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#1 of 17 Old 08-16-2013, 07:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Brick and mortar schools start his upcoming Monday where I live.  I've been talking with some local unschoolers about creating a co-op where I'll be teaching about 3 classes, once a week.  I'm thinking of joining another already established co-op here.  There is also a free youth choir here I'm thinking of putting my almost 6 year old in.

 

I'm going to sign her up for an umbrella unschool organization...don't have to do it until Sept. though.  I was considering signing up for the virtual school just to have those resources available, but I think I'll skip it.

 

We've been playing a lot of soccer lately and my dd5 has been creating a lot of stories on her big drawing pad...with pictures and storytelling,  I get to hurriedly try to write down everything she says.

 

We've picked up speaking Spanish regularly again, but not as much as we could.  She's helping to take care of the dogs we have here and she's been volunteering to help her sister and the little boy we take care of (both 2 year olds).  

 

I'd like to find another class she could do, but I'm not sure what or when.  We have some settling to do before we find any extra classes.  Piano has also been a big activity for her.  Recently we watched a woman give birth in just a few minutes standing up...it was a youtube video and they caught me watching it one morning.  It reminded me of the time before dd2 was born when I was trying to prepare dd5 for the birth experience.  It was a nice bonding moment for the three of us.

 

There's been a lot of subtle things that have been shown to me lately about both girls' levels of understanding about many different things.  I've been really pleased.  Oh...dd5 is totally over her bug phobia...I'm so happy about that!  She'll even go outside by herself now.  I think we're going to get going with more instrument playing, reading and spanish...those are the major interests. 

 

We were reading the book "Prince Caspian" of the Narnia series and that is a big hit.  I really need to get more crafting material for them.  They've been sitting her drawing for over an hour, singing their stories.  It's nice.  

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#2 of 17 Old 08-17-2013, 07:28 AM
 
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This year our neighbor who has been waffling about homeschooling finally enrolled her son in kindergarten.  *sniff*

 

And despite my liking to not make a "start" to a homeschooling year, schedules change, everything changes.  It's like a massive migration that you simply cannot ignore, so it does become part of the conversation.

 

My 8.5yo wants some math workbooks, so I'll be getting some Miquon math for them.  Her skill level can probably reach into the 3rd grade workbooks, but I'm getting her both the 2nd and 3rd grade books because our math has been blissfully random.  I think she'll have fun with these.  She likes levels, and knowing what level she is at and knowing what she needs to advance.

 

my nearly-7yo stated clearly that she's "bored because she's not in school".  I finally got it out of her that she said that because she was told she doesn't "Know arithmetic".  Ummmm, yeah ya do, it means addition and subtraction.  Her face lit up because, duh, she knows those.  I reassured her that she knows everything a kid her age is expected to know, and what she doesn't know, none of the other kids know that, either.  I tried explaining that in several different ways, hoping she understood what I just said!

 

I did ask them each what they wanted to work on, but either I'm approaching this question wrong or they just aren't ready for that kind of planning.  I gave them some examples of what they've been doing, and asking if there was something they wanted to do more of.  Silence.  Ah, well, we will continue working on this day by day then.

 

As for me, I'll be getting out the sewing machine to work with them to make some clothes. I have some fabric and a simple pattern to fire the machine up with, and dd1 and I will pick out some fabric for a dress she designed.  We'll finally have time to dedicate to this-- I've overscheduled our summer as usual.  (My spell check program doesn't like "oversheduled".  Apparently those who designed it don't have kids?)

 

I'm also planning on another year of leading our girl scout troop, which thrusts us into the school schedule like nothing else.  I'm also stepping up to be our 4-H club's poultry leader.  Hopefully I haven't overscheduled the rest of the year, too.  (Overscheduled overscheduled overscheduled!  Gah!)

 

Finances has forced us to do drop-in gymnastics classes for a while.  Ah, well.  I'll be looking around for seasonal work, which is going to make things even harder for me, but it must be done.


