Oct 29, 2013

More Math Please



After reading this amazing book I decided it was time to step up the 'math confidence' in all my people. The ability to do math and do it well, interestingly enough, is one of the key indicators of good critical thinking skills in adults. (Cool tid-bit: Gavin read this book before I did and was totally absorbed in it. We had some awesome conversations about what makes for good learning/teaching.  He highly recommended the book to me, even though I was the one who originally checked it out to read first. He just beat me to it.) 

There are so many other interesting observations in this book beyond math, such as, having high standards for our children which is a good thing - not bad.  Children rise to meet your expectations. Children know when they are being 'dumbed down'.  Children know when they aren't being respected. Children need to fail in order to learn, not giving them that chance is detrimental to them.

My favorite quote in this book is:

Parents who view themselves as educational coaches tend to read to their children every day when they are small; when their children get older, they talk with them about their days and about the news around the world.  They let their children make mistakes and then get right back to work.  They teach them good habits and give them autonomy.  They are teachers, too, in other words, and they believe in rigor.  They want their children to fail while they are still children   They know that those lessons - about hard work, persistence, integrity, and consequences = will serve a child for decades to come.

Parents make all the difference!  

The kids have heard me talk about my struggles teaching adults math.  But they've also watched me bring home books to study and brush up on my skills that had a few cobwebs on them from underuse so that I could be a better teacher.  I don't want to stay stagnant.  I want to keep growing and learning, even if its things I previously learned that I forgot.  Enthusiasm for learning is contagious.  The opposite also holds true.  If I complain about math, then that gives them freedom to complain about math - I don't like that.  So from now on, math is my friend. :) 

As with all things in life, we get better when we practice.  So I started printing up extra worksheets at home for Chloe and Bennett to do everyday after school.  They never seem to have math homework and that concerns me.  They agreed that one little sheet every day would be fun.  

Gavin saw that I was handing out math worksheets like candy bars and asked why I didn't have any for him?  He was genuinely offended.  This coming from a person who has found math to be his sweet spot.  I was like, "Uh...I thought you had math homework." And he was like (cuz that's how you have to talk when you talk with teens), "Ya. But I think that would be fun.  See if you can find me some worksheets too."  And so I was like, "Sure."  Voila....algebra 2 worksheets started spewing forth from my printer.  He was a happy camper.

I've always made each of my kids blog everyday to keep up their writing skills (another thing I don't feel they do enough of in school).  But I totally ignored keeping their math confidence up.  Duh!  Proof that we only do what we think is important.  

I am off to do some applied mathematics as I cook dinner.  I have to measure the ratio between rice and water and all that stuff...I better go put on my thinking cap.

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