For some reason, I thought that when we stopped homeschooling and my eight year old started going to 'regular school' (albeit an independent community school) I would have less access to her mathematical thinking and learning.

Turns out I was wrong. Two examples:

Walking to school. The girl is holding her library card like it's made of gold. She thinks maybe they're going to the downtown library that afternoon and she doesn't want to part with it. We pass a brick wall built with some of the bricks on the diagonal, creating an interesting pattern.

She stops to notice. "Look at this cool design!"

She notices something else. "Hey, the library card is the same width as the brick."

And, another thing. "This brick is two and a half....no, two and a fourth times longer than the card."

[All thanks, I think, to the great afternoon we spent last winter with the book Ten Times Better - read about our antics here.]

Second example, math homework, and she actually wants my company. If you know our history, the fact that she invited me into her math world is truly a momentous occasion.

The homework is titled "Things That Come in Groups". There are eight juice boxes in a package. She easily figures out how many juice boxes in three packages.

Next question asks how many juice boxes are in six packages. And....wait for it...she says, "Well, there are 24 in three packages so there are 48 in six packages," and proceeds to write that equation in the spot it's requested. The next question is about nine packages, and she continues the pattern of reasoning -- 72 total juice boxes.

I suppose I get delighted by little things but, no matter, this is wonderful to watch. I know what kind of equation they were asking for, though. It actually took her longer to figure out how to to write it the way they wanted (6x8=48) but no matter. I love that she saw patterns and easily computed the answers in her head. And, because I know her math learning history, I remember her at age six developing this strategy as she made her very own game about doubles and halves.

"I love homework, mama."

"Why is that?"

"It feels so old fashioned and classic."

I look forward to more math homework because I think it will afford many more opportunities for watching her mathematical thinking expand and deepen. I love watching kids learn, especially so up-close. Sigh.

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