Teaching Math Biblically Homeschool Package Review

The Sola Gratia Mom blog recently reviewed our Homeschool Math Package for us. In the review, she shares pieces of her own math journey, as well as about how the resources helped her (which we were delighted to hear).

Take a look at the review on the Sola Gratia Mom blog.

Free Math Video & Information
Subscribe to our biblical math blog and get a free Transforming Math video.
We respect your privacy.

Letting the Fear Go

The back cover of Math: Facing an American Phobia states that “more than two-thirds of American adults fear and loathe mathematics. Math is right up there with snakes, public speaking, and heights.”

Perhaps you’re one of those two-thirds. Perhaps you’re afraid of how to teach your child math…especially as you approach or enter high school. Maybe your fear is that they’ll encounter a problem you can’t help your child solve…or maybe you’re afraid your child won’t succeed in a career because you missed something in math. Perhaps you’re afraid of others’ criticism and their remarks about how behind your student is.

With the traditional school year upon us, I just want to remind us all (myself included!) that God has not given us a spirit of fear.

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

As you think about teaching math this year, focus your heart on God’s greatness. He created and sustains the consistencies around us that make math possible. He knows you and your child intimately. And He will never leave or forsake us.

“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Hebrews 13:5

“Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” Joshua 1:9

As always, feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail with thoughts or questions!

Math Evangelism Video

Math and the Gospel

For a long time, I’ve been pondering about how to use math to share the gospel. Recently, a group of friends helped flesh out an idea. We ended up going to a college campus and asking random people some questions. The video below is the result.

Please share the video with others–I would love for it to make unbelievers stop and think and encourage believers that the very consistencies around us testify to God’s faithfulness. Here’s a direct link to copy and share: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KhnAT688xWY

(Thank you to Jonathan Hynes for doing the videotaping and to everyone else who came/prayed for the event/provided feedback.)


When You Feel Like Giving Up

I buried my head in my hand, frustrated beyond words and feeling completely incapable. I’d been trying to get through this chapter for days now, and it just wasn’t jelling. To top it, the computer was misbehaving, and I wasn’t feeling well. Why was I writing this again?

As you teach your children math, do you ever find yourself feeling discouraged or frustrated? If so, you’re not alone. We live in a world where things do get difficult. But we also serve a God who works all things together for good for those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

For me, the discouragement forced me to reexamine why I was doing what I was doing. I realized anew it was because I’d been called—and with that came the knowledge that, much as I felt otherwise, if God had called me to a task, then I could do it in Him. I couldn’t carry on—but He could. And if He’d called me to do this, He would make a way.

If an aspect of math—or the thought of teaching high school math—has you scared, run to your King. If He has called you to do it, then He will make a way…and you’ll be so blessed as you watch Him work.

P.S. I’d love for you to write me and let me know what areas of math are causing frustrations. It would be an honor to pray for you and to share any thoughts I might have.

The Life of Leonhard Euler (1707-1783)

Leonhard Euler
Artist Jakob Emanuel Handmann’s rendition of Leonhard Euler. Found on Wikipedia.

I’ve started the algebra section in the math curriculum I’m writing–which meant the time had finally come to cover Euler’s life. Leonard Euler has to be one of my favorite mathematicians. This short extract from the curriculum highlights some important lessons his life teaches. – Katherine

It’s fitting that we end our first week looking at algebra by exploring the life of a man God gifted with an amazing mathematical mind. Leonhard Euler (pronounced “oiler”) has been called “the leading mathematician and theoretical physicist of the eighteenth century.”[1] He left his mark on nearly every branch of math. He wrote an enormous amount of mathematical papers—one resource I read estimated that, while working, he wrote around 800 pages a year,[2] and another called him “the most prolific mathematician in history.” [3] In addition to numerous other works, Euler wrote math textbooks, and his presentations of many concepts are still those we use today. We can think of Euler as the man who went back and “polished” the various branches of mathematics, making them easier to use and understand.

Beyond being a brilliant mathematician, however, Euler’s life provides a beautiful illustration of a famous mathematician who truly viewed math as a testimony to God’s faithfulness and served the Lord despite tremendous challenges.

Euler’s father had been a preacher, and Euler himself, wanting to please his father, had studied to become a minister as well. Fortunately, his father eventually realized that God had clearly designed his son to be a mathematician instead of a preacher. I think the lesson Euler’s father had to learn was critical for us all: God made us all different, and that’s a good thing!

After Euler was allowed to pursue mathematics instead of his seminary studies, the Lord opened up a position for Euler in Russia. Although originally hired to conduct medical research for the government-sponsored academy, Euler was quickly able to switch his focus to mathematics.

