How were you with math in school? Did you like it? Did you struggle? Were you pushed through the system even though you hadn’t mastered a math concept? If you were, then you aren’t alone. Myself included. Even though I never failed math, my computations were slow, and word problems sometimes baffled me. I didn’t always know if I was supposed to add, subtract, multiply or divide. So, why praytell, would I want to teach math? How can I have (gasp) confidence?
Well, for one, teaching elementary math gives me the mathematical education I never had. I am methodicaly learning again, right along with my children. Mom gets excited when she notices a number pattern or little mathematical “trick”. My enthusiasm, therefore; is real. It is also catching. Something good to have when teaching math. No need to pass on my own phobias. They vaporize with my own discoveries. This actually helps my confidence. For instance, let’s look at the 9 times tables:
9 x 2 = 18
9 x 3 = 27
9 x 4 = 36
9 x 5 = 45
9 x 6 = 54
Notice the number pattern? The numerals in the solution have a pattern. The first column of numbers increases in increments of 1, and the second column of numbers decreases in increments of one. Also the two digits in the solution always add up to nine! How cool is that?
You can also buy math curriculum that caters to your childrens’ learing style. We have been using Math-U-See for four years now and it has worked really well, particularly if your children are visual or spatial learners. The manipulatives are unique and easy to use. As my oldest is entering Grade five next year, we will be switching to Saxon Math 6/5. She rarely uses the manipulatives anymore and is ready for more abstract concepts.
For more on teaching homeschool math, refer to The Well Trained Mind, chapter 6 The Joy Of Numbers: Math