Weeks 9 and 10 – Done

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Somewhere along September and October, I lost track of time. My blog lagged behind but, you know, we still homeschooled. The biggest change for us as far as school was that we switched math curricula for 8th grade. My daughter was finishing up Math Mammoth 7B this semester when I realized we were just going in circles.

Black bear on patio

One of the black bears who venture onto our patio

She needed more pre-algebra concepts but Math Mammoth 7B was starting her on Statistics and Probability. Those are great topics, but not what my daughter needed. We bought Saxon Math 8/7 and liked it a lot. It gives her step-by-step more pre-algebra practice and we can advance quite fast. Continue reading »

Math Options – Facebook Live

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After our camping trip, I found I had no time for the weekly Facebook Live event. Sorry I missed my weekly rendez-vous live with you all last week. So this week I spent over 20 minutes talking live. The topic? Math options.

Math Mammoth

Our favorite math curriculum, Math Mammoth.

Love it or hate it, math is essential. I happen to love it. My kids like math. Like reading, the more you do it, the more you love it. Continue reading »

Lessons from the Ninth Week

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We have started preparing for Science Olympiad this week. Although the coaches are still recruiting, they have already put assignments out for our children to work on. We might even add another event by the end of the week. Not sure yet. Our kids have to go through a try-out.

Boy lying on a log

Being in nature allows children to hug a log, among other things.

I will announce our final events next week, when we know for sure what they will have to do. Until then, suffice it to say that we are excited. And a bit nervous. Science Olympiad takes extra time to prepare. But the lesson is, stay positive, get organized, and keep calm. Keep Calm and Science Olympiad. Now there’s an idea for a T-shirt.

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Mind the Math Gap

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When I visited London in the late 90s, which, by the way, seems like a lifetime away, I learned a phrase they use on the subway (or underground) every time doors open and people get on and off. The recording says, “Mind the gap!”

The gap refers to the hole between the platform and the inside of the train. It’s a small gap, but nevertheless people can get caught in it if they step a certain way, or if not people, their rolling luggage or a pet or whatever is dragging behind them on the floor.

I will have to ask my friends who live in London if they still say that on the underground. It’s very catchy, especially if you hear that seven times in the morning and seven times at night on your daily commute. I suppose one blocks it out after awhile.

Math Mammoth First Grade

Math Mammoth First Grade

When I recently read about the homeschool math gap, I remembered the London underground. But then I came back to my homeschool reality. This is some serious research and some good information to have, my dear homeschooling friends.

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Subtraction with Borrowing

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It took me three days and several methods to teach my son subtraction with borrowing. Math has never been a tough subject for him. He understands place value and trading one ten for ten ones. He just did not understand why we did all the maneuvering around.

So I backtracked and showed him some cute videos on YouTube: this, this, and this. He thought the Khan Academy’s video on the subject was too dry and boring and still did not get it. I usually scoff at the idea of Sesame Street style teaching, but desperate situations require desperate measures. I knew I would stoop to this level just so my kid would get it. And then we can go back to our regularly scheduled programming, to use terminology from the oft-despised world of television.

43-26 shown with dimes and pennies; 10 pennies waiting on the side to be traded for a dime.

43-26 shown with dimes and pennies; 10 pennies waiting on the side to be traded for a dime.

I got online and looked at some videos on how to teach subtraction with borrowing myself. Some of them bored me to tears, but I appreciated the efforts of all these math teachers out there who took the time to offer this online for free. Thank you.

In the process, I learned that borrowing is considered antiquated now as a term. We now say “regrouping.” Both terms are incomplete, in my book, because the operation involves borrowing first and then regrouping.

I also learned that Common Core advocates call this “granny math.” The way to do subtraction with regrouping under Common Core Standards is to count up to the nearest number that ends in a 0 or a 5, like giving change. Excuse me?

If that’s not a way to create a generation of dummies which can be easily controlled and manipulated by a technocratic state, I don’t know what is. What’s wrong with the old way? It teaches children to think. Ironically, Common Core advocates state the opposite. They claim their way of doing math is the way to get a child to think. I disagree. Continue reading »