With the resurgence of classical education, the disciplines of the trivium are commonly mentioned and discussed in articles, conferences, school literature, and curriculum. Less common, however, is discussion of the quadrivium and how it applies to education. Unfortunately, it has lagged behind despite the fact that together these seven disciplines make up the seven liberal arts that were intended to cultivate liberated or free people.
As an undergraduate, I studied mathematics, with the single ambition of teaching it to high school students who, except for getting into college, would also have no other use for it. The major was not easy. I remember one night when, instead of watching the Super Bowl, I spent the evening trying to maximize the area of an industrial building. But schlepping a six-pound Calculus book makes you look smarter and improves muscle tone, which was good, because, as it turns out, I never actually taught mathematics to high school students. At least it wasn't a total waste.
I have been told that fear of math is irrational. Perhaps this is so, but it seems very rational to acknowledge one’s algebraic limitations or to express a tested dislike of geometry.