Wait for the right questions to come up

(By the way, I am really bummed that I haven’t posted much this summer.  We’ve just been having so much fun, that really, I have had no time for blogging.  It’s been an amazing summer, but I do have a lot I want to talk about in this space, so I am hoping to be writing more.)

Inevitably, when I mention unschooling, people are most worried about math.  That ever-present worry.  “How do you make them learn math?  No one wants to learn math!”

That’s not exactly true.  While most students do not enjoy separate math time with endless math problems that are seemingly meaningless to them, almost everyone enjoys learning the answers to various problems in their lives involving math.

In the past week, we have had several incredible math discussions about different topics.  All of the discussions have been completely child-driven and interest-based.  For example, one daughter was reading a new book and came across a discussion in it of the mathematical term pi.  She asked about it, so I showed her what it was, and how it was used.  It fascinated her and several of her sisters, and for the next 30 minutes they figured out circumferences, as well as perimeters of several objects.  Today, my daughter asked, “How many hours have I been alive?”  This led to a discussion of hours in a day, days in a year, as well as the concepts of place value, multiplication, etc.

If we had tried to push any of these topics before the kids were interested, the result would have been must less exciting.  Waiting for the question can be hard.  It is easy to worry that they will never ask.  Don’t worry…their questions will be different, but will all lead to the concepts they will need to understand!