Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Two really frightening gaps in unschooling education

Last night, Jack (almost 6) mentioned to me that he figured out a lot of ways to make 10.  6 and 4, 3 and 7, 8 and 2, 9 and 1.  He explained to me how he took both the fives, and then took some of the five and gave it to the other five, so that he got different combinations.  I just loved how he was playing with numbers, the way I've read about.  And I know that leaving Chana alone about math had no long term negative effects and, in fact, was only wonderful.  She asked for a year's break after Algebra but recently told me that she thinks she will be ready to start Geometry in January.

Elazar is in 3rd grade.  I thought that he would eventually wonder how to borrow and regroup.  But he is still plodding through addition the long way, adding one by one in his head.  When I want to show him to juggle numbers around, he doesn't listen.  He likes doing it the way he is thinking about it.  I wonder if, with calculators all around, he may never study the nuances of borrowing and regrouping or long division.  I don't teach square roots anymore, even though I learned how to do it in elementary school (thought it was cool, and promptly forgot it).

I wonder if he will learn his multiplication tables.  I've already seen in the past decade that most students don't know them.  I drilled the girls.  Will I drill the boys?  I believe it is good to know them at your fingertips.  But do I believe it enough to prioritize it?  I'm not sure.

But the craziest thing that the boys are skipping is writing.  They type.  They know their letters.  They are learning to read and can communicate in writing (if by writing we are referring to email and text and storywriting on the computer).  But they don't physically write.  I wrote a (physical) letter to my friend a few months ago.  It was excruciating trying to keep my handwriting legible as I can't write as quickly as I can think (or type).  My hand ached.

Unschoolers learn what is useful and what is enjoyable.  It's a little scary.

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