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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What's up in life and learning for you and yours?

Miranda
... heading out on a long run in about 15 minutes
 

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D's (7) play was so much fun. He was very organized & very clear in his vision. He has also just starting asking question. All kinds of subjects.

N (10) is writing some of his stories down. He has been telling story since I can remember. :love

L (4) has "found" letters. It is amazing. She wanted to write her name. Then she found this book with letter and just started exploring. Very amazing to me.

I'm looking forward to May! :nerd: The kids are really taking off.
 

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Nazmum -- sounds like fun to watch!

It's interesting to watch a kid who's never learned the standard ways to do things solve a math problem. My 7yo's math game was asking him some question about greatest common factors, in which he was trying to figure out whether 45 was divisible by 3. He broke it up into 30 +15, knowing that 30 was divisible by 3. But he still didn't know if 15 was. So he divided 10 by 3, and then 5 by 3, and said that since there was an extra 1/3 in the first case and an extra 2/3 in the second case, it must work. I also enjoyed the way he decided to approach 8x9 when he needed to know it for an area question -- by starting with 10^2, using the trick that if you subtract a 10 and a 9 you get 9^2, then subtracting one more 9.

Part of me thinks I should nudge this kid to study math in some sort of formal way, because he's actually pretty good at it in the random sporadic times it comes up. The other part of me thinks he probably practices much trickier thinking skills when math does come up because he does everything in his head and doesn't know any standard algorithms.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Part of me thinks I should nudge this kid to study math in some sort of formal way, because he's actually pretty good at it in the random sporadic times it comes up. The other part of me thinks he probably practices much trickier thinking skills when math does come up because he does everything in his head and doesn't know any standard algorithms.
I absolutely agree with the other part of you. :)

I hate that so many people consider rote memorization of math facts to be an important early step in math learning and a pre-requisite for learning more complicated ideas. Not having rote facts in hand invites such sophisticated mathematical thinking. Same thing for standard alogrithms. Sure, there will come a time when doing all this creative-yet-logical mental math may become onerous and frustrating; that's when it's probably time to start introducing them. Until then, the math-muscles are certainly getting an excellent workout!

Today I knocked 33 minutes off my previous marathon time, and qualified handily for the Boston Marathon. Very pleased with myself. Doubt if I'll run Boston (not sure if I'll ever want to run a marathon again) but since I will have a kid living there, it would be an excuse to visit!

Miranda
 

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mckittre my 7yr has been exploring math too. I just go with the flow.

miranda Boston marathon :thumb My friend run a few years ago. Great place to visit too.
 

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Congratulations on your marathon!

I mostly agree with the other part of me too. :) Far more fun to do creative puzzles out loud while hiking then figure out whatever first grade math work is supposed to be.

One question: When kids pursue math this way, do they skip right over the "big numbers on paper" skills, and does it matter? For instance, he might do 8x37 in his head, but something like 844x37 is conceptually the same, but computationally far more difficult to keep track of in one's head. An adult would estimate or use a calculator. I suspect a child, if free to choose, will do the same, and never learn the long multiplication, division, addition, subtraction algorithms (I only remember half of those myself). Can you think of any reason that matters?

On another note, I wrote an article about homeschooling for the magazine section of the Alaska newspaper that came out today. Curious what you guys think. https://www.adn.com/article/20160501/why-home-schooling-works-alaska
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
When kids pursue math this way, do they skip right over the "big numbers on paper" skills, and does it matter? For instance, he might do 8x37 in his head, but something like 844x37 is conceptually the same, but computationally far more difficult to keep track of in one's head. An adult would estimate or use a calculator. I suspect a child, if free to choose, will do the same, and never learn the long multiplication, division, addition, subtraction algorithms (I only remember half of those myself). Can you think of any reason that matters?
I don't know if it matters much these days, but I will say that my kids all reached a point when they got interested in math-on-paper. Not so much in the sense of doing workbooks, but of writing and studying patterns of numbers. Well ... generally on the whiteboard rather than paper, but it amounted to the same thing.

Anyway, often it would spring out of something they'd say ... like, they might recite multiples of 9, bragging that they had discovered a pattern in it, and I'd say "Oh! I know something else about the 9-timestables ... look, there's this other pattern here too, and it lets you figure out whether 9 goes into any number evenly..."

And at a certain age, that sort of activity would lead us down all sorts of exciting rabbit trails ... other written shortcuts for divisibility, a quick alogrithm for finding lowest common multiple, greatest common factors, etc.

Miranda
 

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Blehhhhh....

Spending this gorgeous day on the couch. I don't even have the energy to knit or practice my math today. I don't think we're going to girl scouts. I might not even work tomorrow.

uuuuuugh..... :sneeze
 
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At least I feel like picking up the needles now. A friend's birthday is arriving, I'm almost done with my project... good timing. And, hey! Here's season one of the X-files waiting for me!! Still feeling blech but at least my head's not so thick and the girls are outside. I did contact their GS leader because she has knots and tarp shelters scheduled for today. I am hoping for a make-up day in her busy schedule, because my girls don't want to miss out on this one.
 

