When you’re walking around in your everyday life, do you see the mathematics all around you? Do you notice shapes, sizes, angles, and patterns? Do you see the potential for counting and sorting and comparing items? Not as lessons, but just as cool things to observe as you’re going about your business. If you notice these interesting parts of life, and enjoy the math all around you, your kids will too. Your lives will be full of patterns and numbers, puzzles and games, and fascinating problem-solving experiences every day.
One year, we bought a large box of pears for canning. Ben took them out of the box and laid them out ever-so-carefully on the table, in a spiral pattern. He started in the middle of the table and then circled them around each other, spiraling outward until he reached the edges of the table. Then he counted them to see how many there were. Just because.
When he turned 8 years old, Ben exclaimed, “I’m an even number again!” I’ve always loved remembering that. It was a celebration of who he was, as well as a simple observation about the numbers in his life. He’s more than twice that age now, but he still notices numbers and patterns like that.
If you see the math all around you, then you can appreciate it as a natural part of your life. It’s something that’s useful and ordinary and amazing all at the same time.