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I want to teach myself mathematics, but I need help.

  1. Jul 22, 2012 #1
    Hello, all,

    As the title says, I want to teach myself mathematics, but I need help. I never took my education quite seriously--for a variety of reasons--until I reached the university level. At the university, I first studied solely for grades; next, out of interest; and lastly, out of both interest and obtaining pure knowledge and understanding. I worked hard and found myself with a greater understanding of many areas of study.

    However, starting so late, my fundamental knowledge of mathematics and sciences was somewhat shaky. I took one of the most basic math courses (in the good grades phase) that dealt mostly with functions, etc. Then, when I needed to take my second math course, I decided to take Calculus and Analytical Geometry I; it dealt with limits, derivatives, etc. When I was first learning about limits, I thought they were so cool because it was finally a change from the usual curriculum and I never had the opportunity to use mathematics in such a novel way before.

    But needless to say, without a strong foundation of mathematics, I had to study diligently, seek out university tutors, and meet with the professor during office hours just to survive the semester. I did very well and was pleased with my understanding; however, the problem arose when comparing the amount that I learned against the amount that I previously knew. It was like trying to stack a boulder on a flimsy tower of bricks--it soon came crashing down. Today, I barely remember anything from that class. The problem was that--for me--I learned a separate body of knowledge as opposed to the other students--who were incorporating it with their prior knowledge.

    I have continued studying various subjects since graduation, but not so much mathematics. I suppose my fear has dulled my interest. But I do not want to give up. My problem is I do not know where to start. I do not know the usual sequence of study--is it arithmetic -> algebra -> geometry -> trigonometry -> calculus, etc.? Also, I do not know what it is I am even supposed to know from each subject; for example, I can probably solve many of the practical questions of algebra still, but I do not know the logic behind them--or if I am even supposed to delve into the logic at this point. I find that if I use a practical-orientated websites, I am always left wondering why or for what. And when I search for the logic behind such practices, I am completely lost in a giant WHAT. :D

    So I apologize for the long story, but I felt that it would be a good way to clarify my current situation. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you,
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 22, 2012 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    what did you get a degree in?
  4. Jul 22, 2012 #3
    I was studying secondary education, but it did not work out; I graduated with a B.A. in Spanish.
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