Here's a post that everyone needs to read before they start trying to teach their children math, and then they should read it again, and again, probably every month, at least every year, so that they don't forget what real math is and so that they can instill in their children, and themselves, "The 'Aha!' Factor" of real math.
Here are some quotes to whet your appetite and esure you can't resist checking it out:
"For young children, mathematical concepts are part of life’s daily adventure....Most children enter school with a natural feel for mathematical ideas.... And then comes school."
"School ruins mathematics for most people, distorting a discipline that is half art and half sport by turning it into boring lecture and drill.... And then there are the modern “reform math” programs, which avoid lecture and drill, keeping the children busy with hands-on group activities while teaching neither the how nor the why of math." Here she gives perfect word pictures to show how terrible both methods are.
"As every coach knows, skill grows through practice, practice, practice. But practice is meaningless unless the team has a real game to play. And the best practice takes advantage of the benefits of cross-training by emphasizing variety rather than repetitive drill....Mathematical cross-training is games, puzzles, story problems, and the challenge of thinking things through."
"As a homeschool mom who loves math, I want to help other homeschoolers see the variety and richness of the subject. I encourage parents to look beyond their textbook — a useful tool, but such a limited one — and explore the adventure of learning real mathematics, math as mental play, the essence of creative problem solving. This is what we need to teach our children."
Take some time to explore Denise's blog and you will find a great number of ways to help you, and your children, discover the "Aha!" factor in learning real math.