Welcome to LOLIPOP

LOLIPOP began as my master's thesis - an experiment in group learning with twenty homeschool families, including over sixty kids between six and fourteen years old. I coordinated 2-4 projects happening simultaneously, in 6 week sessions. The kids had a lot of fun, and the parents learned a lot about how this energetic and enthusiastic age group can have a successful learning experience. Since this first experiment, I have conducted seminars and webinars based on the LOLIPOP concept, and published For the Love of Learning: Giving Your Child a LOLIPOP Education.
This BLOG is for all those out there, trying to give their children and students the foundation they need to grow into great scholars, thinkers, and leaders. The principles align with the Leadership Education model and foster a love for learning, build individual confidence, and teach learning strategies that apply to a life time of great learning.
Check out more info about the book, seminars, webinars, and more at www.sdlaa.com.

Lolipop Learning, and terms and concepts such as "Love of Play", "Love of Sampling", and "Love of Producing" are the sole property of Amy Edwards. “TJEd", "Leadership Education", “Love of Learning Phase”, “Inspire, not Require” and other similar terms and concepts are taken from the works of Oliver & Rachel DeMille, and are used by permission and under license. For more information, visit http://tjed.org/.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Inspiring a Love for Math

The focus this week on the LOLIPOP Learning Facebook page is MATH! So, how about a blog entry all about MATH!

How do you get your younger child to love...enjoy...ok, just not scream at the mention of...MATH? Can you inspire an older child who has already developed a hate of math?  Here are some ideas.

Throughout my elementary and high school education, I was always placed in the "advanced" math groups or classes.  But I never felt competent at math.  The only way I could succeed was to memorize a ton of information and then spit it back out on tests.  Sadly that worked, and I received good grades in math.  The reason I say that is sad is because I never got out of math its true value and beauty. Many years later, when I was studying with a small liberal arts college, I began to read stories about mathematicians, theory about math, and I learned how math is all around me, in the arts, in music, in nature!  That's when I fell in love with math.

So the first step to inspiring your children is for YOU to love (at least appreciate) math.  How do you do that?  Start with some stories about mathematicians.  A great place to start is with the series Mathematicians Are People Too.  A few other books that I love are Men of Mathematics by Eric Temple Bell, The Beginner's Guide to Constructing the Universe by Michael Schneider, and The Joy of Mathematics by Theoni Pappas.  When I read about how and why math is all around me and affects my life, and how beautiful it is, I fell in love!  And then that love began to spill over to my children. Get reading! 

Then share these stories with your children.  They can only love ideas they feel a connection to, so introduce them to some mathematicians. Show them that these "geniuses" struggled, sometimes failed, and kept moving forward slowly.

"If people do not believe that mathematics is simple, it is because they do not realize how complicated life is."
--John Louis von Neumann

"The essence of mathematics is not to make simple things complicated, but to make complicated things simple."
--Stan Gudder

Keep it simple!  Show your children math all around them as you go through your day. Young kids can do math through sorting laundry, setting the table, counting (real) money, examining sections of an orange, sorting M&Ms or Skittles and graphing how many of each color, doing puzzles, drawing... Older kids can create scale models of their bedroom furniture, measure for new flooring, measure for a garden, calculate money needed for an item they want to buy.

"...mathematics is the sister, as well as the servant, of the arts and is touched with the same madeness and genius."
--Harold Marston Morse

"Music is the pleasure the human mind experiences from counting without being aware that it is counting."
--Gottfried Leibniz

If your child is struggling with math, take a break from the math book and explore some art--drawing, sculpting, combining shapes, or simply observing shapes in art, or have them learn a musical instrument.

There is an expression that no one should attempt algebra until they have hair under their arms.  The brain changes significantly during puberty.  Physical changes actually enable the brain to think abstractly in ways it cannot before puberty.  Algebra requires abstract thought, and so is best saved for after puberty has begun.  But adding numbers on a page can also be abstract to a young child.  Be sure to do concrete mathematics with your kids.  When adding, use manipulatives.  These can be anything you have around the house.  They don't need to be fancy or expensive.  Use candy bars to teach fractions.  Measure items they live with and care about.  Find shapes in their every day lives, not just in a math book. Play board games that require both dice and a spinner, so they learn the connection between quantity and those symbols we use for numbers.  Make your own 10 sticks with popsicle sticks and dried beans instead of buying expensive place value manipulatives.  Keep it hands-on!

Lastly, here is a list of some math resources and reading books that I like.  There are many more out there, but here's some ideas to get your started.

Mathwise, James Overholt and Laurie Kincheloe
The M&Ms Brand Counting Book, Barbara McGrath
The Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bar Fractions Book, Jerry Pollatta
Spaghetti and Meatballs for All, Marilyn Burns
The Greedy Triangle, Marilyn Burns
Sir Cumference series, Cindy Neuschwander
One Riddle, One Answer, Lauren Thompson

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P.S.  The picture at the top of the page is my 10-year-old daughter doing her math in a tree.  Math makes her anxious, but nature (especially our tree) makes her calm.  So, she likes to climb up in our tree to think about math.  In the Love of Learning Phase, it's not about how much math they can learn.  It's about learning to love math.  And this is a great way for her to associate positive emotions and experiences with "doing math."


1 comment:

  1. Its really a fun topic full of some great links and information.I think some kids love to do math and some don't.The reason behind it is the kids find math sums as very difficult and don't try it more.This makes a impression on their mind that math is difficult subject but if someone teaches them in a good manner,it could become their favorite subject.