Maths in a Quirky Family

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I’m just popping in here today to share a little story about maths and to let you know I’m taking the rest of July off from Laugh, Love, Learn to enjoy some sunshine.

While I’m away, you might be interested in having a look at my most recent post over on my homeschooling blog, Navigating By Joy. From an early age my fabulously independent, strong-willed children resisted all attempts to impose a maths curriculum on them. As with many things, in retrospect it turned out they knew best, and we’ve spent the last four years exploring maths together in all sorts of interesting and creative ways.

In my post How to Make Your Kids Love Maths I reflect on the elements of our curriculum-free approach to maths that have been most successful. I don’t discuss my kids’ OEs as such, but if you have bright, intense children you might find yourself nodding in agreement when I say things like “I did suggest that my kids learn their times tables, but they were having none of it,” or “In maths, as in life, they don’t accept anything unless they know why.”

While I’m on the subject, here’s a little behind-the-scenes example of what maths in our house is like…

Quirky maths

Jasper’s been multiplying and dividing numbers competently for years, but for some reason when we were dividing negative numbers last week he decided to take issue with the order of the numbers.

Jasper: “But why does the 12 come before the 6? Are you sure?”

Me: “I’m sure. Remember when we talked about how how multiplication is commutative – like washing your face and cleaning your teeth, whereas division – like putting on your socks and shoes on – isn’t?”

Jasper: “Yes I understand the order’s important, but why can’t the 6 come first?”

Me: “Well. Imagine you had 12 sweets and you wanted to divide them fairly between 6 children…”

Jasper: “But what if said sweets were mints? Or if there were things inside the sweets – some children might not like that. Or they might not like particular flavours of sweets. Plus, there might be allergies.

So a better metaphor would be 12 boards of wood and 6 carpenters. That way we would definitely know that the carpenters wouldn’t be allergic to the boards of wood, because otherwise they wouldn’t be carpenters.”

Me: “Quite. But either way, the 12 boards come before the 6 children, or carpenters or whatever, yes?”

Jasper: “Okay.”

I asked Jasper if I might share this story with you and he kindly agreed. I like to think that my jotting it down in the middle of our maths session showed him how much I appreciate his quirky take on life. 🙂

I’ll be back in August with more stories from a family that embraces its quirkiness. Until then, I wish all my friends in the northern hemisphere a summer filled with golden sunshine, refreshing breezes and the sounds of gently lapping water, and my southern hemisphere friends crisp blue-skied winter days and cosy, snuggly evenings.

How’s maths in your house?

Do you go off on tangents in the middle of teaching your children, too?

I’d love to hear from you, in the comments on on the Laugh, Love, Learn FaceBook page. 🙂

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Image by Pezibear

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4 thoughts on “Maths in a Quirky Family

  1. Ha! I shared something quite similar in my message on your other blog.
    Quirky maths thinking from our quirky maths kids – love it :o)

    I hope you all have a lovely holiday!

  2. I belly laughed at your ‘quite’ at the end of the conversation!! So funny. I could just imagine me saying that exact word to my son when he goes into a lengthy discussion over a small detail (which to him is very, very important). I am so behind on everything, but I do hope you are having a lovely July away from blogging. I am almost doing the same thing, except I am needing to post reviews every so often. Have a relaxing month 🙂

    1. Thanks, Claire. 🙂 I was down your way today actually taking my grade 6 classical guitar exam – but NOW I’m relaxing, yay. My parents-in-law are taking us off cruising soon so I shall have no choice but to be offline! Though I have of course been known to read blogs on beaches. 😉
      Have a fab July! xx

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