Sunday, November 14, 2010

About Partnership, Possibilities, Natural Math and Mind Freedom


Unschooling is a free-flowing experience. It takes trust on several levels, but in one way it means to truly believe the idea that learning and life are not separate. It is knowing that your children will learn "the basics", through living a life with many resources and unwavering parental support.

Last night the kids really wanted to go out to dinner to Friendly's. It is their favorite place to go for dinner and they always get the same thing.

I shared with them that we only had half of the spending money of what it normally costs us to eat out there. I offered a few options to make it possible. I jumped online and found a coupon. It was "buy one adult dinner and get a kid's meal free". Cool! There is one meal free! I also thought that Joe and I could share a meal. I asked the girls if they minded giving Orion one quarter of their meals each.

I showed the girls what I meant by one quarter by drawing graphs and explaining how much of their meal they would be sharing with Orion. Tiff then drew a graph herself and exclaimed that Orion would have half of a meal if they each shared a quarter of theirs and half was perfect for for him!

The graphs were helpful tools to her in that moment and I was there to share useful information with her. Unschooled kids do learn math, but in a way that isn't linear. It is in bits and pieces when needed. My kids have learned "math", when they have actually needed it in their lives. These bits and pieces are like drops in a puddle that slowly grow to form a very broad and balanced education of math over the childhood years. We are here as parents offering tools and resources and our kids are receptive and desire what we share with them.

It turned out that by buying only three meals (with a fourth meal being the free kids meal) was plenty for our family of six. We were able to meet the needs of everyone in the family through discussion and figuring a way out together to make it work. When money is an issue most people tend to get in a negative vibration when they think they can't afford something. I've learned that by shifting to possibility, options are created.

When a child uses math as a tool to understand the world around them, it is learned easily and precisely. When learned in context with their own real life experiences, it goes from being something that is "hard" to learn, to "a cool way to figure something else out". My children never have to memorize the "times tables". They do however understand and use multiplication and fractions as a tool in their lives to figure the world around them out.

Memorization is not learning. In fact it takes up the precious space of thoughts and desire of the person being forced to memorize. Think of the unique, rich tapestry of the uncontrolled mind! This to me is a level of freedom and respect that all humans deserve, but rarely get to experience.

A traditional education is like handing a child a "paint by numbers" project, while standing over their shoulder commenting on their work. It feels safe, and you think you know how it will turn out.
An Unschooled life is like handing a child a blank canvas while you both create together with the sound of beautiful music in the background. It feels connected, peaceful, creative, unique and perfectly individualized. True Human Potentiality Blossoms. ☼


21 comments:

Cathy said...

My children have learned math in this manner also. Sometimes it is like in this situation where it is all of us working together to solve a problem. Other times they just seem to know the math. When I ask them how they figured out the answer, I am so glad that I never taught them math because they did a lot of problem solving to get the answer. I just love unschooling. The older my kids get the more awesome the benefits.

Just Me said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE. I am printing this and handing it to 'doubters'

Andrea said...

Thanks for this post, it is just what I needed, after a times table challenge just this week. Love the "paint by numbers" analogy.
A

Un-doers said...

Great post, Dayna, thank you. I will share it as well.

S. Thomas Lewis said...

Hopefully, this approach can be extended to higher levels of mathematics such as calculus, geometry, etc. I never appreciated the dry lecture hall, take a test approach that I was either taught by or taught.

Kristin said...

I have always let learning happen in such a manner. The sad thing is that I moved to a state which requires testing of homeschooling students, and now I am forced to teach to the test so they can pass them and it has changed our entire lifestyle. If I let them get a low score on the test, we will be subject to massive government interference so I dopn't know what to do. It makes me want to scream. Do you guys have to do testing? If so, how do you handle it?

Ariad said...

Dayna, I too love seeing my kids learn this way, when and as they need a concept.
I aslo love your outlook on money and not creating negative vibes about it.

Laurette Lynn said...

I got SO MUCH from this post! Thank you!!!!

Erica Perry said...

Thanks for the post Dayna. Our kids love numbers, fractions, statistics etc. They have learnt all they know through life and living I was 16 when I finally understood basic fractions. My math teacher cut an orange into quarters, and all of a sudden I knew what he was talking about. And I was(according to my marks) good at maths.

jacarandamum said...

Thanks, Dayna, and not only for the beautiful perspective on how 'maths in context' works. I also love that the girls were ASKED if they were prepared to share their meals, rather than it being ASSUMED that they would share, because that's what 'good children' do. Such an honouring of their capacity to love. Thank you :)

Cheryl Hammond said...

I love your beautiful visualization of the "paint by numbers" approach versus the "blank canvas" approach. It will really help many people to finally GET IT! Thanks!

Alice said...

I love it when I actually notice how much the kids have learned just by living. We recently leaned about volume through discussion about the planets... apparently you can fit 1300 Earths into Jupiter. We just learned about probability by having a draw. There are so many opportunities for learning when we let them happen! We are not full time unschoolers... yet! It does seem to be the direction we are heading with our homeschooling as I notice the way the kids can "learn" naturally.

Cath said...

I wish I'd learned Maths this way. I experienced real fear and panic early on in school with maths, so by age 7, I believed I was "dumb" at it, even though I was a bright child who got good, even top marks in everything else. This "maths-fear" has plagued me all my life. I still get all sweaty & my heart beats fast when I have to do some mental arithmetic in front of someone. My mind stops functioning - it freezes and I can't do the required sum. Even though I know I am an intelligent person capable of doing it, the fear stops me. I am working on overcoming this and learning to love maths.

I am so happy & excited that my 4-year old will have a happy and positive experience of numbers and maths through life-learning/unschooling. I feel sure, he will be able to reach his true potential.

Ariad said...

Thanks again Dayna, this post inspired me to write my own post about how my children have learned maths without sitting down with text books, from everyday life situations.

Ariad said...

Thanks again Dayna, this post inspired me to write my own post about how my children have learned maths without sitting down with text books, from everyday life situations.

Dayna Martin said...

Thank you so much everyone! I'm so happy you enjoyed this entry! I'm so grateful for your responses!
Love, Dayna

Tera Rae said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE IT! Trust in this area is not always easy...thanks for the encouragement.

Anonymous said...

Hello,

I have a question for the webmaster/admin here at thesparklingmartins.blogspot.com.

May I use some of the information from your blog post right above if I give a link back to your site?

Thanks,
John

Dayna Martin said...

Yes John, If you credit my work and link back, I would be grateful. Thank you for asking. Dayna

MariaD said...

Dayna, thank you for writing this. I am trying to document how unschoolers do math. I took a somewhat paradoxical approach by focusing on a narrow skill (multiplication tables), even though we rarely index our work by such narrow areas. This, I hope, will create a lively contrast and an interesting story. You can see the results so far, and contribute, here: http://naturalmath.wikispaces.com/Child-Led+Multiplication+Study

Rev. Marcelle said...

I love that you published this on my birthday! I sometimes question whether I should help Nat learn his times tables just to have them in his memory bank to draw upon and reading this helped me relax back into trusting he will learn them if he ever needs to use them and wants to make sense of something meaningful...I so love having you to remind me when I forget! xoxo