See, I think I misspoke (miswrote?) when I titled my last homeschooling post Math Doesn’t Have to Be Fun. It was catchy, which is a good quality for a title, but I probably should have said something like Math Books Don’t Need to Be Fun.
Because I happen to believe that Math IS fun, and the people who are desperately trying to make the textbooks colorful and exciting are missing the point: it’s all about the numbers, folks.
Have you ever seen someone getting really excited about Math? My high school Algebra II/Advanced Math teacher, a sweet, wonderful, energetic Sister of Mercy named Sister Albertine, was like that. I remember her explaining things to us on the blackboard, calling numbers “cute little creatures.” I vividly recall the way she taught us about hyperbolas always approaching but never quite reaching the axis, which she demonstrated by taking tinier and tinier steps toward the classroom door.
I mentioned in the last post that I love fractions. I thought it was so cool that to divide them you turn them upside down and multiply them. I love algebra too, and still enjoy solving a good complicated equation. Most kids like number puzzles and patterns if they haven’t already been convinced that Math is hard and boring.
What’s needed to demonstrate that Math is fun, though, is not an illustrated textbook–it’s a good teacher with a love of the subject. For fourth grade math, I hope I qualify! [edit: apparently not. 🙁]