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Member submission-Unschooling Voices #4

Laura submitted the following two entries to Unschooling Voices #4:

1: For our family unschooling math is an extension of this life we live.
Our oldest child who turned 15 yesterday attended PS for 3 years. He struggled with the new math and showing his work. When he left school he was left with not much math interest and a sizable dislike for it’s teachings.
It’s been just about 7 years since he left school and school styled teaching. I can say now that though he may still not be fond of math he does use it everyday.
Dustin, our teen mentioned above, uses math in an online game that he plays called Runescape and he enjoy’s cooking, buying and selling on Ebay and shopping.

This week we discussed how much drivers ed was, how many weeks the class were and how much it would be weekly for the class. The class cost is $420.00 for 5 weeks. He was gifted 60.00 for his birthday along with a muzzle loader. His focus wasn’t driving with friends or rushing to get the drivers ed over with. More so it was how many days until his 16th birthday so he can drive to his favorite hunting spot without having to wait for his Dad to get out of work or the weekend(he can go alone at 16). He has hunted with his dad since he was 4 which was when I met Dh. In that 11 years he has never shot at a deer.
He has also asked me to plan some hikes with the kids so he can get his strength up to walk through the woods when the season starts. This radically unschooled child has shown me over and over how right leaving mainstream parenting wasSmile

To get back to his birthday and math I asked for several days what he wanted to do for his 15th birthday. In the past he choose movies with friends, a party or sleep over. The day before his birthday he said, “I just wanted to spend the day with the family.”
He mentioned dinner out or in and then opted for dinner in. He’s taken an interest in cooking this year so off we went to the meat store. He chose and helped cook prime rib (based on the family size and our eating habitsSmile with broccoli & cheese, onion rings with spicy dipping sauce, green beans and salad. Without discussion of math or limits on cost he figured out what it cost us compared to what we normally spend a Bugaboo’s. Math without the lesson or yucky stuff. Everyone had a wonderful meal and our son shared that with us. Pretty cool!

2: As a family of 6 using math as part of life happens each day. Having three smaller children who have no school experiences and one who had 3 years of school math seems much more natural for the littles. Some conversations I have had with my almost 7 yr old were had at midnight or random discussions over the years.
One example I can offer is one of puppies and breeders. Cassidy asked how many puppies we could expect from our dog. I told her how many she had in her last litters and Cassidy averaged what we could expect. She then went on to other conversations about dogs we purchased from other breeders and things we use everyday and how many are left if we take a few away. By the time she was done she had figured out addition, subtraction and multiplication without the labels.

When she was 4 we were in the driveway and she observed something that hit me like a brick. She understood math deeper than I had known. She said, ” Mom, we have four cars.. when daddy goes to work we have three and if your car is gone we have two and…” On she went, I listened with a near jaw drop on my face. I wasn’t sure if I was going to cry, smile , hug her or add to it. I think I said something like wow that was cool I didn’t realize you understood that. She then went on to count other things.

I didn’t learn my multiplication tables until after I graduated high school. I disliked math so seeing my children get it without the pressure or tests I know they will have a better experience than I. Seeing the different paths to math/life experiences that my children have taken is clear to me that unschooling was/is a wonderful path for our family.

Laura Drew
Unschoolingmaine.com

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