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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Their Homework Said What? Makes me glad we homeschool

Brief synopsis:

I just wanted to talk about an item in local/national news.

A school near me sent home math worksheets with references to slavery.  For example, If Fred got two beatings a day....  or Each tree had 56 oranges, if 8 slaves picked them equally, how much would each slave pick?

Ok this is kinda sickening.

I am not saying homeschooling will protect your child from what other people stupidly thinks are good ideas, because you can't escape dumb... but it does illustrate why it is important to be in charge of your child's curriculum.  Hence... homeschooling is a really good idea.



Happy Elf Mom said...

Aaaand I am hearing it is tied into the common core. So eventually it will be required of homeschoolers, in one form or another, is what I'm afraid of. Not just the slavery aspect (because that example was just mindbogglingly dumb) but other kinds of "history" and indoctrination.

Now, in HIGH SCHOOL, I could see some sort of printout of costs or how much an average slave was worth on the fair market (why would Southerners be loathe to "just" let their slaves free, it would be like giving away your cars today!) Or math in terms of cotton grown before and after the gin. It doesn't have to be such... horrifyingly insensitive stuff... though I do get that history is not one of those subjects for the faint of heart sometimes. I know just calculating what the North and South produced at the start of the war, looking at charts about railroads and stuff, can be a good math/mapreading exercise.

My point being if you HAVE to mix history and math there are probably reasonable ways to do it but this whole math lesson for third graders is not funny and not cute and even in 2012 it hits too close to home.

Lily said...

Gosh, those questions were so insensitive. I'm sorry that you and your family were exposed to that.

I can see how it benefits us to integrate maths into other subjects and that maths is, indeed naturally there in all aspects of life (including the horrifying). However, that was so *not* the way to go about it.

For me it's about topic primacy - when 'maths' is the driving force people tend to approach subjects dispassionately, scientifically, treating the content as objective subject matter. Whereas when 'history' is the driving force we can make room for the moral questions, the human elements, the fallibility of language and representation.

I guess that means I suggest that such curricular design approaches should not be taken by individuals but rather by teams so that the different aspects can be considered fully and wedded in a way that honours both. For me that means a narrative approach would be employed, within which the 'living maths' would naturally arise and be commented upon from all angles.

It is certainly not a topic to be reduced to worksheets.