Learning should be fun. Kids should have fun learning. Learning happens best when it is fun.
It all sounds good, right? But why? Why should learning be fun? And what does “fun” entail?
I’m constantly talking about making learning fun but my real goal is teaching kids how to learn. But the catch is, if they’re not enjoying it, they won’t learn it. My goal is not to teach my kids everything they need to know. My goal is to teach them how to find everything they need to know. Because in 18 years, I simply cannot teach them everything. I guarantee I’ve learned more in the 10 years I’ve been out of school than the 16 I was in school. Because I know how to learn and I enjoy it.
Active Learning is the answer. Not only is it fun, it’s engaging, it’s learning to learn, and it’s independent in a wonderful way.
Active learning can take many forms. Student-directed learning, problem-based learning, situated learning, and more. Unschoolers take active learning and capitalize on it. I love active learning because it steps away from cookie cutter answers and questions and invokes real thinking. “Yes, the boy was angry, but WHY was he angry?”
Now I’ve asked a lot of people “What is your biggest homeschooling challenge” and I’ve been tracking the answers. Time and time again, a few answers keep trickling in. It’s pretty much 50/50 between finding enough time with each child and math. For the next 10 days I’m focusing on math. Making math fun. Making math active. And making math farther down on the list of the biggest homeschooling challenge!
Math has always been the subject I was just good at. Despite always wanting to be a writer, writing has never been my strong suit. Math was easy though. Math is math. Numbers are numbers and they do not change with inflection. What many people miss though is that you cannot teach math one way. Not everyone understands math one way. Yet, many times kids are taught one way. And if they don’t get it, they get the same lesson again. It’s fairly obvious why that doesn’t work, right?
So kids get frustrated, parents and teachers get frustrated, and in the end you have people who hate math. It’s completely avoidable.
So I have 10 days of ways to introduce math to your kids from different vantage points and using different materials. You know I’m cheap, so none of this will be expensive or out of reach. In fact, I nearly always prefer to use something I already have. You do not need special manipulatives for math! You likely have more than enough already in your house just waiting to be used.
And for all you math haters out there – check out Khan academy. I promise you math is not as horrible as you remember and you can do it. Khan offers (free) simple and easy to understand videos on pretty much every math topic there is.