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#3 of 17 Old 08-17-2013, 03:31 PM
 
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DD is going to town with this "school" thing. She wants to do workbooks every day for hours...I'm find with that. It's up to her. School starts here on the 3rd, but that's meaningless to our family. Her ballet class is ending this Tuesday, and I'm looking at a homeschool gymnastics class on Friday morning. She's really into jumping and rolling...so I asked if she was interested and she said "YEEEEES!!!" and did a headstand in celebration. lol

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#4 of 17 Old 08-18-2013, 06:23 AM
 
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Well lets see.

 

Lots of pretend sibling play going on here, which makes me so happy! Right now they are "building a portal into another dimension" and my three year old just came in, smooched me and said "see yah later momma!.." So I'm loving that - I love watching them get creative with their games (and the weather is beautiful lately, so lots of outside play..) DD is horseback riding, and that's going to become a twice a week thing..and we are going to be volunteering at an animal shelter too, which means extra momma-daughter time too. And both kids are going to be doing homeschool gynmastics, and a few history/nature classes throughout the month. 

 

We just bought a book book of myths that DD is super interested in, and she also is super pumped about learning how to read, so we are working on that too. 


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#5 of 17 Old 08-18-2013, 10:18 PM
 
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Ever since I just took my kids out of school halfway through last year, and then had a baby in May, my kids (who would be in 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 8th grades this year) keep saying they haven't been learning anything.  It drives me batty when they say that.  I sort of go into lecture mode about how learning doesn't have to look like 'school' and so on but usually their eyes just glaze over when I get lectury.  So for this year I've decided that maybe they need a little more structure so they will feel like they are learning something.  I have divided the day into two parts.  The first part is called 'focused learning' and is basically more formal learning that goes on until around noon.  I have a list of things they can choose from to give them ideas, but what they end up doing is completely up to them.  Then the rest of the day is called 'free learning'.  And I told them that, actually, free learning happens any time, anywhere.  I'm hoping this will help them realize that learning doesn't just happen in school or by doing school type activities. But I am also hoping that the focused learning time will help them feel more secure that they are, in fact, learning stuff.  I just have to try really hard not to get pushy during our focused learning time.  So hopefully this will be a good balance and I think as time goes on, we may not have to differentiate between 'focused learning' and 'free learning'.  It will just be 'learning'.  

Also, I have one little concern.  My 7 yr old has quite a few words that she use to be able to spell correctly when she was in school but has now forgotten how to spell them (like hav for have, beg for big) and she seems to feel the need to add lots of extra letters through out her words, like 'little' (which she use to spell correctly) has now become 'littlle'.  And 'so'  is now 'sow'.  It seems like she has this vague memory of all the weird spelling rules and exceptions and is trying to use them to guide her spelling.  Mostly I just find it amusing.  Am I right to not be too worried since she is only 7 and she will probably learn how to spell better as she reads more?  I don't remember being a great speller when I was little but once I was older (as in young adulthood) I realized that I had a knack for spelling things correctly.


Mama to to 2 teenagers, 3 preteens, and a 1 yr old nursling and wife to dh who keeps me young.  Chose to take the pass less traveled by, and indeed it has made all the difference!

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#6 of 17 Old 08-18-2013, 11:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Mandinka,

 

I definitely think you're right to not worry about her spelling.  In some ways it seems maybe she is using her knowledge of letter sounds more to see the different ways in which words "could" be spelled.  I mean...why not 3 "L"'s?  And little 'e' and little 'i' sound very similar...so why not?  I definitely wouldn't worry about it...I think spelling is just about remembering, so eventually, seeing it elsewhere, she'll get the connections on how the words are supposed to be spelled. 

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#7 of 17 Old 08-19-2013, 01:36 AM
 
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My kids are awful spellers so you may not want to listen to me but...

 

It sounds like she is experimenting with words and spelling to create her own rules. Have you tried talking to her about it? I was talking to dp about this in the car yesterday, actually. We can both spell pretty well, certainly adequately for everyday life (which involves stuff like writing papers for us).  But I was never taught-I was never drilled on spelling, but rather, I guess, worked out the rules from first doing a lot of reading and then doing a lot of writing. Once you start writing, you do, I think, get to a point where its just annoying and time consuming to spell normal words wrong, so you sort it out. So, no, I wouldn't worry, I'd guess she'd probably come out of it a good speller. Clearly she is writing, which is more than any of mine were doing at 7!

