As I’ve said before the key thing about unschooling is the adults getting used to how it works and feeling comfortable with it. Or at least that’s what it feels like to me lately. Math is the one subject that makes us feel a little bit uncertain. But when the choice is argue about workbooks or let it go, we’ve decided on let it go. Luckily, I’m not the only one who has this anxiety about unschooling math. Willa has been musing about it for a bit lately, too. And she’s come up with some good resources. (She has another blog here which, somewhat confusingly, has the same name but a different focus.)
The reason I’m writing about it right now, though, is because I have one of those funny stories that makes you realize it will be okay if you just let go. This morning when I was eating my breakfast (Tigger and her dad had already finished theirs and she was in the living room spinning) I noticed the following on a piece of paper 800 000 000 / 30 000 000 = 26 with a bunch of the zeros struck out and whatnot. So when Tigger walked in the room I asked, jokingly, whether she had been doing math at breakfast. Yes, she said. So I joked about whether that was a good idea. Her response was that if they were going to talk about big numbers on the radio, it was. Apparently, there was something on the radio about a new science and technology museum that would cost $800 million so they got talking about how much money that is per person in Canada and figured it out (using 30 million as a good approximation of the population of Canada). Her dad showed her the thing about cancelling in the zeros so that the division is really 80/3.
When they have a use for it, they will work it out. We had been working on division and multiplication and she had clearly understood the concepts but she doesn’t want to learn her times tables or do endless pages of drills. So there you are.
On a side note, I also decided to go check out the Homeschool Math blog which I’ve neglected for a while. I found a great link to resources for using literature to teach math. Tigger thinks the history of math sounds more interesting than math and we ordered Mathematicians are People Too from the library today along with several of the books in the Sir Cumference series. Math might make it into the rotation of voracious reading.