Unschooling: Living Without School; Living Free Range-Freedom to Learn What One Wants When One Wants

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Math Makes Cents

Ha Ha. Get it. Play on words there, people. Because math and money go hand in hand....he he....okay. No? Well I tried.

Anywhos. As I posted previously, the last few weeks have been rough. But it is funny how the smallest things make everything seem alright. It makes it all worth it. And I wonder why I ever day dreamed of Samantha being in school!

Today started like any other home day. S asked me to read to her some of the books she checked out at the library yesterday. So I did. We read Ponies.  And Christmas Cub. Kit. Boxcar Children.  And, well, sneaky me. I snuck a sneaky book in there. About Math. My intentions were well. I wanted it to be used as a fun storybook. But thought it could possibly be a catalyst for her. It was worth a shot as long as I wasn't forcing it.

The title of the book was,  "A Place for Zero." She struggles. My does she struggle in math. Since she was 2 and learning to count, she would skip the number 15. Altogether. Just skip it. And to this day she struggles to tell you what a 15 looks like. She will say 13 is 31. And 105 is 150. (She is not sure how to treat the zero. And that was the point of the book.  To explain zero.) Also, as she learned addition, we (both) tried to show her easier,  faster ways to add in her head. (She had a,problem with skipping fingers while using her hands.) I've said it before. It seems to be our Go To plan. We stopped.  And my Husband didn't like it.  Not one bit. But he supported it because he understood...WHAT GOOD WILL IT DO TO FORCE HER TO LEARN SOMETHING SHE APPARENTLY CAN'T UNDERSTAND?  It isn't just that she doesn't get a certain method. She doesn't get numbers period. She isn't doing it for attention.  She isn't playing dumb.  It started when she was little and had been a source of anxiety for her ever sense. So we relaxed.  Let that anxiety fall away.  Let her brain develop.

But today. It just clicked for her. Something hit home for her. After I read that book we went over double digit addition and how place value comes in. Carrying the 1s. I tried to make it more real to her so she would see WHY we need to add 2 digit numbers. She was going through the motions. But didn't quite get it. So we went over and over it. She didn't get frustrated. She said, "I Love math." Ha! I love math? Perfect! The wait was well worth it. At last she finally looked at me and said, "I like this. But it is hard for me. I want to learn more. But I have to go back and get better at my math facts first." Brilliant. She found a reason to learn it. She wants to know how to do things as quick as I do. How to figure things out. In order to do that, she must learn x, y, z. And she is on her way down that road.

I asked her what she wanted to help her practice. Worksheets. Board games. Computer games. She chose computer games. She jumped on fun4thebrain.com and practiced for 2 hours! And it clicked for her. She said, "Mom! I don't need to use my fingers. I can start with the bigger number and count up to the next number. 4 plus 6 is 6, 7, 8, 9, 10! Then she stayed remembering some facts.  And being able to do facts that added up to things like 15. And she wasn't intimidated by them! That's a major feat for her.

She got it. She finally got it. What a relief. She will still probably have a lifelong struggle with math. But at least she doesn't hate it. At least she sees the value in it. And at least her brain had time to develop to get to the point where it just made sense. She has jumped a major hurdle. Something that has plagued her.  Understanding numbers in general.  I'm proud of her.

And I'm proud of myself. I held back. I was panicking inside because everybody is ending their first grade year with a firm grasp on their math facts and place value. And I was constantly having to remind myself that things do not happen on a timeline. She is still a bit behind other kids her age math wise, but that's okay because she figured it out. She is loving it.

It is kinda weird to hear that the year is closing out for everyone. Of course our CHEA year is coming to a close. But we are still going stronger than ever. S has requested time to practice her math on the computer during the Summer. And her and my brother have both requested the library at least every other week. They want to swim. Explore outside. Go to the Greenway. Birdwatch. Camp. And all those other things. Science will be a focus this Summer. Hiking. Canoeing. Identifying plants and animals with her awesome new binoculars I got her at a yardsale.

Some days are major burnout.  When it seems that life is all about this event.  That experience.  These friends. Making sure we have intellectual conversations in the car....The good a gone day can do.  All the ground you can cover.  All the things you learn and enjoy....spontaneously.  Ah. It's worth it.

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