You don’t need school to learn maths.

Is it really possible to learn a subject in a few months as opposed to a few years? The answer is clearly, yes and that goes against everything I thought about learning. I kind of thought you had to slog away for years and years to learn a subject. It is simply not true. If you are truly motivated and love what you are learning then you will learn it. I have seen this with the kids, our girls know that they will need Maths and English if they want to go to circus school. They know it so they are learning them both, in their own time.

On Khan you can Learn anything

But when it comes to our son who is younger he says ‘No, thanks I don’t want to do it.’ ‘What’s the point of studying maths, I learn it in life anyway.’ All the words that come out of his mouth when it comes to maths, I get. I was that maths phobic student see this blog post. Then like magic there was a moment yesterday where something flipped and our son sat with his sister and they studied maths. This was unusual for him to study on The Khan Academy. For the record it is the most amazing resource for education. If you don’t know it check it out. I am extremely grateful that it exists.

His sisters started really delving in to learning maths around the age of 15. Basic maths was learnt through just living but then they decided to start from the beginning with Khan. They started at kindergarten level and have been working their way through it all. This means that they have been putting their heads down everyday. The equivalent of years and years worth of school maths has be learnt in the last 6 months. That is quite a thought, when you think about it.

We mentioned to our son that he could start Khan now and he would then most likely find it super easy to get through it. He has a fast inquisitive mind. It turns out that all the gaming that he had been doing has made him super quick at addition. He doesn’t like anyone to teach him anything and he tends to panic when it comes to traditional learning. But to learn this way and feel a sense of real achievement gives him a spring in his step. It seems he is starting to feel competent at something that was so far away and alien to him. If he hates it and it is too much of a stress for him, he will stop.

Poor Sarah, how could Alice do that?

The maths question reads ‘Alice’s friend Sarah has had a terrible accident up a mountain. She is 800 metres away and she stops for something to eat after 450 metres. How many metres will it take for Alice to reach Sarah?’ He cannot believe that Alice would stop and have something to eat when her friend has had a terrible accident up the mountain. He argues with The Khan Academy’s morals. We all crack up laughing. Once he gets past the terrible injustice done to Sarah, he starts figuring the equation out. He succeeds pretty quickly and then his time is up and he skips away from the computer.

He does 15 minutes a day. We support him and he does it. If it is too much he will stop.

The girls sit for hours, they get in to the deep learning. At 15, they want to understand what they need to know to pass the exam. It is enjoyable for them, it isn’t always easy and unfortunately maths is my weakest subject so I am not the best support. They go to their Dad for help, but they are now getting ahead of him, we are being left in their wake. I am a little sad that I struggle to remember any of my maths from school. They say I should do Khan, I should probably do Khan.

The Joys of learning on line

They then see what else Khan has to offer and it is amazing, there is so much to learn. There is so much available, it is all there for free, isn’t that amazing!? Education for everyone who has a phone and an internet connection. Everyone can learn at their own pace. It is all out there this is an amazing time in history, if you think about it, we are so lucky. The beauty is when you are learning online there is nobody telling you you are wrong. There is no peer pressure, there are no public tests, there are these brilliant young people that do funny, friendly videos. They clearly explain everything!

Maths is everywhere it is in a Rubik’s cube, it’s in origami, music, cooking, shopping, the list is endless. We all know that it is not just figures on a board or equations in a book. It is a wonderful world.

I am sitting in a cafe right now, I will pay for my drink then head back home and ask my son if he is up for 15 minutes on Khan and see what he says. I hope for him and the girls that maths will be/is something that is normal, fun, easy, mind expanding and even exciting. Maths can be beautiful and it is everywhere, which is something I never realised when I was at school. They, like others that are learning around the world in their own time, will be the masters of their own education ship and that will lead them confidently in to a future where really everything is possible.

If you have enjoyed this you can find more of my writing in ‘Jump, Fall, Fly from schooling, to homeschooling, to unschooling, available here. Within seconds it can be in your inbox!

Thank you to Pexels for the pictures.