We’ve been talking all month about delight-directed learning and today I’m here to share about the subject I do now, and have always, dreaded the most . . .
Math builds on itself and is cumulative, so how does one do delight-directed math?
Why, with as much delight as one can muster!
One of the best things you can do is to use the things your children LOVE, the things which INSPIRE them, to point out that math is everywhere, and it really is inspiring.
Does your child love soccer? Not only are there interesting mathematical shapes on that soccer ball, but there is resistance, friction, propulsion, arches, speed & SO MUCH more math involved in the game. Math.
If your student is a lover of design, and clothing . . . well, there is math in the patterns, math in the drape of the fabric, math in the sizing. Math.
What is your child passionate about?
- Nature – mathematical patterns are everywhere in nature!
- Animals – vets use math regularly. There is math in the shapes and body size, food formulas, medications . . .
- Rockets – totally a math thing!
- Running – there are formulas used to calculate everything from the amounts of food, shape of the body, BMI, even in the clothing and running shoes!
- Soldiers – math is used to calculate trajectory and so much more regarding weaponry and battle.
- Cooking – math, heat, velocity, food chemistry . . . recipes!
Math Is All Around Us
In the Early Years – Math is Play
In the early years, math is all about play! Sorting buttons, playing with shapes, counting beans or blocks, clapping, stomping to the beat – all are playful math activities. Don’t distort your child’s view of math because you are in a hurry to begin a “solid curriculum.” Don’t rush it.
Play store, play restaurant with a bill and following recipes. Play games with cards and dice. Count, begin to add, subtract and multiply. You can begin working on math facts while in the midst of playful activities that don’t look a bit like math curriculum, yet provide the mathematical stimulation that young minds need.
Enjoy math in daily life – cut the pizza in half, double the recipe for cookies, pour colored water into plastic measuring cups. All are wonderful living math exercises.
Simple Tips to Make Math Delightful
When you are ready to take a more serious approach to math, there is still no reason to make it a dreadful experience. These are just a few ideas to creatively weave math projects into your studies, and keep a delightful focus! Use one or use them all (whatever it takes) to help your student understand that math is not only important, but it is also fun.
- Math games online
- Make up your own math games
- File folder math games and lapbooks
- Inspiring videos
- Math art & coloring patterns
- Kitchen math
- Math with Living Book and Board/Card Games
When you’ve seen the videos, learned to recognize math all around you, and have gained an appreciation for math in general – perhaps even had some fun with math games and patterns – there may come a time when your student has to sit down and complete actual math lessons.
Hopefully, the hands-on, delightful projects you’ve tackled together have inspired them to at least have a better attitude on the subject. There are a few additional, simple things to keep in mind so that the math dread does not return.
- Pay attention to learning style
- Use hands-on tools as needed
- Limit lesson time – don’t try to teach too much at once
- Avoid too much repetition at one time – practice only what is needed
- Discuss together the importance of consistent math practice
- Agree on an appropriate time frame and set a timer
- Implement a reward system
- Take breaks – don’t be afraid to walk away from a bad day
When choosing the math program for your child, pay attention to learning style. A child who is a visual learner is going to struggle all that much more when trying to learn straight from a text book. There are plenty of products on the market that will provide video lessons and support other learning styles. Try Khan Academy free videos to see how they work for your family before investing a lot of money on something else. I also recommend the book, Loving Living Math from Shining Dawn Books for superb, hands-on math activities.
Remember, if you are stuck, and just not finding the delight in math some day – WALK Away. Get outside and take a break. Watch some inspiring math videos. Look for beautiful mathematical patterns in nature together and relax. You can always go back in later and reset that timer!
How do you find delight in math? Does it simply come natural to you?
Kelli Becton is a homeschool mom of 3 boys and resides with her husband, on the coast in Southwest Florida. They have been homeschooling almost since 2003 and have developed their own hands on learning style with Wildlife Adventures Unit Studies. Kelli shares their adventures and loads of freebies at www.AdventuresinChildrearing.com – Facebook Here & Pinterest Here.
I would also love to invite you the community inspired by this series, as we strive to inspire, encourage and empower our readers in everything homeschooling.