Unschooling Voices #13 is up.

Andrea sent me a link to some maze design research at the University of Waterloo, one of Canada’s prominent universities. I’ve always enjoyed mazes. What I find a bit amusing about the article is that in one of the programming courses I used to teach, I gave the students an assignment where they wrote a maze solving program.

Currently, comments on my blog are not working unless you are signed in. I haven’t had a chance to figure out why. In the mean time, if you want to leave me a comment, you can do it here.

Unschooling Emma

Unschooling Voices #12 is up. Thanks, Kim.

Everyone in our house has the occasional tendency to start talking out loud midway through a conversation/train of thought going on in their head. Emma is no exception. There are times when she shows how astute she is.

Earlier this week Emma and I were in the office: her at one computer and I at the other. She asked me if we had any money left from selling the green house. I did explain that although we had spent most of it, we didn’t have to pay the bills for the green house anymore. She said nothing in the 5 minutes before or after that. Nor did she give any sign that she heard my explanation. But I’m sure she did. Prior to the sale of the green house she was aware we were running under a tight budget. For the last couple weeks the belt has been loosened a notch or two. Since last weekend we were planning on a shopping trip to Fredericton for this weekend. It may take a few months for her to realize that still having the green house was why we had to run on a tight budget, but I’m sure she will eventually.

Last night while sitting at opposite computers from the last story Emma asked, “Doesn’t war makes them bigger?” with a hint of don’t be silly. Again this came out in the middle of a good spell of silence. I looked over at her screen. She was watching the Schoolhouse Rock DVD. I had to watch the video for about a minute (the volume was low enough I couldn’t catch all the audio) before I figured out what this particular episode was about. It was explaining DEFICIT using a household budget to illustrate spending exceeding income. If we were a household that watched the nightly news, news channels, read the daily papers, etc. then I probably would have expected something like this from her. The truth is that we DON’T buy newspapers, watch news channels or the evening news. I’m still thinking through where she might have garnered the information for this conclusion. Out of the mouths of babes.

Unschooling Voices Is Up

#10 is here.

The secret

I’ve heard it said that the secret to success is figuring out what you love to do and then find a way to make money doing it.

Of course, when you think about it, that makes alot of sense. If you are doing something that you love to do, then alot of the things that are common goals of working become secondary. A perfect example of that is making money. Alot of people work to make money so they can do things they like to do. If you are already doing something you like to do, you will probably spend less money pursuing other things that you would like to do. IOW, you will probably have less expensive tastes.

Without thinking it through in advance, I fell into something I love to do. I discovered in college, that not only was I good at my chosen profession, but that I also liked it. What I learned from teaching in college was that my students’ ability at computer programming was largely dependent on whether or not they liked it. I don’t believe that all professions will distinguish between those who do like it and those who don’t to the degree that programming does.

This time of year many homeschoolers are ‘off’ of school as they somewhat follow the societal school calendar. One of the beauties of unschooling is that there is no ‘off’ time and no ‘on’ time. The closest thing we have to that is learning for the fun of it. There is learning which we do which falls into the category of life skills. I learn things for work. We learn things to improve our life, our home, etc. But sometimes we explore in an area where there is no direct association with life skills. To me, that is our ‘off’ time.

If you’ve been following along in this and Andrea’s blog, you’ll know I’ve been working pretty flat out on getting our old house ready to go on the market. Usually when I get to the computer at night I’m tired enough that I don’t feel like writing. In the same vein, I’m having a bit of trouble transitioning from one thought to another.

The closing thought I’ve had for this post over the last few days has been that I hope that all 4 of the kids (Addison, Sarah, Meaghan & Emma) learn the principle I opened the post with in the course of their homeschooling ‘education’. Unschooling caters particularly well to that because they will have far more opportunities to discover what it is they love to do. Hopefully, we will provide them with avenues to discover how to make money doing it.

The country fair

…is looking for submissions.

Winter Carnival

This week is winter carnival in town. Yesterday, Isaw the ice blocks set up in the town square and a crew working away at carving them. I took Andrea out this afternoon to look at the results and to snag a few pictures. Andrea took most of them partly because my glasses tint in the sunlight and I can barely see the lcd screen on the camera. In any event, with some ropping, one of the pictures I took is now my desktop wallpaper. If you click on it, you can get the full size image.

icy desktop

Unschooling Voices #5

is up!

Question of the month for Unschooling Voices #6

What interesting activites, projects or experiments have your kids done this past year? We’ve gotten some really cool ideas from other unschoolers so tell us what you’ve done in 2006!

Unschooling Voices (last minute) reminder

The deadline is tomorrow. Details here.

Unschooling Voices #4

is up.

Unschooling Voices (last minute) reminder

October’s question: Unschooling Math: If you’re like me and went to public school, you grew up being taught math from a text book. Now, as an unschooling parent, how do you live math when you’ve been conditioned to think of math in school terms. How do you go from one to the other?

Details on how to submit.

How do you live math? : One day at a time 😉 In the world that I live in math is all around me.

There are sales taxes to be calculated. 14% in New Brunswick.

Land here is officially measured in square metres but otherwise measured in acres. A hectare is 10,000 square metres and an acre is 43,560 square feet. There are 2.47 acres in a hectare.

Gas is sold in litres. Odometers measure in kilometres. Gas mileage is discussed in miles per gallon. There are 4.54 litres in a Canadian gallon. 100 miles is approximately 161 km.

I have a household budget to maintain, interest to pay on borrowed money, retirement to save for, etc. I’m renovating a house. There are materials to buy, quantities to be calculated. Whether or not we let other people (or technology) do it for us, math is all around us.

How do you go from one to the other? : For Emma, the only tool we bought specifically to help her learn math is cuisenart rods. The rods are fun and I’ve already made a fair number of interesting designs and structures with them but I expect she will learn math mostly from a hefty pile of coins and things like lego. But our primary method of ‘teaching’ her math will be letting her see us do everyday math.

Although 13 years ago we were not doing it this way, we migrated to what I consider a foolproof approach to teaching math. Don’t introduce the ‘school’ math until they already know how to do the math. Once they can add then show them paper addition. Once they can subtract then show them paper subtraction. Both geometry and algebra are amazingly easy subjects to explain when the person you are explaining them to is someone who can do arithmetic and enjoys it.

If I were to offer advice to a parent looking to teach their children math it would be to do math. There are an endless number of fascinations and games in math. 🙂