For years the American view of mathematics has been that it is a subject for the select few. Many teachers had low expectations for their classes with a preconceived idea that most of the class would not like or do well with higher math. In our culture today, there has been a shift. Math (higher math in particular) is a fundamentally necessary course of study that each of our children needs to grasp. In homeschooling today, we can embrace that shift and make sure that our students are well prepared for the future that will include higher order math thinking skills.
There are many ways that literature and math connect. In fact, without having an ability to read – math success would be severely limited. Thus, reading and math are inextricably linked. Over the years, there has been much research that supports the vital connection between reading/literature and math achievement! Here’s a quick summary.
- language proficiency, no matter how it is measured, is related to mathematics achievement (pg 639, Secada, 1992)
- language competence allows one to use it as an organizer of knowledge and as a tool for reasoning (Dawe, 1983)
- vocabulary, number and symbol sense, as well as the ability to read and comprehend word problems, are important factors affecting achievement in math (MacGregor and Price, 1999)
- Competence in one does not preclude competence in the other. However, poor reading, writing, and grammar skills will often correlate to poor math skills. (MacGregor and Price, 1999)
So how can we as homeschoolers build the skills that support this vital connection? Of course, practice makes perfect and that’s exactly where to start! Using our reading and writing skills and building them each day as well as integrating math skills into reading and writing. This can be done in a variety of ways, but here’s a fun list to get you started. Remember learning does not have to take place at a desk – – the world is our classroom!
- Plant a garden. Have your students research the best and easiest things for them to grow, plan out the shape of the garden with mathematical dimension, determine the width of the rows, and list out what will be planted and where.
- Practice money math by playing store with young children. Set up a shop with play money and invite older siblings to “shop.” Better yet, your child can open a real lemonade stand or have a yard sale.
- Board games with dice are a great way to keep young children practicing their addition.
- Planning your family’s summer vacation requires a fair amount of math. Encourage your child to help with planning by asking him to draft a travel budget and to determine gas consumption and mileage for your next family road trip.
- Visit the library and find books that include math in them – you’ll be surprised!
- Use critical thinking puzzles and games, this builds logical abstract thinking for your child!