17 September 2008

Math Craziness.

I am BAD, awful and terrible at mathematics. I think it was all downhill after about second grade. I wanted to be a scientist until about fourth grade, when I figured out that scientists are not allowed to wear red lab coats. Well, that wasn't the only reason. I also discovered after one of the 11 moves we made during my childhood that I was behind and stupid at my new school in Australia. I THOUGHT I was smart, but I really wasn't. I was way behind. I don't think I stayed in any one place long enough to really master the lessons. This is just as well, because like I said, I'm terrible, awful and BAD at mathematics. It's one of the reasons D was reluctant to allow me to homeschool the boys.

But my sons Emperor and Elf think I actually can do math. Shh. Don't tell them the truth! Emperor even admired that I was able to help him with one of his math problems a bit ago. Yay for me... I'm able to interpret a word problem better than a seven-year-old! Whoo-hoo!

Seriously, though...

I know it's my weak spot. I've tried using the public school curriculum but I'm *not* going to teach it with lattice multiplication and other backwards methods that there is no WAY I can figure out myself, let alone pretend to explain. I teach with the answer key. Oh, um, you wanted to know about that line segment? Hang on (cough cough, turn around and look at answer book)... OH! I can explain that... What is sad is that I have learned several new concepts in this third grade math book. Did you know that when you talk about volume, area and perimeter, you're really talking about three different things? Did you? Come on and admit it now. You are not alone. You're safe here. OH! And when you measure these three different things, you talk about them three different ways. "Volume" is measured in "cubic units" because they like to pretend there are cubes of stuff there. Really!

So, anyway, then I bought Horizons because it's supposed to be a "spiral" curriculum as well. That means that if you don't master a concept the first time, it keeps sneaking up on you and biting you in the butt on subsequent lessons. You'd better get it the first time, or the teacher will pick up on it either the second, third, or fifteenth time you miss it when it comes around again. Sooner or later, it will haunt you badly enough to where you go and expend a little energy to learn the "how to" and get it over with.

I like Horizons. But I'm not enamoured of the teaching manuals. I have been, over and over and OVER AND OVER again, exposed to this idea that "Singapore Math" is really great. And it seems to be a consensus among math educators.

I'm really scared of it, though, because by the middle of fourth grade, they're covering things I don't know how to do. I have taken geometry in high school, but all we really learned was which colour pen to do each line segment in. I'm not kidding; our geometry teacher had seven different chalk colours and we had to have nice, neat little books and we also learned to draw a circle.

I was in *those* classes in high school. Yes, I am ashamed of myself. It was PUBLIC SCHOOL, though, so all y'all talking about how certified teachers teach so well need to shut up because it produces math stupids like me, ok?

And do you know what? Sending Elf and Emperor back to public school, where Elf was abused, is not an option right now. I'm going to have to learn this math stuff with my children. And it's time for me to go the next level and get the Singapore stuff and learn it already.

I'm so scared!!! I get headaches just thinking about numbers. No, really, I'm not kidding.

I keep putting making the actual purchase off. I finally found a distributor and figured out exactly what I wanted and enquired about why this company didn't have the "standards" version. They wrote back and said, well, "standards" version is made for California schools.

YUCK!

Suddenly, maybe the US version sounds better. I need to think more about it and dally some more though. Maybe it will go on sale while I think about it? Maybe some "how to teach an old lady some math" lesson will pop up on YouTube and be free? And I can watch it in five minutes and be over my math phobia?

Ok, I know that this is my weak spot and that I just have to go ahead and learn the stupid math. Though I don't wanna. I'm going to publish this and then I'm going to order it. I'm going now. Ok, here I go. Mmmm... going...

Sigh.

All right. #publish# already.

10 comments:

  1. I'm a wimp, too. I can take on 17. I lied on one of the questions, though. I didn't pick "they're children" but said I'd fight to win. lol

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  2. ??? I just wrote out a response, and my silly computer posted a blog response to another blog...grrr

    What I tried to say was that Singapore did not work for our son, even though it is toute as the best. We had to find what fit his learning style and meshed with my teaching skills.

    Here's a book recommendation for you: Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics: Teachers' Understanding of Fundamental Mathematics in China and the United States (Studies in Mathematical Thinking and Learning.) by Liping Ma

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  3. FYI- I train teachers to use Singapore Math and I learned a little something about the curriculum when I visited Singapore. Don't tell the kids, but SM is designed to teach teachers how to teach the math! (Lot of teach words, sorry.)

    Students leave junior college in Singapore, sign on with a school and get into the classroom before the government spends years and $$ training them at University.

    Of course, they used the math as students.

    Remember, there is no math "gene". Children (& adults) do well in math because they work at it, just like baseball, baking and blackjack.

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  4. I second Liping Ma's book. Great stuff!

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  5. One word: MathTacular. [Always with those shameless plugs.]

    I've always been good at math (but for some reason got C's on my Calculus tests... even though I helped everyone else in the class do their homework and they got A's. Not that I'm bitter or anything). Even so, I learned new ways of thinking about math while working on the MathTacular DVDs.

    I realize you probably don't need more products, so perhaps Dr. Math would be of use? I've poked around there when I've been stumped before.

    And I would be happy to try to put things in normal English if you ever run across a problem... assuming I can figure it out [smile]. I'd be happy to brush up on my math reading your blog!

    ~Luke

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  6. Frankie and Cassy, I'll have to check out this book at the library.

    Luke, I just finished reading "Why Gender Matters" by Dr. Sax after your recommendation, so my library bookshelf will be empty just in time! LOL

    And..

    I actually ordered a ton of Singapore math stuff from Sonlight after bugging your curriculum advisor about our situation and what was recommended was a different program for the computer called Vroot and Vroom? I bought everything they recommended for me at the time right down to the extra triangle set (they saw me coming LOL!)

    I looked at your videos for MathTacular and they look like they'd cover the very stuff we're doing NOW and maybe a year or two before, so probably one of those things great for the "next set" of kids. Your acting is hilarious BTW!

    One thing I **LOVED** about the Sonlight order page is that they clued me in to the fact that I was ordering extra workbooks, and did you know you already get the workbooks with the set? They were *trying* to save me from making an extra purchase I didn't need, but since I'm educating two kids in the same grade I over-rode that because I really DID need the extra.

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  7. OK, this author AND this book is not showing up as belonging to ANY of my library system's branches. And it's a pretty big system. I wonder why??

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  8. Probably because it is a good math book, that's why. lol (I'm teasing) I had to order it as my library doesn't have it either.

    My son used Vroot and Vroom, it's a math game CD and it was very good. Should be very enjoyable in your home.

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  9. I can't do math to save my life and im 28.. so it was only about 10 years ago that I was in school.

    I took math classes like General Math..Now English no problem..

    Thank Goodness for Calculaters!

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  10. I ranted about math a while back 'cause Ditz & I are really struggling & not only are we no good at it we plain don't want to do it.

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Non-troll comments always welcome! :)