Home homeschooling Why Higher Math is Unnecessary. And the Alternative.

Why Higher Math is Unnecessary. And the Alternative.

by Kelly Crawford

Ah, math. It’s a subject we worship, we hate, we love or we just tolerate. Because, well, we have to. Everyone knows we have to teach our kids higher math because, college, and good test scores, and good jobs, and success and….

John Bennett, a high school math teacher, has a radical, logical, wonderful alternative to requiring higher math. I think you’ll love it. Please let me know your thoughts. As a homeschooling mother, seeing that some of my kids flourish in higher math and some are crippled by it, I found his theory to be incredibly freeing and intelligent.

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HeatherHH July 27, 2018 - 11:29 am

I enjoyed the video and have agreed with it for quite a while. I’m a math geek who loved math up through early algebra, but continued on up through college calculus hating all that higher level math. I convert a recipe from one pan size to another, and I use pi to 7 digits in my calculator because it just makes me happy. So, I’m probably more poised to use math than the average person, and I don’t think I’ve ever used any math I learned past Algebra 1.

So my oldest is starting college this fall with an eventual goal of law school. So, he took math through Algebra 2, took the CLEP exam to get credit for the one college math course he needs. My second child is doing through geometry as it’s required in the high school correspondence program she’s enrolled in. But anyone else that isn’t likely to be college-bound, I don’t see a reason to go past Algebra 1, and then maybe do life skills math, logic, etc for the homeschool high school transcript I issue.

Kelly Crawford July 27, 2018 - 1:00 pm


Well said. I, too, was a math geek, and ended going through Calculus II in college. And other than possibly aiding an improvement in thinking/logic (or maybe I was already geared that way) I have found it to be ZERO percent useful in life. A lot of hours and money I could have spent pouring into something I loved and that would have aided me in my now-home business.

Aneliz July 28, 2018 - 11:43 pm

Very helpful! Totally agree. Wondering if you have recommendations on games and puzzles for those who are not so math oriented like he was saying at the end? Thanks

Kelly Crawford August 13, 2018 - 1:35 pm


Sorry I missed this. I just ordered a game my children love: it’s a Pizza Fraction Game.

Kelly August 3, 2018 - 11:23 am

I love the idea of not forcing my kids to do higher math if they do not show any adeptness for it, especially if they are not headed for college. However, I’d like to know if there are any other homeschool parents out there that are in the same boat as my husband and I with our 2 HS aged boys…we don’t have a clue, at this point, if they are college-bound or not! It seems to me that everyone expects you to know, by the time your child is 14, what he/she will pursue 4 years down the road, and you’re supposed to plan the HS academics accordingly. We are beginning to narrow things down with my 17 yr. old, but he is going to have to play catch-up in math and science if he decides to go on to college. I would love to know how you all figure this out?

6 arrows August 3, 2018 - 8:24 pm

@Kelly August 3 at 11:23 am:

My daughter decided halfway through homeschool high school that she wanted to be a vet tech, so she used her junior year to get in enough higher math to prepare for chem and anatomy/physiology for her senior year. Then she packed a full-year’s course of chemistry into one semester and a full year’s anatomy/physiology into the second semester.

When kids have a clear goal in mind, the things they learn are so much more meaningful, and “stick” better than if they’re introduced prematurely with a vague, “You might need this some day.”

I haven’t found playing catch-up to be a problem, as students learn the material so much more quickly and effectively when it’s clear that there’s a definite need to know.

As far as how do we figure this all out, well, I’d say just enjoy watching your sons figure it out. 🙂 It is good for them at that age to start on the road to self-direction. They’re still in the home, where you can offer guidance, but they’ll be in a better position to make independent decisions as adults, whether in college or whatever they choose to do post-high school, than are a lot of youth today who have so many academic and other matters laid out for them on an inflexible timetable that’s determined by someone else.

Remember that college, too, doesn’t have to be started immediately upon high school graduation. My son worked locally for a few years before he pursued post-high school education, and now has a good job in his field of study.

Best wishes to you and your family!

Kelly Crawford August 4, 2018 - 4:36 pm

I think 6 arrows nails it: it’s amazing what a person can do when they are motivated by need or desire. I’ve seen it over and over. Really it’s how we’ve learned what we’ve learned as adults if you think about it. Now that we aren’t forced to learn certain things, we do go to great lengths to learn what is needful or relevant to us in some way.

Amy March 2, 2020 - 1:03 pm

I find his talk interesting… I am a math geek! I love it. I try to help any child that I come in contact with that math applies to everyday problems, but what I mostly see is kids hating math. They cannot see the reason to spend hours and hours on this horrible thing. My husband has a great job and uses Trigonometry several times a week, if not daily. I realize that may not be the case for all people. I would like parents to spend more time in the practical application of the information learned, and less time memorizing problem structure. I had my son (who struggles with math) use ratio equations to figure out how much money my friend owed me from breaking down numbers on an invoice. It was his bonus question in math. I hope I can encourage parents and students alike that math doesn’t have to be dull and boring, but the more you learn the more you understand about how things work. That being said, higher maths are not for all students, just like painting is not for everyone! So be passionate about what you love, but be willing to be exposed to things outside of what you may believe your interests are. Thank you for sharing this video!


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