Many homeschooling parents experience a lot of anxiety over math and science. Parents want their kids to have every advantage in the world and it seems as though math and science are an important key to success. Before I talk about how to teach math and science as a worldschooling or homeschooling parent, I want to talk briefly about my thoughts and opinions regarding math and science as a home educator myself.
I was raised to believe that math and science were the key to success in the world. As a kid I was creative. I wrote music, I was able to draw, and write. But I scored high academically too and I was fascinated by anything related to medicine or psychology. So despite my artistic and creative propensities, I enrolled at a University as an adult to pursue a degree in psychology and later go to medical school.
My husband John never did well in school. He scored low on academic tests and teachers viewed him as a problem because he had trouble sitting still in school. But he was an extremely gifted musician. He grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska and worked with professional musicians from a young age. But one Christmas, his parents gave him a computer (back in the late 1980’s). His interest in electronic music developed alongside his interest in computer programming. John also enrolled at the University in Lincoln to study music.
But both of us pursued work interests that had nothing to do with our degrees. John taught himself to program computers and became a web developer when the web was still just an emerging idea. Though I worked in many healthcare settings, my forte was in concept development. Instead of painting pictures, I built villages. John wired them up and gave them life with sound and lighting. Then, the two of them brought in actors and the villages came alive. The first village we built together was made almost entirely out of recycled materials.
Creativity has always been what paid the bills. Not science. Math has helped in balancing our accounts, but…practical math (like how to pay taxes or how to manage the bills) is not currently a required part of the curriculum in most states (as far as I know).
Okay, so that being said, John was strong in math and I was strong in science, so we never worried about Lydian’s homeschooling. At the same time, we could see that it was creativity that was truly unique and valuable in the world. And that math and science curricula tended to encourage a very regimented path toward “success”. To the extent that math and science are taught creatively, I see these subjects as valuable. To the extent that they kill a child’s interest in learning, I see them as an impediment to education overall.
Overlapping skills like language and math or science may help certain kids tune into the material more easily. For example, it might be more interesting (and more dynamic) for some students to learn topics in math or science in Spanish through the Devela Language School. Or it might be better to do hands-on classes that involve applied science and math experiences. It can be hard to find these kinds of experiences for kids which is why we’ve developed a math and science laboratory that’s also an interactive theater so that kids will have the opportunity to learn about numbers through media such as music, visual arts, or acting.
If you’re concerned about your child’s math or science upbringing because you feel like you and/or your partner aren’t skilled or knowledgeable enough to teach math or science material, seek out online instructors to help out or schedule time to come visit the Devela Worldschooling Community to enlist the help of others.