, classical education combined with raising our children to be humble and to be both hard-working and smart-working will give our children the tools and character they need to do well whatever it is that they do. So I'm not interested in giving my kids an education in which the end product is an out-of-the-gate starting salary at $80k+. For all I know, it's in their best interest to have to struggle and deal with a bit of difficulty in their early/mid twenties to continue to build their character and intelligence (raising my hand here--I needed this and was given quite a doozy of a disappointing early-to-mid twenties--and it was the best thing for me--for spiritual and character development, as well as developing the mind-set needed to support my husband when he started his own business a few years ago).

              So, in answer to the question: are math and science all that matters? Well, even if they are in the future modern world, what good is all of that math and science knowledge rattling around in the brain if one doesn't know what to do with it beyond what one is told to do--and classical education is one of the best ways to train the brain to think outside the modern box.
              Michaela
              Daughter: Age 11 MP 6A (MPOA for TFL, 6th grade math, and composition)
              Son: Age 6 1st Grade MP Traditional Spelling, Literature, Math, and Handwriting
              for 2019/2020 school year

              Comment


                #8
                Re: Are Math and Science all that Matters?

                Originally posted by tanya View Post
                These comments are beautiful.

                Tanya
                I agree. Brett and I argue this frequently. As products (as most of us are) of the traditional schooling mindset, the STEM movement can be a bit of a siren song. It doesn't affect me as much as it does my husband. Ex: He wants the big kids to learn coding, because ...... Computers, AI, etc. UGH. Meanwhile, I'm over here, pulling out Latin flashcards to review at every break in the day.

                I absolutely ADORE Angela's quote
                "Yes!
                I also believe that God created us each individually with unique gifts and talents, and the world needs a variety of strengths and skills, not just engineering. If my kids are interested in STEM careers- great, they will likely have no problem finding successful employment. If they choose to be English teachers, lawyers, or vocational ministry- great, God can help them to flourish in the capacity He designed them for.
                Money matters, obviously, and it would be foolish to claim that it doesn't. But there are also things that matter even more, and I would not sacrifice those just to earn more money. As Proverbs says, wisdom is more desirable than gold. I will not push my children into a certain path just so that they can potentially have higher incomes. Instead, I will encourage them to be who they are and use their skills and interests to the very best of their abilities. Instilling in them the beauty and values of classical education, along with the very practical thinking skills it provides, will help them be the best -insert occupation- that they can possibly be."


                This is beautiful, but I'll be HONEST --- I STRUGGLE with this. I want my children in the roles that God intended, but traditional society tends to be money/status focused.

                It reminds me of a similar conversation we had a while back (maybe in the high school board?) about careers, classical education, and gainful employment. Paul chimed in with a wonderful outlook --- I'll try to find it later.
                Plans for 2019-20

                DD1 - 24 - College Grad and rocking her own bakery business
                DD2 - 13 - 8A Louisville HLS Cottage School and MPOA
                DS3 - 11 - 4A Louisville HLS Cottage School
                DS4 - 11 - 4A Louisville HLS Cottage School
                DD5 - 7 - MP2, Louisville HLS Cottage School
                DS6 - 5 - MP K

                [url]www.thekennedyadventures.com/all-about-our-memoria-press-homeschool[/url]

                Comment


                  #9
                  Re: Are Math and Science all that Matters?

                  My oldest is a STEM major. He's always loved science. Honestly, I questioned myself constantly when my older 2 were younger. I am so glad we stayed committed to the classical education path. My college students know how to think and how to express themselves. They've stayed strong in their faith. God isn't abstract or separate for them. His presence in all of history is known to them. They know things. Big things. They get the references that other students miss, and they can communicate about them.

                  Honestly, there can be some feelings of inadequacy about knowing less than others about some specific STEM-related ideas. But a classical student knows exactly how to "catch up" on that information because he/she knows how to learn. He can have conversations with anyone from almost any department, and he's passionate about all of them!

                  Connections. That's what I love, love, love about our classical path. Seeing the connections between all of it. Physics and political science. History and calculus. Music and art woven into everything, always.

                  I do think there need to be some practical things taken into account as well, but a classical education enhances one's life in a very special way, even if a STEM career is the student's goal.
                  Gina
                  Honored & Blessed to be teaching my children at home
                  (since 2001)

                  DS-sophomore in college
                  DD-soon-to-be college freshman!
                  DD-9
                  DS-8

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Re: Are Math and Science all that Matters?

                    I think I told this story on here before, but on my way back from Sodalitas I sat next to a gentleman on the plane who was the head of the mechanical engineering department at a university.

                    Where does he send his son to school?

                    HLS.

                    We talked quite a bit for plane strangers, and he was not hemming and hawing about his kid's STEM education.

                    ETA: I have also mentioned that my husband is a math person. I mean, he reads abstract algebra textbooks for fun. He got his masters in cyber systems and operations and added on a cryptography certificate for fun. He is the one who introduced me to the idea of classical education before we even had kids.
                    Last edited by JodiSue; 10-10-2017, 01:35 PM.
                    Jodi
                    ~~~~~~~
                    2019-20 School Year:
                    Ethan (7A)
                    Matthew (5A)
                    Silas (1st)
                    Eleanor (4yo dabbling in PK as time allows)
                    Andrew (brand new as of Oct 2019)

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Re: Are Math and Science all that Matters?

