Tuesday, May 25, 2010

# Do We Still Do Math?

I realize that I didn’t post about our math adventures in a while, but I couldn’t pull our math activities into a decent blog post. I am always impressed to read posts where children do trays or worksheets out of workboxes – believe me, I tried this approach many times only to discover that it doesn’t work. Maybe it would be different if we were really homeschooling, but Anna thinks that l earning and effort belong in school while home is for play. So that’s what we are doing for math – playing.

Daughter is also not in favor of any kind of “copy work”. She never warmed up, for example, to using templates that came with pattern blocks. She is only interested in creating something on her own and seems to have an inherent sense of symmetry in her creations.

We also make up math stories using various props – buttons, play food, Playmobil people. Anna gets better with simple concrete addition and subtraction when she works out answers to these word problems, and I usually write math sentences for her to show her a beautiful language of math. What I want to show her is that math is not dry, that a simple 2+3=5 sentence hides infinite number of stories that can be made up and told. This appeals to her, since she is so verbal and loves to make up her own stories.

And, of course, we also read “live math” books. Not all of them are great. Anna doesn’t care much for counting books any longer and prefers stories with some sort of story line. It’s even better if they rhyme, since she enjoys poetry. This book doesn’t rhyme, but it has a page with 100 steps to count in the end. For some reason daughter likes to count those steps even though she normally refuses to count higher than 40. In other words, all that she does in math, she does on her own terms and in her own time. I like it that way and don’t plan to change anything radically soon.

To see other math activities, visit Math Links at Joyful Learner.

Joyful Learner said...

I think play is the best way to teach math! JC doesn't like the patterns that came with the pattern blocks also and prefers to make her own. I introduce most things as a game and she likes that. Once in awhile, she'll ask me a question like, "What time is it?" and that will turn into a mini math lesson. She's really into time right now and even asked me to teach her! That blew me away only because she's resistant to anyone actually teaching her anything and hates when I correct her. What are we going to do with these independent, self-determined, feisty kids? :)

I feel that most important at this stage is loving math just as much as they love reading, science, nature, play, etc.

Ticia said...

I struggle with the same thing on math posts. People don't really want to see endless renditions of my kids' building stuff with their blocks. Now, if I had something cool and new to post..... But, no nothing like that.

Mom and Kiddo said...

I think it's good that she doesn't like to do copy work, it proves she likes to think outside of the box. There will be plenty of time for boring rote work in school :)

MaryAnne said...

I find the math my kids do is seldom post-worthy, but they do learn a lot of math through play!

Pathfinder Mom said...

We've been all over the board with math as well. We'll do a lot with it for a while and then back off again.

One thing that Tornado Boy really did enjoy at that age was making patterns on a 100 board. We have a big one with cards, but there are a bunch of printables on the Internet. It's easy to make patterns with either Do-A-Dot markers or small chips if you have them.