Friday, December 3, 2010

Mathematical Musings

I admit it - math is my least favorite subject. It isn't that math is hard for me - I always did well in math and took several years of advanced Calculus. It's just that I don't find it inspiring. And I love to be inspired. Don't get me wrong - I can appreciate that math can be and often is inspiring. To other people. But not me.

No, I am more of a word girl. Give me a beautiful line of prose and I will be caught up for days. I can often remember - years after having read it the first time - the exact page number in books where a particularly moving scene can be found.  I have quotes posted in unlikely (and likely) locations about the house. Still, as an semi-intelligent primate I recognize that math is important and one needs to have at least a basic understanding of it in order to function well in society.

But for the life of me, I can't understand why math is so difficult in our homeschool. And I know I'm not alone. Give me a room of homeschool moms and I can guarantee you that most of them will complain about math. Math curriculum, math facts, math drills ... or the lack thereof. And it's not limited to homeschoolers. In my circle of non-homeschool friends, most of the complaints regarding education revolve around math.

So I wonder - what IS it about math in America? Why aren't we more inspired by something that can be found in every aspect of life? And most importantly - how can I break this cycle for my children? I would love for my girls to fall in love with math. But if I'm honest, I'm not making that happen. They seem to be as uninspired by it as I am.

I haven't figured it out yet. But I'm working on it.

1 comment:

  1. Yes we have the same issue with our home educating. I think the problem lies with maths being learned as a series of calculations to be remembered rather than discovered or being creative with. Have you read the Mathematician's Lament by Paul Lockhart (http://www.maa.org/devlin/LockhartsLament.pdf), it's definitely worth a read. We've recently switched from textbooks to the Thinkwell online videos. The guy in the videos is full of passion for maths and I think that's more important for our kids to soak up than even the mathematics itself. With my youngest we play lots and lots of games, that aren't necessarily promoted as educational but have lots of maths in them and are also fun to play. Good luck with it.

    ReplyDelete