mom2bee Posted March 13, 2013 Share Posted March 13, 2013 What are some ways that you use in your home school to nurture mathematical interest and to encourage ability, whether you have math loving kids or not. Just curious, I read so many posts and articles and books about getting kids reading and getting them to love reading etc. Most of the math articles I read are geared more toward getting kids ready for Preschool/Kindergarten mathematics, by counting, sorting groceries, making patterns in everyday life. That sort of thing, but lets say you wanted to deliberately and intentionally nurture mathematics in your students for their entire primary education...What sort of things would you do? I have living math books, doing projects where math is a tool/by stander (so that they see the applications of math in a natural setting), exploring interesting bits of mathematics and not letting arithmetic kill off the joy of math, but what else. I'm not talking so much about making kids excel in math, but if you really want kids to be comfortable with mathematics--even if you aren't, what are some resources you use? What are some blogs I should check out? Any interesting blog posts for me to check into? Please list and and all resources you know of. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Walking-Iris Posted March 13, 2013 Share Posted March 13, 2013 I'm not sure. Praise. Lots of praise during regular math work. Less focus on grades, speed drills, tests etc and instead of "do your work, let me check it, fix these you got wrong" type of instruction I would try to be involved and to emphasize fixing mistakes as learning opportunities and try really hard not to make a kid feel "bad" for making a mistake. Try to make them realize math must be done, but it doesn't have to be a chore . Setting clear goals for each day. Cooking, baking, building projects, sewing, handicrafts---just any real world activity or project that one would need to do and understand math to enjoy. Games like Sudoku or chess etc. *Also I wouldn't stress if a kid isn't receptive to your plan of getting them to love math. Some of us are not leaning that way. Some of us just really love writing, reading or art or music, or history, or science. And a lot of those subjects can and do incorporate math. But if someone posted a proof on a board and I was free to figure it out, even if I could, I personally wouldn't care. I know people who play Sudoku and love it. I understand how it works but I would rather watch grass grow honestly. I could live in a math rich environment and I would be searching for a way out to the next book on history or good classic lit. So I aim for making sure my kids don't have math anxiety and that they are math literate. But if one is just not interested in those "extra" math stuff that I don't feel is terribly important to be a well educated adult. No big deal. For example. I'm a pretty good cook. I know enough to shop and plan for making some good nutritious meals. But I don't relish cooking. I have friends who *love* to cook. It's fun to them. It's just something I know how to do well and needs to be done, but I don't particularly *love* it. I think math may be sort of similar. I guess I would just try to see where math topics fit in with the child's interests. Mathematicians in history, data in science labs, proportion and ratios in art, fractions in music, symmetry in nature, physics and astronomy...I'm sure the options to find math everywhere are limitless. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

