In part one we talked about how math is ‘ehh’ for many of us.
I shared how figuring out your child’s Goldilocks Zone (which you can do with benchmark testing)and restructuring your math lessons (by having math ‘periods’) can make a positive impact as you learn math at home.
Today, my plan was to share two more strategies to help make math more accessible but I received so many replies talking about mindset, I thought I should focus an entire email here.
There is a lot to say about this – more than I can in an email so I’ve included some book recommendations below if you want to dive deeper.
It really is true that every person is a math person. Your little people (and their mama) are math people.
Jo Boaler explains it well in her book Mathematical Mindsets, “I am not saying that everyone is born with the same brain, I am saying that there is no such thing as a ‘math brain’ or a ‘math gift’…No one is born knowing math and no one is born lacking the ability to learn math.”
This insight has been confirmed again and again. In one study that followed 7th graders over the course of two years, students with fixed mindsets (meaning they believed they were either good at math or not), didn’t see any growth… but students with a growth mindset (the belief that their brain can learn new and hard things), achieved at higher levels and continued to grow over time.
What is beautiful about your brain is that every time you make a mistake, you learn.
With every mistake, your brain grows a synapse (it’s essentially a bridge that transmits information). With time and practice, your brain remembers this information, and voila, you’ve learned something new.
This is with math, science, reading, and life in general.
You can learn new and hard things. Your kids can, too. Even when it’s math…especially when it’s math. It’s on my radar to do a full series on mindset, but for right now you can simply practice believing something new.
“We are math people.”
“We’re learning to love and like math, together.”
“We can learn this. Our brains are made for this.”
In addition to adopting these new mantras, here are a few other things you can do to develop your growth mindset-