Friday, September 26, 2008

Math has real-world application. And can be humiliating.

One thing I enjoy about homeschooling is that my children can witness concepts in their real-world applications.

I took Dori to the doctor today and Addy, of course, came along. She brought her math workbook and worked out some subtraction problems while we waited. At this point she finds math to be a little tedious. She has a great mind for it, but gets hung up writing out the answers. At home I've started to toss the workbook aside and let her work out concepts kinesthetically using Unifix cubes or base-ten blocks. For today, though, the workbook was easier to transport and Addy wasn't thrilled about having to do her subtraction problems.

I was able to demonstrate the real-world application of subtraction and humiliate myself in the process. Dori is always on the reserved side, but today she simply refused to interact with the nurse. She wouldn't even stand on the scale. We tried everything. Addy stood on the scale to demonstrate how fun it was to make it wiggle. The nurse bribed her with an Elmo sticker and claimed that Elmo wanted her to stand on the scale. The nurse stood on the scale. I placed Dori on the scale against her will, only to have her flail around so much an accurate reading was impossible.

Finally, I scooped Dori into my arms and stood on the scale with her. Addy was able to see a real number sentence (elementary term for equation) at work.


A a huge number - B a really big number = C the little tiny number that is Dori's weight

All I will tell you is that C=32 pounds.


Then later Addy announced out loud in public what A was. Anyone can see that Dori doesn't weigh much more than a bag of cat food.

3 comments:

Luke said...

The sacrifices we make for the educational benefit of our children [smile]. Great story!

~Luke

Nini said...

Brilliant!

Nini said...

Brilliant!