 

Also, my son's spelling improved a lot when he started looking stuff up on the internet and emailing and texting and so on. In other words, when he started needing it himself to communicate. On the weekend he was explaining to me how simple punctuation works, honestly you would have thought he was the first person alive to realise this! He was completely enchanted by the notion that you could tell people when to pause at the end of a sentence. He's 10 next week so you have plenty of time!

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#8 of 17 Old 08-19-2013, 07:29 AM
 
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I can understand your son's fascination with punctuation.  My husband and I were joking with our kids the other day about why punctuation is important (weird thing to be joking about, I know).  We were telling them that without the right punctuation we wouldn't know if someone was saying "It's time to eat, grandpa!"  or "It's time to eat grandpa."  hee, hee.  As for my 7 yr old writing, she loves to draw pictures and then write little stories about them.  I have found that this is what some of my kids will do without any prodding of any kind from me.  My 11 and 13 yr old sons like to draw pictures of stuff they do on the computer (like Spore) and then write small scripts of what they might be saying to each other.  Usually they are pretty entertaining to read.  My 9 year old does most of her writing in letters she gives to me or my hubby.  Often sweet notes, but sometimes she gives us letters chiding us for being mean to her (after she gets in trouble, and I don't think we are usually THAT mean!) or letting us know of concerns she has and so on.  They are kinda sad, but really cute.  My 14 yr old dd, who has chosen to stay in school, doesn't find her writing assignments to be very enjoyable (go figure) but does like writing in her journal.  And this of course reinforces to me how much kids enjoy learning things when they get to make their own choices about how and when they learn.  I agree that spelling drills isn't what leads to good spelling because that is what my 7 yr old had to do in school (in 1st grade!) and obviously it didn't stick. 


Mama to to 2 teenagers, 3 preteens, and a 1 yr old nursling and wife to dh who keeps me young.  Chose to take the pass less traveled by, and indeed it has made all the difference!

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#9 of 17 Old 08-20-2013, 07:39 AM
 
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It's going well here.  We are 28 days in, out of 180 days that we have to complete in our state.   She practices math facts on one of about 5 apps we have on our kindle daily, she reads everyday, and checks the Bing picture and journals about it.  She likes to really immerse herself into her interests, and right now she's learning everything she can about George Washington Carver!  (!?!)

 

Re. spelling - I believe reading is the best way to learn spelling.  Lots and lots of reading.  Also, my daughter picked up a lot from the game "Scribblenauts" on her DS.  I think it may be available as an app, also.  It's a game where whatever you type winds up on the screen.  If my daughter spelled "vampyre" the game gave her a list to choose from "umpire, vampire".  She actually learned to read playing this game and she still loves it.   Anyway, at 7 I say just enjoy it.  That invented spelling stage ends eventually, and it's really pretty cute. :)
 


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#10 of 17 Old 08-20-2013, 02:06 PM
 
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I was going to skip the (required Sheepish.gif) test that dd1 needs to take now she is registered.  I mean, nobody's looking.  You have a "2nd grader", would you have them take a test?  We can do an evaluation, but I find that more intrusive than a test administered by the parent.  In the end, dd1 says she wants the test, so I ordered it, and a practice test.  

 

Turns out she wants a math test, so I hopped online and printed out the Singapore placement tests.  She's doing OK, considered she's never had math in this format before, but she is hitting a wall with place value, and she needs to ace place value to feel at ease with regrouping, something all over the second grade tests that she isn't going do well on.  

 

I printed a 1st grade math placement test to get her used the format, but still no dice on place value.  The trouble is, she understands it in a way.  Finally, on a whim, I told her I would get out some Monopoly money--but only the 100's, 10's and 1's, then she can make the number with that and count each pile to come up with the answer that was wanted.  

