Unschooling, Math and Money

[From the AlwaysLearning list:]

This week Andy has figured out money, and it's happened in spurts all week. For months he's been obsessed with saving allowance from week to week to buy things, but really had no grasp of anything but dollars and pricetags. It was also very confusing for him that dimes are smaller than nickels, but worth more! A couple of days ago, he came to me and announced mid-conversation: '12 quarters is 300 pennies and that's three dollars.' I said 'You're right, it is,' and dropped it at that. This morning the conversation went like this:

A: 12 quarters are 300 cents, three dollars.
Me: mm hmm
A: so 16 quarters is ..... (thinking for a minute) 400 pennies and that's four dollars!
Me: yep, that's right.
A: and three dimes is 30 cents. So, if Ed, Edd & Eddy had 30 cents they could buy six jawbreakers, because jawbreakers cost five cents each, and that's five nickels, which is three dimes — 30 cents!
Then later at McDonalds, after finding he could only buy one burger for his dollar, he said, "If they sold burgers for 50 cents, then I could have two!"

He has learned all this through his own observations. He figured it on his own, when it made sense to him, because it was now important to him to know. And he has the pleasure of knowing he did it without being 'taught' by someone else. He's learned that he's capable and smart — something you just can't get from a worksheet with some arcane facts memorized.

And that's how they reach the point of 'wanting to learn' — when it matters to them, not when it matters to you or anyone else.


Allowance, Cash and Unschooling

Unschooling and Math