Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Update on Geometry Sticks

We have started the Keys of the Universe Geometry album, and so far, so good.

A lot of it was just review in the beginning, but it led to some great work.

Going over the concepts of Congruent, Equivalent and Similar led to looking at our fraction circles. We don't have any metal insets, or metal anything here, so I have to improvise with some of the ways I present these concepts. Luckily he's had access to these things in a classroom before, so my information is just one more way of looking at it.

The fraction circles were a way for him to explore equivalency, and he used two 1/2 circles.
While he had those out, he started fitting other fractions into those halves. He's done this work before, but it was fun to explore it again. He made notes in his math composition book to indicate how many 1/10s can fit into 1/2. He traced the 1/2 and then traced 1/10s inside of it and labeled it. Then he did the same with 1/8s. I asked if it would work with 1/7, and he said no, and then we tried 1/5s, but that didn't work either. When he had the 1/2s finished, I asked, "So, if four 1/8s will fit into 1/2, how many will fit into one whole. Of course this was easy work for him, but I was happy to review it and see where he is with fractions. (Who needs tests?)

Then he asked if there was division with fractions, because he's been working on long division for a while now. He likes it, and still seems to want to keep going with it.  I can see that he is still working through the steps for long division and needs my assistance sometimes. He sees all of the numbers and starts to get confused. I'm trying to find a better way to explain it, but haven't found anything yet that will isolate just the numbers he needs to focus on at that moment. I encourage him to cover up whatever he isn't using, but it is difficult. He has worked with the tubes, but I can't justify spending the money on them. I don't think we would use them for very long anyway.

We've worked with word problems, so he understands the concept of division, it's just setting it up on the paper and working through it a step at a time with all of those numbers on the page that are getting him tripped up sometimes. I want him to get used to doing this, because when he gets deeper into algebra I don't want the string of numbers and setting up those problems to be overwhelming.

But I digress.

Once he was finished working with the fractions, we moved on to Geometry Sticks. At first he was resistant, and claimed we had done that work before. We had never done it before, but he remembered it from school.

I started at the beginning anyway, and followed the album. By the time I had constructed a few polygons, he was starting to become more receptive to the idea. He clearly understood what a polygon is, and I asked him to construct one. He wanted to use as many sticks as possible.

I kept saying, "Oh, I don't know. Do you think this will work?" He insisted that it would. When he got to the last piece, and he probably used about a dozen sticks in various sizes, he had to zig and zag them to get a closed end.

We ended with the quadrilateral.

Next we will explore the Triangle, and talk about how it is the shape that constructs.

Monday, February 16, 2015

More materials--Geometry Sticks

My view of materials has changed a bit over the years.

I seem to waver back and forth-- get as many materials as I can afford, or just forget it and improvise with something around the house. Some of the materials we have don't get used much, and that disappoints me. I have spent a lot of money on some of them, and others I've found a a great discount. Either way, it's not free.

I tend to hang onto them, because I never know when it will suddenly interest him.

I'm also feeling a little nostalgic, because I know we are going further away from materials now, and next school year we will officially be Middle Schooling it.

So, I'm always excited for the materials to arrive, and hope that Sean will choose to work with them. That is definitely the case with the Geometry Stick material.

I've had my eye on it for more than a year, but there were always other things that we needed more. I finally placed my order, and I'm so glad that I did.

I recently purchased the Keys of the Universe Geometry album, and as I read through it I saw that the stick material is used throughout the album.

We haven't started the album yet, but plan to do so this week.

Sean is very agreeable and open to working with some of the materials I'm presenting, so I'm crossing my fingers that he will love the Geometry Sticks and the lessons in the album.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Things I Love About Homeschool: Recess

A Montessori teacher friend of mine, Meag, has started on a new path, and will welcome her first class of children to her Nature School in the fall.

I was invited to her home last weekend, and we had such a great time catching up and chatting about her new plans, and how she decided on opening her own school.

It sounds so amazing, and almost makes me wish I had a little one to send to her school. It's an outdoor, Spanish emersion school for pre-school and Kindergarten. The children will be outside the entire time. She became a Cedarsong certified Forest Kindergarten teacher, and I can't wait to see her school grow.

As we dined over a delicious lunch she had prepared, we discussed was how things are going for me with homeschooling. I shared with her how important I believe unstructured play is for all children. It's partly why I've been hosting the play group that meets at our house once a week ranges in age from 8 to 12. It started out as a structured environmental outdoor day camp, but when the camp ended I invited participants to continue to meet here for play day.

If my child were in a regular school, he would be in middle school, and what I've heard is that there isn't recess for middle school. They have PE classes, but not unstructured free time.

I think it's a real shame. I don't expect kids in that age range (11-14) to want to play the same way that children in elementary school do, but I believe unstructured play and free time are so important to our psyche.

It's just one of the many reasons I love to homeschool. I can provide my child with plenty of time to explore outside whenever he wants to do so, or we can go out for a hike, or just take a small break to spend time with the dogs, cats, or chickens. Being outside gives us a chance to process what we've been working on, get some fresh air, and relax and have fun.

Homeschool is so awesome!