In a few weeks, I will be speaking at the HENA (Home Education Network of Arizona) conference in Tempe. My talk will be titled: “Unschooling Everything?”

This title comes from people saying, “We unschool everything but math.” Or, sometimes they say, “I get how unschooling can work for everything but math.”

The thing is, if you could unschool everything but some one thing, then WHY would you choose math to be that one thing? It makes no sense. Math is the one subject that schools do the very worst job on. The WORST! Every schooled kid takes math for many years, and the end result is that math anxiety is so common that Marilyn Burns calls it, “a national phobia.”

If you’re going to school just one thing, shouldn’t you pick something that schooling doesn’t seem to so very thoroughly and consistently screw up? Music, maybe? Art? Drama? Tennis? Lunch?

People are so anxious about math that even those who fully trust their children to be curious and natural learners about anything and everything else, don’t trust them when it comes to math.

WHY so much anxiety? Schooling is to blame! You can’t trust your child to learn math naturally because of your own school-induced anxiety.

School-style math instruction has truly terrible consequences. While it is true that a few so-called “math brains” appear to make it through unscathed, it turns almost everyone else into math avoiders. How do schools accomplish this? I’ll save that for some future posts, but, for now, just ask yourself why you would want to unschool everything but math?

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hnracademy

Jan 31, 2009@ 17:29:52This is such an interesting idea. I wish that I lived in Arizona so that I could hear your talk. We are not unschoolers, and math is my (the teacher) strong point. About six weeks ago, I had to throw the math book out and just use games to teach my dd some things that she had missed in the book. It worked great, and now she is back to doing some book work each day. The thing is, even though I know math very well and I love teaching, I doubted my ability to do this. I thought about switching math programs. I thought about hiring a math tutor. I have loved math all my life, and yet this math phobia hit me.

I am looking forward to more posts. Maybe you will convince me to ditch the math book alltogether.

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