I haven’t been writing much about unschooling lately. Mostly it’s because I write a report each week for Daughter’s homelearner program. Also because this blog is partly for me; writing out thoughts and experiences helps me to process them. But I really would like this blog to be a place someone can come to if they are interested in, or curious about, unschooling to see what it looks like In Real Life.

Here’s a recent experience: The other night Daughter asked if I would look at a library book with her. It was Fraction Action. She had already read it, and had this idea that we could draw out the examples of fractions given in the book.

I’m sorry this isn’t rotated correctly; I’m having import issues. We started with a circle I drew that Daughter then divided into halves. I wrote “1/2” on one side and she wrote it on the other. She then drew examples of halves from the story: a sandwich cut in half (middle row, left) and (continuing from left to right) a glass half full of juice, a dish with half vanilla and half chocolate ice cream, then (going down to the third row) a garden plot with half vegetables and half flowers, a muffin cut in half, a piggy bank half full, and a framed image of a cow jumping over half a moon.

We then moved onto thirds, repeating the sequence. You can see a flower with three petals, a chocolate-chip cookie divided into three peices, a court jester’s hat with three “tassles”, a wallet with three folds (and a dollar bill edge along the top), and a beach towel with three stripes.

Finally, we did quarters. She again divided the circle I drew, and wrote the fractions. She drew (from the book) a hot dog cut into four peices, a dollar bill folded into fourths (here she drew 4 lines, an easy mistake; she laughed when I asked her to count the number of sections she made and she found she had five), a cracker broken into four pieces, a four-leafed clover, and a pie cut into four peices.

With each pictured I’d asked her “what is this section called” and she’d answer “a half; a third, a quarter”.

We then reviewed how to write fractions, as she didn’t remember from the last time we’d worked on this stuff and asked me to show her again. I drew a circle with six sections and made one of them shaded. I showed her that the top number of a fraction was the number of shaded bits, and the bottom number was the total number of bits. We then practiced with me drawing sectioned shapes, then moving on to flower petals, and dinosaurs. Of course she enjoyed the dinosaurs. An example question I gave her was “What is the fraction describing the plates on this Stegosaurus’ back?” (which I’d drawn with one dark and three light coloured plates) and she’d say “a fourth” and I’d write 1/4. Then she asked if SHE could draw some puzzles for me:

First she asked me to write the fraction that represents the number of dinosaurs with babies and eggs. Next she asked me to do the number of fish with stripes or spots. Finally, the number of jellyfish that are alive (we both had a good laugh at that one; note the dead jellyfish on the bottom right!). When I was done she said she hadn’t realized that she’d done all the same fraction!

I’d like to point out that this was ALL HER IDEA. She guided the whole activity. To be honest, it was evening and I was tired and I really didn’t feel like it at first. But I’m glad I did, because it ended up being fun.