Do you yawn when you think of math? Did you ever think it could actually be fun?
For the past month, my children and I have gone beyond basic mathematics. We have connected to natural patterns and shapes by traveling back to the origins of numbers and form. We have learned history through point and line, circle and square. We have explored science, art, religion, and philosophy through a mathematicians eyes. Most importantly, we have been able to see these concepts play out in real life, from the material to the spiritual.
You may be wondering, can math really do that?
Some of us have “beef” with math. I did, for a LONG time. I was bruised from years of being drilled in the public school system. Years of failed tests and tears. Math was not sacred or fun. It was not artsy. It was hard and complicated and you couldn’t negotiate a wrong answer. You had to “study” and hope that your mind didn’t blow tumbleweeds across your brain when you saw question number one. *gulp*
Through homeschooling I have healed my “math story”. Have you healed yours?
Over the past five years we have relied on math stories, math gnomes, and other abstract ways to bring the fun back in math. Our favorite so far has been the world of sacred (and symbolic) geometry.
Three Types (and Steps!) of Math
There are three levels of math, as described below. I think that they are like three big steps, one leading you to the next until you are in full awareness of the beauty of mathematics. That’s the fun part about homeschooling: you can explore what is interesting to your children and family. And you can learn new ideas together. It really is a wonderful thing.
1. Secular: What is taught in school. Math is used only as a way to calculate, whether that be time, value, money, weight, measurements, etc. Don’t get me wrong, this stuff IS important folks. However, kids are not taught that you can go above and beyond, and that we can find math in nature and ourselves. I think kids would have a much easier time if they realized the layers beneath the pop quiz. There’s so, SO much more.
2. Symbolic: This is philosophical mathematics. It is understanding the universe on a deeper level, through patterns, shapes, and numbers. Numbers are looked at as a language, not just for counting quantity. When children understand the origins and meanings behind numbers and form, they can feel more connected to the world around them.
3. Sacred: Sacred space is within each one of us. I believe that symbolic math overflows into sacred because once we realize the value in numbers, and we see the patterns, we can be more spiritually connected to God and the beautiful way creation has been constructed. While this blog post is aimed to teaching children about sacred geometry, I encourage you to dive into the symbolic and gently move to the sacred. Sacred geometry can be found, not just in designated sacred places (such as Stonehenge), but within our spirituality. Sacred geometry is grounded in self-awareness, and how the world functions on a mathematical level.
Teach Kids Sacred Geometry The FUN Way
1. Start small and gather multiple resources. Work on learning about the origins of numbers 1-4 for one month, doing one number a week. A great resource for symbolic/sacred geometry is “A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe: Mathematical Archetypes of Nature, Art, and Science“. I REALLY liked this book. It can be difficult for small children, and it gets more complicated as it moves forward with big concepts (hell, some adults may struggle), but I recommend it for mature 5th graders and up (if you are following numbers 1-4; I suggest progressing with the numbers as your kids get older and can handle the material better). I was able to explain most of what I read to my kids, and it was a great conversation starter for many topics about history, science, and religion.
Of course, as with any book containing “symbolic” content, there may be some sections that you choose to skip, but overall, I really enjoyed the information in this book. It also contained a lot of pictures and quotes, plus instructions for constructing geometric shapes. For another resource, there is also a website dedicated to sacred geometry, which has downloads and more info- you can click here to visit it. During our one month lesson, I was able to pull a few things about this subject and pin them- you can check out my sacred geometry board by clicking here.
2. Do assignments with your children. A big part of sacred geometry is drawing shapes and dissecting them. This requires a compass and a line tool, but don’t just get one for your child, get one for you too! You can benefit just as much, if not more than your children. Plus, it shows your kids the value of their math work and gives them a guide.
3. Balance sacred with secular. Since you are diving deep into cosmic concepts, why not bring in some of that secular math to lift it off the page? We didn’t abandon our regular math studies- if anything, we were able to enhance it and make it not so scary. You can discuss angles and degrees, tying the two together in a beautiful math marriage.
4. Look for geometry in you natural world. Don’t just save it for the books- look for it when you leave the house, while cleaning up your room, or planting your garden! Connect the dots and show your children that there is math EVERYWHERE. It’s not just in your wallet or on a price tag.
5. Add in art projects and movies. Draw mandalas. Flip through classic works of art and see if you can point out geometric shapes. Watch “Donald Duck in Mathematics Land” for a fun twist on a math lesson. Research Stonehenge and the Pyramids. Most of all, roll with it. Have fun and teach through play. That was why this was so fun to us- we were able to incorporate drawing and coloring into our daily lessons, while being meaningful.
Connect to your inner wisdom and sacred knowledge through geometry. Have fun and remember that math is within you!
Did you enjoy math as a child? Share your thoughts in the comments below!