Yesterday our Charlotte Mason group met and we had a fantastic time. We met two moms new to our homeschool group who are young but already know a lot, and they are eclectic, hands on, innovative, and Charlotte Mason inspired. I was so excited to know one of them is following THE AMBLESIDE CURRICULUM with her boys.
We shared our thoughts about learning, education, and the experienced moms reminded us to not push academics. Some of us love the principles of unschooling, but we all agreed we want DISCIPLINE in our homes, which doesn’t necessarily have to translate in academics at an early age, but it can be discipline as shown in habits that the children, through parental guidance, would acquire since they are little.Here is a free book about habits, called SMOOTH AND EASY DAYS, offered by Simply Charlotte Mason. (They have other free books and helpful articles).
We talked about narration, recitation, living books, math and curriculum. Making curriculum your slave, and being fine without purchasing this curriculum for BABIES they sell (see Susan’s post about this), or the myriad of products targeted for preschool and young children.
And we added MATH to our conversation and I realized math continues being one of the most recurrent homeschooling mom’s beasts to tame. That’s why this post is titled FALL IN LOVE WITH MATH, because if you did poorly in math in your school years, if you are one of those who hate dislikes math, you are in desperate need of some of the LOVE that MATH can give you.
We have been brought up in a very narrow view of MATH, and our natural abilities for it have not been nurtured. They say that math comes naturally to some, and I believe it does, those people, regardless of the mean to math environment most of us have to live with, thrive. But that’s nothing like saying you are ‘born’ with or without a math gene, or to believe if you did poorly in math you won’t be able to teach it adequately to your children. I don’t say that men and women are different in the sense that mostly men are better at math, I believe it to be a cultural predisposition and it may have roots on our brain configuration. But that’s irrelevant. There are WONDERFUL women who are even more EXCEPTIONAL mathematicians, in history and now. To mention some (and men too) who are a click away from getting their books at Amazon, joining their yahoo groups, or visiting their sites, you have:
* Julie Brennan, from LIVINGMATH (under articles you have books and reading books you have suggestions for US, teachers, and for the children). From their suggestions I’ve read the following inspiring books:
– Knowing and teaching mathematics, by Liping Ma
– About Teaching Mathematics, by Marilyn Burns. I’ve posted about this book here.
– We’ve read some books for the children from Marilyn Burns, and she also has more for early and late elementary.
*The yahoo living math forum is a great place to share and ask anything that has to do with math and more.
* This link will take you to a post about four good math habits, and to Maria Miller’s blog and the creator of Math Mammoth. Her materials are available in English and Spanish as well.
Under math, to the right side of my blog, there are many other links to great blogs and websites such as:
* If you want a free and good math program, you have MEP, in Spanish too. And Amy, from Fisher’s Academy, and Jeanne have posted about how to implement the program with your children. Living math has also a detail review of different math curriculum.
If you love literature there is no reason why you shouldn’t love math. We may not become engineers, or people who have to use calculus every day of our life, but we can learn to see math around us, to relearn to like math and grow with our children in this subject. As one of our moms said yesterday, if her daughter ‘gets it’ orally, why to do the worksheet? If the math textbook you are using makes your children shiver and shake, why not toss it? Or just use it as a reference for yourself.
If you love literature, you’d fall in love with this way of looking at math. I’ve been using MATHEMAGIC volume 13 of Childcraft Encyclopedia, and if you start reading about the history of math, about mathematicians, books that have riddles and think of games, visuals, real life situations and the math involved in them, you’ll be able to fall in love with math. When I taught in public schools I was good at Language Arts, specially writing, that came naturally to me despite the efforts some teachers put in killing our desire to write. I understand some feel compelled to write as some others feel attracted to numbers, calculations, problem solving. But people good at math can write, people good at writing can calculate, and both groups can enjoy what they are naturally good at, and what they are learning to be good at.
And the more it’s the link to my friend Ellen and her book lists for one of our mothers too who wants to find living book titles.
* Cori from Wonder in the Woods, gives us a list of poetry books and Ambleside Online has a Year 0 book list too.
These are some other book lists for suggestions:
Great website with 1000 books grouped by age level and type.
About the picture: a nice basket in perfect condition
from the thrifty store, $1 filled with
organic granny smith apples,
and two of our home grown zucchinis.