Tuesday, November 16, 2010
When we talk about unschooling and what it means, the most common question people seem to have is about math. I mean, how on earth will a child be able to learn math without sitting down and memorizing a bunch of math facts? What about fractions and algebra and geometry and, and, and...
The truth is, math happens and it happens a lot and it happens everyday. Just try to avoid it. Even without a single lesson, we can't help but learn math.
Princess informed me today that one of her friends is 5 and that means that this friend is 2 years younger. I haven't had her sit down to memorize 7 - 5 = 2 but she knows it. This is just one of countless examples that happen throughout our days.
While brushing Princess' hair, math happened again. You see, she doesn't like when I turn her to get to different sides of her hair. She wants me to tell her how to move or turn. Telling her to face the wall or turn left/right wasn't really working for her.
Enter fractions. Princess was interested, so we talked about quarter, half and three-quarter turns. I can ask her to turn one quarter turn or one half turn. I can specify right or left. Now she knows exactly where to turn.
One day I started talking about degrees of a circle and relating the fractions to degrees. Well, Princess thought that was pretty cool. Now she knows what a 90 degree turn is...and a 180 degree turn...and a 360 degree turn.
No workbooks. No lessons. Simply curiosity. Math happens.