                      (Raising my hand from Virginia)

                      My husband is an Engineer. He’s the sharpest, smartest, wittiest, most ingenious person I know. But he insists our children be classically educated — period. He’s an alum of the United States Air Force Academy (1993) where everyone graduates with an engineering degree. But they also are able to minor in what they love (my husband minored in history). Cadets are taught rigor and exactness in dress, order, punctuality, obedience, exercise and work; they are taught how to lead others (my husband was a logistics officer in charge of fuels and was responsible for hundreds of airmen and the safety of thousands more); and they are expected to make snap decisions that are consistently wise and steeped by their knowledge of military, tactical and technical application. He took thermodynamics and philosophy, and I know he is the better for it. He was also expected to attend chapel every week.

                      I love this model. It’s hard to replicate anymore (even at the Academy) but we will try to get as close to it as we can in a home environment and when we begin choosing secondary education. We want to educate the whole child with an eye towards their gifts and careers. We don’t place emphasis on the latter at the exclusion of the former. You don’t have to know Latin to be a good scientist; you don’t have to know Dante to write code. But aren’t those fields more like poetry and song if you have them as a basis for reference? Can’t you make something beautiful more readily if you know what beauty actually is?
                      Boy Wonder: 10, MP2/SC4 (Special Needs)
                      Joy Bubble: 8, MP2 (Special Needs)
                      Snuggly Cowboy: 6, MPK
                      Sweet Lightness: 2, Reverse-Engineering Specialist

                      “Have no fear of moving into the unknown. Simply step out fearlessly knowing that I am with you, therefore no harm can befall you; all is very, very well. Do this in complete faith and confidence.”
                      ~Pope St John Paul II

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Re: Are Math and Science all that Matters?

                        Originally posted by tanya View Post
                        These comments are beautiful.
                        They are!

                        My all-time favorite Classical Teacher article, "Why Johnny Can't Add", (Thank you, Martin!) explains how arithmetic skill facilitates higher-level mathematics and engineering skill. I wonder if Martin can add any examples of how his brilliant aerospace engineer father used communication, logic, and reasoning skills to further the engineering programs he worked on.

                        I know my engineer husband always says "all the engineers can do the math and science", it's the ones who can communicate (speaking and writing) who make a difference and get things done.
                        Last edited by Cindy in Indy; 10-10-2017, 04:20 PM.
                        Cindy Davis
                        Science and Math teacher at Highlands Latin School - Indianapolis
                        ds-25 college graduate: autodidact, working to pay the bills
                        ds-23 college graduate: 1st year med school
                        dd-21 college senior: Nursing

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Re: Are Math and Science all that Matters?

                          Originally posted by Evangelina View Post
                          So, quite literally, we suck crap for a living.
                          Originally posted by tanya View Post
                          These comments are beautiful.


                          I adore this forum because we can discuss the nitty gritty of life right along with truth and beauty. It reminds me of Mike Rowe. <3

                          I think if we had to distill this into a succinct nugget, it would come from Cheryl Lowe. I can't quote her directly, but I remember her being asked why HLS didn't focus more on STEM/computer science. She said it would be folly to teach something fleeting, something that would be obsolete by the end of the school year. She further said that if we take a look around at a restaurant, we'll see people - down to little children - deftly operating electronic devices. This need not be taught at a young age.
                          Instead, we ought to focus on those things that are foundational/long lasting. A student can then opt to specialize in the sciences in college, where specialization ought to occur.
                          I listened to her say that and immediately thought of all the BASIC programming I'd learned in school. *LOL*
                          Mary

                          DD14 - 9th core + CLRC Ancient Greek I & Latin IV + VideoText math
                          DS12 - 7th core + Novare Earth Science + CLRC HS Latin I + VideoText math
                          DD8 - SC level 2

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Re: Are Math and Science all that Matters?

                            Can I just "like" every comment? These are so good. Mrs. Lowe captured it so perfectly! Thanks for reminding us, Mary.
                            Cindy Davis
                            Science and Math teacher at Highlands Latin School - Indianapolis
                            ds-25 college graduate: autodidact, working to pay the bills
                            ds-23 college graduate: 1st year med school
                            dd-21 college senior: Nursing

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Re: Are Math and Science all that Matters?

                              I saw this thread this morning and have been enjoying all the comments in between running around. Wholeheartedly agree with the points being presented - and am so glad that everyone has had such good things to offer. I on the other hand feel incapable of deep thought today, so am going to just wave and nod!


                              AMDG,
                              Sarah
                              2019-2020 - 9th Year with MP
                              DD, 18, Homeschool grad; Art major/philosophy minor
                              DS, 16
                              DD, 14
                              DD, 12
                              DD, 10
                              DD, 7.5
                              DD, 5.5
                              +DS+
                              DS, 18 months

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X