Tag Archives: character building

The Character of Math

We are now well into our school year. I have been told by another homeschooler that they are like the tortoise, moving at a constant speed but never really stoping. There have been many struggles over the last few weeks shoving me toward the tortoise philosophy. This time we may never really stop “doing school”. The fatigue caused by trying to regain a routine could be prevented without every really stoping the routine in the first place. First lesson learned, my family does not adapt to fast changes. I plan on trying a slowing down and a revving up method as our year progresses. I may adjust the schedule to less intensive study or take time to learn a subject we can’t seem to fit in during the busy season, like calligraphy, but the format of how we study will not change.

Second lesson learned, studying advanced math is less about the math and more about attention to details and fortitude. By the time you get to this level of math you should have mastered addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. This is the foundation of math, these 4 components in various different formulas to solve different problems. Difficulties arise when the detail of the negative number was missed or your brain is mush from looking at numbers and signs for a lengthy time period. I have discovered that my son is brilliant at figures but lacks patience both with himself and with the process of the formula. I find little that is abnormal in his frustrations. It is age appropriate to lack patience with yourself and find fault in your math skills rather than fault in character. When I was younger and studying complex math I thought I would never use, I didn’t realize I was developing my character as well as my mind. Perhaps that is one purpose of studying high levels of math. If you are able to sit and work though a problem that may take you 10 minutes to compute, get a wrong answer, then review each step to see where your mistake was and refigure, you can add fortitude and humility to your character traits. Over time practice, repeated mistakes, and more practice will leave you with the ability to solve any problem, in math or life.

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