Math in Real Life, by Briana Elizabeth

My children are not geniuses. I am most happily teaching regular, normal children. They are good in some things and not good in others, just as we all are. If anything, homeschooling has given us the chance to lay the best foundation for their weakest areas and allowed them the time to delve into their strongest areas.

In following, this is the story of how a weak area is given a stronger foundation when Mom supplies three days, endless cardboard, markers, and thingamagigs from all over the house. (it was like I had a passel of ferrets, I tell you).


Sophia has had some trouble with adding and counting money.  No matter how hard I pushed and pulled and prodded, she just drew a blank whenever I tried to review money.

So her sisters (who are thirteen) took it upon themselves to help her: they made her a store.

Perhaps they were all tired of listening to the constant review. Perhaps they knew something I didn’t. I think I know which it was.

It didn’t start out with a Big Plan. Matter of fact, I didn’t even know it was happening. The house was quiet, I was going about my business, and they were entertaining themselves for hours. What more could I ask for? Indeed.

They built the cash register and made all of the money. Mind you, I didn’t give them any ideas, and I made no requests. Those things on the side of the cash register? Are credit cards. They had Sophia tally up the prices, too.

By the end of the day, Sophia understood how money works.

They played like this for three days. They brought the neighborhood children to their store. They ferreted everything they could get their hands on for inventory.

Math in real life. They knew what Mom didn’t: Fia needed practical application. The play was the ‘work’ that cemented the ideas.

Some of you might yawn and say that your kids do this all the time – excellent! Such creativity is a thing to cherish.

Some of you might be wishing your kids would do things like this. All I can share to help you is that I have always allowed my children time. Time doing nothing (with no screens allowed). I have allowed them use of anything they like, as long as they use those things with respect (scissors, box cutters, etc) and put them away after use. And I encourage play by playing. Not so much games (Catan!) but in that they see me playing.

Real life math. So go play. All of you.

Briana Elizabeth has been at this homeschool gig since her 23 year old son was in 7th grade, and his psychiatrist told her that he had to be homeschooled. Her son never went back to public school that year, and the following year, she pulled her 4th grade daughter out of public school. Her five other children have all been homeschooled entirely. It was baptism by fire, but she wouldn’t trade it for the world. Through the years, she has in the end, not only educated her children, but herself, and homeschooling has brought about a whole paradigm change of living for her family. The education that had seemed only possible for the elite was possible through classically homeschooling.

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