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January 08, 2006


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Jamie, you rock. And you hurt my head, at the same time. You KNOW I'm not friends with Math. I don't like it and can't do it.

Hats off to you, my friend.

Math. I have a similar husband to yours, with the extensive math knowledge. His students gave him the "King of math tricks" award a few years ago at the department end-of-year get-together. I am no math slouch myself, but I have a hard time with the subtraction in my head. I like to pretend that it is because the calculus shoved out the simple arithmetic.

I may be a dork, but I love that thing about the consecutive numbers squared. I have never seen that before.

Also -- Fibonacci numbers. WHAT GOOD ARE THEY? I mean, they are nifty and appeal to my orderly little brain, but is there a use for them? Do you know? I remember doing computer programming in high school and one of the things we did was to make the computer spit out Fibonacci sequences, but WHY? WHY WHY WHY??

I love math, and having gone to college with a bunch of kids who had been homeschooled, I have a secret rage for parents who homeschool and fail to school their kids properly in math and science. It sounds like you're doing a great job; I've got no rage for you, only admiration. Keep it up!

I love math, too, but hated it in school. The orderliness and wonder is completely lost after all the drills. I feel extremely sorry for those kids who do 90 minutes a day. Sounds like a huge waste of time to me, since the estimations are that a motivated kid could learn everything from addition up to calculus in 50 hours. The key is letting the kid get interested in it.

This morning in the whoer I was trying to do the multiplication in my head of the number of different sudoku puzzles possible. (9! x 9!) My mind if definitely not as nimble as it used to be, because I had problems multiplying the 9! out. I suppose if I worked with factorials more often I'd have it memorized anyway.

I'm a bit hopeless with numbers. I have this strange problem...I bet its some kind of LD...but I can't hold numbers in my head very well, unless I can sing them, if I try to picture them they turn into letters, and occasionally I will write numbers as letters, and they are consistent substitutions, 4=H, 3=C, 5=B (see, I just wrote B=B and had to go back and erase). Consequently, I was an advanced student in Geometry and symbolic logic, pretty good at algebra, and a complete numbskull at trig.

Fortunately, I could take logic for my math requirement in college and I was saved.

This is what scares me about the prospect of homeschooling...my kids might learn to count 1, 2 C, H, B, 6 7...

Echoing...hats off...you amaze me...

I just went back and read your "why we homeschool" post and it is, as always, brilliant. My guess on the Socialization Question would have been something along the lines of your family size in terms of the positive aspects of time with other kids (they are learning to share and take turns and so forth by being part of a somewhat larger family), and that they can be shielded from many of the more negative aspects by homeschooling.

And finally--will you teach ME math? I have a similar LD to Jennifer, I cannot get my head around the language of numbers in much the same way someone with a language learning disability can't unlock words and grammar. Grammar and spelling and what words mean have always come almost instinctively, however. In college, I placed into honors English and remedial math.

Thanks for the post, Jamie. I am fascinated by your approach to homeschooling and excited to read more about your adventures in education. (oh, and thanks for the link. I just revived my blog and wonder if anyone is reading it--but it helps me get my head around things).

Great post!

I really enjoyed this and it helped me with my own homeschooling second-guessing question of the day. (Hmmm, Rabbit seemed to get this math concept by the third problem. THere are 3 days worth of excercises in the math book. Need we do them all? NO)
Also, if you have not already, I highly recommend getting Math Curse by John Scieszka. Very fun math read.

I loved math until I got into High School, when it wasn't fun anymore. Part of what I loved about it was being in multi-grade classes and listening to the stuff that the older kids were learning - and part of it was what was then called "new Math". It wasn't just rote drill and memorization but it was also the reasons behind it. I remember learning about number lines and about different bases (base 10 being the one we most use but in the old British money system we used base 12 and base 20 as well). And the idea that you could write an equation that would make a picture was incredible.
Jamie - you might want to pick up a good translation of Euclid and leave that around. I remember when I looked in our copy (Part of the Great Books of the Western World, which I would have used had I homeschooled!) and learning how to use a compass and straightedge to bisect a line. It was downright fun.

When I got into high school, though, the focus changed and I got stuck with standard math textbooks that were, frankly, boring. Not at all like the School Mathematics Study Group (the yalies who developed 'new math') books that I'd been using. And so I tuned out and started to fail in a subject at which I had once been a pro.

BTW - I can teach almost anything, but I have not been able to teach my kids math. Their dad does that.

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