Playing chess is a very humbling experience. Always has been, probably always will be. I just don't get the strategy! It's one of those games that I wish I got, unlike football, which I wish no one got. . .
Chess is a very intricate game of strategy and great for building thinking skills. Unfortunately my poor widdle brain just can't handle it! Every time I play I end up just scratching my blond hairs in confusion. My strategy in chess is nonexistant, zilch, nada, nil. I had a 5 year old girl put me in stale mate a few months ago. Granted this was a smart 5 year old, but still!
Hannah and I just finished a game of chess (shock, she won), and I just feel like my brain oozed out of my head. It took so much mental effort. Maybe this is what most people feel when they do math.
Hehe. I got to teach factoring to my Algebra I class today. I love factoring! To me it's like a puzzle; you see the end result, you just move the pieces around until it fits. Factoring is therapeutic; seriously. Mother Dear was telling me that she remembers when she was taking Ben through Algebra I, and they got to the part on factoring; she hadn't factored in years, and she thought it was so fun that she sat down and did all 40 homework problems for fun :). Isn't my mother fun-loving?
My students were enjoying factoring until we got to the second or third example with a leading coefficient other than 1. They weren't fond of checking all the different possibilities, although they did lighten up after I explained why we only had to OI to check instead of FOIL to check :). One of my students came up with saying it that way, and I found it pretty amusing, so it stuck.
Anyway, so yes, they thought I was a bit strange for loving factoring so much. They really did understand how to factor, they just thought it was time-consuming, which of course it is when you first learn. But I had to explain to them that to me math is nostalgic. When I do math I think of my family, because that's a lot of what we did together growing up. We played math games, we talked about math, we laughed about math, we made conjectures about math. . . and contrary to what some may believe, we did have real lives too.
The headmaster of the homeschool program for which I teach seems to take a secret delight in introducing me to people at informational meetings. We've known him and his family for years, as we were in the same home school group, had many mutual friends, and went to sister churches for a while. At informational meetings for new people interested in Heritage, he introduces each of the staff in turn to the parents and gives a little background. With most of the staff he says: "And this is Mr./Mrs./Miss ______, who has taught ______ for us for Heritage for __ years. The kids love him/her, etc."
For me he says, "And this is Miss Garrison, who teaches Algebra I and Geometry. She comes from a math family." After a pause for emphasis, "Some of you may never have heard of such a thing; I hadn't either until I met her family." After another pause, still addressing the parents at the meeting, "Did you all used to tell your students bedtime stories when they were little?" Parents then nod heads. "Well, her parents told bedtime stories, but they also did bedtime math problems!" The reactions to this are truly hilarious :).
We really did have bedtime math problems, by the way. It was all in good fun, mind you! It wasn't like we weren't allowed to turn out the light until we had finished factoring our trinomials. Nothing like that. When we were preschool age or so, my dad would ask us simple, oral arithmetic problems. The most memorable were akin to this: "Okay, Hannah, if I have 20 bunnies and you take 5 of my bunnies, how many bunnies do I have left?" After our bedtime math problems, we would snuggle into bed thinking about math and bunny thieves. Sweet dreams.