A while back, a small group of CC tutors gathered with Leigh Bortins, Classical Conversations founder and developer of The Math Map, and Kirsty Gilpin, the lead mathematician for this K–12 math curriculum currently under development.
For several days, this group made personal connections, shared table fellowship, laughed, worked, and engaged in math conversations with one another. Their struggles, enjoyment, and study highlighted four ideas, and Classical Conversations is responding with an invitation.
God is the Center of Everything
Although this was a shared assumption before coming together, it cemented and became manifest in the math conversations that occurred. Following her experience with The Math Map, one tutor expressed her deep appreciation and delight.
The curriculum affirmed that faith and intellect are not mutually exclusive. She shared her joy about how The Math Map does not separate her family’s journey with Christ from education. She is a Christian, intelligent, and increasingly capable with math!
Math Requires an Understanding of Its Grammar
CC parents know that before you understand any topic, you must first know the grammar. Take, for example, the following terms: obi and rei. Those sound like fantastic Star Wars® characters, don’t they? But a karate student will learn that an obi is a belt, and rei means “to bow.” Thus, beginning karate students spend as much time learning the grammar (or the language) of the art as they do tying their belts and bowing to their classmates.
Similarly, math has a language, one that requires time and attention to learn. But we all know how it is—students often skip this fundamental study of math’s language in favor of just completing the calculations. This does work for some time, but as the problems grow in complexity and detail, understanding the language becomes ever more critical.
After grammar, math requires fluency.
Once a student and their teacher get to the stage in math studies that includes greater complexity and detail, there is no avoiding the big reveal. Students and their teachers fluent in the language of math continue to delight or at least press on in its study.
By contrast, students and teachers who have moved too quickly past math’s essential grammar face the unavoidable. Math becomes a struggle.
Redeeming Education and Math Fluency Are Positively Correlated
“I feel like I am just now being invited into a conversation from which I have before been excluded!” said another tutor who took part in The Math Maps gathering. Years of progressive schooling had conditioned her to believe that she was not a “math person.” Her comment marks the moment she realized everyone can enjoy, understand, and converse about math. All one needs is the tools!
Leigh has long said that, “We’re all math people!” As CC’s founder and chief visionary officer, she affirms that CC exists to fulfill its mission by curating curriculum, providing services, and training parents to build flourishing homeschool communities. Of course, this extends to equipping parents to learn the grammar of mathematics! She knows that as parents develop math fluency, their confidence to lead their family in great math conversations will flourish.
Through language and problem-solving, parents’ math education will be redeemed!
Read: “Why Math Is Important”
An Invitation to The Math Map Naturals Beta
Classical Conversations and The Math Map are releasing more materials from the Naturals level to parents this year to build their math vocabulary, increase their fluency, and join the ongoing math conversation!
The Naturals level of The Math Map is designed to introduce the mathematical words, symbols, and images that will be used for the K-12 math curriculum. This beta release includes delightful images and thought-provoking quotes to accompany its lessons. You are invited to trace, copy, match, and color to build your math vocabulary and become acquainted with this classical Christian approach to mathematics at this introductory level.
CC desires parents to accept this invitation to the math conversation.
We want parents to delight in the Naturals level as they work through the materials this year, reclaiming their math education. We hope you will find out just how much of a “math person” you are as you prepare to use The Math Map curriculum with your student(s) and to have fluent math discussions in your home!
Watch The Math Map book club: