S5E89: Learning Math with Monica Robertson


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Monica Robertson is a retired teacher, math educator, grandmother and former homeschool parent. She is also my mother-in-law! I asked Monica to come on the show as a special guest to talk about her experience homeschooling, learning math and the power of looking at the world through a math lens.

Math always seems to be a topic that seems to give quite a few parents feelings of angst. I often hear questions like;

I am not good at math, so how will I be able to teach it to my kids if I homeschool?

How do unschoolers learn math?

Can kids learn math without the drills, worksheets and curriculum?

Can math actually be interesting?

I also see many parents that love the idea of self directed education until it comes to learning math. Somewhere we learn this idea that math is the subject that must be drilled, memorized and come with a little bit of torture, unless you happen to be a math genius. If you have beliefs similar to this, have you ever reflected on why you think that is true? Is it valid?

In This Episode

In this episode my mother-in-law and I talk about her experience homeschooling my husband and her views on learning. We also dive deeper into the idea of looking at the world through a math lens and why this practice is the key. We explore;

  • Deschooling and why it's an important part of homeschooling
  • How can we learn to look at the world through a math lens when we are uncertain in our own understanding of math
  • The difference between a good mathematician and memorizing math facts
  • Measuring, Spatial Awareness, Subitizing and LEGO's
  • Encouraging Risk Taking (and what this has to do with learning math)
  • Persistence
  • How do we introduce math in a joy driven way?
  • Worksheets, drills and speed- is it really a true measure of a strong mathematician?
  • Creating math anxiety
  • Seeing math and mathematical concepts in the tools, toys and play we may already have in our homes

I would love to hear your thoughts on this episode. How do you feel about stepping away from the worksheets and drills and encouraging a math conversation? What ways are you starting to see the world through a math lens? Or do you disagree? If you would like to explore more, here are the additional resources that we mentioned on the episode.


If you would like to contact Monica you can reach her via email~ monie_rob@hotmail.com

John Holt- https://www.johnholtgws.com/homeschooling-unschooling-resources

How Children Learn (John Holt)

Learning All The Time (John Holt)

Teach Your Own John Holt Book of Homeschooling

Jo Boaler- her math website can be found here- https://www.youcubed.org/

James Tanton- Math Educator

James Tanton- Exploding Dots

Peter Liledahl- Simon Fraser University Math Educator (resources page)

Alicia Burdess- Math resources

Teaching Through Problems Worth Solving - Alicia Stone Burdess

Teaching Through Problems Worth Solving Version 3- Alicia Stone Burdess

Interview with Former teacher turned unschooling parent- Leah McDermott http://imhomeschooling.com/natural-learning-leah-mcdermott/

Other ways to help support the podcast? Become a patron~ https://www.patreon.com/honeyimhomeschoolingthekids

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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