A Boise Educator Is Teaching Kids Math With A Tablecloth

Aug 31, 2015

A Boise teacher in her 70's is helping kids learn outside of the classroom in an usual way: with a tablecloth.

Micky Afnan began her career as an educator in 1958. She taught high school, then elementary students.

While teaching the younger children, she recalled a colorful tablecloth her mother made when Afnan was a child. It included a map of the U.S. with the state capitals. Afnan says the cloth helped her memorize all of the capitals in a few months.

As a child, Micky Afnan learned the state capitols from her mother's handmade tablecloth.

“I always remembered that tablecloth that my mother had devised on the kitchen table. And it occurred to me as I went along that the concepts in math and language could be applied on a tablecloth for kids,” she says.

So Afnan went to work, putting concepts and sketches together. She took her idea to her daughter and son-in-law and together, the family business was born.

Simpsons illustrator Rob Oliver - a family friend - drew the final cartoons for the tablecloth, which they sell for $19.99 each.

Afnan drew the initial sketches, then handed them to family friend Rob Oliver, an illustrator on the Simpsons.

Afnan says it’s a simple concept that kids love. She says it’s a great, non-electronic way for busy parents to teach their children.

“It is rather profound in its impact. If the family sits around for supper at night and this conversation comes up with the children, it’s a good way to get talking going.”

Afnan still teaches part time in the Boise School District. She's dreaming up her next tablecloth: one that will teach kids language and phonics.

Find Samantha Wright on Twitter @samwrightradio

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