I’m so excited to have Danielle From Blessedly Busy here today to talk about Math! I don’t know about you but I know that it is something I have struggled with as a homeschool mom & I know lots of parents who have the same struggle! Danielle is here to help! Here’s her advice!
People hate math. Children hate math. Most elementary teachers are afraid of math. There’s something wrong with how America is teaching math.
The Problems Students Solve Have Nothing to do With Real Life
In fact, students spend much of their math time solving abstract problems. What’s 6×4, how many feet in a yard, what’s the area of this rectangle. There is no context for these problems. No reason to solve them.
As a teacher I heard, “Why do we have to learn this.” more times than I care to count. I taught middle school, so mostly, this was a tactic to divert the focus from the lesson. But sometimes the best answer I could come up with was, “Umm…because…Let’s get to work.” Not very motivating, I know.
But give an 8th grader the task of comparing cell phone plans and suddenly there is purpose, a reason. Especially when they see how much they each cost after a year!
Without a connection to their life, students will remain uninterested. Math will remain a mere subject and never used as it was intended; a tool to solve problems.
There Are Too Many Problems
There’s this idea that the more problems a student solves the easier it is for them and the more proficient they will be. Which might have some truth in it. But how much learning is really taking place when a student answers 30 addition problems.
And then there’s getting them to do it. A task of Herculean proportions.
While there might be a time when memorization is useful it should not be the bulk of a student’s math education.
Solving worksheet after worksheet of problems makes a child dread math. Maybe even HATE it.
There’s Not Enough Discussion
How did you get your answer? Can you think of another way to solve it? Can you explain someone else’s way?
These are the kinds of questions that promote deep thinking. Deep learning.
Why Don’t More Math Classrooms Use a Problem Solving Approach to Teaching Math?
The scariest part of teaching using a problem solving approach is…there is no script. When a teacher asks a question, there are multiple right answers. Even the wrong answer can spark a discussion and promote learning.
Until a teacher is willing to let go of the security of the scripted lesson, deep meaningful learning cannot happen.
The Hope For Homeschoolers
As a homeschooler, you do not have 30+ students. You have the perfect setting for math discussions (the dining room table). You know your students intimately and can tailor lessons to their interests. And whether or not you love math, whether or not you are good at math, you have the skills to lead a math discussion and promote true, deep learning.
Don’t believe me? Try the Perimeter and Area Problems Based Unit I developed for normal non math geeky parents just like you.
Danielle is a homeschooling mamma of 5. She is committed to making life with young children easier and sharing her passion for math. If you would like to learn more about teaching math to multiple age groups visit Blessedly Busy or follow her on: Facebook Instagram Pinterest or Twitter