Posted in Blogfest Entries, Coffee and Conversation, Just for Fun!, Just Jot it January, Life Writing, Parenting, Unschooling

Coffee and Conversation: JusJoJan Day 19: Infinite Cookies

Grab a cuppa and a comfy seat, and let’s chat a while! It’s time for Coffee and Conversation!

When I was six, my family was driving on a highway late at night. Streaks of headlights and taillights painted the dark. For the first time, I realized that each car held people living lives as important to them as mine was to me.

I wanted to know what those lives were, and to share my own..


Jottin’ through January, one day at a time.

So, what do you think of when you read the word ‘infinity’? How about ‘cookies’?

While I was typing the above, my son was baking 1,092.4 cookies/second.

So far, he’s baked almost 800,000 cookies in about an hour.

How is this possible?

Well, he’s playing a game called Cookie Clicker. In it, he can farm cookies, mine cookies, import cookies from the cookie world, operating cookie factories, hiring grandmas to bake cookies, and buying magical floating cursors…

925, 000 cookies, now!

Can he get to a point where his cookie count approaches infinity? Maybe not…but…then again…

3,272.8 cookies/second.

Sometimes I chuckle and shake my head when I remember that there was a time, early in our homeschooling, when I worried about whether he could ever learn math. After all, I had trouble in math, beginning with memorizing multiplication tables, continuing on to long division – and then, there was algebra, and everything that followed. As I’ve said before, I wrote some great erotica in high school math…

3.718 million cookies…

What I didn’t know, back then, is that the nature of the math that I was thinking about was very different than the math that exists in life. Truly, school math is ‘rithmetic… it’s introduced by a schedule set up in advance, that has no awareness of the realities of the children who will be taught.

4,980.4 cookies/second.

I didn’t understand the difference between teaching – something done to someone – and learning – something someone does, internally. I didn’t yet understand that the reason my son, at 7, was having trouble with places (ones, tens, hundreds, and so forth), not because he was a poor student, or because I was a bad teacher, but instead because the material wasn’t relevant to him, and the approach I was using was just not comprehensible to him. Maybe, he wasn’t ready, at that point, even though the What Your Second Grader Needs to Know book said he ought to be.

7.924 million cookies…

The thing is that different people learn different things at different times. The thing is that different people learn different things in different ways. The thing is that different people need to know different things, for different reasons.

The thing is that kids aren’t students nearly as much as they are people.

13,106 cookies/second.

At 13, while playing this game, he’s learning a great deal. Buying and banking. Utilizing available resources. Muttiplication. Decimals and percentages. Profit margins and acceptable risks. Exponential growth. Goal-setting and attaining the goals, or adapting.

That’s just what I can think of, off the top of my head ,while the clicking goes on a few feet away from me.

You see, real learning is – well, real. It’s relevant – to the learner, and not the curriculum. Sure, kids can be taught to memorize and parrot back that information long enough to pass the test – but is that real learning?

Yes, my son’s playing a game. But this game, right now, is very important to him. He’s learning to achieve a goal of his own design, for his own reasons.

21.51 million cookies is quite an achievement, after all, for under two hours of play! Not infinite, but certainly a lot!

What do you think? Is it more valuable to teach kids ‘by the book’, or to allow them to learn what they need, when they need it?

And why do I suddenly want a cookie? 😉

Jot over to visit some other bloggers – maybe they’ve got cookies!

Just another chef’s daughter, in Daddy’s tie-dye!


I am myself. I own my life, and live with three other people who own theirs. My intention is to do only those things that bring me joy, and to give myself wholly to those things I do. Writing has been my passion throughout my life, and this will become the home for my writing life...because it brings me great joy!

3 thoughts on “Coffee and Conversation: JusJoJan Day 19: Infinite Cookies

  1. Shan, you have my total respect girl. My boys were taught at home when they reached high school. They begged us to take them out of that environment. We hesitated because we didn’t want to isolated our kids. You have to know that this was circa 1990s and home schooling was totally frowned upon. But our boys weren’t getting the education that we expected. Here they went to schools in an affluent area, not that we were in that position, but we found it strange that they had to share books. And most of their schoolwork was done at home. So we thought, what are we doing? They’re not learning anything at the school. So we taught them at home. They did fantastic. And later we would find out that our youngest son had ADD. So he excelled when he was able to work at his own pace. Who knew? 🙂

    1. Sounds like your boys knew – smart kids! And smart parents, to take them seriously.

      I’ve found that my kids have far better social skills than many of their schooled peers. Last night, we went to a fast food place to eat, then to a write-in at a bookstore. Te kids talked with people of all ages, from the not yet able to speak clearly toddler Lise played with, to elderly folk they befriended.

      They don’t see age as any kind of barrier to friendship. I love that about them. It’s so much fun to watch them interact with people!

      My husband, and likely my son, too, have ADD. Our lifestyle accommodates them perfectly, because they can do what they want, when they want.

      When we got home last night, Jeremiah had about 30 billion cookies!

  2. And don’t forget all the math entailed by “real” baking! We use “baker’s math” at my bakery all the time. For a fun challenge, try making 3 1/2 times a recipe of something with your kids (you can always freeze the extras for later), or 1 1/3…great mental exercise. And yummy.

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