Friday, March 21, 2008

Math at Lunch

We're very low-key around here. We don't have the same structure from day to day--we don't do school at home. Some homeschoolers do and that's fine if that's what works for them. Everyone homeschools differently.

At lunch yesterday, I posed a math problem for my two kids to wrestle with in their heads. They came up with SEVERAL correct answers.

Here's how it went:

ME: What if we three had 4 pieces of pie, or cake, or brownies...which should it be?

KIDS: Cake!

ME: OK. Cake. What if we had 4 pieces? How would we divide them up?

DAUGHTER: We would each eat one and save the fourth one for Daddy!

(Maybe. On a good day...)

ME: But, what if we three had to eat them up? How would we divide them?

SON: Whoever's birthday it was would get the fourth one!

(That's true. The birthday person always gets the last piece around here.)

ME: What if we had to eat them all? How would we divide them?

SON: We would each eat one and then each get a third of the last one!

ME: Yep, that's right. So we could cut each piece of cake into 3 pieces, because there's three of us, and we would each get 4 pieces total.

SON: It's easy!

ME: Well, sometimes it might not be--like what if there were 5 pieces? How would we divide it up then?

DAUGHTER: We would each get 5 pieces. Because, it's one more!

ME: Yes, that's right.

There were no worksheets here. Not that they're bad necessarily--just not as fun as real life ideas. No textbooks to be seen--we were eating at the kitchen table. Yet, my kids both managed to learn a little about fractions in a real way.

Am I going to test them on this? No. They either got it completely then during that particular conversation, or they will at a future one. Are they where they need to be in terms of their public schooled peers? No. They're way ahead in certain ways and behind in certain areas. Does everyone need to learn the same exact things, in the same exact way at the same exact time? No, they do not. That's one of the beautiful things about homeschooling--you can figure out what works best for you and your family and do that. Maybe you'd like to go to museums once a week--do it! Maybe it's important to you that your kids get to spend a lot of time outside--go play! Maybe your kids will never open a textbook, but will instead read all sorts of texts!--Go read!

Are my kids learning? Yes, most emphatically so. Are they afraid of math or reading or writing? Nope. Those are all just natural parts of our lives. Are they mostly stress free and enjoying life and having very happy childhoods? Yes they are, and guess what--self-awareness and happiness just so happen to be part of our curriculum around here!

Now, we just need to make some cake...maybe my husband will get a piece, unless we're doing math before he gets home.

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