Because math is SO important in life, we didn't ever have a "Math" theme for the year. We always just brought math into our other subjects... which wasn't easy at first. But this particular experience I had with math really showed me the value and importance of seeing mathematical relationships in what we were learning. Once I caught that, I could see math could be found everywhere.

Here is the experience I had...

During our first year of homeschooling (1997), while helping the boys work on their math (Saxon - at the time), I learned one of my first valuable and most powerful lessons in understanding the concept of integrating subjects.

Both of my boys had become frustrated with fractions. (I even remember the math problem they were working on because it was the very problem I was taught this amazing concept through the Spirit.) Their math problem was 2/3 + 1/4 = (what?)

We focused on other subjects, but literally took weeks off from doing math, while I took my question directly to the Lord: "Did Adam and Eve work out of a workbook?"

The obvious answer was "No!" - but then came my real dilemma... "Then how did they learn?"

During one of my personal morning devotionals, I had read: "Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God;" (Doc & Cov 88:119)

Later that day, while going through their math book I saw the chapter on "Order of Operations" - and for some reason the word ORDER stood out to me. I soon realized that order was found in everything - housecleaning (a house of order), math (order of operations), science (order in the universe), history (order in time - timelines), etc. So I prayed, "I think I'm starting to get this. If I'm correct, please help me see how to use this concept in our math problem: 2/3 + 1/4 =?"

I began to analyze the math problem...

STEP 1 - in order to add fractions, you must convert (change) each fraction so the denominator (bottom #) is the same, or so they have "a common denominator."

The smallest number both "3" (in 2/3) and "4" (1/4) have in common (or go into evenly) is "12." (Remember, to multiply fractions, you times straight across.)

"3" (the bottom # in 2/3) goes into twelve "4" times - so I multiplied 2/3 by 4/4 to convert to 8/12 for the first number.

"4" (the bottom # in 1/4) goes into twelve "3" times - so I multiplied 1/4 by 3/3 to convert to 3/12 for the second number.

STEP 2 - Now we can add the two converted fractions together:
8/12 + 3/12 = "11/12" (When adding fractions, you add the top number, but the bottom number remains the same "common denominator.")

The answer was correct, but I wasn't finished learning, for the Spirit showed me the spiritual pattern that totally changed our homeschool adventure...

He showed me the spiritual concept of becoming one through the atonement of Jesus Christ, with the above pattern of "ones" everywhere.

I first had to CONVERT each fraction (multiply the original fractions (2/3 and 1/4) by "one" (4/4 and 3/3 - or 100% truth) before I could add them together (become converted - or get the correct answer.)

Once I had the correct answer (11/12) I still needed something (grace) to become "one" (12/12) with Him at the end.

Now let me say here that I KNOW Christ's grace does not make UP the difference - "It makes ALL the difference!" His grace is throughout our mortal equation of life, but for this math problem, "grace" was represented by the "1/12" - keeping in mind - that the answer to a subtraction problem is called "the difference," so in this case, the "1/12" is the difference in this subtraction problem. (12/12 - 11/12 = 1/12)

This was so exciting to me! I could see - for the first time through MATH the importance of my Savior, Jesus Christ and His Atonement.

I could see the relationship of the "conversion" process, and the importance of multiplying what I was learning about God with 100% truth to truly be converted to Him.

But even "after all we can do" (11/12), we still "fall short of the Glory of God" (12/12) and need His "grace" to make up "the difference" - so I could see clearly the "1/12" representing His grace.

I knew from this experience, if I could learn such a profound spiritual lesson through a MATH problem, we could easily learn math and other subjects this same way!  (The "Principle" way!)  I could now take this concept to teach math, science, history, art and language (i.e. reading, writing, communicating, etc.) to have a more powerful, in-depth learning experience.