My Math Story Reads Like A Race Over Speedbumps
I have to be frank here: I hated math in high school. How that happened is a lesson in why homeschooling is a wonderful choice for middle school-aged kids.
But I will start at the beginning.
When I was young, in the days of smelly hippies and love-fests, I loved math. I was lucky and had a sixth grade teacher who let me work on my own for math. I loved the subject. I would rather stay in the classroom during recess and work on math than go out and figure out how to play with the other kids. And so I was up to calculus by the time I got out of elementary school.
Middle School stopped my math ambitions dead in the tracks
But then Middle School hit and for some reason the school district decided I couldn’t just stop math altogether so they put me in the advanced lane for my grade. I ended up in Algebra in 7th grade and everything started out ok, except that it was frankly boring. Then Social Life kicked in, and I realized that only geeks liked math. And so my grades and my interest in math began the long, slow slide to the ground floor of boredom and disinterest.
By the time I graduated from high school, I had demonstrated my hatred for math for 6 long years. It took a lot of retraining in college to realize that there were cool kids who liked math (my husband was one of those, who started out as my math and physics tutor). Also I realized that all the things I wanted to do in life (marine biology, experimental physics at NASA, business and marketing in start-up companies, biophysics research and even homeschooling my kids) all required Algebra.
And so I dropped my “math is for geeks” attitude and never looked back (except to write this post).
But the point is you can help your child avoid this road of math speedbumps using the “cool kids” of math.
Introduce her (or him) early to the “cool kids” of math.
There are three fantastically “cool” mathematicians that drew my own children into the world of math without fear or trepidation. My kids love math, but they hate the monotonous level of mindless repetition without regard for real-world applications you find in most math curricula.
Here are the Three Cool Heros of Math
- Vi Hart (a young woman who was educated at MIT and has absolutely the best ability to communicate math to young people!) – click the link to watch her video on algebra and logarithms… (note: her videos on math are great, but the recent videos that stray from her core competancy are perhaps better left unwatched)
- Eric Demaine (a former homeschooler and very, very young professor who also went to school at MIT)
- Marcus du Sautoy (a mathematician in England who studies shapes and also is gifted and describing the wonder and complexity of math to everyone in his videos and television programs)
But I Could Not Find a Algebra Curriculum that is Equally Cool for My Kids
And so with all of this as background, I ended up with two children who were ready for Algebra when they were in 5th Grade and I could not find a curriculum that was interesting and exciting and straight-forward and comprehensive.
And so I wrote one… Enter the “Doodles Do Algebra” series
This is an algebra curriculum based on the framework taught in the 1800’s and early 1900’s before math education began being dumbed down in schools. Each book is designed to be 1 page each day of work and includes space for doodles and creative coloring (good for the younger students). From the student’s perspective, each lesson is taught by one of the cartoon characters who are really my two children, our dog, our cat, and our guinea pig.
The explanations are thorough but brief and uncomplicated and the exercises are direct and not repetitive. Sometimes lessons are math, other times they are mazes to complete or rhymes to memorize.
But the real difference is the amount of teacher (that is you) advice I snuck in at the back of the book. I have worked out, step by step, every problem for you and provided different ways to explain every concept so that you can actually just read it off to your child if math is not your favorite subject.
If you don’t understand Algebra, you will learn to love and understand it alongside your child and you will see that “cool kids” do like math.
The first three books are complete and take you through the topics covered in Algebra I and part of Algebra II, with a few more still to be published. You can get them on Amazon in paperback as a workbook (a mom with a young child who loves this series asked for a workbook so he could color and draw in it), or on the Kindle as an eBook (and if you are in the KindleUnlimited Program, you can read all three books FREE).
Interested in an explanation about the books that includes an example of the first lesson in the book? click here.
I shared this post in Finishing Strong & The Mommy Monday LinkUps where you can read all sorts of wonderful posts written by great homeschooling moms!