Today I do math with little girls. Division with fraction remainders.
"How many times does three go into twenty. Use your rods. How many ten rods do you need?"
"How many three rods line up under the ten rods."
"So does three go into twenty evenly?"
"No, there is a little space left."
"What rod fits in that space?"
"The two fits."
"That's right. So is the answer six-two?"
"No, Mama! It's six and two parts of three. Six and two over three. Six and two thirds!" This stuff is easy for Faith.
Claire looks a little confused.
"Do you understand the two thirds part? It's a fraction. Do you remember what a fraction is?"
Confusion still clouds her face. "It is a part of a whole. Remember last night when we had two cookies, two wholes and you broke them into five pieces? You were making fractions."
The clouds lift. She gets it. "And we were making friends, Mama. Fractions and friends."
She does this math lesson better than I. The cookie scene replays in my mind while we work our way through the numbers. Two lonely cookies on a big plate, stale, leftover from Valentine's Day. "Whoever frosted these cookies come and eat them, they are taking up too much real estate on the counter." The children gather, all five, to look. Rightful owners claim the goods. Without a word, they begin breaking apart their creations into equal pieces. Five children share two stale cookies. This part of my children astonishes me. They hold lightly to possessions and share freely, frequently. All are better at fractions than their hoarding mama with her chips. And all are friends.