I was so excited when my fellow homeschool bloggers and I put together this How Do I Teach … series. There are so many talented bloggers participating with such a wide variety of topics that this series is sure to keep all of us busy hopping around, reading, and thinking outside of the box (which is always a good thing in my opinion)! I do hope that you will all join me over the next 4 days as I share a very personal side of my life and how I hope to make the ultimate u-turn to shine a new light to this subject.
Everyone who prepares to travel down the path of homeschooling (no matter the reason) tends to have an Achilles heel, if you will, that makes them nervous, can keep them up at night, and makes it very easy to place self-doubt upon themselves. For me personally, when we decided to homeschool I ran down the homeschooling path at lightening speed and it was not until the end of our first year that my Achilles heel was struck in and stopped me dead in my tracks.
My name is Jill and I am a homeschooling mom who hates math. I rarely have ever in my lifetime used the word hate in reference to anything or anyone as I feel it is a very powerful and strong word. For me though, I have hated mathematics my entire life, for as long as I can remember. When I think of math I think of tears, frustration, and in general, just a lack of enthusiasm. Perhaps this is why I married an engineer (so that I could rely on him for the mathematics that need to be tended to in our lifetime); however, he will be the first person to tell you that while math does come easily to him and he does have to do daily math in his profession, he does not like basic math one bit because it is even hard for him to explain the basics. To be perfectly honest, when my husband shared that sentiment with me I was shocked and quite taken aback. Perhaps my dislike for anything related to math is not just because the skill does not come easily to me but rather something else? This is quite hard to admit publicly since as homeschooling parents we seem to place this massive expectation upon ourselves that we can do everything top notch for our children/students.
I attended a very good public school and was one of those students when it came to mathematics that I feel was overlooked since I excelled in all other subjects. In my entire school career I only had 1 math teacher that really impacted my thought process in regards to math. I encountered this teacher in middle school and she was AMAZING! She was the very first teacher to make math fun and exciting rather than straightforward and black and white. I firmly believe to this day that had she not had so many problem students in her classroom to deal with daily my outlook on mathematics would be completely different.
Sadly, because I was a well behaved student who received average scores on tests and daily assignments her time was spent more on dealing with students who were acting out or failing. This pretty much sums up my mathematical career, if you will, since I was not a problem/failing student or a top of the class student in any of my math classes. I feel that I was just pushed through due to the dynamics of the public school system. This lead to a great deal of uncertainty and embarrassment throughout my entire life when it came to anything related to math. Everything else that life sent my way has been faced with a great deal of self-confidence, determination, hard work, and stubbornness. When I am faced with anything math related it just sadly deflates me and dare I say, it turns me into someone that in any other aspect of my life I am not.
In all complete honesty, if my husband and I had not embarked down the path of homeschooling I do firmly believe that this fear of math will would have lasted throughout my entire life. Over the last 5+ years of homeschooling I have had to learn a new way of looking at math since I most certainly do not want our children to feel the same way about math as I do. My goal as their teacher is to essentially send myself back to boot camp to retrain my mind alongside their lessons to make learning math fun. This does not mean that I do not actually know the math skills that I am teaching, but more rather that I have been blessed with this wonderful opportunity to take a do over in how math is taught. That same stubborn determination and hardworking ethic that you will see in everything else that I do in my life is being applied in a major way to teaching our children math. I have called many a time on Tinkerbell and her friends to help spread a little pixie dust on math lessons and now keep her permanently on speed dial, LOL.
Now, as a homeschooling parent I must admit that I have a new found love/hate relationship with mathematics (which in my opinion is a HUGE improvement in the right direction). Watching my children learn new math concepts and how they are able to apply them in the real world makes my heart swell with pride. This was not something that I was expecting to experience and for me personally, this has been a growing experience to say the least.
Over the next 4 posts this week I hope to be able to share ideas, techniques, and activities on how I teach the core math skills needed in elementary school with a fun twist. These suggestions will not only be for the reluctant math student, but they are also for the reluctant math teacher. My philosophy is that if I can make math fun for my children then the likely hood that they will have my same love/hate relationship when it comes to the mere mention of math will be far less likely. I want my children to become confident mathematicians even if they do not end up loving math (which luckily as of now both our son and daughter do actually love math and it is their favorite subject in school).
I feel that it is my calling to change this pattern for our children and I am determined to make math my friend for the first time ever in my life! I invite you to follow along to see how during this 5 days series titled How Do I Teach Math When I Don’t Like Math. Make sure to also follow along and read all participating blog articles as we all cover a wide variety of topics!
How Do I Teach … 5 Day Blog Series is brought to you by the following blogs:
Enchanted Homeschooling Mom ~ Homeschool Gameschool ~ Are We There Yet? ~ Life with Moore Babies ~ No Doubt Learning ~ Mrs. Redd’s Classroom Blog ~ Proverbial Homemaker ~ My Joy Filled Life ~ Preschool Powol Packets ~ Adventures in Mommydom ~ Vicki Arnold ~ Only Passionate Curiosity ~ Living Life and Learning ~ Farm Fresh Adventures ~ 3 Dinosaurs ~ Monsters Ed Homeschooling Academy ~ Life and Lessons from a country road ~ For This Season