Shopping alone when you are five

The world must be so exciting for her. I try to imagine how she experiences the shops, the distance to the riverside park or the large playground, the roads full of traffic, the market. Buying a snack in the corner store is something trivial for us, a relatively meaningless act we won’t remember. It’s no achievement, it doesn’t exhilarate our spirits. It is a dull and mundane task that would instill a sense of awkwardness just because I am writing about it.

But when Miru goes shopping, she is all excitement. It is one of my tricks to make her understand the usefulness of elementary math: she must count her coins. I follow her on the street because I want to know if she observes the safety rules: look left, look right, stick up your arm as you cross the street. She does this flawlessly and it looks most adorable. I see her enter the corner store and come out, five minutes later, with a plastic bag. Much as I prefer she buys broccoli, this little step towards independence is most endearing.

I don’t want to speed her up to get her out of the house earlier, Eighteen years of a daughter like we have is a blessing. It is the other way around: by encouraging independence at this tender age will enable her to rely on her parents without embarrassment, says my intuition.

Most of the time it is chocolate biscuits or “pepero”, biscuit sticks dipped in chocolate. Yesterday she bought princess lipstick candy. Shopping alone when you are five is exciting, memorable and gives you a real sense of achievement. It makes me wonder what the equivalent would be for adults.

She just offered me one of her treasured cookies so I am going to wrap this up. Being a parent is a tough job.

Shopping alone when you are five was originally published on Meandering home

Math

Dear Miru,

Your calculating is improving and you actually like it. We play with numbers together. Two times ten is twenty. Six plus five is eleven. Ten minus 2 equals eight. It is all very playful. You learn how to figure out calculations by making drawings of dots, lines, squares on the whiteboard. You don’t just learn what the outcome of a calculation is, you learn how to prove it with confidence.

Don’t worry, we won’t plough through Bertrand Russell and Alfred North Whitehead’s Principia Mathematica in its entirety. The most fundamental proof that one and one equals two is indeed rather complicated and requires many of its pages. For the sake of the not very rigorous math education I will give you, we are just going to assume it.

But I won’t let you off the hook all the time! When we get to square numbers and, for example, you observe a pattern when you make a series of the difference between to adjacent squares, (1, 4, 9, 16, 25, 36, 49, 64) => (1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15) it will not be enough. We will prove why the pattern is there. I will teach you about prime numbers and some of the wonderful maths that involve them, something I learned much too late in the development of my numeracy because I was subjected to a primitive form of rote-learning that lacked inspiration or creativity, the kind of learning that destroyed so many children’s appetite for numbers and mathematics.

I am already very proud when you can teach me that six plus six equals twelve and you can also draw a 3 by 4 square to make twelve.

Math was originally published on Meandering home