One of the exciting changes to our homeschool this year (2014) was the addition of a math curriculum. I decided upon Math U See based on what I read about it. We started with the Beta level and after some work on place value, started it this week. I spent some time last week reading the first lesson in the instructor text and hit a point that was a bit unclear to me. Steven Demme instructs students to start counting with O instead of with 1. By doing this, you can only fit 9 units into each place before moving to the next “place”.
As I read this, I started wondering how I would explain this to my A-Man when it didn’t really make sense to me. Naturally, I was falling back on what I was taught. We all know that 0 is a number; however, counting starts with one. With that logic, I’m thinking that each “row” goes from 1-10.
As I start writing out this new way of counting on the white board it clicked in my mind. For those of you who got it way before me, just humor me here! I’m an English person. The point is that I never thought of how the place value makes more sense this way. I just based everything on what I was taught and I somehow just figured it out. Yet, as I watched the first lesson alongside A-Man and worked through the manipulative blocks alongside A-Man, I can’t help but wonder if a lack of these types of distinctions contributed to my struggles in math. These struggles eventually led to a severe dislike of math.
As I go through day after day as a homeschooling mom, I fail to reflect upon just how much I have learned on this journey. Some things I knew and forgot, others I learned newly along with my children. As our interests lead the topics that we study, I continue to grow as my children’s teacher and as a person. It is through small realizations like today’s math lesson that I am reminded of just how much I am gaining as well.