Monday, September 16, 2013

Accidental Math on Purpose

Plans Change

Our first day back from summer break veered, no, U-turned, away from my schedule.  Shock of all shocks.  By the time things settled down enough to even consider pulling out the daily plan, I was closer to making a paper airplane out of it than looking at it.  

Keep Calm...

The one thing I did manage to accomplish was to explain our schedule to the kids.   So by the afternoon when we were supposed to have math, my little darlings chirped they were ready and asked eagerly what we were going to do.


The clock said there wasn't time before dinner, the clingy, whiny toddler in my arms said it was nap time, their dependent grandmother calling for me meant it was time to play nurse again, and the ringing phone meant someone else needed something.  

Math lesson? How about, How many ways can Mommy be pulled at any given moment of the day? 

Keep calm... and pretend it's on the lesson plan.

Fortunately, I can think under pressure.  Enter Impromptu Lesson #1 of the 2013-14 school year:

"I want you to grab your Nature Study Bag, and go find math in the backyard: Look for examples of addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, patterns, shapes, etc."

Silence.  Crap.  They're on to me.

"Al-RIGHT! Thanks Mom!" And they bolted.  

The After-Math

  • The rest of the afternoon was spent in joyful discovery for the kids.
  • I was able to put the baby down for a nap, get dinner going, see to my mom, and get a few moments peace to collect myself and, ahem, plan for Tuesday.

Making the Connection

In the moment, I was only thinking about solutions to each of the immediate problems I was juggling right then.  But that backyard math activity was a better lesson than what I had planned anyway.

Here's Why:

  • It was a lesson that prepared them to learn math by showing them the purpose of learning math: that math surrounds us and we not only use it but that nature is not random. Down to the very first cell of life there is order, logic, patterns and cycles.
  • Using the immediate and familiar surroundings to demonstrate purpose and teach concepts is logical because they see these concepts as relevant to their lives.
  • Discovery breeds enthusiasm. All the while, information is turned into knowledge that is never forgotten because one discovery leads to the next and it all comes together.  It all makes sense, therefore it is mastered.

Class Discussion

Tell me about some of your best impromptu lessons.  How do you handle it when things go awry in your home?

Happy Homeschooling!

Mrs. Redd

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