Sunday, October 01, 2006

A week of maths.

Over at the
4 real learning forum, I am a moderator for the maths section - Living and Loving Numbers.

We have recently been discussing maths without a textbook.

I'll be up front - my children do have maths workbooks. Of their choosing, with discussion and input from me.

They do not, however, work in maths books every day.

Okay, they don't work in any book every day!

This is the essence of unschooling. Seasons of unschooling.

We have had seasons of no maths books and seasons of books.

I love keeping maths journals with the kids.

I like to often just see how maths will come up in every day life, without me manipulating things for a "maths lesson." Keeping a (maths ) journal for myself of these daily/weekly things has enabled me to see learning.

And I also like going to the library to the children's non fiction and pulling out a different fun maths book or maths picture book on each visit, for us to borrow.

We have used games books, maths cooking books, history of maths books, maths for real life, "all the maths you'll ever need" books for teens - you name it!

Over the last week, I have kept a log of our unschooly maths activities, for the purpose of sharing at the 4 real learning forum. I am sharing it here, too.

Here is the log of some of our maths activities this last week.

As you can see, we have some workbook stuff and non workbook activities.

1. Collaborative and internet computer games followed by discussion on problem solving and strategies.

2. Plan routes for delivery of newspaper, using street directory and co-ordinates.

3.Work on budget and wish list, check savings record and bank statements.

4. Written maths - workbook pages on fractions, patterns, probability, money and written problems.

5.Fractions and double recipes for cooking.

6.Mental calculations while playing board games and rpgs - Rum Rebellion, Tunnels and Trolls.

7. Probability and calculations - card games - Bridge, 21s, Up and Down the River, etc.

8. Play with our geoboards and discuss making another geoboard.

9. Mathematical thinking - game of RISK.

10. Maths journals - mathography - when and how did you learn to count? How old were you when you first counted to 100? When you were younger, what did you think about maths?

So we are doing "things mathematical" ( very Gilbert and Sullivan ~ The Pirates of Penzance) . Sometimes this is formal and sometimes informal. Sometimes suggested by me ( the written maths, the maths journal) ~ sometimes initiated by the dc.

"The best way to meet numbers is in real life, as everything else. It’s embedded in the context of reality, and what schooling does is to try to take everything out of the context of reality. So everything appears like some little thing floating around in space, and it’s a terrible mistake. You know, there are numbers in building; there are numbers in construction; there are numbers in business; there are numbers in photography; there are numbers in music; there are fractions in cooking. So wherever numbers are in real life, then let’s go and meet them and work with them." John Holt in an interview for the Natural Child Project.

“Mathematics depend upon the teacher rather than upon the textbook and few subjects are worse taught; chiefly because teachers have seldom time to give the inspiring ideas...which should quicken the imagination. How living would Geometry become in the light of the discoveries of Euclid as he made them!” (Charlotte Mason Study Guide, p. 107-108)

Charlotte Mason also said, “The chief value of arithmetic, like that of the higher mathematics, lies in the training it affords to the reasoning powers, and in the habits of insight, readiness, accuracy, intellectual truthfulness it engenders...” (Charlotte Mason Study Guide, p. 106)

6 comments:

Ladybugs said...

Love it, Leonie...

I was just thinking about this today as I watched Isabella's soccer game....

A dad was yelling at his daughter and all I could think about was, "Was she taught what you're yelling about out-of-context? 'Cause don't expect her to 'get it' if she was."

This is something I would love to REFORM...

But how....sigh....

Ladybugs said...

Have you read the books, "Mathematicians are People, Too?"

Leonie said...

Maria - learning in context makes all the difference, doesn't it?

I don't have that book, btw, but I have seen it around :-)

Beate said...

I smiled as I read your post, Leonie :-) My older three just picked out new math workbooks this week....it's nothing I've said, they just wanted a new workbook to work in. They do them in spurts...sometimes a whole section at a time, followed by a long dry spell ;-) Most of our math consists of games, cooking and interaction. The older girls watched a short video put out by the USCCB on poverty this weekend, so they've been interested in what things cost. It's a math project in the works ;-) We've also been playing with wedgits - which probably can teach quite a few higher level math conceptst that I'm totally unaware of *BWG*
dh's oldest son talked to me a long time last night about his frustration with learning things that are totally "uneccessary." While I told him that in 20 years he might just be surprised by how little of what he learned was truly wasted, inside I was thinking how important it is that the kids have ownership in their education....

meredith said...

Great post Leonie, love how you approach your Math!! Hi to Anthony from Ben!

Leonie said...

Beate - I like your comment re ownership of education. Very true.

Mereduth, thanks for stopping by! Anthony mailed a letter to Benjamin last week - and have you guys checked out Anthony's blog yet? :-)