Hello! My name is Rosie and I’m a homeschooling mom of three wonderful girls. Several years ago, I ordered the Miquon math curriculum for my oldest and we encountered the wonder of Cuisenaire Rods. I must admit that at first I wasn’t too impressed as I couldn’t imagine how they could be used to teach more than the most basic math concepts. I soon realized what an amazing resource I had when my four year old began working problems with fractions!
Growing up, my math instruction was completely procedurally based. Memorize this and you’ll get an A…. I never questioned WHY because I was happy to be getting those A’s. Now I wish I had gone against the flow and questioned things.
Children who are big picture thinkers or visual-spatial learners, those who have dyslexia or dyscalculia, those who simply want to know WHY they are being made to do things that don’t make sense – all tend to struggle in school because the normal methods of instruction are not the best way to present things to their particular types of brains. Teaching math from a conceptual basis and THEN moving to explaining the procedures is the way to reach them.
We have a nation full of people with math anxiety. Even those who did great in school join the adult world not knowing how to apply all those rules to many real-life situations and also not having the critical thinking skills that their math instruction should have built within them. People have been coming out of the woodwork lately, shamefully admitting to me that they struggle to help their grade-school children with their math homework, that they get panicky when they look at it, that they were never really “good at math.” That may be the most tragic part of all of this – spending 13 years struggling with a subject and constantly feeling like a failure will affect even the most confident person’s self-esteem. We need to help our children have success after success when learning math. Using methods like what I’ve laid out in these videos will help move us toward that goal.
I am still in the process of learning how to teach math conceptually. As I learn, I will share it with you. My only purpose in making these videos is to help people like me who would like to give their children/students a better math education than they received, but who lack the knowledge and resources to make it happen. I’ve spent countless hours researching, reading, learning all I can on this topic. I want to save you time by giving you a “one-stop shop” where you can find all the information you need to teach math conceptually.
If you are unfamiliar with Cuisenaire Rods or teaching conceptually, start here first. From there, you can go anywhere you like! Videos are arranged in each category from basic to complex. There is no need to finish one category before starting another. Actually, the best thing would be to be working through several categories at a time so that you and the children you teach can build conceptual bridges between topics. It’s all interrelated! Just have fun with it! Yes, math CAN be fun!