Math

One of my favorite math resources is a well-named article, A Few Words About Unschooling Math, by unschooling pioneer Luz Shosie. It’s not actually an article per se, but merely a simple collection of words related to math, or evocative of math-type experiences, words as disparate as Origami, mileage, knit 1 purl 2, weave, weigh, and geologic time, navigation, Dewey Decimal System #510, stone circle, dosage. It’s a wonderful list to just peruse and consider, as it clearly shows how complex and entwined our relationship with math really is.

Math is the topic that often gives new homeschooling parents the greatest pause, probably because math was the subject in school which usually generated the most anxiety. With homeschooling however, the big difference is time: Time to go over and over a concept until it’s well understood. Time to progress at a child’s pace until he or she understands the basics. The articles and resources below provide a wealth of information and support for teaching all levels of Math.

Articles

Learning to Love Math by Alison Moore Smith “Never have I met a parent (although they may exist) who would say to a child, “Well, I never liked reading either,” or “I was never any good at thinking myself,” or even, “Well, we Smiths just don’t seem to have historical minds.” So why is it acceptable to promote math illiteracy to our kids when we would never promote other illiteracy?”

Shooting Hoops, Riding Bikes: Science and Math in a Kid’s World by Sue Smith Heavenrich “We started talking about how we might quantify the angle of shooting and compare the distance traveled by the ball. To measure the shooting angle we made a large protractor from a cereal box and marked the angles at 15, 30, 45, 60, and 75 degrees. Our idea was to hold the protractor at shoulder height, level with the ground, and have Toby shoot at various angles.”

Math – and Other Tales of Horror by Leslie Smith “I’ll admit at the start to a grudging appreciation for math. I don’t know where I’d be without it in cooking, checkbook balancing, store trips… However, that doesn’t make it much easier to like, only to co-exist.”

From Boring To Board Games: Math Really Can Be Fun! by Elise Griffith “It’s not that the subject of mathematics is boring in and of itself, it’s that worksheets, word problems, multiplication tables and textbooks ignite little (if any) excitement. When your child whines, “This is too hard!”, what he may really mean is, “This is no fun!” Math really can be fun… if you take a less conventional approach to it.”

Rethinking Midschool/High School Math by Cafi Cohen “Do we gain anything by patterning our homeschooling after the programs of the educational establishment? I don’t think so. Emulating a failing system is not the way to go. Fortunately, as homeschooling families, we have the latitude to try something else.”

Delicious Math by A.J. Schmidt“When the kids were young I browsed the cereal and cracker aisles at the market looking for interesting shapes. There are actually a lot of square, rectangular and circular crackers. But I also managed to find ovals, triangles, hexagons, stars, and even spheres, cubes and cones. The kids had fun learning to identify various shapes. And they realized that each shape can come in a wide variety of sizes, colors, textures – and tastes.”

How I Learned to Balance a Checkbook by Lia Mastropolo “I remember the first day my mother sat me down at the kitchen table with the textbook, cheery as could be and all ready to teach me my multiplication tables. She sang a little song. She made me repeat after her. Then she pointed to a problem set. “I’ll be cooking dinner if you need any more help,” she told me, confident I would learn math the way I had learned to read: by staring at the book, and thinking.”

The GED Option by Karen Kirkwood “The test covers basic math up to pre-algebra, so if your child has followed a curriculum up to about the ninth grade, he should be able to pass the test. If not, most two-year colleges offer math classes at the pre-college level. Students take a placement test and start at whatever level is needed.”

The Delights of Exploring Math With Your Child by Lillian Jones “The question of how to provide our children with a good math education often causes undue anxiety. With a clearer and more relaxed understanding of what it is that we’re trying to accomplish, we can present it as just one more interesting part of life – one that anyone can easily explore and delight in.”

Just Do The Math! by David Albert “I could see homeschool mom was becoming more disconsolate by the minute. She could begin to get her head around it, maybe, for the K-6 stuff, but what about all that algebra and geometry and trigonometry and pre-calculus?”

A Travel Excursion of the Mind by David Albert “Most of the math I learned in school I have never used. Not once. Nary a differential equation, nor a logarithm, nor the area of a scalene triangle has wriggled or waddled across my path in more than 30 years, and I use a significant amount of quantitative analysis in my day job.”

Crazy for Calculating: Making Math Fun! by Sue Smith Heavenrich “I was never a math wizard. In fact, if you had asked me way back in third grade what my least favorite subject was, I’d have said math. Or maybe it was fifth grade, when we began learning long division. For some reason, numbers and I just never connected.”

Resources

Math.com “Articles and resources for teaching math at home, including a listing of online math courses.”

Go Figure! The Fascinating World of Mathematics from Lillian Jones’ Best Homeschooling “An excellent site with links to math games, activity ideas, puzzles, articles, learning and teaching aids, freebies, math in daily life, “unschooling math,” overcoming math anxiety, and much more… Highly recommended for all ages!”

A Few Words about Unschooling Math by Luz Shosie “…more or less, even, odd, yards, N scale, circumference…”

At Home with Math Ten Math Activities “With these activities, children practice adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, and using other important math skills while doing tasks that are a regular part of life.”

Count On! “A fun and colorful site with math games, tricks, resources, links, and more for all ages. From the University of York”

Math Challenges for Families “80 downloadable and printable math challenges to ponder and solve.”

Cool Math “Games and activities for basic math, calculators, fun fractions, geometry, and much more, for kids of all ages.”

HEM Back Issues: Six Issue Pack on Math & Science $20.00 postpaid “Math articles include: learning math through construction, unschooling math, math anxiety, understanding math through language, measurement, algebra, money and business, learning math with games.”

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