Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Sun Finally Came Out!

It has been raining, and raining, and raining! The weather people say that we got over 24" of rain during the month of May. And the large lake reservoir in our area gained 20' but is still only less than 60% full. There is flooding. Everywhere. Everywhere but our house, which apparently is instead leaking. S's garden rain gauge filled to 5"+ in two weeks. We dumped it out and then immediately the next day it was refilled to 2.5". There has been tornado warnings, high winds, hail, and just tons of water falling from the sky. The sun just peeked out yesterday afternoon, and it is now 90 degrees.

I have been working on a homeschooling co-op and setting up summer plans. Since the kiddos have no regular sports or physical education, this piece of the curriculum, of course, falls to moi. So, I am sticking them in the pool this summer, since no one under the age of 10 yet knows how to swim on their own and since it gets so hot here I think that is where they are going to want to be in the pool at least until Halloween. (I am kidding about the Halloween, though it is likely until Columbus Day.)  I am also sticking them on the courts so they can get some running around time chasing down small fuzzy yellow balls. And I am putting them in a few camps so that they can see what other children their age are like. (I still haven't decided if this is a good idea.) And finally, I am making a commitment to keeping myself in shape to keep up with all this craziness. Sitting in front of the computer a lot less feels pretty good.

In and among all of this, I am still planning to have the kids in the classroom over the summer. We live in a very hot state. It is too hot to really venture outside for long periods of time in the afternoon hours during the summer months so we'll be inside checking out some Montessori works. 

Since Daddy was home yesterday and Friday we are traveling, this week's classroom updates are going to be short.
S pulled up her first radishes. These are a Korean hybrid of the more well known Japanese daikon radish. Korean radish is fat, white, and HUGE. (These are actually a mini hybrid.) They have green shoulders, and usually have beautiful green leaves you can also pickle and eat. We pickle and eat the radish itself, or put it in regular cabbage kimchee, or slice it and put into soups and stews. In chunks in a stew, it has the consistency kind of like a potato. The leaves on these radishes we aren't able to eat. When you've had as much rain as we have, it is hard to go out and pick off the little pests that eat the radish leaves and turn them into lace.

These radishes are all S. She was so very proud of her gardening skill.
S is measuring fractions using the Montessori protractor and our red fraction circles. (We got our Montessori protractor from Alison's Montessori and the fraction circles from Montessori Outlet.) This lesson sequence comes from the Geometry album. 

We only managed to get in half of the lesson. There is a story in the KotU Geometry album about the Babylonians and how they were observing the stars 4,000 years ago. They noticed that the constellations seemed to be moving around the earth and every 360 days came to rest in the same place in the sky. So they decided to divide up the circle into 360 parts and, today we call those parts degrees. S didn't think that this story was interesting and was already placing red fraction circles inside the Montessori protractor by the time I was finishing up. So we proceeded on. 

First I showed her how to measure the angles of the fractions by aligning one edge of the fraction circle up with the white line on the protractor and then reading the degree markings. She figured out that 1/4 = 90°.
Then she also realized that (2) 1/8ths, make 1/4th. But (2) 4s make 8. She also realized that this was true for 1/5th and 1/10ths, 1/3rds, and 1/6ths, and 1/2s and 1/4ths. 
And then she wanted to sketch her findings. Here you can see that she is simply illustrating equivalencies. The last part of the lesson, angle notation, is the part we need to circle around and cover next. 

This lesson comes after the parts of an angle, (amplitude, sides, vertex) and before adding and subtracting angles.
D is gaining a lot of traction with the number rods. This work started out so shaky, but I must say he really has developed a solid understanding of this material. We are still working on that number sense: when you can just look at the rod, and it's stripe pattern, and know instantly it is the rod of 8. For now, he knows the rod of 10, 9, 4, 3, 2, and 1 by sight. 

Here he is working to replace the rods back in their stand in ascending order. Somehow he got them out of order but then was able to put them back in order with no assistance. I approached to see what he was doing, and he told me, "I don't need any help Mommy."

I wrote more about this work here. I think that we are about ready to move onto the next lesson. I was going to say that the next presentation would be to show the rod and bring the card, but he has already done this exercise independently. Then I was going to say that the next presentation was going to be rods and cards in sequence. But he has already done this lesson working independently too. I guess some children just don't need all the lessons. It is always when I am beginning to think that certain comments I hear just can't be true, my children prove me completely wrong.

I will say that the next number rods lesson will be the "impression of addition" where we find pairs of rods that are equivalent to the rod of 10. Or maybe he'll get to this exercise before I do again!
D is using his right hand to touch each band of color as he counts.
D is doing a very good job at repeating work independently. I am kind of amazed, since this is something my children generally struggle doing. His deeper understanding of what he is doing shows in his repeat work. 

I wrote more about the spindles work here. I think he is up for a new table and chairs this year coming. Someone grew a bit!

We also played the zero game yesterday. D wanted to sit in my lap so I let him do just that. Typically, this game is played with a small group of children. I said, "I'll clap one time." Then I clapped once and said, "one." D then wanted to do the exercise with me at the same time. Then I said, "let's clap four times." Then we clapped four times and counted each one aloud. Then I said, "let's clap zero times." Then I didn't clap at all, and said "zero." D didn't clap at this point either. 

After repeating the process with a few more numbers between 0-9, and repeating zero, a few more times, I asked him how he knew how many zero was. He got up and went over to the spindles box and pointed at the box and said, "zero is there Mommy." I asked him, "how many is zero." He said, "zero is nothing Mommy." Well he is absolutely right. 

The direct aim of this lesson is to further deepen the child's understanding that zero means nothing. The indirect aim of this lesson is to prepare the child for later decimal system work.

The zero game is played after the spindles work and before the cards and counters.
Racks and tubes. Again. T gets on a work and then that is all he can think about. I remember it being this way with the multiplication checkerboard. Anyway, we are working on the last piece leading to abstraction. (We are right behind you Kal-El!!) T is estimating each digit of the quotient and then verifying his estimation using the beads. I think once he catches on, that is he is going to like doing the problems this way and will want to forget the fiddly beads.Or, not, he may certainly prove me wrong. The last time I wrote about this material was in this post here.

Okay, now it just looks like we only did math today. But really, we only did math in between doing laundry, dishes, and tennis practice. 

We'll be back soon for another update! Hope your school is going well.

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