Life With Nine Kids

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Math & Why I Homeschool

We have this book called 50 Mathematical Ideas you Really Need to Know. It's my husbands book and it's a great little bathroom reader almost laid out like a miniature for dummies book... except for this book is not for dummies. It contains everything from probability to topology to fractals to Fermat's last theorem.
In the introduction of this book I was happy to read a true statement of mathematical faith from a homeschool (unschooling) parents eyes; "The time and pressure of school does not help either, For mathematics is a subject where there is no merit in being fast. People need time to allow the ideas to sink in."

I wish I had been granted such leisure in all areas of "math." If so, I may not had grown up with such the distaste I had for math. The drudgery of repetition and memorization killed all practical need I had for math in my life. Forbidding me to use a calculator to help me learn concepts when memorization failed me made me bitter. It also made it hard for me to use calculators as an adult! Computing is no good if you don't understand the concepts!

Real life allows for people, adult people, to explore and express their interests freely. I so wish children had this luxury. Math scared me, haunted me, pressured me. So when I fell behind (in just the forth grade) I fled from it like one would flee a burning building. Throughout my public school career I'd gain some speed, only to be left in the dust over and over again. There were times I didn't even try, but there were also many times I tried so hard I thought I was finally getting somewhere...but, just more dust appeared.

I can appreciate math for what it is now. A richer companion to arithmetic within a complex world of numbers, methods and theories. A mysterious subject I've never scratched the surface of.

Unschooling Math
So, we unschool math. We take it all painfully slow. Or not so painfully I should say. I want every concept, every number, every method to make sense to the kids. My husband backs me on this and since he's really mathematically smart (and the one with two degrees;) I trust his opinion in this unschool venture of our own regarding kids and math. So the other day for some reason (can't remember the context now) I mentioned while talking to the kids that 1/4 was half of a half. I didn't think I was heard so I repeated myself. Sage pipped in, "Yeah mom that's 25%."

Another one of those stunned homeschool/unschool moments. Simple? Yes. Third grade appropriate? I don't know, perhaps. But the stunned part is because we do basic arithmetic still. We do money and time practice. We do some conceptual stuff like multiplication, but in a small scale. All in all the boys do basic stuff. They learn from it. They explore it. It's still fun for them, and most important not drudgery. The point is math is everywhere and they say things like this and pick up "education" like this from everything! And that is why I love "unschooling" so very much.

The First Three Reasons: Why We Started Homeschooling
1. I was told Charlotte (at age 7-8) may need to be tested "LD" in spelling.
Are you kidding me? "Learning Disabled" in spelling? This is idiotic. Like, can't she just grow up and be a self proclaimed "bad speller"? Do they really need to label her so that she has a bona fide excuse that will help to get her to pass classes? Big whoop you're not a great speller, my family is full of them.
Not to mention telling her at age 7 or 8 she's "LD" is setting her up for a lifetime of I'm not good so I'll never be good or a "why try then" attitude.

2. I found out Charlotte was being pulled out of regular class for extra reading help.
The real kicker: She was being pulled out of class when the rest of the class was practicing for spelling tests. This explained how poorly she was doing in spelling! And I'm the one that had to point it out to the teacher! What's even more, I found out she was missing recess time for not finishing work. When was this work supposed to have been done? ...wait for it... while she was at extra reading help! (No Child Left Behind Program sponsored.)

3. Charlotte started coming home crying everyday. She didn't want to do homework and I wondered what in #!%& they did all day long only to have homework at night.
I was done with the nonsense. When taken out of public school she turned back into my happy go lucky bright eyed child again almost overnight. Within 2 years a kid whose teacher said she wasn't reading chapter books yet so that made her behind had read the whole entire 7 book Harry Potter series herself.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

much needed update -click to enlarge picrures

I'm not happy when I spend time online when I have so many other things to do. BUT, I'm not happy when I don't spend time on my blog or website because not only do I enjoy it, it also stores bits of my life here and there that will one day only be a glimpse of me and these days past. I want my kids to be able to read my blogs (which I print up and store in notebooks) and see what mine and their lives were like.
So lots has happened. Pretty fall days and Thanksgiving came and left.
I perfected my homemade organic pizza and learned how to make good home made tortillas finally (Which my kids dubbed better than the ones they had in Mexico --very flattering lol! Not sure they are that good, but okay!)
I also made and perfected homemade apple turnovers.
We switched all our flour and cheese to organic! yay! (buy through a co op)
Christmas came and left without a trace ... well there are toys and lots of new bills too pay..sigh...
We had a beautiful time with Ricky home for lots of days in a row. And I'm wishing for a replay of all the wonderful family fun time.
Pictured here is our X mas breakfast -all 8 of us are in there. Sebastian was nursing, so you can only see his super white bald-ish head in front of me. Look at us...Mom and dad are having having mimosas :)
Sebastian is a happy joy of a baby still. BUT teething has struck our household early. He is fussy this month. He is pushing on 5 months old (not until the 23rd) and he is unhappy about the havoc being caused by teeth buds. :( It's making this mama tired and the house fall apart a little bit too.
Oh well such is life. Poor little guy. We use hylands teething tablets, Boiron teething drops, homeopathic Belladonna, and Motrin.
I am proud to say my husband passed the Series 7 exam! for work. Which is a big deal. (We read online only 30% of people pass it the first time --so it could have gone either way)
He spent a lot of time preparing for it. Actually, he was only home about half the month of December. It sucked. And his studying obviously paid off.
Enough is enough
The commute to the city for Ricky to work is just enough now. He says he'll do it longer, I say hell no. The money we are spending on rooms overnight, gas, Etc. adds up. I'd rather spend that on a mortgage.
Well, we finally found the perfect house for us. We made an offer and it's been accepted. Now we deal with costly home inspections, the process of getting our pre approved loan actually approved, and blah blah blah.
The home is lovely. The best we could do given what we want (better would be more land, but this is okay!)
We would be on 1 acre, have a old historic style house that sits right across from a old peaceful cemetery dating back to the 1800's. It has a 20x40 ft in-ground swimming pool surrounded by a fence of grapevines! It also has a small pool storage house, 2 detached garages, good trees ... one old tree particularity worth mentioning as it is huge and perfect for climbing and/or for a tree house.
The home is 4bed 2bath +2 extra small rooms, full basement (unfinished but in good shape to finish), sun room off kitchen, oh and tons of lush creeping ivy outside. I love it. We love it. It looks like home. Let's hope all goes well. Our closing date is actually set for Jan 31. Talk about getting stuff done.
...we will see...
Penelope is crying at me and this is exactly why I don't blog any more...too much to do, too many kids to sit still ;)