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"Practical applications help" comments hit the mark. The biggest question little kids express constantly and all of us have is "why?" How often do teachers explain why one needs to know this stuff? As a former administrator I evaluated a few math teachers over the years and rarely did I listen to a lesson in which the teacher said something like, "the reason learning the pythagorean theorem is important is because it has application in building and designing houses" or other such real life application for other concepts. Curriculum typically focuses on process not practical application. Until one truly understands math concepts they are not likely to learn them well. Understanding requires more focus on answering "why."
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