the-buchkosHi, my name is Susan Jarema, and I am “Crazy For Math”!

I am also a mother, writer, instructor, music producer and blogger.

But you know, I never used to be interested in math. It wasn’t until I began teaching my own children math and had to relearn it that I began to see its beauty. My husband, who prefers to hover silently in the background, is what I’d call very mathematical. He uses math daily in his work and leisure and is one of those who can do large mental calculations rapidly. I wanted our children to grow up with his ability and interest in mathematics. So I started researching the best ways to teach young children math. I soon began teaching not only my children but also their friends. I discovered for myself that math is everywhere… and, of course, is inherently interesting. I also realized that learning together as a family could be very rewarding for all of us — hence my interest in promoting “family learning.”

I want all children to grow up loving math. Math and thinking skills are critical for the next generation, and they can come easily if children enjoy and feel confident using them. Parents and teachers can help by making math as fun and exciting as it really is! No child should grow up afraid of numbers.

susan-and-googolkidsOne of the first hurdles that can trip up children learning math is getting the basic math facts down pat. Once these are mastered and mental math skills are acquired, the subject suddenly takes a new turn and becomes interesting. Unfortunately, this hurdle — of mastering the facts and gaining mental math skills — can turn potential math lovers into confirmed math haters. Students dislike the “drill and kill” method of learning their facts; consequently, they don’t practice enough and then fall behind. Math aversion can all start in grade three, or even earlier! I know that this does not have to be the case — children can find fun ways to practice their facts through music, games and stories. And then parents and teachers can build on the basics by showing children real math: the interesting side, with its patterns, logic, puzzles and challenging problems.

So, back to my story… I started by looking for a way to make those boring facts fun. My husband and I decided to start a small business as a New Year’s resolution inspired by our two young children. We wanted to create something that made math fun for kids and that would be equally entertaining for the whole family. Luckily, we found an exceptional pool of local talent to make our dream a reality. My vision of “layered learning” — surrounding a main educational goal with a variety of related subtopics — took form. And in the process, “Googol Power” (the name chosen by our children) and our first CD, “Multiplication Vacation,” were born. We named our business Googol Learning because “there’s Googols to learn,” and it can be “Googols of fun.”

We have grown since then, to produce and publish the Googol Power Math Series and the Discovery Multiplication Program (which focuses on true understanding, patterns, thinking and goal setting to develop strong mental math skills). Our online store sells educational music, DVDs, games and related math products.

susan-david-googolsAfter the success of “Multiplication Vacation,” we were approached by schools asking if they could sell our CDs for their fundraising efforts. We researched other quality educational products to add to the effort. As a result, Googol Learning Fundraising was launched to help schools hold educational fundraisers.

I am spending more and more time inspiring math and family learning in the community. I now offer workshops, school shows, and presentations for schools, libraries and conferences. I have immensely enjoyed sharing the excitement of math and music through our new Crazy 4 Math School Show, performed with Mr. I and the MATHeMANIACS. I’m even learning how to sing — aacckkkkk! My family and friends all laugh at this, because I really am a terrible singer. But I have been assured by all the musicians I work with that singing is a learned skill and very possible even for someone my age to master. So I have a new goal!

My other goal is for all families to have the opportunity to enjoy math. So I continue to increase the free content on our website. We are always adding new songs, games, worksheets, articles and videos to inspire families and make math more exciting. The free version of the e-book Nena’s Math Force, our Crazy 4 Math Contest and our Math Facts Challenge have all become very popular.

Googol Learning is proud to be a family-centered business with a strong community talent base. It truly has become a family project for everyone involved.

We really want your family’s educational journey to be “Googols of fun”! Please let us know if you have any ideas, comments or suggestions for us: we’d love to hear from you.

Mathematically yours,

Susan and family