I'm Bon Crowder and the photos above are both of me - in 1989 and today. I'm a Generation X mom of Generation Z kids.

I began peer tutoring in high school in 1984. MathFour.com is the 2015 version of me helping peers be comfortable in math.

If you're a Gen-X parent, you're in the right place!

Tag Archives: unschooling

I'm Throwing Out Fifty Things!

I bought the book Throw Out Fifty Things a few weeks ago and it’s changed my life.

My latest accomplishment - getting rid of 50 things from this (now neat) bookshelf!

Of course, I haven’t read it – inspirational books like this only need me to purchase them to apply their basic principles.

But I have thrown out multiples of 50 things in the past few weeks. All because of this book!

“What’s that got to do with math?”

Great question; I’m glad you asked.

Well, for starters, “fifty” is a number. In particular a positive integer.

And if you buy this book (adding one more thing to your pile of stuff, as Husband points out), then you probably have at least 50 things you can throw out.

Which means you have way more than 50 things.

How many things do you have?

Take a quick inventory. No – not of everything. But just of what you see right in front of you at this very moment.

Chances are you stopped counting and started estimating at around 50. Then you stopped altogether at around a few hundred.

Even if you divide this by two (if you’re married or partnered) that’s still a ton of stuff.

“Things” are more than what you see.

Now take a quick peek at your email. How many things are clogging your inbox?

If you’re online, I’ll bet you have a plethora of people you’re friends with and following.

And if you write a blog… look at how many drafts you have.

So throw out fifty things.

Well, make sure to recycle them or donate them. But get them out of your world.

If it helps, think of how many thousands of things you have. If you have 500 things in each room and you have ten rooms, that’s 5000 things.

Throwing out 50 of those is 1% of your stuff. That’s practically nothing. And you’ll feel great!

I’m throwing out 70 things in the next three weeks!

I’ve pitched books, sold cloth diapers and donated socks – at least 50 pair of the cutest 1980’s socks you’ve ever seen!

Shirts, pants and shoes… if I didn’t love them, I gave them to someone who would.

And now it’s time for the e-throw-out.

I have 70 articles on this site – in draft mode! So for the next three weeks, every one of them is getting published or pitched.

Many will be conversation starters, as my twitter friend Miles MacFarlane suggested. Some might turn into full articles.

And some drafts will meet their fate with the “File 13” button of death.

And I’ll be free!

Okay, there’ll certainly still be things that haunt me. Things I need to do, want to do and have to do.

But I won’t have a mountain of “should-haves” sitting on my shoulders.

So how about you? Share in the comments what kinds of things you’ll throw out for your first 50 things. And let others join the fun – tweet this out!

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2 Responses to I'm Throwing Out Fifty Things!

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4 Responses to Time and Technology – Are we missing some math practice?

  1. I think it does. No amount of darling drills in estimation really replaces estimation that you need and use daily. Cooking is another loss. How many kids are ever in an environment where ingredients need to be measured? If cookies need to be sliced off a bar, that’s home-cooking.

    • I never thought of the sliced cookies, Brooke! You’re so right.

      This is where homeschooling starts to be a huge benefit. Even afterschooling families do well with this kind of thing. Instead of working so much, moms and/or dads will do things “the long way” so kids can have those learning opportunities.

  2. No I don’t think it’s much of a loss to be honest.

    It’s not like the time was ever out by more than a few minutes, so getting practice at adding on or subtracting another 3 or 4 minutes to a time doesn’t really add much to the skill level.

    But I know what you’re trying to say – I’ll tell you where mobile phones have had a great impact on numbers in my opinion – memory.

    I used to be able to spit out the phone number for up to thrity friends and family – I’d be lucky to know 2 others besides my own now.

    • And yet I bet your noodle is filled with f-stops and all that swell stuff. 😀

      I still have to think, “2.8 vs. 8 means about 1/3 vs. 1/8 are the two openings.”

      Then I go on to think, “When I scrunch my eyes it makes a smaller opening. That allows me to focus better on one thing but other things are blurry.”

      With these two pieces of info, I can then figure out to which side of the f-stop spectrum I need to lean.

      It’s good math practice, but annoying when you’re trying to photograph a wiggly toddler.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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4 Responses to Teaching Time Isn’t Only About Telling Time

  1. Some things, you have to learn for yourself. Like how fast time flies almost all the time as an adult. What kid would believe such craziness?

    That said, the idea that time is precious, and you should spend it mindfully, seems like a great thing to start teaching young so a child can learn to mold its own life.

    Just for fun, here’s another mathmatician’s take on time perception.


    Happy mathing!

    • Spending time mindfully is indeed important – and something we often forget!

      We bought Daughter a calendar for Xmas so she could learn about days. It has large squares she can color in at the beginning of the day and at the end, she can mark through the day.

      I wonder how it will go.

      Thanks so much for your thoughts and that link. It’s amazing – I’m going to put it on my resource page!

  2. I liked the distinction between teaching how to “read” the time on a various clocks and also understanding the passage of time. Another facet is coming to understand world time zones. My year six class also came up with some pretty insightful thoughts in a class discussion one day about why we have sixty seconds, 60 mintues etc, linked to resting heart beats and the purposes of having a standardised time system… who needs it and why, are their cultures that still tell time differently. WE are in Austalia and indigenous people here have ways of telling time with regard to how the sun is hitting their face. All very interesting. Their meausurement systems suit their nees, a turtle for example may be “measured” as a two person, or four person turtle depending on how many men it would take to carry or how many people it would feed.

    • Interesting, Vanessa!

      I love it when kids are given the opportunity to speculate and come up with their own ideas. That’s what mathematics is all about.

      I would love to learn more about the turtle measuring, too.


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One Response to A Human Interest Story Involving Math: The $100 Battery Charger

  1. Hi

    This was very touching indeed. I completely agree you can’t put a price tag to “generosity”. And you have made a nice suggestion of sharing it with kids. It’s great to infuse kids with the right sense of morals. Thanks for the share.

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3 Responses to Unrecognized Math Conversations

  1. Hi Bon, what a great post. You say that people use math everyday without even realizing it. You are so right. It’s such a normal part of everyday life, I don’t even notice where the math begins and ends…and I LOVE math. Thanks for noticing it and bringing it forward!

  2. Love your blog! I taught my daughter with living math and math conversations, though I didn’t use those terms.

    Interesting example, except I doubt this bracelet is 24 carat, 100% gold. Gold is around $1700 an ounce for pure gold. Most jewelry is gold alloy.
    If it’s 18 carat, it’s 75% gold; then 9 grams would be 75% of $540, or $405. So the piece allows 25% for craftsmanship, manufacturing and marketing. A bargain. But the piece may be only 14 carat, in which case it’s 58.5% gold and 41.5% for the labors. Volume helps–that’s math too!

    • Wow, thanks for the info. And for the kind words!

      I’m mostly a silver girl, so I wouldn’t have thought in any of those terms.

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2 Responses to How to Teach Right Triangles when Crossing the Street

    • I love it!

      And this is why it is so important for teachers to keep their own ears and eyes peeled, right? If you hadn’t listened to him, he would have gotten so discouraged.

      Good for him for seeing this very real connection – and good for you for acknowledging it!

      (and thanks so much for sharing this story, Sue!)

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One Response to How to Integrate Math into Geography

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