Friday, March 22, 2013

School Days

The bead chains have turned out to be an excellent investment.  The boys still love working with them.  Learning to "skip count" is an easy step toward learning their multiplication tables.  Speaking of tables, the map of our neighborhood is going to have to go soon because I'm getting tired of erasing all of the street names before I post pictures.  

I don't know whether memorizing the skip counting (up to a certain point) is typically part of primary work or elementary.  My primary albums all seemed to refer to labeling the chain then reading the labels forward and backwards but not memorizing them.  Some of my elementary albums cite memorizing the skip counting with the bead chains as an early step in the memorization sequence.  However, that doesn't mean that primary kids DON'T memorize the chains.  Perhaps the memorization is implied.  

The boys have a pretty solid routine for the chains.
  • label the short chain
  • read the labels forward and backward
  • recite the labels forward and backward from memory
  • label the long chain
  • read ALL the labels forward and backward
  • recite the labels forward and backward from memory
  • play a game of Speed! with Mom that matches the chain you did

On some of the longer chains they simply can't recite all of the labels from memory.  They just try to get up to the number multiplied by ten on the harder chains.  They also lengthen some of the smaller chains (such as 2 or 3) to make sure they can count at least to that number multiplied by ten.  For twos and fives they like to count to 100.

On a similar note regarding memorization, I've  always had a similar question about the puzzle maps.  My primary albums talk about being able to assemble and reassemble the maps.  They even refer to tracing them and labeling them.  I never knew whether that implied memorizing the names of the countries or not.  So as the boys work on memorizing the names of all the countries on the puzzle maps I really don't know whether they are doing primary or elementary work.  This is a very transitional year for us regardless.

I had hoped that Kal-El would get through all of the memorization materials for math this year.  It is becoming obvious that this will not be the case.  He will have accomplished the addition, the subtraction, and probably a good portion of the multiplication considering his head start with the bead chains.  Division will just have to wait until next year.  I don't know if I'll have the heart to work on it over the summer.  He is working on the second last game with the subtraction tables.  This "bingo game" is the first one that does not use the loose equations.  He has already done the blank subtraction chart with the equations.  For this game he randomly chooses a "difference" or "remainder" tile (depending on the terminology you prefer, we say "difference"), finds a position on the board that satisfies that difference, and records the equation in his book.  The final game will have him find ALL of the equations that satisfy a particular difference at once.  Instead of placing the tiles randomly he will place all of a particular number before moving on to another.

I would have shown you a photo of Me Too working with his addition chart, but the day I was taking photographs he hid under the table and pouted when the addition chart came up on his work plan.  He wound up exchanging that card for another that day.  I took a picture to show that occasionally even my kids really don't want to do a work.  At any rate, he's on this chart:

He chose the "Mom Surprise" card instead and spent part of two days putting only the even numbers on the 100 board.

The boys started playing a new game this week.  It is Learning Resources Pizza Fraction Fun Game.  There are seven levels of the game and they have worked on the first two.  They have also spent a lot of time taking pizza orders from me and using the pieces to pretend to cook and deliver pizzas.

This is such a common site in our house that I thought I would snap a photo.  Kal-El is addicted to reading.  He has read all of the Jack Stalwart books so he has branched out into a few other series:  A to Z Mysteries, Dinosaur Cove, and Jack Gets a Clue.  He says none of them are as good as Jack Stalwart but he loves them anyway.  I hear a lot of laughing so some of them must be funny.  They are an easier reading level than the Jack Stalwarts so he is going through them VERY quickly.

Me Too requested a lot of spelling and handwriting work this week.  He doesn't like taking his words apart in AAS so when he runs out of letters he writes in the missing ones with the dry erase marker.  He wouldn't have this problem with the movable alphabets but he likes sliding the magnet tiles more.


  1. I have a problem with memorisation being either a primary or an elementary work. How about Montessori album writers accepting that the ability to memorise is a developmental thing and has nothing to do with understanding? It happens somewhere between the ages of 3 and 9 in "normal" children. It should not get in the way of progressing in understanding, which is completely different. It shows a worrying lack f understanding in child development to expect all children to follow the same identical path depending on materials in the classroom.

  2. I am with you on the memorization. It is good to hear Annicles say that it shouldnt stop the other learning. Bunny understands, but doesnt have it memorized. We have done alot of the addition and some subraction, but the rest is just waiting for right now! Like you, I dont think that it will go through the summer! :) I love all the work you do and it is amazing to see your boys working with all the work Bunny really just wont touch without tears! :) It turns out she would rather write the problems out on a chalk board then to using the charts! It is great to see how you guys are doing it! Happy Schooling!

  3. Wow!!! I'M IMPRESSED!!! YOU HAVE AN AMAZING WEEK!!!! SO amazing your boys have a master on chains!!!Like Bunny, Big princess works with chains and undersands, but doesn't memorized them. On math memorization charts... To be honest, she just not to "into" the memorization I let her to "choose" other math works... and lets see when that works looks interesting to her!!

    But I LOVE YOUR WEEK!!! LOVE to see what other friends do!!!

    Big Hugs!!

  4. Sooo, what do you do or say when your boys really don't want to do something?

  5. melatgt,

    You can read more about that on the Frequently Asked Questions page (mainly question seven). The FAQ tab is at the top of my blog under the header.

    However, in this case Me Too exchanged the "addition" card in his work plan for another maths card and did the addition the next day when he didn't have another card to exchange it for.