7 November 2011

unschool monday :: mathletics


In the back of my mind, I have the thought of our next monitoring meeting with the home education advisory council. Although I'd rather not need to see it, I can see that Big Owlet is ticking boxes she's supposed to with literacy and doing it easily and all on her own. Numeracy is a little harder to account for as we don't have lots of evidence of her doing maths. I know she will work on things as she needs to and in her own time, but that's not an enormous help for registration purposes... 

She did go through a phase of sitting down to do a maths workbook, and she enjoyed it for a short while, which made things easy for me when it comes to accounting for her mathematical knowledge. She had a go at the Mathletics computer program which is used in loads of schools and by lots of home educators... But she found it boring. So repetitive! And the concepts didn't seem to lock in her head in a practical sense, although she answered the questions correctly. She was bluffing, as I had often done in my mathematical learning at school. In fact many basic concepts didn't appear to have stuck for her and I'm not sure how many hours of sitting at the computer playing Mathletics would be needed for them to sink in. Odd and even numbers, multiplication, division... She announced that she hated maths and didn't want to talk about it. It was bothering her and she seemed to be needing a nudge. Or perhaps something to encourage her to work with numbers confidently... 


So we asked the gardener to trim the lawn around the pavers out to the clothes line. As one naturally would in this situation. I added a bucket of chalk one day and we had an instant number line. Little Owlet counted pavers over and over, forwards and backwards. Big Owlet counted by twos, odds then evens. She counted by threes, fours, fives, sixes. Then she divided the total to work out how many groups of different numbers fit into it. 

She did it joyfully. And she has continued to most days this week. Odds and evens finally made sense to her, as we discovered on a walk to the rope swing. Then the mathematical concepts she needed to grasp to save and buy the Blythe doll of her dreams made absolute sense to her. Just like that! Little Owlet is loving numbers too. And numeracy is open for discussion in our house again.


  1. Awesome stuff! Kira loves Math Blaster (part of Jumpstart) as she's really into computer games... but I don't think she learns much from it.

  2. Love it! K picked up odds and evens earlier this year through playing a board game where the direction of your move is determined by whether you roll an odd or even number. Just like that it clicked, because it had context and she was motivated to figure it out so she could play the game.

  3. Doesn't it suck that impending visits from the authorities make this pressure to find something to show them!
    I love the chalk idea, I find my dd totally learns maths all the time just by living and playing. She found Mathletics to be totally boring. There are some good CD ROMs out there, and there's no subscription to maintain - actually Maths Blaster is the next one on our list to look at.
    I love unschool monday and I often look forward to it! Thanks Lauren.

  4. I can see she's enjoying herself.Love it!
    mossy stone


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