Our Metric System Journey

Like many people, we realize America needs to move forward and embrace the Metric System, but there's definitely a learning curve. The government has done a good job of establishing a basic Metric System framework, and now it's up to We, the People to bring it to fruition and make the Metric System part of our daily lives. In this article we'll talk about how we're learning the Metric System.

Metric System: getting started

Everyone learns differently, and when we (family) decided it was time to learn the Metric System, we did what most people probably do - relied on Metric conversion charts. It worked okay in the beginning, but required a conversion chart for reference, and opened the door to errors if we messed up the math when converting the measurements. After a few months it dawned on us that although the conversion charts worked, we weren't actually learning the Metric System, so decided to change tactics and learn the official Metric System prefixes and formulas. Bad idea.

Metric System: getting overwhelmed

If you've already tried to learn the Metric System, you've probably seen the Metric chart - it's comprised of two stacked triangles that has the negative prefixes on the bottom, and the positive prefixes on the top. Memorizing the Metric prefixes is important as a long-term goal, but we were spending time learning parts of the Metric System that weren't important to us as beginners. The many Imperial to Metric conversion formulas were worse than the conversion charts - it was math, math, and more math. It was frustrating right from the start but we figured that's because it was new, and everything would eventually make sense. Wrong again.

Beginner-friendly metric system

We finally decided to make our own beginner-friendly hybrid system for learning the Metric System. The first thing we did was make a list of the measurements used most often in our daily lives. For me, that's millimeters, meters, grams, kilograms, milliliters, liters, and Celsius. I didn't need to know quadrillions, kilometers per hour, joules, candelas, or megagrams. Those could be learned later.

It's been almost a year and the learning process is going well, especially with kitchen measurements. I do quite a few small construction jobs on the side and the Metric System construction conversions are more of a challenge, but they'll fall into place eventually with enough practice and dedication. It takes a concentrated effort to replace the familiar Imperial measurements with the unfamiliar Metric measurements but trust me, the Metric System is way, way, easier than our existing Imperial system. The hard part is figuring out a system that will work for you, but it's worth it in the end.

P.S. - Most of the measurements on The Tool Pit.com website are in the Imperial Units except some of the articles in the Metric System category. We'll eventually switch them to the Metric System measurements.