Much Math is Enough?
By Christy Severn-Martinez
Recently, my concerns regarding my daughter being a late reader have
transferred over to her math. Should I be worried about math to the
extent that I worry about her reading? She knows how to count, add,
subtract, and do a few multiplication factors. Is that enough for her?
Definitely not if she were in school, but she’s not, and I have to say,
“Yes, it is enough for her.” But I still worry about her not knowing
Well, once again our life
learning journey has proven to be her way of learning. So I’m sharing
this story mainly to convince myself that she will be fine and that she
is learning more now than when she was attending public school – a
comparison that will have to be saved for a much longer story.
Today, while my daughter spent
most of the afternoon in her room watching TV, another of my worries
snuck up on me: She watches way too much TV. This worry is in constant
battle with her being a late reader...oh, and don’t forget about her
love of video games. (I did mention that I was new to unschooling,
didn’t I?) Okay, back to today’s life learning lesson regarding my math
worry. While doing my best to stick to my new parenting style, I left
her alone. I never checked on her to see what she was doing. Okay, maybe
once I walked by her room and to my surprise there she was coloring her
new felt poster (which I thought was another wasted purchase she would
never start, like so many before). She wasn’t watching her movie, just
merely needing some background noise to fill the silence as she sat
there coloring. So, I snuck around the hall corner as fast as I could so
as not to be spotted “checking on her.”
A few hours passed with the
occasional emergence to get a drink or snack and a wave hello as she
walked back to her room. This is where I divulge my worry-no-more math
life learning lesson. She happily comes into the kitchen to inform me
that she has 115 pieces of gum that she counted out by fives! And that
was with no persuasion, threats, or coercion on my part to get her to
learn some math. She did it all on her own and she was so proud to tell
me how she came to count 115 pieces of gum by fives.
Who cares if she doesn’t count
dots on a worksheet and show how she came to her answer? I’ll tell you
who cares: the schools do. I say all that matters is that she came up
with the right answer, on her own, without any help from anybody. Does
she need to “show her work” to prove she’s smart? That’s a big “No” in
my book. She is so much smarter than that because she figured it out in
her head, in her own way, on her own.
What is more amazing than a
child figuring something out and figuring it out correctly in her own
way? When did people start thinking we had to do everything the same way
for it to be correct? That’s not creativity, genius, intelligence,
smarts; that’s just following the crowd and there is no originality in
following the crowd. Originality is what makes one truly intelligent.
So, in your face, worry……okay,
maybe for a few days I’ll let go of the worry on this particular matter.
What can I say? I’m a Mom!
Christy Severn-Martinez is first and foremost
an unschooling stay-at-home-mom, wife, sister, and daughter. She runs a
small business from her home and loves to read, cross stitch, and learn
life all over again with her daughter. She lives in Tucson, Arizona with
her daughter, husband, and a multitude of pets.
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