Unschooling is hard to define and there are many approaches. Andrea from http://www.andreasunshine.com describes the “cornerstone of unschooling (as) – trust. Trust, and a deep understanding of the curiosity that drives young minds.” She goes on to say, “My focus currently with children who are small (all under 8 years old) is on lots of free play and time to just be. I never have a ‘plan’ of the day or what I will explain or tell them about that week. But if I see something I think they would like, I tell them about it. Just like I would with my husband or a friend.”
Pat Farenga, who wrote Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book of Homeschooling, says, “Unschooling, for lack of a better term (until people start to accept living as part and parcel of learning), is the natural way to learn. However, this does not mean unschoolers do not take traditional classes or use curricular materials when the student, or parents and children together, decide that this is how they want to do it.” (see more here)
Other unschooling parents take a more hands on approach and I’ve often heard parents say, “we unschool, except for Maths and English”. That is to say, they feel more comfortable using a parent chosen curriculum to direct those subjects, and either follow it explicitly or float in and out of using it.
Which ever catergory you fall into, I think you will find home made math a useful resource, if only for yourself.
a) if you fall predominately into the first category of completely unstructured child led learning, home made math may inspire you to think mathematically about the world and increase your mathematical questioning there by further encouraging your children along this path of discovery because of their interest in your interest. Practically I mean, if you start asking questions like, “I wonder how big a bear actually is?” or “I wonder if you can run that fast?”, and while you may never follow an activity to the letter or purchase a unit, you might be inspired by some of the activities and discussions here on the blog and on instagram @homemademath.
b) if you rest nearest to second category in you philosophy perhaps your child will ask to learn more about measurement or speed or maps and you’ll find that home made math fits their learning style and so suggest an activity from the blog and if they enjoy that, perhaps consider buying a unit.
c) If you identify with the last category but want maths activities that are more hands on, concrete and creative then you might find home made math is just the thing, either to support a curriculum you are using or to encourage you to move away from traditional curriculums while feeling guided in a more natural learning style.
I hope that, through the activities and the blog, you will see that math is everywhere in our day to day and learn to harness these opportunities to identify and encourage mathematical development.
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