quark Posted March 13, 2013 Share Posted March 13, 2013 What are some ways that you use in your home school to nurture mathematical interest and to encourage ability, whether you have math loving kids or not [...] lets say you wanted to deliberately and intentionally nurture mathematics in your students for their entire primary education...What sort of things would you do? I have living math books, doing projects where math is a tool/by stander (so that they see the applications of math in a natural setting), exploring interesting bits of mathematics and not letting arithmetic kill off the joy of math, but what else. I'm not talking so much about making kids excel in math, but if you really want kids to be comfortable with mathematics--even if you aren't, what are some resources you use? 1. Allowing my kid to progress to a level that is commensurate to his ability instead of insisting on lockstep grade levels. 2. Throwing even more challenging problems (higher than ability level) his way in a game-like, "I challenge you-you challenge me" style...stress on casual, game-like style so that he is always comfortable and not made to feel as if it's a test he must succeed in. It's okay to not know. What's not okay is to give up or not want to think about it more deeply. Make this a habit from young and it will come more naturally when they are older. 3. Liberal use of the whiteboard especially in the younger years when writing on paper was difficult, then once writing on paper became easier, using graph paper for visualization and to make "showing his work" much neater and clearer. 4. Always asking "why" something works...he asks me and I ask him. Constant exchange of ideas on why something works the way it does and what other patterns are noticeable. 5. We have several threads of math running at all times -- one thread focuses on practice, one on problem solving (ETA: e.g. using NRich and AoPS and resources mentioned in my siggy) and another on higher concepts. 6. Offer lots of time for self exploration...when math becomes a game and a passion, don't be surprised that your child wants to do math ALL the time, of his own volition! :001_smile: Also, search for posts by Kathy in Richmond, regentrude and mathwonk. I'm sure I'm forgetting a number of other very valuable math ideas contributors, my apologies. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Chrysalis Academy Posted March 13, 2013 Share Posted March 13, 2013 http://www.livingmath.net/ is a great website that has lots of inspiring resources, it really helped me out when I was getting started. http://www.educationunboxed.com/ has amazing videos showing how to use C-rods to teach math concepts, as well as lots of other stuff. These resources, discussions, blogs, etc. can help you think about how you want to teach and approach math. Other things that I've been helped by are the Kitchen Table Math books and the book Math Power by Patricia Clark Kentschaft. As far as what I do with my kids, to keep their interest engaged and encourage the development of ability: I have a spine math program that makes sure it all gets coverd (MM) but I use a lot of supplements, and the supplements are all things that they *like*. I don't care so much whether they love the spine, the spin is about gettin 'er done. But the supplements have to be inspiring. For my dd10, that was LOF - the whole elementary series - last year as a 4th grader when I brought her home from ps. Now she's finishing up LOF Decimals independently, and will use the PreA books next year. LOF first sparked a love for algebra - there is algebraic thinking introduced from the very first book. We have followed up and encouraged that love by using Hands On Equations - my dd loves this program, and so she loves Algebra, already. That's one example. We use various other supplements. For us, the key to keeping things interesting is having a lot of variety, and pulling in different resources on a given topic. This keeps her interested and engaged, and it keeps her from getting bored with a topic or with a resource. It also makes sure she understands the concept, because she has come at it from a lot of different angles. For my dd6, who is in a project-based learning charter school, we also do LOF - I read, and she does problems, pictures, or various rabbit-trail digressions on the whiteboard. She also really really loves working on the computer, so I got her a Dreambox subscription. I got it so she would have something "educational" to work on while I"m working with her sister, but I've actually been very impressed with it - they are learning to use a bunch of different virtual manipulatives, function machines, abacuses, hundred charts, etc. and she finds it super fun and engaging, and there is a lot of "stealth" learning going on - her understanding of place value has really taken off, for example. Anyway, I guess for us, nurturing interest comes through finding resources that the kids find fun, and provide lots of variety; and encouraging ability comes from making sure they are constantly challenged in an appropriate (but not frustrating) way. Math is one of those things that I think about all the time, but only plan a couple of weeks out, because their abilities and conceptual understanding, rate of learning, stamina, etc. can really change pretty dramatically from week to week, and topic to topic. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Hunter Posted March 14, 2013 Share Posted March 14, 2013 I believe in using a very narrow curriculum that focuses on arithmetic for my core curriculum, BUT I like to provide a wider education with picture books, stories, projects, games, drawings, and real life experiences when there is time and as a reward. My son liked studying topology and probability and logic and statistics and geometry and reading biographies of mathematicians. He enjoyed doing math in Greek using math texts written in Ancient Greek. We programmed a graphing calculator. We played with spread sheets. Pattern and Algebra blocks were fun. Currently I've played around with Waldorf math a bit, and have read picture books and math biographies and talked a LOT about the history and beauty of the Hindu-Arabic decimal number system. Money as a manipulative has been a hit along with picture books on money and economics. Anything that measures has been well received. At some point I want to invest in a pan balance scale and weights and other measuring tools. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Walking-Iris Posted March 14, 2013 Share Posted March 14, 2013 You may also want to do a search for Montessori math materials. Quite a few of them can be handmade inexpensively. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Eagle Posted March 14, 2013 Share Posted March 14, 2013 Life of Fred gets my son excited about math. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

mom2bee Posted March 14, 2013 Author Share Posted March 14, 2013 My son liked studying topology and probability and logic and statistics. What did you use for topology? I have a friend who LOVES topology and goes on and on about it, I've gotten a little curious myself. I have an old Math textbook with a single chapter on Topology which I intend to read, and I've looked up a few things but I still have no real idea about topology and would love to learn more... Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

regentrude Posted March 14, 2013 Share Posted March 14, 2013 Modeling. Parents who show that they find math cool and exciting go a long way towards instilling this general view. Children pick up any insecurities, dislikes, anxieties in their teachers. They will also pick up if parents consider math a necessary evil. Model joy and excitement. For reading, the advice is always that children should see their parents read for fun. Let the kids see their parents do math for fun, too. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

mom2bee Posted March 14, 2013 Author Share Posted March 14, 2013 Modeling. Parents who show that they find math cool and exciting go a long way towards instilling this general view. Children pick up any insecurities, dislikes, anxieties in their teachers. They will also pick up if parents consider math a necessary evil. Model joy and excitement. That's a very good one, thank you regentrude for adding this one to the list :). Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

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