On Thu, Sep 22, 2011 at 9:33 AM, Martisa Vignali <email@example.com> wrote: > Thank you for highlighting the important role of parents in math education. What I often hear, at the family math academic support sessions I offer, is "I can't help my son or daughter with math." My idea is that they can be working on, and learning, the mathematics together, as a family, and that the parent does not have to feel uncomfortable if he or she does not know the math yet. Some parents have told me that they wanted to send their child to a tutor but my idea is that we should all work on the math together in every session, with parents and their children, working on the problems. Then their discussions will continue to focus on math, some of the time, while at home. With this synergy, the child will learn a great deal. > >
I'm glad you understand the problem and are working with others to resolve it.
The region I live in (Pacific Northwest America /PNA) has this sorry legacy of turning children against their parents through a system of forced boarding. The Anglophones saw this as their way of bringing "civilization" to the "savages" but of course we've learned from anthropology that this was a rather ethnocentric story.
Other narratives have supplanted those, at such places as the Warm Springs Museum, which gives some of the history of many of the native peoples in our region.
The devastation at Celilo Falls is now commemorated with some real memorials.
One Laptop per Child (OLPC) made some of these mistakes in its early days, as the stereotype idea was children would take to these XOs (laptops) like ducks to water, leaving the older generation in the dust.
But why? Why needlessly divide families (how cruel), making technology a tool of oppression? Clearly OLPC's architects had no desire to destroy family networks.
Integrating XOs into the agricultural life of the community, putting them to work as bookkeeping database engines, telecomm devices, was important to adults as well.
Many of the XOs were wiped of Sugar (the kid friendly OS) and repurposed with more "adult" software, but with kids doing the repurposing, helping the extended family get in better sync with the digital age.
Regarding Portland, our biggest city south of the Columbia River, that's the site for this new family math approach that Peter remarked (math-thinking-l) has a definite old school ring to it.
One of our teachers, Satya Vayu, was a speaker at Lewis & Clark College the other day, explaining some of how it all works.
We had some students from the school come by and study us also. We did some early recruiting through the Free School movement as well, which James is still involved with (another teacher -- I need to introduce him to Crystal).
Once this older generation starts to apply math skills in earnest, including programming, flow charting, database work, then its easier for a younger generation to see the real world relevance. Instead of scaring parents about chat rooms, we use them ourselves to coordinate our real time problem solving.
I was on an excursion recently to spread some of this thinking to Minnesota. Minneapolis has a lot in common with Portland.
I combined my visit (which included a block party, a visit to a Russian Art Museum) with a pilgrimage of sorts to visit one of the great names in mathematics in some circles: Father Magnus Wenninger. He might not fit your stereotype of your standard cardboard cutout mathematician, being a priest and all, but his work is often cited nonetheless.
It was a pleasure to spend the day with him, and with my host for this trip, David Koski (active on the Poly list).
Another outreach effort is through a small school in Chicago.** Mathfuture is the list to visit if you want to get more details. I'll need to visit in person to really get a sense of that operation (I have reason to be in that neck of the woods anyway).