We are going on holiday, our first holiday in years and the girls are very excited. I am very excited too! We have a cottage booked opposite the lake, not far from the beach.

A couple of weeks ago we received all the details about costs. There is a basic cost for 7 nights’ accommodation for 6 people (the boys are staying home- they’ll be working and cat sitting), plus an optional end-of-holiday-cleaning cost and a linen cost. I mulled it all over and decided we’d take our own linen but have the cottage cleaned for us after our stay. Who wants to end a holiday cleaning bathrooms and vacuuming floors? I paid the deposit and we have been counting down the days…

Today the balance of the payment was due. I printed off all the money details, handed them to Sophie. Could she help me work out how much money we still owed, taking into account we’d already paid the deposit and we didn’t need to pay the linen charge? Sophie’s eyes actually lit up as she contemplated this mathematical problem. Soon she returned with the answer.

“I have an answer and I think it’s right but I’m going to check it on the calculator, Mum.”

“Great idea.”

“Yes, the calculator agrees with me. You owe $....”

And she was correct! I’d already worked it out and Sophie’s calculations matched mine.

So off we went to town to finalise our payment. While we were out, I couldn’t resist popping into a favourite clothes shop. There was a sale on and as it’s wise to shop when prices have been reduced, I stopped to browse. After a few minutes of sorting through racks, I was tempted to buy a silky blue shirt and floaty black skirt. I handed over my bank card, paid for my clothes and then headed home thinking, “Wow! What bargains!”

But how much of a bargain did I actually get? Once home, I gave Sophie my receipts and the original price tags and the mark down price tags and asked her if she wanted to help me. How much would the clothes have cost me full price? And how much did I save? The skirt and shirt had been marked down a couple of times so the figures were more complicated than at first glance but soon…

“Wow! Mum. You saved $120.”

I’d paid much less than half price. So now I am walking around with a huge smile on my face because I saved so much money. And Sophie has a huge smile on her face because she was able to answer my mathematical question.

“Have you got any other maths problems I can help you with, Mum?” From now on I am going to be looking out for as many real mathematical problems as possible for my maths-magician to solve. She seems to have forgotten she doesn’t like maths.

And in the meantime, I am wondering, “What can I buy with that $120 that I saved?”

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  1. Love it Sue! My younger two love anything math, while the olders had to gradually dip in their toes and then after years and years knowledge happened without me even realizing - suddenly it just was there! By the way, whenever I doubt wether or not I should have taken part in "The Book," I think of you and thank God for putting you into my life. Love, love, love your blog :-) Have a wonderful holiday!

  2. Hi Beate,
    Thank you for stopping by!

    Your maths experiences with your children are very reassuring. I'm glad you shared that!

    I have just been shopping again. Imogen bought a few items which were included in my bill and now she is going to pay me back for them. I was just about to work out how much Immy owes me when I thought of my maths magician, Sophie. She is at this very moment busy manipulating numbers.

    And I have been wondering what percentage of the full price I saved on my clothes the other day. Maybe Sophie can work that out for me too.

    All this has made me realise that life is full of opportunities for our children to practice their maths skills. I just have to remember to use these moments.

    Beate, times when people stop and say something that really touches the heart rarely happen. Thank you so much for your very kind words. I feel such joy after reading your comment. I am so glad I can share your life too. I read your messages on the UC list and your contribution to Suzie's book and feel I know you and your family just a little. In my turn, I want to say I am very grateful that you wrote a chapter for The Book. Have no doubts! What you have done is so very special and helpful to others. I really feel God is working through The Book. And there is something very special about the families who have adopted the unschooling way of life. I have never felt more welcome by a group of women. There is such joy and charity between us.

    I am so happy you share my stories on this blog. Thank you for reading. And thank you for the holiday wishes!

  3. Ah Sue - you made me cry! I was so discouraged yesterday, popped here today for mommy culture and there you are :-)

    Yes, math caused the deer in the headlight look for both my older girls. Now they have a handle on the basics at any rate, not sure how or when that came about. I finally gave up and let it go.

    Gosh, isn't Parousia going to be awesome? To finally meet! What a joy it will be!

  4. Beate,
    Now it is my turn to have teary eyes. It was so wonderful to get up this morning and find your comment waiting for me. Your words will carry me through the day.

    I have got so behind on the UC messages. There must be over 200 I haven't read. Actually I am reading them in reverse order now as they come in, to prevent the number from getting bigger. That is how I found and responded to your message about the Mass yesterday. I have no idea what the rest of the discussion was like but your words rung so true for me.

    Would it be possible for us to swap the odd email? I'd like that.

    May God bless you!


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