 

She didn't even have to practice.  Her eyes lit up and she said, "Oh, now I get it!"  Woohoo!  It's hard when you know a kid understands something (because she counts Monopoly money, etc all the time) but they don't understand the academic concept.  Like she hit a wall with "greater than, less than" because the symbol was unfamiliar.  Ah, well.  

 

So, on to regrouping, I suppose.  I hope I can have a flash of inspiration with this one, too.  Anno's Math Games had a little bit on place value, but I felt it was a bit arbitrary.  Only 9 squares can fit into the first house?  Why?  They never say, even though I love those books otherwise.

 

Anyway, it's time to set aside our "field trip" to schoolishness and go pick some blackberries!


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#11 of 17 Old 08-20-2013, 02:21 PM
 
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  Like she hit a wall with "greater than, less than" because the symbol was unfamiliar.  Ah, well.  
 

My 2nd grade teacher said this "the mouth eats the bigger number" I never forgot it!!!

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#12 of 17 Old 08-20-2013, 05:52 PM
 
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Only 9 squares can fit into the first house?  Why?  

 

I love this sort of thing! If it annoys your dd to find this arbitrary rule in the Anno book, explain that it's a story idea designed to make sense of our number system, which has only digits from 0-9. If it was a story to explain, say, a hexadecimal number system, then each house could have up to fifteen squares (referring to 0, 1, 2, ... 9, A, B, C, D, E, F). Or a binary system, with each house holding just one square, being either empty of full. Explore those ideas for a while. How old is daddy in hexadecimal? A sixteen-year-old would be considered ten years old under a hexadecimal system. A sixteen-year-old would be 10 years old in hexadecimal, or 1000 in binary. Crazy weird! ("Mind. Blown." as my 10-year-old would say.) Then I'd commiserate with her on how arbitrary our base-ten system is. Who decided the regrouping number should be ten? Why? Because it's divisible by two and five? Because it matches the number of fingers on our hands? Because it's just more than the number of items that even people with well-practiced memory strategies can hold in short-term memory? Wouldn't eight have been more elegant, being divisible by 2 and 2 again and 2 again? Silly human beings!

 

But we're stuck with it. So Anno's story has to explain the house in terms of holding 0 to 9 squares. We decided that once you get past ten, that's too many individual things to keep track of, so we make a unit of greater value.

 

My kids really firmed up their understanding of place value with a set of home-made place-value cards like these:

 

http://store.rightstartmath.com/placevaluecards.aspx

 

Providing them with these, and with a set of base-ten blocks (http://basetenblocks.com or similar), was all I really did to "teach" place value. Child-led exploration, questions, and play was all that was necessary. I honestly think that learning to understand place-value inside-out, upside-down and backwards is the most important part of K-3 mathematics. I also think that readiness for it may be highly developmental. My kids seemed hard-wired for it at an early age, but I think perhaps some kids aren't ready for it at the "usual" age, and it's important not to push ahead into multi-digit arithmetic until they really, really, truly get it. Still, based on how quickly she got the Monopoly money thing, I'd wager that your dd is ready to totally nail this concept down to its symbolic representation and application to arithmetic.

 

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#13 of 17 Old 08-20-2013, 06:11 PM
 
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Those are great manipulatives.  I've tried explaining place value in a similar way to the cards, on paper, but that is much better.  I think I'll make some with some of the poster board sitting around, see what she thinks.

 

So, how does one demonstrate regrouping?  I can think of several ways, but what is a really elegant, hands-on way to approach it?  Obviously I could teach her the usual method, but I'd like to leave that until when she gets the idea of what's happening first.  I mean, I know that placing the one on top of the hundreds column doesn't mean "1" it mean "100" (actually, I don't think about it much at all when I'm doing it) but I don't think that's a great introduction to the "why" and "what" of it.  I suppose I can put up "100" in the right places until she sees that she doesn't need the zeros in there...


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#14 of 17 Old 08-20-2013, 06:24 PM
 
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Well, in Canada we have these lovely dollar coins called loonies, so we used pennies, dimes and loonies a lot as manipulatives. Here's a blog post that sort of explains how I introduced regrouping to my youngest. She was familiar with basic place value, and the way coins represented it, and had a good understanding of multi-digit addition without regrouping. You could probably use the Monopoly money in place of the coins.

