Thinking about Math Phobia in the parents
(usually moms; let's be honest...)

I don't ever think of math as *fun*, never did in school and still don't now. Perhaps that's why my kids don't either ;o)

Joyce Fetteroll's response to that:
I think that's an important idea to take out an examine. Would you feel as comfortable saying:

"I don't ever think of reading as *fun*, never did in school and still don't now. Perhaps that's why my kids don't either ;o)"?

Some people hold onto the fear that kids need schoolish math to learn math. They need to experience their kids learning math by living life to pry those virtual textbooks from their mind's grasp.

But some people are so damaged by math in school, the idea that they don't ever have to do math with their kids because kids will learn math by living life is like a great weight lifted.

That's not good either! For unschooling to flourish we should embrace a curiosity about the world—and the world includes relationships, comparisons and other uses of math.

Unschooling is *much* harder than school at home because it takes a great deal of self examination and change in ourselves to help our kids and not get in their way!

Joyce


"The way to learn math naturally is to let it be a natural part of everything, like it is, and not make such a point of it all the time."
—Linda Wyatt

Alex Polikowsky, September 1, 2011 on Always Learning:
Yesterday I was talking to a friend who has been unschooling for about year now but still has lots of doubts and questions. She has Sandra's book and reads that and Sandra and Joyce's site. I told her to join this list and just read the discussions so she might have. I hope she does. So while talking to her she [expressed to me that] she still worries about math. So I told her a little story that just happened the day before.

Gigi my 5 year old is into the cows. She knows everything about them. She is pretty amazing when it comes to knowing about cows. She has been doing chores with dad since she was a year old and this Summer she upped that to spending most days doing chores with him. She knows more cows than my brother in law that milks with my husband.

So Gigi is the kind of child that asks questions non stop. She has been asking a lot about time and numbers in general. She has been asking about age a lot too. She asked me a couple days ago:

G; Mom when will MD ( her brother who is 9 years old) be a teenager?
M: Well, he will be a teenager when he is 13 years old, so in 4 years.
G: OH, so next year will be 3 years away then. And for Patrick ( their cousin who is a year older than MD) will be only 2 years away from being a teenager.
M: Yep
G: Let's play Barbie and Ponies! (in which all Barbies were adopting Ponies and paying a fee for them)

We also had a math filled day yesterday.

My 9yo son and 8yo daughter both have birthdays coming up and they stated by figuring out how many days it was until each of their birthdays. Then, using the calculator on my new smart phone, they figured out how many days each of them has been alive. This required multiplying and subtracting. I sat by listening to them come up with their formulas. Next they went to the calendar and added every one's birthday in our family at which point they realized that they hadn't accounted for Leap Years in their original formulas and went back to correct the "days alive" answers. This was all unprompted, natural math usage.

My 14yo daughter decided to go to high school this year. She has had no formal math since 1st grade. After the 1st week of school she came to us to show us how well she could do algebra problems. She said the teacher had been using her to help explain the problems to other kids in the class because so many of them didn't understand and she was really proud that she could do it with such ease.

Yesterday we talked about her classes and she said that she now hates Algebra. I was confused and asked why because she has a high A in the class. She said,"yeah, it's easy, but it's just so pointless! Not once has the teacher been able to tell us how to use this in real life."

Funny, but I used to think the same way. We would do an entire lesson on a subject doing just the math problems, and then there would be two story problems at the end.

Sadie Bugni


Talking about my school math experiences and fears, I told my then-future-husband Keith that I had liked geometry, and always loved the story problems.

He said the story problems were the only problem there were. The "number problems" were the answers to unstated problems, without the calculations.

Sandra Dodd


Don't pass your fears and prejudices on to your children!



Go back to the math page and breathe and read it calmly. It's not about school math.
It's about patterns and games and laughter.
Unschoolers and Math