Saturday, May 11, 2013

Living Math at Work

My son purchased a computer game after looking for several days for something he may want. I love his process he goes through as it is such a frugal one that is so natural to him! He looks and looks between computer games, Xbox live games, and even books. He looks at Walmarts, Game Stop and online at, and after each look takes a day or two to THINK about it and see if it is really something he wants. He does not part with his money easily, and takes his time with the purchases he does decide to make.

When he finds something, he calculates the shipping costs or if there will be a sales tax, in order to make sure he has enough money and will not have to ask us to cover the difference if he by chance goes over. He makes sure he will not go over!

On this particular purchase, he went for a computer game which he received fairly quickly through the mail after he purchased it from When he went to download it, he found he needed something downloaded in order to even run the game. Well this download has tons of updates it needed to do as it has never been downloaded on his computer. This is taking a painfully long time, we are talking DAYS to download! 

Each day he has been calculating gigabytes and estimating when the update may be complete.  He looks at how much gigabytes is downloading a day and comparing that with the percentage of how much it says it is downloading.

My daughter on the other hand has been using a lot of math skills that started with our grocery shopping endeavor. She knows her food has to last 2 weeks before our next shopping trip where she again will receive $50 for a 2 week period of food, making her own food choices. At the store, she was keeping a close eye on her purchases, determining how much more she could get, how many meals she needed and if she had enough for some snacks.

As we are completing week one after shopping, she was fully aware of going through her food a little too fast. She really started going through and thinking of all the meals she had left, how long it needed to last, did she have enough dinners? Enough Lunches? Cupcakes can be considered a meal, right?  How many days can a person go without food? How hungry will I be if I run out?  Wow I should have enough! ( after talking out all her meals left, and counting in the fact mom will cook family dinners on the weekends giving her 2 free meals!)

The other thing that happened this week is that we bought a brand new push lawn mower with a grass catcher on it. The neighbor then put their riding mower out by the road for sale, a highly used riding lawn mower.

This had her asking how much we spent on ours, so she could determine which would be the better buy.  Okay, well ours was $220 and the neighbors is for sale at $250. Ours is a little cheaper but requires much more work to mow the yard. But we saw how much the riding mower was breaking down all last summer...........highly used..........all the way around she determined OURS was the better buy.

While they do not always figure out math in a manner of how it is taught in the public school system, they are still highly capable of reasoning out problems in their own way.

Living Math gives them a reason to  figure out because it is real and in the moment, it is not separated from life. When you separate math from living, it becomes some abstract affair that just does not make sense for many no matter how many times someone tries to show you. Living Math gets them excited  to figure it out because it actually applies to something they want to know right here, in the moment.

It was a beautiful thing to watch as I got to "hear" them without interfering figure it out.


  1. This year we focused on "real life" math. It has made our oldest aware of just how much it takes to live. Yesterday after a trip to the dentist she was shocked to learn how much the bill was before insurance. It really hit home when she realized that in a few short years she may be fully responsible for those costs, depending on the choices she makes.

    1. It can be a real eye opener for tweens and teens when they start grasping how much things cost can't it? :)