Friday, July 8, 2011
Biology and Math
Question asked: For the original Life of Fred books you have to be able to do long division. I assume they need to be done sequentially but I am not really sure.
I bought the complete original series of LoF when my son was 10. He asked if he could just read them as novels instead of working the math as he went. I told him of course! He read and giggled his way all the way through the complete series. Later, when he and his dad were busy discussing quantum physics and black holes, my son decided he really needed to get a better handle on the higher maths. He jumped right into the calculus book and after a bit of struggle, he decided that it would make sense to go through the math in a more step by step procedure actually working the problems as he went. (We had already talked about this, but coming to his own realization was beautiful!)
He is now 13 and every so often he picks up the books and works his way through them. He now has a strong grasp on Algebra and Geometry. As for Biology, he has had an intense interest in that since around age 8. Back then he wanted to learn everything he could about cats. I looked for every book I could find, every video, and I totally disregarded 'age level'. Soon he was reading college level biology books just because he was interested. We let him breed his cats and raise all the kittens. He's pretty much an expert on cats and all their biology now. (Our vet was impressed.) Also, in letting him learn all he could about cats, he now has a solid foundation on the biology of mammals which has lead to many more studies including humans.
For my son, the most beautiful part of unschooling, is the freedom for him to be able to explore a subject as deeply as he likes. I just pay attention to his interests and do everything I can to feed those interests. Needless to say, his bookshelves are loaded with books on biology, physics, religions of all forms, mythology, math, tons of various reference books, tons of D&D books, comics, tons of fiction and classical literature, to name a few. He has access to the local library should he want it. He has unlimited access to the web. He has unlimited access to video games. He has unlimited access to a menagerie of pets and a life outdoors.
Today finds him in a kayak with his dad and a family friend who till just recently worked at NASA while they wait to watch the final launch of the space shuttle. Yesterday had him working on a SeaDoo learning to rebuild a carburetor.
Who knows what he will learn tomorrow? I'm sure it will be something interesting.