I know I wrote about maths a few weeks ago for Unschool Monday, but really, Kai’s been on such a developmental spurt in terms of numbers and maths lately, that I just had to write about it again. (Also, we moved house again, and I can’t think of anything else to write about!).

It seems like numbers and maths concepts are such a massive part of our life at the moment, almost everything we do relates in some way to maths. Watching Play School last week at the shack, Kai got interested in telling the time, so I made a clock from paper and pipe cleaners (I intend to make a more durable model when I get materials), so we could practice. To begin with, the clock got ignored, but after a couple of days Kai picked it up and moved the hands around, and apparently can tell time to the o’clock already…who knew! So, we’re starting on quarter-past, half-past etc..which are of course math concepts…

At the shack, Kai also went through a couple of maths workbooks. Lots of pages get missed, and he only does the activities he likes, but we did lots of matching and sorting, some activities about halves and shapes, and a couple of telling time ones.

I sometimes wonder if even buying workbooks is a heinous crime against unschooling…. But, I think not – at least not the way we use them. They get strewed like everything else. If Kai doesn’t want to do them, he doesn’t have to. If he doesn’t want to finish, he doesn’t have to. I help if he asks.

I tend think that NOT buying things because it’s not ‘unschool’ starts to make unschooling look just as dogmatic as school. If your child is interested, buy away! I see everything as just another learning resource…and I buy being prepared for the fact that they might not be used – in which case, I’d give them to someone who is more school-at-home and will use them!

…..I asked again this week if we should give away the phonics books we were given (as I thought they’d be more useful for someone else, and I prefer whole word/language learning anyway) and was surprised when he said no, he wanted to do them. I’m sure we won’t do them in the ‘prescribed’ manner, but use them to suit ourselves – as we do with the maths workbooks.

Unschooling math workbooks doesn’t look much like school-at-home, and even less like maths-at-school. Here’s a picture from last week – doing a workbook sitting on the coffee table, chocolate milk at reach!

Although he got fed up of the workbook, it inspired a new bout of Wolverine fever on the Leapster, due the common themes of shapes and numbers…

Once he’d had enough of that, he went outside to dig a hole on the beach!

Two months ago, Kai couldn’t recognize numbers past about 3 or 4 – I suspect he would have been labelled ‘behind’ in terms of number concepts.

Now he recognizes up to about 12, and can count up to 40. Mostly I credit this to Kai and the Leapster – I certainly take no credit. He also recognizes shapes including triangles, hexagons, squares and triangles, and understands concepts such as half and quarter, can tell the time to the o’clock (kudos to Play School!), and is beginning to be able to count and recognize money, thanks to playing ‘shop’…

He’s also noticing numbers everywhere – we went out for dinner and he correctly identified all the table numbers from their little flags…

We scored a couple of board games at the op shop in our new neighbourhood this week, and for the past couple of days, Kai has wanted to play ‘Tyrannosaurus Rex’ ALL the time! Of course, it’s all maths too – rolling and counting dice, moving the pieces – we had to play it before breakfast this morning!

Finally, he is saving up for a PlayMobil Ghost Pirate Stingray set. It’s $35, and he gets $5/week allowance. So, we used the Cuisenaire rods to figure out how many weeks we’ll have to save, and I set up a workbook in Excel to keep a tally on the savings.

But, then I hit upon the better idea to also incorporate a pie-chart to do the same thing. Since he’s more a visual learner, I think the pie-chart will mean more – each week a piece of pie will change to blue as he saves more money…..

(hmm, yes, clearly i have too much time on my hands!)

Since things seem to come in fits and bursts, I expect this massive development in terms of number understanding will tail off and be replaced by something else that astounds me, that I can take no credit for! Ah, ho hum!

I’m playing with Owlet and Unschool Monday – you know you want to!

on June 30, 2015 at 12:14 am |Reflections – and on having a ‘Tween’ | Unbounded Ocean[…] – it was still an advantage to start that early….because, looking back at some old posts, like this one (cute picture of Kai on the table, but maths workbooks, not unschooling – not in our house at […]