Friday, May 27, 2011

Learning to Hate Math

My son was always attracted to numbers. It wasn’t his passion or obsession but he really liked playing with numbers.

I once had to have him assessed to take courses through a local program for gifted children. He had just turned 5 and had to take the hour long test by himself with the test administrator. I had no idea what to expect that day when she was going over the results with me.

It turns out that what I thought was his extraordinary ability with language and vocabulary (97%) was actually overshadowed by his number manipulation ability (99.5%). Who knew? No, really, I had no idea that the results would show that.

We never really did anything special to hone this or develop it so I decided to start introducing more math/number play to see how he would like it.

He did. In typical B style the more I did with him the more he started craving it. Wanting it. Asking for it.

I always tried to make it seem like we were playing with numbers.

The word math often sounds negative coming from adults and I didn’t want to put my feelings about the subject onto him so I knew I had to make it fun for the both of us.

Let’s be honest, I had to make it fun for me. He was already having fun.

We would play games like: tic-tac-toe numbers, math path, glow math, write on windows with wipe off markers.

By the time he was 6 he could easily do addition, subtraction, multiplication, division. I had also introduced fractions.

Enter my little rant on math:

It is my opinion that teaching these concepts all at once makes the most sense. They are all just groups of numbers.

The way it’s divided in school drives me nuts.

Addition first then Subtraction then Multiplication then Division and finally Fractions

If a child can subtract 5 from 10 then they can multiply.

“How many groups of 5 does it take to make 10?”

If they can do that then saying

“How many groups of 5 can fit into 10?”

I used the word “groups.” Introducing the terms multiplication and division are unnecessary. It’s the concepts that matter.

Enough about that.

So why does my son hate math now? Even mentioning doing math makes him groan.

What happened?

School. School is what happened.

School has worksheeted the math out of my kid.

Recent conversation:

“B why don’t you like math?”

“Because it’s sooooo boring?”

“But you used to like math a lot and had fun doing it”

“Oh, that’s only because you used to try and make it interesting.”

And there you go.

(We had a follow up meeting that addressed some of the concerns from my last post on here, I’m still digesting it but will be writing about it. I have to. My head in bulging)

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