Thursday, December 13, 2007


I have been having some fun with Ellie's math lately.

Math is an area that I lack not only interest but also experience. We use what I think to be the greatest math curriculum of all time, Math-U-See and I am really understanding math concepts for the first time! (A+ for Kris!)

Last week Ellie was learning how to write enormous numbers in place value notation. I "learned" at an early age to be very intimidated by lots of zeros - and I saw Ellie beginning to feel the same way. I don't want my daughters growing up thinking math is for boys - or that is it is something to fear, so I pretended to be excited about it. Getting excited about it meant that I needed to be darn sure that I understood how to do it, too.

And so my story begins.................... After a week of practicing this concept I found myself "thinking" in terms of place value notation.

For instance:
*There are 10+2 months in the year.
*I spent 100+40+7 dollars at the toy store last week.
*There are 100,000+80,000+6,000+300+50+2 miles on our van.

And here is the kicker:
* There are 4,000,000 +600,000 orphans in Ethiopia.

That is a lot of zeros. I was sitting at the eye doctor the other day waiting for my daughter's appointment to be over and my mind was thinking of the 4,000,000 + 600,000 orphans in Ethiopia. I wondered if other people get intimidated by lots of zeros like I used to. Do people really understand HOW MANY children that is - living without families? No mom or dad? No home or bike or dog? I started to break the number down into more palatable increments.

I thought to myself...suppose there were only 9 orphans? Or maybe 60+2 orphans? What if in my neighborhood, or city, state, there were 800+30+7 orphans? That is a ton of children growing up with out the love of a family. But in Ethiopia there are so many orphans that the reality gets lost in all of the zeros. I wondered if people would help more if there were actually fewer. Maybe if people could wrap their brain around a number it would be more real? I don't have the answer - I was just wondering.

My fun with 3rd grade math concepts has made me even more grateful for the three beautiful, smart, funny, happy children that have joined our family this year. I thank our God of miracles that they are no longer one of the zeros.

This photo was taken the day our children learned they had a family waiting for them in America.


hwmnydcts? said...

What an incredible post! We read this days before we left for ET to bring home two children. We are so thankful to have them in our home. They are no longer "zeros!" You can check out our blog @

darci said...

oh I just found your blog and have been stealing moments away to come and read back..I am sad that you are no longer writing,b ut looking forward to reading back in your story. we are a Christian homeschooling family, too, with three bio kiddos and waiting for our two from ethiopia. God bless. darci :)