“Kids learn a little from what we say, a little more from what we do, but the most from who we are”
– Josh Shipp
You Are Always Teaching
One of my favorite parts of Math Inspirations is that I get to chat on the phone with incredible homeschool moms. One of these conversations today reminded me that we cannot escape the influence that we have on our children. Whether we like it or not we are constantly teaching our children and they are constantly learning from us.
What do our kids learn from us about math? I’m not talking numbers and operations. What do our kids learn from us about how they should think about math?
I often have conversations with moms who start by saying, “I’m not a math person” and then proceed to tell me how frustrated they are that their children don’t like math and don’t think they can do math.
Your Child Is Always Learning
Where do you think the child learned that from? Now, I am sure that the mom never told her kid that he was bad at math, but by believing that she is “not a math person” she is saying that some people can do math and others just can’t. So when her son came to a problem that was hard or one he did wrong, he thinks “I must be one of those people who just can’t do math”. That’s it. That is all it takes for a child to lose confidence in their abilities and then when they are expected to keep doing this thing that they “can’t do”, that is when they start to think, “I hate math.”
Now, unfortunately, children can learn that lesson from a lot of different places and, trust me, they don’t have to look far to find someone who doubts their mathematical abilities. That is why it is important as their mentor to break that disbelieve and preach that everyone can be a great mathematical thinker. You have to believe it yourself first.
(If you don’t believe it, you should watch this convincing TED talk by Jo Boaler)
Here are some Do’s and Don’ts for you to keep in mind this week:
Believe that everyone can learn math (Also, do watch that TED talk)
Take every opportunity to express your belief in your child’s ability
Doubt your intelligence (you are smart!!)
Stress out about math (everything will be fine!! That’s why I’m here!)