1 March 2010

unschool monday :: algebra

Someone always asks. Last time my own lovely mum was here, she brought it up... "So who will teach the girls algebra?" Its always about algebra. Or trigonometry. They must be the concepts that so many of us struggled with at school, that just didn't make sense or apply to daily life. I must say that I kinda enjoyed basic algebra once I understood it, so I'm not afraid of it if it does happen to pop into our lives. Really though, aside from the repetitive hours I spent on my year 10 workbook, I can say that I haven't come across the need for algebra in my life. Well, not the hard stuff anyway. Huz has and I believe still uses it in his profession... so I expect he'll be taking the reigns if either of the owlets decides to follow in his footsteps. If they want to learn it, they will. If they need to learn it to get into the university course they really want to do, they will. But how will they go to university if they don't go to school and sit exams? Well, if they want to go to university, they can do a TAFE bridging course of equivalency program. If they decide the best way to get to where they want to be is through high school or college, then thats what they need to do. But there's really no point sending them to school to learn algebra if they just really want to be a dancer or a chef, or gardener, or writer, or historian or.... If there's something we can't help them learn, we find a mentor, or a tutor who can pass the knowledge on. For example, big owlet wants to learn ballet. I'm not a ballet dancer. So she does ballet classes. I imagine it would be the same with algebra. When we can't help with it, we look for help. Once we remove the idea of what children should be learning and just let them get on with it, it becomes so much less daunting. And a whole lot more fun! Here's today's maths class:

We managed to cover biology, home economics, art, english and chemistry too!


  1. I love this! We're having lots of maths in our house right now. Thank you x

  2. It seems to be a hard concept to get through to people that if they need to know it there are ways to learn it. *If* being the operative word though!

  3. Ah, wise Mama - it really is that simple, isn't it! Your post made me laugh out loud in great delight! (but you should hear the Mr's mother on the perils of Steiner education)...

  4. funnily enough my 5 year old ws pondering algebra at dinner last night.
    we were talking about subtraction (how many peices of chiken will be left if you eat two?) and she asked DH "if I had 9 bits and ate some and there were 5 left how many is the 'some'?" Then she say "9 minus somthing equals 5, whats the answer?"
    My mouth dropped open, couldn't believe she stumbled on the concept just like that.
    It is incredible what kids can do when they think its'fun!

  5. Don't forget lunch time! Gotta count that too, lol

    I laughed the whole way through. What IS it about Alegbra. My goodness, we must all know it or the sky will fall!
    It's almost like the other person is clutching at straws and trying to 'catch you out'
    Oh my goodness, alegbra, I never thought of that! I better send them to school now. Sigh.

  6. What a chuckle I had!
    It's funny how people find holes isn't it?
    You must have a stock standard answer for most of the funny questions now I imagine!

  7. It is funny how so many of us were tramatised by algebra! It was great to read your thoughts and plans with educating your girls. And very cool maths lesson!

    PS. while not ballet, I'm sure you can still teach them how to bust-a- move on the dance floor!


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