[Scroll down to download free math course…]

This is it.

This is how to teach math, even if you stink at it. Even if you hate math.

And even if you don’t.

pick1 math 300x121 Back to School Bonus Issue Top Picks and New Science Recommendations by Rachel DeMille, TJEd.org

The math-project images in this post are from real families, friends of mine, who have given permission for them to be used here. Most were created with a sense of authentic wonder that math-love at this level was even possible!

masarik-shapes2The study of math has lost its soul in the past century. We have become so obsessed with our comparative lack of math proficiency that we have over-compensated on the side of learning skills without drawing meaning from the study of math. It was not always so: In ancient times math was strongly tied to music, philosophy and other “practical” pursuits.

The net result of this lack of vision is that today’s learners (and teachers!) are uninspired to explore math; they believe they are no good at math, and ultimately, that math has nothing to do with anything they care about. Or, they excel at the techniques of math study and evaluation, and generally lack the ability to explore and create mathematically.

Thank goodness for a surge of great resources, with an ever-expanding field, to help today’s learners with the elegance and titillation of mathematical study. We are relearning the language of math in the 21st century!

masarik-shape1Inspirational Math

For some parents and teachers — especially homeschoolers it seems — teaching math and science is the greatest worry. As TJEders, those of us who aren’t math-inclined find this especially challenging: How do you “Inspire” when you don’t like math? How do you use “Classics”? And Omigoodness, what of “You” in math studies? Must I really???

Never fear. As with everything else, your change of heart and new-found inspiration in math (suggestions to discover this new-found inspiration follow below…) will infuse your home and classroom with a dynamic and enthusiastic Love of Learning that leads to a successful Scholar- and Depth-approach to mathematics.

As with everything worthwhile, “there ain’t no quick fix”; even so, you’ll be amazed at how much you have to offer as a mentor and educator when you find yourself having “a-ha’s” and epiphanies, and when you start to daydream and ponder in the wee hours about the mathematical thoughts, readings and projects that are spinning in your creative mind! Sound impossible? It’s not! This has been my experience. What have you got to lose?

masarik-mandala1Your goal: to inspire your students to love math and to become life-long students of math.

Your strategy: You. Inspire. Classics.

Your tactic: come face-to-face with greatness, experiencing the works of others who love math and are life-long math students.

It works! It will work for you!!!

Math, Mentored by Math-Lovers

Huff-parabola1In our award-winning Mentoring in the Classics subscription, we recently took on math with Schneider’s ground-breaking A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe. We are delighted to report that math lovers found new levels of enjoyment, while math-phobics rescripted their thinking and found that they’re not math-stupid after all!

This was so successful that we want to now share it freely with everyone, and invite all who are willing to join in the revolution! So here, below, is the mentoring content prepared for Mentoring in the Classics.



huff-parabola2Welcome to Mentoring in the Classics: Schneider’s A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe

This post contains:

  • The introductory mentoring content, including audio and Study Guide I
  • The debriefing mentoring content, including Enhanced Study Guide I & II

Please scroll down to access your download links.


How This Class Works

To gain the most from your mentoring experience, we encourage you to use the following order:huff-parabola3

  1. Listen to the audio introduction, available to download from the links below.
  2. Review the Study Guide (PDF download, linked below)
  3. Read the book, pen in hand, utilizing tips and prompts from the Study Guide and Intro Audio
  4. Discuss with your local book group, family members, online community, etc.
  5. Post blog articles and other creative responses to the work, and share them!
  6. Review the Debriefing Audio mentoring, and the updated Study Guide (including parts I & II) – all linked below.

Introductory Audio Mentoring

This month’s Introduction features Oliver DeMille.

Here are your options to download the audio file (identical audio is available in two download options), and the Study Guide:huff-kid-parabola

See below** for instructions on saving your audio.


Debriefing Audio Mentoring and Study Guide

This month’s Debriefing features Oliver and Rachel DeMille, Ian Cox (25) and Emma DeMille Cox (22), Oliver James DeMille (23) and Sara DeMille (21).

