David H. Albert writes a regular column for Home Education Magazine. In an excerpt from his book, Original Seeking: Homeschooling and the Voyage of Self-Discovery (Common Courage Press, 2002) he addresses the sometimes daunting challenge of avoiding math fear or anxiety in the homeschool setting. Do apply his advice to your homeschool math curriculum!
He says, “The single most important thing you can do for your kids around math is to help them avoid math anxiety. And one best avoids math anxiety by preventing math trauma. Be a physician, and apply the first principle, Do no harm. Without trauma, anything remains possible. With trauma, your kids may end up with certain skills, but they will also end up with wounds that may take a long time to heal.” Adjust your math curriculum accordingly Cours particuliers Maths.
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. I regularly practiced what has been proven to be the most commonly used math phobic technique, math avoidance.
When exposed to aspects of math’s other side though, i.e., a compelling and interesting face found in nature and patterns, or the sly “trickiness” of fun formulas that make no apparent sense, my curiosity and interest rose high enough to overcome my formidable math fear.
About that interesting face found in nature and patterns, David Albert says, “When (your children) are ready, show them the Fibonacci numbers and where they can be found throughout the natural order: in the spirals of shells, branching plants and leaf arrangements, flower petals and seed heads, pineapples and pine cones. To me, these are God’s handprints upon the world, which we are all but children learning to read. (Check out the book Fascinating Fibonaccis: Mystery and Magic in Numbers by Trudi Hammel Garland, and her wonderful posters).”