During his first stay in Russia, the country underwent a period of turmoil. Euler feared speaking much in public for fear of the spies who literally were everywhere. So, unable to do much else, Euler applied himself with all the more diligence to his mathematical pursuits. God used the upheaval to help Euler complete the tasks before him.

Euler’s life had its fair share of trials. While still fairly young (probably his early 30s),[4] Euler lost sight in one eye. Later, he lost sight in his other eye too. But Euler didn’t waste time in self-pity. God had blessed Euler with an amazing capacity to calculate mentally and remember things, so he kept on solving math problems despite not having good eyesight. As one biographer comments,

He was able to do difficult calculations mentally, some of these requiring him to retain in his head up to 50 places of accuracy![5]

Euler was definitely a man with a remarkable intellect. Yet unlike many of the French philosophers of his time, Euler recognized that his intellect needed submitted to God’s authority. One time, a French philosopher named Diderot came to Russia and began spreading his skepticism about God’s existence. The queen asked Euler to combat him.

“Diderot was informed that a learned mathematician was in possession of an algebraical demonstration of the existence of God, and would give it before all the Court, if he [Diderot] desired to hear it. Diderot gladly consented…Euler advanced toward Diderot, and said gravely, and in a tone of perfect conviction: ‘Sir, a+bn/n = x, hence God exists; reply!’”[6]

Diderot was embarrassed and immediately went back to France. Euler’s simple faith, which recognized that math’s very ability to work depends on a faithful, consistent Creator, had baffled the French philosopher.

May we, like Euler, view math’s very ability to work as a testimony to God’s faithfulness and existence and use our intellects for His glory.

[1] Stuart Hollingdale, Makers of Mathematics (New York: Penguin Books, 1994), 275.

[2] Ibid.

[3] E..T. Bell, Men of Mathematics (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1965), 139.

[5] William DunHam, Journey Through Genius: The Great Theorems of Mathematics (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1990), 210.

[6] E.T. Bell, Men of Mathematics (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1965), 147.

God Knows the Measure – And We Don’t!

God knows not just the measure of the things easy to measure, but the measure of things we can’t possibly measure, such as the dust of the earth and the measure of all the waters in the oceans. Our inability to measure aspects of creation reminds us again of how much greater God is than we are!

Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? Isaiah 40:12

The above quote is a little reminder included amid a section of the curriculum I’m writing focusing on measurements and geometry. As always, please leave your thoughts in a comment! I look forward to hearing from you.

Keeping the Heart

heartWriting a math curriculum has given me a new appreciation for how easy it is to lose the heart in math. We want students to understand how to convert units, how to find a volume, how to multiply, etc. Before we realize it, we get so focused on drilling the mechanics that we lose sight of the things that matter most–seeing the Lord, worshiping Him, etc.

I keep having to remind myself to step back from the details and remember the big picture–to remember that within math, we have an opportunity to ponder God’s faithfulness (without which none of math would work), His greatness, His care, etc. But just as we have to be intentional in life to keep our minds upon God, we have to intentionally focus on God in math too…or the most important things get buried in the details.

Watch next week for a few thoughts on how measurement reminds us of God’s greatness…in the meantime, please leave a comment with how your math school year is going and any thoughts or suggestions you’d like to share.

Math and the Gospel

Below is a short extract from Revealing Arithmetic–please feel free to share with others! There’s a PDF Version available if you’d like to print it.

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Romans 1:20 (KJV)

Within math, we see a glimpse of God’s eternal power and Godhead. His power keeps one plus one consistently equalling two. His infinity makes infinite numbers possible.

Although we might try our hardest, we cannot change math. We can change the symbols or names, but no matter how we refer to or write it, one of something plus one of something else will consistently equal two. Math is not relative. Why? Because God is God and we are not. He, not us, decides how things will be. He set and keeps certain principles in place, and if we want a math that will actually work, we have to conform to those principles.

We tend to change God and His truths to fit our understanding or thinking. We think, “Surely there must be some good in me. God must want me to fix myself up and be a good person. And He would not send me to hell when I tried so hard.” But we need to heed what God says in His Word. Just as we cannot change math principles, we cannot change truth. God decides truth, not us.

So what does God say? The Bible teaches that God created a perfect universe, one that was “very good” (Genesis 1:31). There was originally no suffering, sickness, or death. But man rebelled (Genesis 3). This rebellion is sin, and the penalty for sin is death.

