So, ignoring my greys hairs that I ripped out yesterday for a bit...I'm joining in the ever-inspiring Stephanie's blog-linky thing on Unschooling Tools for her Maths Play post. I missed the Games one...(might get back to that after a bit).
First of all, before we get started, I want to know why Americans call mathematics "math" and Australians call it "maths". Just one of the mire of thoughts swirling through my head....
Anyway. A bit of background - because everyone carries maths baggage with them and whether they know it or not, pass those vibes onto their kids. I was always really good at maths at school. I would actually go so far as to say I liked it. I used to get A's, 90% and above...until 3 Unit Maths in Year 11. In Australia we don't have Arithmetic, and Pre-Algebra, and Trigonometry, and Pre-Calculus like they do in the U.S. We kind of bundle them all up and intertwine them all the way through school. 3 Unit Maths was the next-highest maths course you could not. Not the brainiac one, but not the dumbo one either.
Up to then, I found maths really easy. I would read the chapter intro, look at the demo questions and "get" it before the teacher had finished calling the roll. I never learnt how to "learn" stuff or ask questions when I needed to or "study". I didn't spend the time practising and learning the way I should. And I didn't for first year University math either. I just scraped through with low passes, which thankfully was enough - but I was never going to go onto be a mind-blowing physicist or mathematician. I think I did miss out on some maths "skills" along the way, though.
Now Wombat Girl, she LOVES maths in a way I never really did. She has done since she was little. Puzzles, patterns, problem solving, counting chair legs by 4s, estimates, measures, questions...she naturally has all the maths skills. Video Boy might not claim to love maths as much - in fact, he doesn't think he's very good at it (maybe comparing himself to his sister), but he has a maths instinct too - he definitely can see his way around a problem in a very instinctive way. He really struggles to "show his working" though...
We do maths the "traditional" way - questions from the text book. But we do them quickly because the kids, pick up those concepts quickly - way quicker than what they were offering at school. I loved Stephanie's reference to the article by David Albert (I love his homeschooling books!) who says we can learn K-12 maths in eight intensive weeks! I don't doubt it. Wombat Girl has moved onto Year 10 Algebra quite easily doing only one or two sessions a week.
But we also do "unschooling" maths. Maths that flows because we love it and can't help it. Maths that sneakily invades other parts of living and maths they we just chase because it looked so interesting, much like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland.
Number and Algebra:
|Harry Potter currency using Prime Numbers!|
|The Joy of Algebra DVD (Fibonacci magic!)|
|Working out binary numbers|
Measurement and Geometry:
|Measuring length (making birthday cards)|
|Model of Klein bottl|
|Types of triangles (and counting money)|
|3 dimensional shapes|
|Experimenting with symmetry!|
|Estimating water usage rates|
Statistics and probability:
|Venn diagram - data representation|
|Card games - probability|
|Interpreting data from a table|
|Representing linear equations graphically|
|Number crossing puzzle from CSIRO Maths & Stats|
|Life of Fred|
Donald Duck in Mathemagic Land
Yep! We love our maths 'round here!!