Teaching Math Without Goals

Is it possible, desirable, or perhaps even necessary to teach math without setting goals for outcomes or achievement?  What if teaching and learning math happened as beautifully and naturally as the Fibonacci sequence in this sunflower?  It can happen that way!  Homeschool math educators too often fall into the fallacy that math needs to be…

Who’s Afraid of Math?

    Many of us have experienced it, a terrible brain freeze when faced with what seems like an insoluble problem: learning and/or applying one or another math concept.  I was never a whiz at math, in fact times tables’ mastery escaped my grasp well into adulthood.  Indeed, I regularly practiced the most commonly used…

Can Math Really Be Beautiful?

Yes!  As demonstrated by this computer-generated image of iterating systems of mobius transformations.  Math is everywhere, and though it often hides from everyday sight or observation, with the right focus it can be readily seen and appreciated. The fundamental or archetypal forms found in nature can be taught to children at a very young age.…

Homeschool Math in 3-D

  If your homeschool math curriculum must be in a box, it should be a box like this one, a cube mercator 3D ocean model.  Of course, thinking outside the box is optimal, but nowhere is this more true than in math.  Even advanced mathematicians who would seem to think in well-ordered and circumscribed ways…

TV Or Not TV

The most difficult sell for new parents in the school when I was a Waldorf teacher was the strong recommendation that TV be eliminated.  TV’s become such an unquestioned fixture in all of our homes that we hardly know how to live without it.  And children are so much more susceptible to its seductive lure.…

Stories and Homeschool Math

Word problems: the bane of many a math student’s existence?  Perhaps one of the problems with word problems is that they don’t seem to stand on their own two feet as stories, since the plots and characters are most often abstract and subservient to the numbers or the problem itself.  Though word problems do sharpen…

Homeschool Math Numbers Games

PIG! All that’s needed for this game is one die and 2 or more players, ages 8-14.  It’s a great game for honing mental math skills since players are expected to keep the score totals in their heads.  PIG! is an exciting game of risk, since at every roll of the die the player comes…

John Taylor Gatto: Libraries vs. Schools

John Taylor Gatto has written and spoken some revolutionary things about education and schooling.  He was an award-winning teacher in NYC schools for many years, respected and recognized by students, peers, parents, and educators.  He came to realize though that schools too often function as limiting rather than beneficial influences on the children who attend…

Fibonacci! And Your Homeschool Math

The Fibonacci sequence is found everywhere, from the cauliflower at the grocery store to the farthest flung galaxy.  The spiral that is common to both is one that’s prevalent in nature and the cosmos because of its efficiency.  It packs the maximum amount of seeds, florets, or stars into available space.  The pattern of this…