Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Countdown to School: Movin' Right Along with Middle School Math

It's four weeks till school starts.

I've been thinking about math, teaching math, blogging about math, e-grouping about math, for...well, over fifteen years, anyway.  I taught the Apprentice math through the ninth grade level.  I wasn't as involved in Ponytails' middle school math--Mr. Fixit was in charge of that.  But now I'm back at that point with Dollygirl, and I still wonder if we've gotten it "right."

Oh, it's not that I can't teach integers and scalene triangles.  It's not the mathematics, at this level, that's the issue.  It's getting the perspective on it right.  Charlotte Mason talked about learning as allowing students to see a vista spread before them, a beautiful landscape; letting them travel through "pleasant paths."  Some traditional math methods have been more like dropping the learner partway up a mountain, where all he can see is the rock right in front of him, and expecting him to enjoy the climb...to where, he hasn't been told. Some math experiences could also be compared to driving with someone who's blocking the windshield with a roadmap.

Which makes me think of Kermit and Fozzie's road trip in The Muppet Movie.  ("Turn left at the fork in the road.")

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