adventures in unschooling

Unschooling Math?

This week at our weekly homelearners drop-in the theme was numbers. I brought all our Miquon Math and Noble knights of knowledge stuff.

“So you’re not an unschooler then?” One of the mom’s commented to me.

I replied, “Oh yes, this is unschooling math!”

“How does that work?” she asked me.

My answer was something about how Cassius wanted to do it, but ever since then I have been thinking about what makes math unschooling math. I found in my research of unschoolers that many don’t use any curriculums or text books – except for math. The curriculums that they do use seem to focus, not on memorizing and getting the right answers, but on exploring the beauty of math. Math is beautiful, and full of amazing patterns.

Now, I believe that kids will learn what they need to know about numbers through their daily life. Cassius and I are always talking about measuring, banking, prices, and millage as they come up in our day. But perhaps the beauty of math is something we might not notice unless we are given some tools and time to fool around with it (I certainly didn’t learn about it at school). Of course forcing beauty on someone is pointless – which is why I find interest to be the key to learning.

There is a great chapter in Free at Last , the Sudbury Valley School, about how it only takes around 20 hours to teach kids who are interested, what schools cover in six years. “Because everyone knows,that the subject matter isn’t hard.What’s hard,virtually impossible, is beating it into the heads of youngsters who hate every step.”

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