[Photo by Waponi.]
A few years ago, I had several (potentially) future engineers in our homeschool math club, and we enjoyed the challenge of MathCounts and AMC puzzles — but the current crop of local homeschool students is another story.
Last year’s contest-based club meetings dwindled to one student. Even before the recent MathCounts rule changes, I knew I needed a new plan. The final straw was Kitten, whose moaning complaint that she “hates math” has begun to drive me crazy.
So, what’s a homeschool math teacher to do?
Maria’s interview with Don Cohen opened my eyes to a whole range of challenging puzzles for students of all ages. I had glanced at Don’s first book many years ago, but to see everything spread out in his marvelous interactive map fascinated me.
Then Sue’s math salon video reminded me of our earlier days, when Math Club consisted of my older kids and their friends playing around the dining table. I could get a copy of the Math Without Words book Sue uses and empty my cabinet of math games and manipulatives — and since we meet at the library, I could clean out their shelves of math books.
Surely we could make math fun again, right?
The Exploding Math Club
So I put a notice on the local homeschool networks, to see if there was any interest at all. Kaboom! After several days of flying emails, I have 24 students (and their parents) signed up for the Calculus for Young People class, and 30 kids (plus parents) eager to play with math games & activities.
Now I’m nervous! The calculus class starts tomorrow, and the more playful math club meets next week. I’ve never tried to teach so many kids with such a wide range of ages in one room. I’m hoping I haven’t created a migraine.
Thankfully, most of the parents agreed to stay and help out.
It will be an adventure…