Math, Cake and Some Facts for Homeschoolers

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Math is typically thought of as a masculine subject, due to the tendency men have to act from reason and women from emotion, which is why men seem to be better at the most logical of all subjects than women.

Consequently, a lot of moms who are homeschooling don't enjoy teaching math any more than I admit to having enjoyed it.

Math and spelling were probably the two subjects I found tedious to teach. 

There were a couple of things I caught on to; however, that will make math a lot more fun and easier to teach. But more on that later as there's something else I want to tell you first. 

What I want to share with you is this:

Socrates said: "And have you further observed, that those who have a natural talent for calculation are generally quick at every other kind of knowledge; and even the dull, if they have had an arithmetical training, although they may derive no other advantage from it, always become much quicker than they would otherwise have been."

This piqued my interest because an interesting tidbit I discovered by a neurologist and brain researcher is that doing simple math calculations is excellent for keeping the brain supple for you, me, and the kids. 

Dr. Ryuta Kawashima reports in his book, Train Your Brain, that both of the brain's hemispheres and the frontal lobe are activated while doing simple math calculations such as:

9 x 7 or 7 + 8.  

You had to stop and think, right?! 

Dr. Kawashima has a diagram of the centers of the brain that are activated according to particular activities, and I can assure you that from the image in his book the brain looks like an illuminated light bulb when you are calculating simple math facts.

(The other activity that stimulates the brain well is reading out loud—a past time long forgotten but one we would do well to bring back.)

Even if your children are not going to become engineers, architects, or bakers, you want them to have strong math skills. It will help to quicken their minds. 

And no matter how young or old you are, you want to be doing your own simple math calculations to keep your mind nimble!

Assuming you're a homeschooling mom who's husband doesn't have time to teach math to the children, and you can't afford to hire a tutor, you will want to follow this advice: invest in the Life of Fred books.

They were designed to keep the math-hating mom out. In the beginning, you will have to read the books to your child, but once he is reading he can carry on solo. 

As your children move out of the elementary years, by then you will hopefully have found the rare math-loving homeschooler in your town to barter language arts with (people today are usually good at one or the other), or you will have budgeted to hire a tutor.

For sure, you are going to need help if you don't like teaching math, or if you aren't any good at math. 

Now for my homeschooling trick! 

Here's how I made math fun: my kids and I used to have calculation contests. We'd get the timer and the flashcards out, and we would time each other while going through a card deck of math facts.

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One deck would be multiplication, another addition, and so forth. We'd all take a turn, and the fastest would take the cake. Only usually there was no cake, but it didn't matter much because we had fun any way.

Today, I still hold the family champion record as I am the only one who does the exercises in Dr. Kawashima's Train Your Brain book. My best record so far has been 96 math problems in 1 minute and 26 seconds.

My record, I'm proud to report (I suffer from a little pride here, but we'll overlook this for now), qualifies me for Dr. Kawashima's Silver Medal level. I still need to get down to one minute to qualify for his Gold Medal level. 

Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas.
— Albert Einstein

If you'd like to join my math competition, which I haven't started yet, but I'm going to, then head over to my education/parenting Facebook group at Smart Homeschooler Private Group and request to join.

You have an open invitation to put me to shame, as I'm sure some of you math whiz homeschoolers are Gold Medal winners already! 

In the meantime, I encourage you to get your flashcards out and start having math competitions with your kids. They'll learn their math facts, and it'll be time spent in fun for all. 

P. S.  Often mistakes in math calculations are due to errors in the simple math facts. Memorizing these alone will improve a child's test scores immediately!,

To join my upcoming course How to Prepare Your Child for Genius: The First Seven Years, please join the waiting list to be notified first. The course will begin November 3, 2018.

If you need help with homeschooling before then, you can schedule a one-hour consultation with me (that's usually all you'll need)