Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Climbing trees

I couldn't resist putting up these two pictures of my little monkeys! They love tree climbing and so do I! In fact, you could say we are a family of tree climbers as David has an amazing history of tree climbing as a kid in Flagstaff and I practically lived in our grapefruit tree all summer growing up. A few years ago Jill, Lucy, and Jesse were climbing trees at our neighborhood park when a parent told them to stop, that those trees were not for climbing! Well, they were the perfect climbing trees, and I told the kids that if anyone ever said that again tell them that "my mom says trees are for climbing!"
Just last night I read something about how climing trees is a great way to connect the right and left sides of the brain! I knew I was right about the value of climbing trees!!

Homeschool math

As most of you know, I am homeschooling Robin and Elsa in 3rd grade and Kindergarten. We had a great start with the online homeschool curriculum provided by K12 and the Arizona Virtual Acadamy. Well, the last couple of weeks have been tough for all of us and I finally realized that I was pushing myself and them at a very academic pace that isn't suited to our highly creative personalities. School wasn't fun for any of us and that is definitely not what homeschooling is about!! So, I stepped back and regrouped, did a bunch of reading and drawing back upon my roots, and decided that I can add an imaginative "Waldorf" flair even to such a highly academic curriculum. I have to say, today is going much better! We are all having fun and much more relaxed, and the intellectual results are amazing! For example, Robin was at a little bit of a sticking point with subtraction with regrouping. Not real bad, but I knew I would need to work through it. So today we took the chalkboards and went outside and sat in the grass, I introduced both sweeties to the "Math Gnome Family". Papa King Plus (loves to add to his treasure), Mama Queen Minus (subtracts from papa's treasure to give to those in need) Sister Princes Times (quickly and cheerily multiplies papas treasure) and the twin dividing Princes (divide the treasure equally amongst the family members). It was so fun, and both kids took part in our little excercise.
Here is a picture of the result:

Now it was time to get to the serious business of teaching Robin regrouping. First to keep Elsa busy! We talked about the shapes of 1 and 2 and drew them big on the sidewalk and "walked" them, then traced them in the air. (She has been having a little trouble forming 2 so this was really good for her) Then I set her to work with her little chalkboard to write and illustrate 1 and 2.
Here are her results, she took the photos herself!

Finally it was time for regrouping. I found a great way to teach subtraction from the front end where you start on the left side and proceed to the right, looking ahead and giving to the next column if needed. I explained this to Robin using the King and Queen characters and he caught on with no problem!!
Here he is in deep thought:

And here is his final problem after several practices. He totally understands the concept and we actually blew through FIVE of the k12 lessons in one!! We came in and he took the K12 assesment while I fixed his lunch and he did great!! Yay!!

This problem is 910 - 179. You can see the extra ones where he "gave" them to the next column.
Now it's time to get back to school!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

My first blog

Well, I guess it's finally time for me to join the blogging world! There is so much going on here all the time, hopefully I will be able to keep the blog current. Here's an example of what's going on right now - Two girls competing in two different H.S. marching bands, baby goats born, a Halloween party we are planning, a trunk-or-treat last night, a Phantom of the Opera costume to sew, middle-school soccer, homeschooling a kindergartener and 3rd grader, OK, I will stop there. Now if I can just remember to take more pictures!