So, I am trying really hard to work past my own math phobias and let my kids explore math in new ways. We have mostly stuck with curricula when it comes to math in our homeschooling efforts. I have picked up a few living books about math, but I haven’t been awesome about really using them. Which is pretty ridiculous when you think about it. I am all about learning from real life and good books in every other area, but I have serious hang-ups with math. Probably the fact that I always struggled with it, was told it was “not my subject,” and had to take Algebra 1 THREE times. I took that class and geometry, found out that two credits were all I needed to graduate, and so that was it for me. As an adult, I find math a lot more interesting and even beautiful, but I still have reservations.
One of my kids really struggles with math as well. Actually, only basic arithmetic and memorization. Higher math concepts and formulas are something he has no real problem with. So in an effort to help him reach his goals in a more meaningful & purposeful way, I am exploring algebra even though he hasn’t mastered memorizing basic facts. I mean he does long division, but with a chart because he is just stuck on memorizing those stupid facts. We are not going to stop working on that aspect, but he is capable of doing more, so onward we march.
Last week I downloaded the app DragonBox at the recommendation of my friend, Melissa. This app is AWESOME! It teaches basic algebra concepts (mostly equation balancing) in a few hours. In fact, I beat the game and so did all of my kids in no time at all…even my 8 year old. Cole (13) also beat the bonus levels, and the girls are working on them now. It was expensive as far as apps go, but I can say with no reservation that it was worth every penny!!
In addition, I have been letting him explore concepts he is interested in on Khan academy. He can watch videos and practice whatever he wants on there. He is enjoying looking through all the different kinds of math and (I hope) opening his mind to the possibilities.
I also picked up some math books at the library. Some are math stories with concepts to practice, and some are basics of algebra. We have been working through this for the past few days I hope to use them as a springboard to future topics.
I know we can find ways to learn math that are fun, interesting, and relevant to real life. I am thankful for friends who are good at this, and a local tutor who I hear is fabulous should I need to eventually hire him for help. My community rocks!