Math, Historically Speaking…

I’ve been searching high and low for ways to teach my daughter math. She is, as I was at her age, behind in math. In speaking with a great many acquaintances of mine, I find that it’s a common thing for children to struggle with math, and so I’ve really been doing my own homework about it all.

I absolutely love Project Gutenberg. For those of you who may not already be familiar with it, it’s a site devoted to making available every book that has a public domain status. If you are a lover of books, and more specifically, of old, old books, then you absolutely HAVE to check out this site. You surely won’t regret it.

Anyway, I love it for so many reasons! I use to teach my daughter from spelling and history books I got from the site and the teaching styles are SO different and make SO much more sense than what we have today that it’s absolutely astounding. To teach from a book rated for a fifth grader in the late 1800’s was about the same as teaching something in high school these days. And let’s not even talk about the spelling words! That’s crazy stuff, but you’ll just have to check it out for yourself as opposed to taking my word for it.

I finally decided to turn to Project Gutenberg after being disappointed by so many of today’s theories for teaching math. I wanted to see how they taught math a hundred years ago, and MAN was I surprised! We’re doing it all wrong, folks!

I realized the difference right away when I saw that yesteryear’s math books were more words and instruction than numbers and figures and so on. Apparently, there is a psychology to math, one that today is not even figured into teaching math. In an hour’s worth of reading, I now understand more about math than I have in my whole lifetime, even with all the tutoring I took both as a child and as an adult in college math classes.

Why did they stop doing this? I don’t have the answer for that, but whoever came up with the idea of forsaking the psychology of math for this common core crap should be reprimanded in the highest fashion.

And did you know that there is an “addition table” just like there is a “multiplication table”? Well, I surely didn’t, until tonight. Apparently it’s something that is only taught in business math, but I am of the opinion that it would greatly help children today. Anything that boosts the mental fortitude in relation to math, which in turn boosts self-esteem and therefore makes better students, is something that should be in every classroom, every time numbers are dealt with.

I may not know very much, currently, about math. But this I do know – there IS an easier way. And to teach it, I must first learn it, and that’s just what I intend to do. If what I’ve learned tonight is an indicator, then I stand to learn a great deal and so does my girl.

As always, thank you so much for stopping by. Your visit is appreciated and I do hope you’ll return again. Be blessed, my friends!

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  1. Stacey, can you share which math book you were speaking of? It’s for me. I so suck at math and was encouraged by your discovery. Thanks!

    1. The name of the book that made the most difference for me is call “Short Cuts In Figures”. There’s a lot more to it than the title declares and it’s in pdf format, so no eBook reader needed 🙂 I’m not at my desk right now, so I’ll share a few other titles a little later when I get back there 🙂 Hope it helps!

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