Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Plant, water, and leave it alone to grow

We're pretty eclectic around our house. On more Mommy-structured days we do literature based unit studies or Charlotte Mason style reading and narration. Today was an unschooly flavored day though. I thought I'd share with you an example of doing math, without even really noticing it.

At lunch, A. noticed that the magnetic fridge letters were one of four different colors. The vowels were all red and the other letters were either yellow, green or blue. She sorted the letters by color, making long lines of color down the face of the fridge. She noticed that each color ribbon was the same length as the next and then counted each letter, arriving at a total of 21 consonants.

I pointed to the fridge and said, "Did you notice that you actually have three groups of seven letters?", pointing to the shape she had made. She noticed and agreed that it was so. I took this opportunity to plant a little seed about multiplication and offhandedly commented that once she was old enough, she could memorize her multiplication tables and she wouldn't have to count out each letter anymore, she could memorize what the answer to three groups of seven was.

I moved on, clearing the lunch dishes. Plant now, water a bit and leave the idea to grow.

She protested that no, in fact she was old enough to memorize her multiplication facts now. I responded that usually one memorized the addition facts first and she asked me to start today. So I showed her the pattern that it makes if you start with one number (say 2) and add an escalating number to it (say first 1, then 2, then 3) that the result forms a pattern of being one larger than the last one. It looked like this:

2+1 = 3
2+2 = 4
2+3 = 5

She thought that was interesting and we played around with ascending sums for about 5 minutes.

Patterns, it's all about being able to recognize patterns. She wanted to do more sums at bedtime and so we laid down together and talked about different patterns 2+2, 3+3, 4+4, etc

Plant, water, and leave it alone to grow. I predict December with be a math-heavy month around here. 'Cause watered seeds can't help but sprout.

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