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Joining sweeetsilver on the sofa today. Frogged 2 yarn projects so far today. Finally found a pattern that works with 'sock yarn'- i do NOT make socks, i crochet so.... I'm making a well practiced shawl. My head is foggy, i feel the depths of a sinus infection and don't have the will to go to the walk in urgent care.
 

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was lurking, learning about all of you do ... i don't homeschool, but was curious to read the article .... which makes me half wish (well, i live in a place more than a tad sunnier and warmer ...) that i could have unschooled my own children in Alaska too !!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Finally got a chance to read this

On another note, I wrote an article about homeschooling for the magazine section of the Alaska newspaper that came out today. Curious what you guys think. https://www.adn.com/article/20160501/why-home-schooling-works-alaska
Oh, this is so lovely! "Prepare to be wet." Totally. :nod

Somehow you managed to portray the entirety of the homeschooling spectrum, from the most structured and school-like to over-the-edge unschooling, without suggesting any dichotomies or divisive contrasts. So inspiring, so true. Bravo!

Miranda
 

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A quick note only...a lot has happened, the most paid work I've done since before I had kids if one doesn't count the chamber music festival weeks: in the last week I worked at my GIS job one day, was a substitute teacher the next, worked at the vet the next four and played in three performances of "Spring Awakening" in the next three.

I'm seriously considering getting certified to teach math in my town (always chronically short of STEM teachers because the pay is miserable and housing is expensive) but also was informally told that the technical job I applied for half a year ago is open again and that I likely would be a strong candidate...the hours are challenging, but I guess when I burnt out I could follow the math certification! (I would prefer to be a renegade intellectual and musician, but lack the creativity to make those things pay well enough.)

Anyway, on the unschooling front,

Zela finished third year of art college with all A's and a 3.8 GPA, although two of the A's are minuses, one of them in art history, not too bad for someone whose prof doubted she'd be able to do an art history minor because of her challenges with dyslexia. She DID make fifty bucks playing piano for the fashion show...nobody listened, she said! And she's coming home for about three weeks for medical appointments (np, eye, dentist) and lifeguard training. I'm supposed to make three dresses for her; we picked out the fabric a couple of years ago. And I'd like her to get a LOT of practice driving. Although she claims to want to be car free forever, it's good to have the experience. (I rarely drove until I had kids, and that was well into my fourth decade! Even shortly before the birth of Kid #1 , husband and I often walked the 3.5 miles to work, and then more around the lake at night (in Austin, TX)...I was suffering from undiagnosed food intolerances and intermittent hyperthyroidism and the only time I didn't feel like absolute hell was when I was walking (only hell warmed over then), so by delivery I had absolutely ENORMOUS athletic thighs, which unfortunately turned back into bird legs shortly thereafter.)

Yana should be about finished moving by now...I have to make sure the small Washer That Dries either has been or will be returned to our carport, pending future need. She is attending a shelter pet conference of some sort next weekend or so. She dropped off two cats at our house because they are freaking out over the four caged kittens she is fostering for the other town's humane society. Yesterday when she dropped them off, her three dogs were hanging out with the three that live at our house, and the Dane mix decided to absent himself (can get over the front fence) and I had looked for him on our road and then just posted him on our Facebook community chat when he came strolling through the carport.

Paws the outside cage cat (also known as Urinatious) had all of his back teeth removed yesterday, having also been infected with the severe gingivitis (possibly caused by a virus) that is sometimes found in multiple cat households. Now my husband will never know what I've been using the Vitamix for (making liquid cat food)...

Son...I am not sure what he is doing. Helping Yana move, I think.

And today I am On the Mountain, a little bit cold in my office in turtleneck and jeans, catching up on the internet (computer I'm using at home now is pretty much useless for all but email...remember those Inspiron thingies? Oh, yeah!) before I try to fix a database interface problem without putting too much time in it. This afternoon I helped a co-worker work around an Excel file that wasn't playing in the shared sandbox nicely (solution: let it play by itself and then pop it back in the sandbox when done), determined that another co-worker's slow computer problem is not in his head, but not fixable either, except by getting a newer computer, and then helped a third co-worker fix his email so that it would send as well as receive. Because there were 990 things in his inbox, I'm not sure he cares all that much about email anyway, but the Safety Guy told him to send a reminder about avoiding Africanized Bee attacks, and instead of saying "I never use email" and popping a sticky note on the door, we spent an hour unscrewing up his account, which involved getting a temporary password for the email server account, amongst other things.

Like I said, would rather be a renegade intellectual... ;)

and time to get back to lessons, the ones I cancelled for three weeks because there were a lot more Spring Awakening rehearsals than the original schedule showed. And to make plans to visit my mom and visiting sis in the Hot Land next week, maybe. Gotta check the train schedule!

Deborah
 

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Finally got a chance to read this



Oh, this is so lovely! "Prepare to be wet." Totally. :nod

Somehow you managed to portray the entirety of the homeschooling spectrum, from the most structured and school-like to over-the-edge unschooling, without suggesting any dichotomies or divisive contrasts. So inspiring, so true. Bravo!