 

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#15 of 17 Old 08-21-2013, 03:10 AM
 
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SweetSilver I am SURE you are doing this and feel daft even mentioning it, but my older two never really had a problem with place value and I think its because they have always handled money, from quite a young age been given responsibility for shopping etc. (I don't mean the weekly shop, just that, say they wanted to make a cake I might give them a budget, or talk them through working out the unit price/price per gram, etc). We have local shops and tend to do most of our food shopping day to day, so this translates into a lot of opportunities for handling small amounts of money. Also, we've always done a lot of cooking, DIY, gardening etc. This seemed to transition neatly into an understanding of place value for them. I'm not sure about dd1 but I remember ds encountering decimals a few years ago and having the conceptual framework to understand them right away. To be fair, they had done Miquon as well.

 

OTOH I could not say for sure that they had place value cold until around age 7-I didn't really check til then. That might be on the late side actually, I have no idea ROTFLMAO.gif. Pretty sure kids do it in school here from around age 5. 

 

I am sure you are doing this stuff already actually so posting it mainly in case helps anyone else. IIRC the US has the decimal way of showing money, so, say $1.99, or $0.77?


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#16 of 17 Old 08-21-2013, 08:17 AM
 
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We do handle money a fair amount, and they understand decimals and what they represent thanks to our coin system being based on 100.  That's why, after watching her play Monopoly and other games so well and being slick with money changing, etc. I was a bit surprised when she didn't get the place value questions.  So much of her difficulty with these is simply that the format is unfamiliar, and we don't necessarily tack on the proper mathematical nomenclature.  Same with grammar.  It is, in a small way, very similar to those kids whose learning is so wrapped up into life they don't realize they are learning.

 

Math here is really random--they have concepts in some areas far beyond their "proper" grade level, yet they are still filling in the gaps well behind them.  Even approaching "3rd grade", the 1st grade placement test made a good trial for getting used to the math-question format.  I looked over the rest of the 2nd grade material, and except for the format and regrouping, she knows all this.

 

For now, with some of her frustration and the test coming (we have 2 weeks to send it back in) I need to just let this drop for awhile.  (I will ask her which approach would make her feel better-- preparation or rest).  I am going to make those place-value cards for them.  I might in the end entice her by asking her if she wants to add up 2 numbers, no matter how large, like 1,498,677,309 +  9,980,008,451=__________.  Free her from the math in her head (I never thought would be something I would have wanted to do!  I still don't know if it's the best thing??  As an adult who played by the rules in math, I admire that she enjoys puzzling things out in her head.)


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#17 of 17 Old 08-21-2013, 09:39 AM
 
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Free her from the math in her head (I never thought would be something I would have wanted to do!  I still don't know if it's the best thing??  As an adult who played by the rules in math, I admire that she enjoys puzzling things out in her head.)

 

Mental math skills are, IMO, the foundation. But just like calculators, written equations and pencil-and-paper algorithms are tools that have utility when it comes to certain practical matters -- like dealing with larger numbers, or greater orders of accuracy with decimals, or solving complex multi-step problems. The written stuff isn't "what real math is," it's just a useful skill-set to have for certain problems.

 

I think it's important to have the conceptual foundations down pat, and not to discard them mental math approaches once you learn about written equations, but I think you can keep focusing on both aspects. Many traditional math curricula get this wrong: they seem to work on the assumption that conceptual in-the-head math is a prequel to the real stuff, and is then discarded once kids can write and understand 10 - 3 = 7. My favourite curriculum approaches are constantly working both aspects: the mental math skills and concepts, and the algorithmic aspects of executing stuff on paper that can't be easily handled in one's head. For instance, when a child learns how to do the multi-digit multiplication algorithm, and can accurately multiply 87 * 23, they are also encouraged to use mental math to multiply 98 * 23 (because it's 100 * 23 minus 46, which is easily solved in one's head). So yeah... do both!

 

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