Sunday, January 11, 2015

math isn't a subject

From the moment homeschooling became even a remote possibility I have been learning. I remember the hours I spend curled up in the library reading everything I could find on homeschooling. 
Maybe, okay defiantly, I mom/teacher/human have learned more than my child. That may not be completely true after all we started this homeschool life with her when she was about 5. That is 6 years! I can't even begin to list all the skills and knowledge she has wrapped up in her beautiful bouncy brain.
But it sure feels true! 
As her mom/teacher I can look back at all the different ways we schooled and unschooled. I try not to should myself but there are a lot of things I would have liked to have done differently. Most of them fall under the "following the child's lead" category and ignoring outside input & pressures.   
From here I can see so clearly what worked and what didn't work. I've always said our homeschooling focus changes with the weather. Which is funny but true! What I have noticed is there are quite a few constants like Math. No matter the season with math there seems to be a "best practices" for her learning success. One best way of doing it. A way that produces the most mastery and understanding and a happy, motivated child.
Around here math is *almost* always fun. It is organic to life. We have found it in workbooks & text books, games, puzzles, riddles, money, banking, spending & saving, unit pricing, conversions, temperatures, literature, time, scheduling, physics, chemistry, art, baking & cooking, gymnastics statistics, animal care, construction, agriculture, sewing, etc...math is everywhere! 
And this is why when we finished our last text book, grade 5, I didn't go searching for a new text. We decided to not start another one. Math just isn't a subject- it is built into life. It is way too dynamic to be caged. That is what the *almost* was about. Math in text books is a bit boring. It's boring because it is fake. I am not saying we will never use a text book for math- at some point down the road we might find them useful again. 
We have a pile of Mathmania books (Boo loves these!) filled with math & logic games that we haven't had time for but have wanted to play. We have shelves of games we love and new ones to try, or to create ourselves. And of course we have real life which is full of math! 
There are so many ways to explore, gain skills, and find new challenges we don't want to waste time lingering inside a textbook traveling slowly in one dimension. So we are setting math free.

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