Sunday, October 27, 2013

follow up about math

I wrote in the previous post about how Chana was technically "behind" in math for 4 years, since she got confused about fractions, and I tried a few times, and then essentially taught her no official math until this year (7th grade).  I wrote that she didn't feel behind because she wasn't failing, she wasn't being confronted with math class after math class that she didn't understand because she hadn't mastered the previous skills, and instead of becoming more and more disheartened and convinced her math abilities were horrible, we just left it alone and picked it up this year, when I am delighted to report that she seems to have regained her math intuition and abilities.

I watched her do a division decimal problem (something like 4567.89/34.56) and I was thinking about how much multiplication and addition and subtraction has to be mastered to get to that point.  Next week I'll give her the same types of problems with positive and negative integers and see if she can incorporate it all.

I had said she didn't feel behind.  However, I would like to tell a story about what happened in sleepaway camp this summer.  As you may or may not know, middle school girls are notorious for being vicious.

I'm sure most homeschooled kids (being out and about in the real world) have experienced being questioned by matriculated kids.  Chana reports she gets a lot of "You're so lucky!"s and "How do you make friends?" (Rather a funny question to be asked in summer camp).   This time, one of them asked her a math question.  Chana did not know the answer.

"Are you planning to go to high school?"
Chana said yes.
"Do you know [gobbeltygobbeltygook-math]?"
"Well, good luck in high school."

When Chana told me that, expressing glumly that she wasn't so good at math, I said, "Well, they've been sitting in math class for SEVEN years and you've been playing, and in one year you're going to learn everything and catch up."

She then told me the rest of the conversation:
Chana: "My sister went to high school."
"And she failed?"
"She got the math award."

Although I'm sorry that Chana had that somewhat uncomfortable experience, I stand by how we handled her math education.  The benefits of having her not experience frustration and spiral further and further into negativity, and then the bonus positive of her actually being interested in math and re-discovering her math intuition and mathematical insight is one of great delights of homeschooling.

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