We made special efforts to confine our discussion to the topics that would be best represented in audio – so some of the “mathier” stuff that totally fascinated us was not included. Too confusing without a whiteboard to demonstrate!

However, we DID enhance the Study Guide with TONS of new stuff. You’re going to love it!
Here are your options to download the Debriefing Audio and Enhanced Study Guide:

See below** for instructions on saving your audio.

Study Guide, Parts I & II:

Schneider’s A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe

Prepared by Rachel DeMille

This Month’s Mentoring Content, Part I

west-concentricThe Introductory Mentoring Audio, (click here to listen** >>), consists of a small-group tutoring session including Oliver, Rachel, and daughters Emma (22) and America “Meri” (11).

Please take a moment to download your audio content to your computer immediately so you have uninterrupted access to it!

1: Ideas for Writing or Discussion:

  • What is “math”?
  • How does your definition of “math” differ after reading this book?
  • Which of the 7 Steps of math study have you emphasized most in your life?
  • Which step are you utilizing most with those you teach and mentor?
  • Which step are you planning to emphasize most in the next while, in your own studies? In your teaching?
  • What math terms do you use in everyday language?Candiss_west_mangala

o What’s the difference?
o The “solution” is “relatively”simple.”
o You’ve got a big “problem!”
o There are “more”factors” than you’re admitting.
o The “sum” of the “parts” is “great than” the “whole.”
o A “lesser” man would never have endured that.

  • How can using math terms in your everyday language enhance your thinking, and help your children/students develop more fluency with the language of math? (exponential, rounded, fraction, dividend, quarter, equal, tangent, ….?)
  • Have you found yourself thinking more about math during/since the time you have spent reading this book?
  • What new patterns and problems have you noticed or entertained in your mind?

2: Resources for Additional Study:math-clock

3: Article: What’s Math Got To Do With It?

Love_math_1I’ve often said that the “Why” we teach something informs the “How.”

Years ago Oliver wrote an introduction to a math course. He articulated “Why” we learn and teach math, and I think having this vision is not only inspiring and motivating, but really helps us focus our approach and methods.

He created a list of “values” that clearly articulates the meaning and purpose of math education, and (along with the introductory paragraphs written by the course instructor, Troy Henke) I share it here with you:

“Mathematics is an integral part of a statesman’s education . . . . Math teaches a person to think in a way that no other field does. As a person studies math, he learns to:Apples Addition

  1. Seek and recognize patterns
  2. Explore the relationship between things
  3. See similarities and also distinctions
  4. Analyze logically but with a deep sense that there is a right answer and a set ideal worth detecting
  5. Compare and contrast
  6. See things in black and white
  7. See infinite shades of grey and therefore avoid jumping to conclusions
  8. Seek evidence for conclusions and check opinion with first-hand research
  9. Put his own pen to paper before accepting what society tells him
  10. Seek for absolutes
  11. Remain open to surprising new information which makes past conclusions limited though perhaps still accurate

“Now, clearly, the practical art must also be mastered—
we want you to be able to pass any standardized test with the highest marks.

“But more importantly, we want you to be able to think like
an Archimedes, a Descartes, a Newton, a Sophie Germain, an Einstein.”


4: Concepts- How to Learn and Teach Math:

1. Discover stories about math, and those who use, study and love it.
2. Fall in love with shapes, patterns, numbers, etc.
3. Be, or find, a close example of a math-loving math student
4. Use spreadsheets in every-day life
5. Read Math Classics
6. Study math problems, skills, techniques, language and testing
7. Study the Greats on a higher level


6: Level 5 Mentor Prompt on A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe:

  • Using a pen in the margins and endsheets, or a separate notebook, record the conversation that occurs between Michael Schneider and yourself.
  • Capture your epiphanies and questions, and make a note of the things you want to share with others.


7: Read, with pen in hand, A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe, and review the above Study Guide prompts for more study ideas and activities.

8: Study Guide, Part II

Now that you’ve heard the Mentor Debriefing Audio, check out these additional resources!

[This section will include images shared by class participants of the “math fun” that was prompted by their study this month!]

Leona-Tai_Fun-with-fibonacci-parabolaBest books to get you loving math: