There are times, there just are times.

There are times I’m fairly convinced I interestingly nutty. And then there are other times when, well lets face it, that just isn’t true.
Lately I’ve taken to refreshing my maths skills. This means the Khan Academy and the internet. It also means Vincent viewing math problems (Math mind, not as I would say, Mathzzz.) with the bemused certainty that I’ve NEV-VER EVER seen the stuff before. I know and I get there may well be different terms but dammit, that’s not it.
Still I’m cracking through it, but it has meant going back a bit to lead into it. Still though, it says something about a fella all the same.

Dashboard   The World of Math   Khan Academy

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6 Responses to There are times, there just are times.

  1. Kimberly says:

    Hmmm, I’m vacillating between being very impressed that you’re taking on that challenge and thinking you’ve possibly lost your mind for the same reason. 🙂 Oh math – I have a love/hate but mostly hate relationship with it. It’s fascinating to “get it” but otherwise maddening.
    I like Khan Academy, and I’ve heard of teachers using it in conjunction to their lessons with great success.

    Math is one of those building blocks subjects. Even if you’re missing just a small part of a prerequisite skill, moving on without is very difficult. I imagine most adults who don’t use it regularly, beyond the basics, have similar holes that would need to be filled before moving on. Do you find it’s easier as an adult? You’ve got three hundred thousand energy points! But that 564 skills that still need practicing might make me give up entirely..Who knew there were even 564 math skills in all!?!?

    • V.H says:

      Oh, I’m not vacillating, I’m fairly certain it’s the second one.
      But yes it’s good to get it after trying for a while. And that’s one of the good things about Khan, you can keep at it until you get it. Plus they are in bite sized slices which means you get one bit fully before moving on.
      With me, I’ve used maths, it’s never been with facility and fluency though. But always with forcing and re/learning. In a way my thinking has been that like a language you forget from lack of use. Now I’m convinced that isn’t true, well no, it is, you do forget a tongue from lack of use. But, always in the mind the switch remains, and, should you find yourself in France or Germany, or Spain for a few weeks it would return largely intact. Here that isn’t the case.
      Yes, there are some that I remember, but in nothing like this depth.
      Hmm, they give you points for stubbornness, which they call Stickatitness. That I expect is the true gain being an adult. That and knowing just how to gain the best out of myself and when. The number of skills are cumulative, adding one year to the next.

      • Kimberly says:

        I agree with you on the stubbornness. That perseverance is HARD for kids and that’s a biggie in our new Common Core Standards that are gradually unveiling across the country. Math is one of those subjects that you learn so much more when you struggle through a challenge. Our kids are lazy when it comes to challenging where most (at least more) adults can rise to that challenge. I’ll have to check the site again and look at the lessons. If I remember correctly, he walks the learner through the steps and how to complete the algorithms. It’ll be interesting to see how his site morphs with the Common Core changes – we (teachers) are being told to turn our math instruction on its head and give the kids time to explore and figure and use strategies in order to come up with the steps and algorithms and tricks themselves. It’s great in theory, unfortunately most of the teachers weren’t taught that way. Kahn’s approach is more like the traditional math teacher’s.

        Was the decision to take this on just one of personal growth or are you hoping to use it in future endeavors? Whatever the reason, I always feel the need to wish a math student luck…I was a terrible math student. 🙂

        • V.H says:

          Thank you, I’ll need it. I’ve been frustrated in the past when I encounter something I should get with a degree of ease, and didn’t.
          I think the Khan is the only MOOC that truly works. It has a clear goal and really only one of them. What I’m less certain is how exactly his product merges with schools at all and not confuse the bejapers out of the kids. It must be that the classroom teacher conforms their syllabus to the Khan.
          I think with kids the problem is one of confusion. They naturally want to please. But if they are getting data just beyond what they can intuit they stand casting about for a direction. And on that word ‘Intuition’, I don’t think the dictionary definition is correct “The act or faculty of knowing or sensing without the use of rational processes”. I think we build -as you said above- upon concepts we’ve absorbed. I also think that part of the problem in adulthood with fear of the unknown stems from this confusion. If the kids can cleave their way within a complex computer game by a process of incrementation it isn’t the fault of the kids that the system is driving them against nature.
          Now there’s a thought. Yes, that’s sorta how the Khan is structured. A Tomb Raider (that’s the only game I’ve played 🙂 , ) type of process, with regular wins for concentrated work.
          Oh, I’ve just had a look. There’s a few ways to travel the syllabus on the Khan website.

  2. Kelly says:

    Well, I’m impressed and admire you for doing this. It’s always a good thing to challenge ourselves and learn (or re-learn) new (old) skills. Khan Academy is new to me – I’ll have to check it out.

    I always leaned more towards art/literature than science/math (though I’ll admit to being a bit of a closet science nerd). When recommended for the accelerated math program in school (many years ago), my mother preferred that I stick with the standard program. I’m glad I did since it spent an additional year focusing on all the basics (the things that people truly use in life like fractions, percentages, etc.) instead of forging on ahead with advanced math. As a result, I only took those courses required to graduate at the time. And beyond basic math, I much preferred geometry to algebra. Although I really can’t say I “like” math, I do love the feeling that comes with having things balance. Maybe that’s just a part of my OCD. 😉

    On a different tangent, I attended my granddaughter’s Middle School “math with grandparents” day last fall and was amazed at how they teach the stuff now. Of course I kept my trap shut, but I wanted to scream “you’re making this harder than necessary!”.

    • V.H says:

      Yes, I rather like the neatness too. But then I like jigsaws also, ‘course it’s years since I did one.
      The odd thing is I remember things differently from what actually occurred in school. I had little or no maths schooling pre-12.
      I went to a two room school house with two teachers. One of whom was ill and died the year after I left. But he was ill for at least 60% of the last four years of school -3rd 4th 5th 6th class-. So, in truth how good an education could I have gotten.

      On the grandkid. At least the school is engaging with the child’s entire environment. And I suppose they have the expectation that you can adjust what you know to their methods for her education. In a way you cannot help but feel if they are going that route they should put on a few evening classes ahead of the kids passage into any given year so the family can aid her.

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