Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The After-math of an Artist Teaching Math: The Subject I Struggle Teaching the Most

All right. Here it is. Laid out before the whole world. It's one of my biggest.challenges.ever. And by the title one might think the *aftermath* would be messy. But I'm talking about the *after-math*. Two quite different meanings...

How I see some math problems; struggle teaching aspects of math
{Original image courtesy of Public Domain Wikipedia.}

Can you relate? When teaching some math types, my mind tends to wander toward pleasant thoughts about the arts- painting, literature, music, etc. It's not because math inspires me in that direction. It's just where my brain is happiest. I know. I know. This sounds like a disaster! Thankfully, my husband makes up for it. And so does our math tutor (can't wait to blog about that soon by the way!).

I'm not sure that I agree with the right hemisphere vs. left hemisphere brain explanations. It seems to me that we would need both hemispheres operating to help each side function (it is a whole brain after all). I know I can relate to both sides... so maybe I'm an *ambihemisphere* (ambi). It could explain why I drag my feet at the idea of teaching mathematical formulas though...


However, I have come to love teaching some aspects about mathematics! Let me share with you how this can possibly be. 

The After-math of an Artist Teaching Math 

Webster's 1828 Dictionary
'AFTER-MATH, noun [after and math. See Mow.]
A second crop of grass, in the same season; rowen.

Cool Daddy's role is to sow the first *crop*.

As for me... I get to come along and sow the *second crop* in the same season. Amazingly... and perhaps unbelievably... the lens of an artist can be used to teach areas of math that may be overlooked. 

See, I may not be enthused about breaking out the math curriculum and consider working problems a type of party, but I can share so many other things that open up a world of mathematical wonder. These things add purpose to math... a type of poetry... beyond the every day use of basic math in most people's lives.

After-math #1. Bible Principles Shed a New Light on Mathematics!

monet, math, mathematics, Bible Principles, Principle Approach
{Courtesy Public Domain Wikimedia.}

Ah yes. It truly is like this for me. How is like walking through a Monet painting? There are truths to the painting- it exists; uses paint; its colorful. It's impressionistic. Monet painted how he saw it. And as viewers, what you take away from it and what I take away from it will be different. Mathematics is like that: it exists; it's found in creation; it testifies to a Creator. Mathematics with Bible Principles is impressionistic. What you take away and what I take away from the Bible Principles will be different.

Bible Principles in math add so much color and wonder to the subject. This is the part that I love teaching! They paint pictures. Like art, they evoke emotions. They move the heart in a poetic way. They point us back to Yahweh.

My sweet friend Stephanie at Healthy Homeschool 101 contributed this wonderful post on What do Fractions Have to Do With Jesus? If you read it, you will see what I mean by the depth, the beauty, the picture that Bible Principles can paint on the canvas of Math.

The Noah Plan Mathematics Curriculum Guide has been a huge part in opening up the artistic beauty of math in our homeschool. 

"God created the human mind with the capacity to observe, explore, formulate, explain, predict through the gift of reason, and express the results mathematically. Let us teach mathematical principles (abstractions) by using concrete pictures, analogies, and parables first, as means to the end of laying a foundation and building "line upon line" from the known to the unkown." p. 77 The Noah Plan Mathematics Curriculum Guide

Hmmmmmm..... it sounds like both hemispheres are intricately involved.

"The teacher must enable the student to know how to do mathematics (art), to know why the methods of mathematics work (science, understanding), and to know how to apply these methods to new and unfamiliar applications (wisdom). p. 78 The Noah Plan Mathematics Curriculum Guide

After-math #2. Seeing Yahweh's Providential Hand in Mathematics Adds Meaning

It's amazing to see how as mathematics unfold the ability for the Gospel to expand westward increased. Learning to see Yahweh's Providential Hand in mathematics feels relational- it allows me to know more about Him and His ability. I love sharing this with our children. 


The Noah Plan Mathematics Curriculum Guide is a good starting point for someone just being introduced to all this. However, another excellent resource is Mathematics: Is God Silent? by James Nickel. 

We learn about the history timeline of mathematics (from The Beginning to the American Christian Republic/ Restoration of America). Consider it helping to move the Gospel westward...

"Christianity moves westward across the Roman roads during the missionary journeys of Paul. As a tentmaker, Paul utilized the art of computation and applied the principles of geometry to his craft."

My son, Scientist, loves astronomy and math. Because of his interest and love for these, he has opened up a whole new world to me. What a blessing! The Bible Principle of Infinity... an attribute of Yahweh, is seen mathematically in astronomy....

"Which alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea." Job 9:8 KJV 

There are many passages of Scripture which speak to this infinite stretching of the heavens. The tense for spread is active in each passage... not passive.

So, while I may struggle teaching some higher areas of mathematics, I don't have to miss out on the Scriptural truths, the poetic beauty of how it is all relevant to our Creator Yahweh. And neither do you!

After-math #3. Learning the Language of Creation.

Have you ever heard that "math is the language with which the world was spoken into existence"? 

"Mathematics is not a secular subject.... Mathematics is the language of God revealed in creation.... It is the foundation for all technical and scientific logic... Mathematics is the key to understanding the physical world and is taught in the context of science and technology." ~ pg. 7 The Noah Plan Mathematics Curriculum Guide.

{Photo courtesy of Public Domain.}

Math is in everything! Mathematical codes are in the very structures of Yahweh's creation. Have you ever pondered exactly how would Yahweh speak with numbers? Interestingly, the Hebrew language does not have a separate number system. Each letter has a number assigned to it. 

You can learn more about Fibonacci numbers at this youtube clip for Doodling in Math: Spirals, Fibonacci, and Being a Plant [1 of 3] by clicking here.

Isn't this all so fascinating? I'm excited to be a part of the after-math in teaching math. I hope you feel inspired to learn and teach Bible Principles in math, too!

Leave a comment below about your thoughts on this post. 


  1. this is a wonderful approach to understanding math! I have gained a new appreciation for the subject as I've learned more about how numbers reveal truth and order as well as creativity; and how all of it is a glimpse of God's character.

    I've added the Noah Plan book to my list of resources to investigate - thanks for the tip!

    1. You're welcome, Kym! Thanks for sharing your experience. I love when people contribute their testimonies of how rich their educational experience is when incorporating Bible Principles! :-)

  2. I love that first graphic! I pinned it. We're in the beginning stages of Math and I am neither left nor right brained but hopelessly in the middle with a little of both. Thankfully I have a slew of engineers in the family and my hubby loves math.
    Off to read" What do Fractions have to do with Jesus? "
    Thanks for stopping by!

    From the TOS Crew

    1. Hi Kemi! I'm so glad you are blessed with a math-loving-husband, too! And how nice to have engineers in your family who are willing to help. Thanks so much for visiting and taking the time to comment. Blessings to you!