I have known for years that I am an unschooler at heart. It feels so right to me and anytime we have tried anything more structured, it just doesn't fit. But I have a secret shame that I hide from the world. I very often make my kids do math. From textbooks. With worksheets. And I check them.
I know, I know. It's awful and I can't believe I'm sharing it with the world. I hope that none of you decide that I am a complete fraud and never return to this space, but I will completely understand if you do.
So here's the problem, and I will gladly accept advice if you have any. I am not a math person, at least not in any sense that one normally thinks of. I like patterns, I like music beats, I like to count things, but if you ask me what 6x7 is, I'm gonna have to stop and think about it. Probably I'll have to use paper and pencil, maybe even a calculator. All those years of memorizing multiplication tables (Yeah, years. I told you I'm not a math person) were completely wasted on me.
Since I am not a math person, I have a really hard time encouraging my children to think about things in math terms. I don't come up with nifty math games or remember to have my children add prices up at the grocery store. So even though I know the years of textbook math that I was forced to do were totally pointless, I feel a strong, undeniable urge to sit my children down at the kitchen table and make them "do math". What on earth is wrong with me? I know that at least two of my children are just like me in this regard, but I still force this endless torture on them.
I end the day, everyday, promising myself that I will not do that again tomorrow. I assure myself that I have not squelched any budding love of numeral things and that they will be just fine. But I know that both of those things are lies. Yet I can't stop myself, it's a sick obsession.
Here are my questions, folks. How do I let go of math? How do I learn to trust that they will learn what they need to know when they need to know it? This concept speaks to my very soul, it feels utterly perfect. But for some reason, I can't follow it when it concerns math. How do I engage them in the numerical world and help them see all the wonderful things that I know are there?