My 11 yr old just asked to unschool his math. I know I know we ARE unschoolers!! BUT my last hold out has been math because I couldnt figure out how to DO math any other way. But my heart has been leaning for a while in this area and as we were sitting down to have Bible study tonight we were discussing James 1:1-12 and considering trials joy etc etc. We were talking about what might be a trial in the next week and Big J was saying how he really does not like his math work. Well being a crazy unschooler I jumped at the opportunity to see where his mind was headed. I asked him " well if we dont do math curriculum, how are you going to teach yourself all of those complex math problems etc etc?" Well He figured that he could find out how to do those things other ways using science or history or art (his favored subjects). I have to say this really spoke to my heart. I was actually just reading in "the unschoolers handbook" that I picked up at convention last month a personal story that resonated with me. It spoke of worrying about our kids never learning "enough" math. What about the "higher" math? you know prea lgebra and above? The stuff "regular" peaple never really use? Arent we supposed to know that stuff? why, Im not exactly sure other than college courses etc. But if that is the case and he needs to now something in order to get into a specific class for his major, then he will learn it. Self motivation is a much better teacher than teaching textbooks or math u see. Big J wanted to read more about math. To understand it on a conceptual level not a algorithim a+b=c level. ( a boy after my own heart). I really want to give this a try. I think it will really work for our family. BigM LOVES her math and her workbooks but J and T not so much. They are more into the "natural learning"

Now I KNOW that God has given each of our children a natural gift. It is my job to help them grow and explore that gift while facilitating them and helping them along where they struggle. simple homeschool.net says this wonderfully..."Thankfully, it’s not all about academics. Man cannot live on books alone. We need to develop quality relationships, enjoy one another’s company, and learn to get along with one another. Better that my sons be godly garbage collectors than arrogant men with initials at the end of their names." another great quote from them is ..."good teaching isn’t filling a bottle, it’s lighting a fire."

I want to fan the flame of the love of learning. I dont want my kids to hate math or writing or whatever. And workbook pages turn me SO off....I can see how they would turn off a child. SO how to unschool math? I guess its time to find out!!

It will take some time for him to get the "math is work" out of his system but my kids love math and do it all the time for fun, especially my science loving oldest and youngest. In fact despite an inability to work things out on paper my oldest can do nearly any math problem in her head and loves to show off this skill. Meanwhile our youngest talks math constantly-- "Oh look Mom, I have 20 of these and I can break them into groups of 4 and have 5 or groups of 5 and have 4 groups! So 4 groups of 5 OR 5 groups of 4 makes 20! The hardest part is not stepping in too fast with the "teaching moment" thing. I have found that letting them make those connections themselves and only pointing out in passing, "Oh yes, that is called multiplication and lets you count large groups" or "you can trade an x for the groups of if you want to write it down" makes a huge difference.

ReplyDelete