Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Spring Has Sprung

Major changes are afoot. I think I caught the spring cleaning bug. (And am managing to muster a tiny bit more energy expenditure these days.) Our classroom is due for a re-arrange. We can do that mid-year as homeschoolers, no? Actually there will not be too much upheaval. I only need to build one shelving unit. But the best part about this is that the kids are growing vertically and I think we can finally convert all of our shelving units to the 40" elementary height. More on this transformation later.
D is moving forward!! He decided that dynamic subtraction on the stamp game was HISTORY, and here he has begun static multiplication. The rulers are his own addition. Here he is multiplying 2,311 by 3. 
Here he is showing me his last subtraction stamp game problem.  

A note to self about D's writing: I noticed, only after looking at this shot on the computer, that one of his "5's" is backward. D rarely reverses his numbers. And he rarely reverses his letters. Additionally, before yesterday, he had never written from right to left. S did this ALL the time. But that time, D reversed his writing and wrote his name, in cursive, from right to left. Each letter was correctly orientated. I don't know why he decided to write from right to left that one time. He was writing on a laminated cover and he was holding the booklet upside down, so the coil binding was on the right. Maybe he thought that he should start writing next to the binding, which would have been correct if the binding had be on the left hand side. This handwriting thing has always been interesting to me. I wonder what was going on in his-I'm-a-Little-Lefty-brain.

This also reminds me to note here, that D can now, write his full name in cursive, correctly. I can't show a pic here on the blog, but I wanted to note it here for my future self that at 4 years, 10 months, D has arrived at this milestone. And now, everything he owns has his name on it. Okay, not everything, but a lot of things that don't need his name on them. 
This is how D feels about moving onward and upward.
S is so very far behind in math in my mind. She is more than 8 and has yet to really delve into the math album. She is just more interested in other areas. Here is her first introduction to the racks and tubes. I think that the album recommends that the child be DONE with the racks and tubes at age 8 because they are moving into the I-am-becoming-unappreciative-of-small-bead-manipulation by this time in their life. S has continually proved to be a bit "behind" the scope and sequence age recommendations so we'll see how she does. For now, she doesn't mind at all moving the beads. This is the first post I did that mentioned racks and tubes!
T is reading our Sir Cumference books. Hopefully we'll get to some more traditional geometry soon. I had a dream last night about tutoring high school trig.
But for now, T has started some logic training. Can I call it that? He generally has a pretty logical mind, so for him, at this age, Sudoku puzzles and grid logic games are "relaxing" to him. While I know that some might find this anxiety inducing, I find it exciting that I now get to "share" this kind of fun activity with my son.

I've read that math logic can be considered an entirely separate topic. I don't know if I agree with that statement completely, but I do know that I've needed strong logic skills in many of my math-related classes; honors calculus in undergrad and in graduate-level statistics, operations, and economics/trade. Having strong logic skills can be helpful for many kinds of analysis, but it can also make you feel a bit itchy like, why does the rest of the world think that is true, when clearly, correlation doesn't mean causation? Hopefully, T doesn't get itchy as he continues to improve his logical reasoning skills. But I do plan to incorporate logic exercises into our math work.

For now, I am helping him out when he gets stuck with these beginner puzzles, but I am also realizing that I have a bit to brush up on too.
Stay tuned to see what other math logic activities we have going on. 
After reading about that ancient Chinese Shang Dynasty's use of pictographs in the Stories of the World, S set to work using our Egyptian hieroglyphs stencil.
Spring has sprung was seriously evident this weekend when S harvested some parsley...in March. This wasn't the entire plant. There is still more growing outside in the ground. There is a 18" colander under the parsley. Chimichurri, charmoula, gremalata anyone? Humn. Those would all be great with some grilled meats. Well, it IS warm enough to grill...It is continually amazing to this New Englander that it is this warm around here in March.

More to come soon!


  1. I think a mid-year reorganization is the best time to do it! I always do ours in January. I find it easiest to start a new school year in September if we just pick up and start doing exactly what we were doing at the end of the last school year. We always do our best work at the start of things. Since September is the start of the year we get a good start regardless of whether anything is new or not so I figure why waste the new stuff :) Right around Christmas is when things start to feel a bit stale and we'll have finished a bunch of the things we had been doing the year before and continued in September, if not everything. So that's when I have a big "pull everything off the shelf and get new stuff up" surge. The kids don't have enough of a break over Christmas to feel refreshed but get excited about seeing the new things come in. The new stuff makes ME feel refreshed and we get a good strong start to the second half of the year that lasts us pretty long. We were still going strong when Spring break hit. So, go for it!

    I had a frustrating trip to the container store today. Couldn't find a single container that fit my new geography nomenclature materials like I wanted. I'll have to use one of my standby woven baskets but I feel like those get to heavy when completely full. Wished you were with me.

    Have NOT made it to store to get lumber for my river model yet.

    I think I'm going to wind up getting that ETC attributes work for logic.

    The boys did exactly ONE equation on the decimal board (the one for the beads and cubes) and declared it ridiculous. They said it would be much easier to do that work on paper. I'm so glad I spent all that time spray-painting the cubes the right colors, LOL.

    I guess that's what happens sometimes when the work is begun later than recommended (although Me Too is right on time). S will likely sail through the racks and tubes. Although, with how long it takes to do a single equation and all the steps to abstraction in that work it takes a while no matter what.

  2. haha. Got you into the math logic stuff did I? I was looking at a few games on Amazon that could help T with some of the early figuring. I feel like it is wise to, and there are a lot of resources that can, softly introduce some logic concepts and help build some logic skill before a formal introduction to the subject--or in my mind, the related-to-everything-but-is-not-really-a-separate-topic-subject.

    I was looking on-line at the card game Set. We had a deck of these cards, and when I finally found it, I saw that it wasn't a complete deck. As in there were cards missing. Arrr. SmartGames and Think Fun games generally have good "puzzle" brain-teaser games that use logic concepts. And some of these "games" could be cheaper than ETC cards that don't include attribute blocks.

    Oh, another thing...Sudoku puzzles. In my world, they should have one and only one solution. There is no guessing in this game. That is a rule. I super-don't appreciate when there are two solutions to a puzzle. I had been pulling Sudoku puzzles for T from this site http://www.mathinenglish.com/Sudoku.php. DON'T. He's been doing level 2 but I think two of four puzzles he's tried so far have multiple solutions. NOT COOL.

    1. We have a couple of those Think Fun games. We like them a lot. We have rush hour and the laser maze one I've also heard good things about Qwirkle. I keep reading about that one all over the place.

      I am with you on the Sudoku. I do Sudoku all the time. It's the only game app I have on my iPad for ME. (it's a free app. Put it on T's tablet and you won't have to print them anymore). I too have encountered Sudoku puzzles that require you to "guess" to continue. When I get to that level I just quit. I don't find guessing fun. For a while I thought maybe you didn't HAVE to guess, that I was just missing something. But then I looked it up and that's "a thing."