Thursday, August 29, 2013

Bittersweet Math

It is somewhat ironic, not to mention bittersweet, that on the day we got the call offering my eight year old a last minute spot at the local independent school my kid asked me if I wanted to play Shut the Box. And then Blokus. (Both of which had been lingering on the shelf for months, if not a year.)

We've been homeschooling the last two years and, as regular readers of my blog will know, we have had some incredibly amazing math explorations together. Some of my favorite stories about math she and I have experienced together include:
Too amazing for words, but I managed to write about it anyway: A Game of Her Own: Discovering Division
The very first post in what became four more incredible months of Sidewalk Math during the very mild winter of 2012.
The one and only time we looked at the 100s chart, during which she said: "I love this. I feel like I'm inside the chart!"
In first grade, especially, homeschooling allowed my resistant learner the space and time to ask her own questions, wonder, and initiate her own visual proofs.
How I simultaneously quelled some interpersonal conflict and clarified the concept of units for both of us in When is a 10 not a 10?
Watching her deepening thoughts about the nature of infinity.  This post is her discovering Zeno's Paradox out of the blue but also links to other stories about infinity.
Perhaps not always apparent, the last couple years have been both the biggest challenge and the greatest joy I have known in terms of teaching and learning and I'm a little sad to see it end.  But, the math joy is only part of the picture and my kid is SO ready to head out on new adventures that do not include her mother.

My biggest sorrow is not getting to try out all the cool math explorations I had in the queue for third grade homeschool. But, although I'll not be the one in charge of her learning now, I still know a few things:

- Since we've been focusing on building strong mental math skills (influenced by all the wonderful resources at Let's Play Math and also Peggy Kaye's book Games for Math) her new teachers have agreed to let her continue to solve problems in a way that makes sense to her.  I asked this because research has shown that learning algorithms can significantly reduce number sense in children.

- I am required to volunteer 45 hours during the school year and, after the parent meeting tonight, I think I may have a chance to be involved in some way with enriching the math learning in her 3rd/4th grade classroom. It's hard to tell right now what form that will take, but I'm excited about the possibility to contribute -- I've got a TON of ideas already.

- We'll have to see how my kid is with having me present in her classroom. At the very least, I may offer a play-with-math class option during the all-school afternoon project time. However I end up contributing my Parent Involvement hours I'm pretty sure it'll be math and making related and that I'll learn lots and have many stories to tell here.

As bittersweet as this moment is, at least I know that every day she will be headed off to school with math on her brand new lunch box. Just look at that six-around-one gorgeousness!

It's another chapter, but definitely not the end of the story.

1 comment:

1. What a great post! Best of luck to your child. What awesome memories to treasure!
~Lucy
Kids Math Teacher