Never heard of it before I started homeschooling my kids... In fact, never heard of it until a month or so ago when the opportunity to take a field trip to the local university math department was offered.
Just in case you're clueless too - according to the web, a fractal is a geometric pattern or rule that approximately repeats itself at smaller and smaller scales as you zoom in closer and closer to it. (huh?) You can download a free program for playing with fractals here.
"Fractals are pretty and interesting". Sara, a Homeschooling mom. (Good thing I don't live in California, ay?)
The most recognized of fractals is the Mandelbrot Set - named for Frenchman, Benoit Mandelbrot, a Harvard mathematician, who is considered the founder of fractal geometry and who was, incidentally, homeschooled from the age of 12 on, by his uncle. Below is a zoomed-out view of the basic Mandelbrot Set.And here is Jacob's version of the Mandelbrot Set - he did some zooming and color changing with the Chaos Pro program and then printed.
As an interesting side note - as I was researching fractals, I discovered that the homeschool movement was actually pioneered by Dr. Raymond & Dorothy Moore, of the Seventh-Day Adventist church. I had no idea! Those denim jumper sewing, Birkenstock shoe and patchouli oil wearing, homemade yogurt making, goat shaving, wading pool in the living room birthing "hippies" were part of a later movement. Please forgive and take no offence if you wear a denim jumper you've sewn yourself, or Birkenstock shoes and patchouli oil. Or if you make and eat your own homemade yogurt from milk you got from your shaved goat and birth your babies in a wading pool in your living room, (while your other 12 children watch and take photos or make sketches...) America is still free - for the moment.
And since I've stepped way over the line already... if you haven't heard about the recent ruling against all homeschooling families in California, by the California Court of Appeal, stating you must have teaching credentials to be able to school your children at home, and parents have no constitutional right to homeschool their own children, please go here and sign this petition. (excuse the run on...) You don't have to be a homeschooling family or a member of the Home School Legal Defense Association to sign. It scares the you-know-what outta me to think of all the parental freedoms that are at stake here.
I found some of this information here, at Conservapedia ("the trustworthy encyclopedia") Never heard of that before either...