Miranda
My thoughts exactly Miranda! I was reminded in reading some of the comments that no matter how well someone explains things or what evidence is put in front of someone, some people just want to keep their narrow viewpoint. Sad for them.
 

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Thanks! I'm glad you liked the article. It's a fun challenge to tackle something I know will be controversial while trying to be as inclusive and un-alienating as possible. Comments are irate, however, on pretty much any article, on any topic. The swath of humanity that regularly comments on online articles tends to be a rather sad and angry swath of humanity, but for every one of them, there are dozens more open-minded readers.

Deborah -- renegade intellectual sounds more fun, but it sounds like you at least have quite a diversity in your paying jobs.

My mom and husband are both getting into town tomorrow, which is exciting.

7yo is still totally enamored with defeating monsters and leveling up on his video math game and insisted on paying to be a member (which you get more items and pets and stuff for -- I made him pay). Oddly, the fact that the program placed him as a 6th grader makes his lack of algorithm knowledge less of a problem -- it gives him a calculator for the stuff that gets tricky in your head. He seems to see it as some kind of cheating, though, and uses it way less often than I would. We've been spending lots of time out of the house, which is good, because he's playing most of the time we're home, and the repeating loop of video game music is driving me absolutely insane.
 

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What a fabulous article McKittre! Well done. Thank you for the math website, name escapes me at the moment, Prodigy? Nonetheless, bookmarked and DS found it and loves it. Thank you. I am planning a trip to Anchorage in September and super excited to get up there. I am curious if you have ever rode the ferry from Bellingham or know anyone who has? I think that would be a blast.

Happy Spring everyone!

We are busy in our camp to say the least. Last weekend DS and DH went to a LEGO Build Challenge. We did this last year and had a fun. This year the theme was "The Future". I had been chattin with DS about marketing his creation and he did just that. I asked him to remember "What is important to folks in Bellingham?". He won "Most Creative'. Well done Love. It was fun to hear him express his enthusiasm for winning. This is his first "big win" in a social atmosphere. Pretty cool.

Had a nice hot streak last week, home made slip and slide and lemonade. Awesome.

Last week of Hospice Training for me. What an experience. I am truly grateful for it.

This is my 3rd attempt to post! The first 2 were a tad longer, add more another time :)
 

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We've been spending lots of time out of the house, which is good, because he's playing most of the time we're home, and the repeating loop of video game music is driving me absolutely insane.
:lol

Right there with ya. I found headphones work well for a short time.
 

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Isn't it always true (or nearly) that after getting over the worst of a cold, it can be hard to motivate oneself into the swing of things? I've indulged myself as much as I could, and now obligations are calling. Ugh. I need another week, just for my brain.

I did as expected on my placement test, and I have renewed respect for my unimpressive SAT math score 30 years ago. I thought I'd do better on the basic algebra section, well, before I saw the questions. They were not difficult, but damned if I could not remember. There was no time limit, so I tried and tried and, well, failed dismally. My work on Khan got me up to speed on a lot of stuff, but not quite enough. I'll keep chipping away at it. I've finished a scarf for a friend and will be getting that care package together. I have Dune to read from the library. I'll be restarting a sweater I started last summer. I'm starting on a couple of couch throws for the girls. Excuses, excuses, but I need the (two!) high school math courses I have to take be as easy as possible for me. I'm hoping then to fit them in to more difficult quarters.

Yes, that means THREE math courses, including one course in "college level math" for a freakin' liberal arts degree. What is this obsession with the alter of mathematics? Seriously.

I suppose that's better than the PHYS ED course I will need to take. P frickin' E. Ach! US higher ed these days. Yikes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
I suppose that's better than the PHYS ED course I will need to take. P frickin' E. Ach! US higher ed these days. Yikes.
Yes, as a Canadian I find this odd. US high school education seems to expect a lot from kids. It's possible, even expected by some, to get yourself part way through college level study while still in high school, to have all sorts of community service experience, awards, work skills, networking savvy. And yet from our northern perspective American college itself seems much more high-schoolish than we are used to. American colleges seem to aggressively support basic life skills like developing peer relationships, finding a place to live, filling your leisure time, balancing your life with healthy physical activities ...

My elder kids were perhaps slightly more independent than average Canadian teens when they started college but still within the typical range: they found apartments, cooked, cleaned, shopped, figured out public transit, lived their lives according to their own rules like any adult would. University is something they do on campus for __ hours a day in order to get higher education, and that's the extent of it. Anything more is for them to figure out. It might involve opportunities, resources and people they find on campus, or it might not. Their choice, no expectations.

I suppose there's a difference in philosophy. I get the sense that in the US college is viewed as an experience, not just a way to get education. And so colleges try to be everything to their students, ensuring they stay healthy and develop a breadth of competencies and life skills beyond any narrow academic goal. I suppose there's a good chunk of the populace that benefits from that.

Miranda
 
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