Learning a new language can be similar to learning how to drive a car.... there's lots of rough spots, stops and starts and white knuckles. Algebra is the "language of math." If you or your child is experiencing difficulty in math, part of the challenge might be no one has laid out the fundamentals for you.

I remember my youngest son as a teenager saying in pure frustration, "I don't need to know about any x, y or z!!" Now he is a paramedic and can truly say every day as he administers medicines to save lives he is using ratios, combining percents without realizing that in fact he is using that dreaded "x, y and z!"

There is no mystery to math; fortunately it's just like solving a puzzle, it just takes time one piece at a time or one problem one step at a time. My favorite math mentor has a quote on her wall: "Inch by inch math is a cinch, yard by yard math is hard." Please take the time to explore and relax with math. Learn the new language in pieces and put together a puzzle that will help you as you move on in life.