Tuesday, May 28, 2013

School Days

Today I have some pictures of some of the work we did in the school room this morning.  Me Too started off on the tone bars.  This quickly turned into playing something on the tone bars in the school room and then running to the music room to play the same on the piano.  Repeat.

Kal-El began his day with geography.  He practiced the United States map and the Africa map.  This was followed by some work with the Africa continent box (I have some new items I haven't given them yet, I can't wait to show everyone!  I need a sunny day with some time on my hands to get some good pictures.)  He focused on African landmarks and had a lot of questions about the Ngorongoro Crater.  We read about it in the encyclopedias and then watched a few videos of the area on YouTube.

Me Too finished the LAST game on the LAST addition facts board today.  Also, if you click on the photo to enlarge you might spot the new gap in the top of his smile.  He lost his fourth tooth, top middle right, on Sunday and the other top middle tooth is hanging on by a thread.

Me Too is gearing up for the stamp game.  He has been doing the golden bead FOREVER.  However, he just doesn't seem mature enough for the stamp game yet.  He still gets his exchanging processes confused nearly every time.  In the photo above he was warming up with a static division equation.  However, below...

...he worked on dynamic division.  Check out Kal-El keeping one eye on Me Too's work while he works with the multiplication bead board himself.  Me Too did the big exchanges perfectly today, however he is still very immature when it comes to handling the beads.  For example, he had a lot of unit beads (nine each for four "people") to hand out. 

He needed to do this in a "one for you, one for you, one for you..." kind of manner.  However, he still forgets to give one "person" a turn, tosses in a few extra on another "persons" turn, visits the same bowl two or three times in a row...  I know he is "finishing primary" and I'm "holding him back" according to many guides.  I just personally don't see a kid who is doing the exchanges backwards pretty often and can't keep track of bead distribution as ready for greater abstraction.  Instead, we've been focusing on the memorizing which he is GOOD at.  Even with the memorization boards, we struggled with his maturity.  He had a ton of trouble when we got to the bingo boards on which he places the wooden tiles. The first round through I had to sit with him because he knew the answer to the equation and could find the tile but couldn't find where to place it on the board.  This was even though he was replicating a board he had used a hundred times.  I'm not saying all this to pick on Me Too.  I am proud of him.  I am saying it because sometimes there is a lot of pressure to get the primary kids through the full math album and I just want to be transparent about how that is going with my kids.

The boys had some errands they wanted me to run today.  At the end of their work, which is not all pictured by any means, they spent some time together driving the errands on the local road map on the school room table.  Whenever I get ready to put that map away I catch them using it again.  This picture is reason number 77 that we homeschool...the bond that has developed between these two brothers and the joy they have schooling together.


  1. I hope Me Too has some teeth left for birthday cake!

    1. It's going to be close...He'll likely be missing both bottom lateral incisors and the two top central. He is considering pudding.

  2. I have to say, I appreciate your transparency very much! I told myself a LOOOONG time ago that it doesn't matter to me where my children are in comparison to others as far as what they can/can't do, so long as they are learning at a pace that they are comfortable with. And yet I still seem to catch myself saying "Why can't they....?" in my mind and it's good to know that it's really okay and everyone really does move at their own pace! It's a fact that I KNOW, and yet seeing it is not restricted to my children is comforting! That being said, I think he's doing great, too! :)

  3. You've hit on the difference between school and homeschool ;) In school there are so many other children to observe and work with and even to teach - and even some of the language variances picked up from the other children and the adult (that might tip something off in math, let's say - sometimes just hearing it another way, non-chalant-like, creates a HUGE leap in Legoboy). At home, not so much but children always eventually get there ;)

    Over-riding principle: follow the child (and these boys are going to be geography buffs!). The primary albums do not have to be done to skip the rest and move into elementary; or as you've seen with Kal-El, he still gains from some of the primary level work probably done a bit different than if he were younger and doing the work.

  4. Great work from your boys as always! Homeschooling is always different then you think it will be isn't it? :) Its amazing how they all learn different things differently! Keep up the awesome work!

  5. Great blog. Love the pictures. Makes me miss the classroom even more.

  6. Hi MBT, I was just wondering, how do you get Me Too to practice the collective exercises with the golden beads? Do you sit and do them with him? Or give him numbers to do it himself? It seems like his setup is pretty simple (not cluttered). When I tried to do it we used a whole room and it took forever to do one problem. I am using the MBH album and I don't completely understand her setup, plus its for multiple children. We seem to be stuck in math waiting for Link to get past these exercises! Thanks! -Melissa

    1. Hi Mel,

      We use one rug and one or more trays. So for example, if we are practicing addition I give him a tray with four small number cards on it (they will eventually compose his addend). He puts the beads on the tray that the number cards ask for and brings it to the rug. Then, he does the "magic slide" with the small number cards and tells me what the addend is. I have my OWN tray with my own small number cards on it. I fill that tray with the correct amount of beads and bring it to the rug (at the same time he is filling his tray). He composes the number for me with the number cards and reads it to me. Then, he puts all of the beads together on the rug, sorts them by category, chooses the correct large number cards that are needed, composes the number (magic slide) and reads me the number. Then we put all the beads away and do another equation. OCCASIONALLY we included Kal-El and/or stuffed animals and he/they would make a third/more addend(s) so we would remember that addition isn't limited to only two addends, but we MOSTLY practice with just two addends.

      The process (and occasional expansion with his brother and stuffed animals) is similar for all the other operations. For Subtraction he takes the large number cards on a tray to fetch the minuend. I form a subtrahend with the small number cards and take that away (put it on the rug near me). He forms the difference with the small number cards and reads me the number.

      For multiplication we use extra people, stuffed animals, and often times just multiple trays (as many as in the multiplicand. I have a BIG stack of trays.) I put the small number cards that are needed on each tray, I help him fill the trays with beads. He combines the contents of all the trays together onto the rug, counts them up, finds the appropriate large number cards, composes and reads the number.

      Similar with division...I give him large number cards that will form the dividend. He brings me all the beads and puts them on the rug. I set out a certain number of trays (divisor) and he splits the beads among the trays. Then, he gets the small number cards to represent what is on one tray.

      So yes, I sit and do them with him...I never found another way to do it. It takes me a year to get through the collective exercises to my satisfaction per child...but I might be going too slowly. The good news is, because I was so thorough at that stage, all of the following stages have gone quickly and smoothly. I felt it was important to help him fill trays, get an addend myself, help him clean it up after each equation. If it is too much work they don't want to do it. As it is, it is cumbersome and it is hard to get through more than 3 equations a day.

      He is into the stamp game now and it is VERY easy for him. I think I could have gone faster with the golden beads and spent longer with the stamp game and it might have 'looked better" on the blog. However, I worried that the understanding wouldn't be as complete that way.

    2. As always, you are SO helpful! Thank you! Even I was overwhelmed with the way we were doing it and dreaded trying again :) I was so concerned about following the presentation as it was given, but it is given for a classroom. I think following your procedure will be easier for both of us! You should write a book :)