Anyone
who thinks you don’t get math from unschooling never traveled in
Mexico with inquisitive boys. Pike came to me and said, "10 pesos is
not quite a dollar, right?". "Yes, I replied. "90 cents?" he
questioned. "yes" I said. "so, he wondered, how much is 150 pesos?".
"well," i replied, "100 pesos is how much?"

(P) "90 cents"

(me) "and 50 pesos is how much?"

(P) "half 90".

(me) "how much is 1/2 90?"

(P) "ummmm…"

(me) "well, how much is half 9?"

(P) "4?"

(me) "well, how much is half 8?"

(P) "4".

(me) "and how much is 1/2 10?"

(P) "5."

(me) "right. so you know that half 9 is more than 4 and less than 5."

(P) "oh, 4 and a half".

(me) "right. so 90 is ten 9’s and since 4 and a half is 4.5, then 10 times 4.5 would be…(silence)…45."

We then went on to discuss decimal points and determined that 150
pesos was roughly 135 cents. I’ve considered doing stuff like this on
paper with them, but have tried and they prefer to envision it in their
heads. I think I prefer this too, as I’d rather they figure stuff out
in their heads instead of taking my scribblings as the "way" they should
figure things out. They do, however, ocassionally ask me to give them
"homework" and I give them a paper full of mathematical problems that
they happily devour and ask for more. Pike isn’t interested in
"carrying" yet, but prefers fractions. Go figure.

When the boys were younger, I always worried that they’d never "do"
math. I was advised that money would take care of that. I was amazed
to find that this advice was dead on. Most everything they know about
math has come from money.

On the puppy front, Mom has taken over for Pike, campaigning to get
him a puppy. To slow her campaign, I’ve siced the girls on her; making
cake. Ellen just LOVES to break eggs. She takes the whole egg and
crushes it in her palm. Then I get to pick the shells out. Sometimes
she does it over a bowl and sometimes she gets so giddy with egg
cracking excitement that she does it as soon as she gets the egg in her
hot little hand. Good luck, Tata.

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