10 Homeschool Math Resolutions For 2018
Happy 2018 everyone! What an amazing time for new beginnings, new routines and, of course, new resolutions! This year we want to help you out by suggesting 10 resolutions to make your homeschool math more effective, meaningful and fun.
I’ve also included ACTIONS you can take to achieve each resolution.
To an awesome 2018!
Resolution #1- Uncover What Math Really Is
Math is about a lot more than just lectures and worksheets. It’s a creative art form of problem solving, pattern finding, and hypothesis creating.
ACTION: Read at least the first 2 pages of A Mathematician’s Lament by Paul Lockhart HERE…
Resolution #2- Recognize Math In Our Daily Lives
When we uncover what math really is, we will see it everywhere if we are paying attention.
ACTION: Pick a favorite or daily family activity and discuss how math and mathematical thinking is used during the activity.
Resolution #3- Allow Your Students To Discover
The best way for students to learn and retain what they have learned is to allow them to discover. Give them opportunities and experiences that will put them in control of solving problems, finding patterns and creating and testing hypotheses.
ACTION: Instead of teaching your child how to do something (or letting a book teach them), try giving them the problems with the answers and have them find patterns and figure out the general rule for solving that procedure. For example, instead of teaching a student how to read a clock by showing them the different hands and their meanings and then practicing on tons of worksheets, give them THIS WORKSHEET which has the answers already and ask them to use the answers to figure out why the clock shows those times. When they have a hypothesis, test it on all the problems to make sure it works every time and have them teach you how to read a clock.
Resolution #4- Find Joy In Failure
According to Daniel Coyle, author of The Talent Code, “Struggle is not an option, it is a biological necessity.” We all fail. We all make mistakes. We need to teach our children (and ourselves) that failure is not a bad thing. It is an opportunity to grow.
ACTION: Lead by example this year. The next time you fail, make a mistake, or don’t know an answer talk to your kids about it, celebrate it and your excitement and motivation to try again. Talk about how it is an opportunity for you to grow and how you are going to turn that failure into a positive experience. It is good for them to see you struggle. You could even make a family phrase that you yell when you fail like “Yay, I get to start fresh!” or “I just learned I can’t do it that way!” or my 2-year-old’s favorite “Oh man!”
Resolution #5- Focus On Your Child’s Thinking Not On Their Performance
When we think of who we want our children to become, I think we can all agree we would rather have them become great mathematical thinkers than calculators. This is why we need to spend more time focusing on their ability to think and reason than their ability to compute.
ACTION: Ask your child questions while they work. This will allow them to open up about why they are doing what they are doing and it will give you good insight into how they are thinking about what they are doing. Some good questions are: “Why did you do it that way?” or “What if we changed something or tried something different?” “How do you know?” or “How does this relate to what we already know or what we have one before?”
Resolution #6- Allow Your Child To Make Their Own Mathematical Goals
Sometimes we worry so much about where our child is in math and if they are behind that we forget whose math learning is actually taking place. We assume responsibility over their learning. We need to give it back!
ACTION: Sit down with your child and make a plan of what they want their math to look like, feel like and who will be in charge. We call this a “pre-interview.” Offer to mentor and guide them, but ultimately allow them to forge their own path.
Resolution #7- Have More Fun
If all the math we do with our children are lectures and worksheets, we are missing out on not only building mathematical thinking, but also making math fun. There are so many games and puzzles that can be as effective if not more effective than any worksheet. Also, when children are having fun, their brains are in a better state for learning.
ACTION: Play more games. Any game involving strategy can do wonders at building a student’s ability to think logically and creatively. You can check out some of our games HERE…
Resolution #8- Build Your Child’s Confidence In Their Mathematical Abilities
I have heard many stories of parents who think math is going great when all of a sudden their child says “I hate math. I’m no good at it.” This can be caused by any number of things, and it is our job as parents to provide or create experiences which help them rebuild their confidence.
ACTION: Stop belittling your own mathematical abilities. Every time they hear you say you are not good at math, they believe that math ability is something set in stone or worse, that there a are “math” people and “not-math” people. This is a lie and a scientifically proven falsehood. Let them know that like any skill mathematical thinking is something that grows and develops with hard work and practice. Their potential is unlimited!
Resolution #9- Build Confidence In Your Own Ability To Do Math
Do you think you are not a “math person”? If you do, then you are not alone. Most people think they are bad at math. This belief could have appeared at any time. At your desk in your third grade math class or at the board in Algebra 2. Most people even know when it happened to them. Luckily, this belief can be changed. Everyone has the ability to be a great mathematician. Even you. Especially you!
ACTION: Spend some time thinking mathematically. To do this, try out THESE LOGIC TRAINING puzzles. Do them in front of your kids so they see you struggle and persevere. Struggle through them. You are definitely capable!
Resolution #10- Become A Better Math Mentor
Because of our upbringing in traditional mathematics, we didn’t get many good examples of great math mentors. That means it is going to require some study and lots of practice to become a better math mentor ourselves.
ACTION: Sign up for our parent training course Creating Mathematical Minds HERE. The course will help give you tools and ideas to be a better math mentor as well as help you achieve the other resolutions on this list and build a powerful homeschool math program.