The moment the first man, Adam, sinned, death came into the world. Man’s relationship to God was no longer perfect. His body began to die. Creation, too, suffered the effects of sin—sickness, suffering, and death had entered the world. One day, Adam would die completely. Unless someone saved him from sin, he would spend eternity separated from his Creator in Hell, a place of perpetual torment.

God, in His loving kindness, already had a plan in place even before He laid the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:20). Right there in the Garden of Eden, God clothed the first man and woman with garments of skin (Genesis 3:21), foreshadowing the sacrifice of His own Son, Jesus Christ, whom He would send into the world to take the penalty for our sin upon Himself.

We see God’s plan of redemption woven throughout the Bible. Over and over again, God showed mankind his need for a savior—and promised to send one. He gave the Law to show mankind how incapable we are of being holy. Just look at the 10 Commandments (Exodus 20)—by their standard, each one of us falls short. As descendents of Adam, we are born in sin, incapable of doing anything good at all. Psalm 51:5 says, “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” Jeremiah 13:23 adds, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.” Even the good things we do are as “filthy rags” in God’s sight (Isaiah 64:6). God wants us to realize how much we need Him to save us. We simply cannot save ourselves!

Yet God can save us. The Bible tells us Jesus, God the Son, took on the form of a man (John 1:1-5). Since He was born of a virgin (Matthew 1:23), He was not born with Adam’s sinful nature. He was the second perfect man—the second Adam. “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22).

Jesus lived on earth as fully God and fully man, living a perfect life. He then allowed His own creation to beat, mock, and nail him to a tree. Jesus—the very One who upholds all things so consistently that one plus one consistently equals two—humbled himself to die and bear the wrath for all the evil mankind has ever and will ever do (John 19). It is as if He said, “I did that” to every sin ever committed. Can you imagine a king willingly giving his life for one who tried to take his throne? Yet what Jesus did is far greater than even that. The Giver of life and Creator of all died for the very ones who nailed Him to the tree!

Just before He gave up His spirit, Jesus cried out, “It is finished” (John 19:30). He had completed all that was necessary for our salvation. He had paid our penalty.

But the glorious gospel message does not end there. Three days later, Jesus rose again from the dead. In so doing, He conquered death forever (1 Corinthians 15). He now sits at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2). And one day soon, He is coming back again (Revelation 22:20).

God’s way of salvation is clear: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). God offers us Jesus’ righteousness and eternal life in exchange for our sin. What an exchange!

If you have not yet handed your life to God and asked Him to credit Jesus’ righteousness to you in exchange for your sin, do not delay! Go to Him in prayer right now. What God says, He means and is able to perform, as math’s very consistency so clearly reminds us. God’s Word tells us both of His wonderful salvation and eternal life for those who trust Him, and of a coming judgment for those who do not.
If you have already trusted in Jesus as your savior, ask yourself, “Am I living in the truth of the gospel?” The Bible tells us we are to live the same way we are saved—admitting our own inability and trusting and clinging to Jesus and His righteousness.

As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Colossians 2:6 (KJV)

Note: If your heart has been touched by this explanation of the gospel or if you have any questions regarding it, please contact me. I, or one my family members, would be delighted to share more with you on this topic.


Math Curriculum in Process

For those of you wondering if I disappeared, I’m still here, and I am still actively looking at math. My math time has just been consumed with working on a middle-school math curriculum that will both firm up arithmetic/the foundations and give students a biblical worldview on geometry, algebra, and upper-level math.

Yes, I said curriculum—the supplemental math book I had been working on has morphed into a full-blown curriculum, complete with problems and an answer key.

I don’t expect the curriculum to be published for some time, but I would greatly appreciate your prayers as I work on it. It is a huge, often-overwhelming project, but I’m very excited about what it will offer when finished! Stay tune for more details and updates as time progresses.

In the meantime, does anyone have a topic they’d like me to address on the blog? A question, maybe? Leave it as a comment below.

Review: Make It Real Volume 2 – And a 25%-Off Coupon Code at Make It Real Learning

Some time ago, I reviewed Make It Real Activity Library, Volume 1. Recently, they released a volume 2. Volume 2 is very similar to volume 1; once again, I appreciated how the series, designed as a curriculum supplement, provides numerous, stand-alone, real-world application problems for students. The series does not claim to be Christian, so Christian parents/teachers will want to discuss some of the lessons with their students, examining how we interpret the results or topic in a biblical worldview. Again, please see my previous review for more thoughts, as well as for a 25%-off coupon code good on all of the publisher’s products through the end of 2012.

Note: I received a free copy of this product to review. See my review policy disclosure.