A different way to look at math

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Written by Jamie Martin of Simple Homeschool and Steady Mom

Like many of us, I have a complicated relationship with math.

I like math.

But I don’t like how it’s usually taught.

I grew up naturally good at math in school. The subject made me feel powerful, and  eventually I was offered the chance to skip 7th grade math (which I ended up declining–those 8th graders looked too scary!).

You’d think since I had a “positive” experience with math in school, I’d be eager to replicate that in our home.

But my heart (and my children) steered me in a different direction.

I see now that the main skill that led to my math success wasn’t understanding math; it was the ability to memorize. From an early age I used that skill to people-please my way into my teachers’ hearts, to form an identity for myself, and to cover up growing feelings of insecurity.

(See?! I told you it was complicated!)

And as the years passed, I had that familiar sense so many of us identify with when it comes to this subject: Boredom.

Those nagging questions rang through my head: “What’s the point of all this?” and “When am I ever going to use it?”
[Read more…]

Learning Math Through Play

Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and founder of Steady Mom

So-called “educational” toys line the shelves of every toy store. Each gadget promises to stimulate some important quality in your child–and often includes a bunch of bells, whistles, and batteries to go along with it.

This oversaturation and planned obsolescence is not good for anyone–our children, our already full homes, or our planet.

In Simplicity Parenting, author Kim John Payne reveals that middle class children he counseled in England showed the same levels of mental and emotional overload as poor, displaced refugee children he had worked with in Southeast Asia. The reason?

Too much–of everything: books, toys, activities, lessons, and stress.

At the same time, we want helpful resources in our home–those that spark imagination and further educational goals for our children. This is especially true when it comes to a subject like math, which may not always elicit enthusiasm in the traditional (i.e. worksheets and tests) format.

Are there tools we can choose for our homeschool that inspire math study in our young children–without cluttering up our homes? Here are a few I’ve found.
[Read more…]

Curriculum Choices: Tackling Math

When it comes to teaching math, some homeschooling mamas and papas have to stifle an inner groan. Many of us had bad experiences with this subject when we were in school, and we’re reluctant to pass on that attitude to our bright-eyed kids.

This is why it’s especially important that the math curriculum we choose fits with our children’s learning styles and with our family’s educational philosophy. Of course many math skills can and should be learned through life–using recipes, balancing a checkbook, playing board games, and much more.

But if you’re on the lookout for a traditional math curriculum to use at home, here are six popular ones to consider. [Read more…]

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