Me Too asked me to take this picture and told me beforehand that he was going to practice "smiling nicely." You know, so he won't look disturbing. Clearly we'll have to keep working on it. I don't know why my kids think they have to touch their top teeth to their bottom lip in order to smile nicely. Sigh.
I am doing something a little different with Me Too and the division racks and tubes. Our AMI KotU elementary albums start directly with two-digit divisors. Me Too was working on division with one-digit divisors on the stamp game but was no longer interested in the stamps and bogged down by the stamps. Our AMS math albums actually have a section on simply building dividends with the racks and tubes and a section on one-digit divisors with the racks and tubes (as an advanced child might do in primary). Also, the Nienhuis equation cards I bought to go with this material had sections for both of those tasks. So I moved Me Too off of the stamp game (he hoped "forever" but really until he does group division someday) and am having him work through those sections of our equation box instead.
Here is a closer look at our little equation box. These are very nice cards. I know I've mentioned it before, but I seriously dislike generating equations. I bought the boxes for the checkerboard, racks and tubes, and the flat bead frame. I also plan to buy the second set for fractions (unlike divisors). The child can generate his own equations, and my boys also do that. However, in our homeschool I find that the existence of a set amount of equations illustrates the eventual "end" of that apparatus and sparks and interest in "what's next." Little things like that can be helpful when you don't have a classroom of 25 students doing exciting work to motivate them. The little number dividers feed right into my boys' interest in "getting to the next level." I have to pay attention to their mood. Whenever they seem reluctant or uninterested in the box of equations I suggest they invent their own. The extra control of their work is always refreshing.
Kal-El has been finishing up copying the prefix chart. He sits at the table when he does this and the chart stays on the wall so there is some distance (providing memory work). However, he likes to store his copies over by the chart so he can find them whenever he continues his work.
Me Too is still very interested in drawing. Both boys have been asking me to look up Star Wars drawing tutorials to copy during their "kid's choice" moments often during schooltime. Above is Me Too's rendition of an Ewok. As I overheard Kal-El say to Me Too the other day, "I used to be interested in spies and Power Rangers. Now I am interested in Star Wars and Star Wars." Me Too is interested in "art" any way he can get it. I tried the Drawing With Children approach but I found that book very hard to use. I would have to spend hours and hours "figuring out how to do it" much like I once "figured out how to do Montessori." There's a limit to how much time I have to spend squeezing information out of sources like water from a rock (Which is what homeschooling using the Montessori method was like seven years ago when I started all this.) I need something that is open and go. Last night I finally bit the bullet and ordered the I Can Do All Things curriculum from How Great Thou Art. It is a three year curriculum geared for ages 6-10. They have a program for kids 10 and older as well, Feed My Sheep. I also thought that Art and The Bible for Children looked like a really fun devotional option for families like mine who like to have an activity at the end.
Kal-El worked on memorizing the mountains, deserts, and islands of North America some this week.
I don't think I've mentioned how much we enjoy this L'Escapadou cursive app on our iPad. Kal-El just started asking for my stylus when he uses it. He says it's "more official." We use the New American Cursive books. They have worked beautifully. Kal-El has learned cursive quickly and easily with no fuss and very little assistance from me. I haven't noticed any font-compatibility issues between that and the app.
One feature I love about the app is that you can add your own word lists and record your own audio. I plugged in all of the boys All About Spelling word lists in order to sneak in some extra sneaky spelling practice. I recorded the audio for each word. I did this while supervising in the school room and sometimes the boys help. They like it when their own voices come up saying a word. Sometimes we say certain words with a lot of emotion which cracks them up. Me Too has told me that if I die he wants the iPad so that he can "always remember my voice." Oh dear, that kid says the oddest things. Although, the other day when Kal-El alerted us to a beautiful sunset while the boys were eating breakfast I overheard Me Too say, "Mommy is prettier."
We reviewed the classification of triangles this week.
Me Too said, "I am very very angry about my word problems today." He was having trouble finding all the cards for the week he wanted.
Kal-El working with the grammar boxes.
Here Kal-El is working on one of the exercises from the Squaring and Cubing section of the KotU math album. He had to make a pyramid out of the bead squares and then find the sum of all of the squares. He notated each square and listed its sum. Then, he added the sums to reach his final answer. This will be less fun when he does it with the cubes (Since he doesn't have the products of each cube memorized like he does the squares.). It has been REALLY enjoyable working on math with two kids who now know all of their math facts.
Phew! I forgot how LONG it takes to do the division bead board AMI-style. We followed the presentation in the Montessori by Hand primary album. Me Too completed EVERY equation, with and without remainders, with quotients from 1 to 81. As he went he checked all of his answers with no remainder against the multiplication control board. Then, he would underline any equation that had no remainder in red. Finally, when he had completed his whole book of equations (read more on this and get a free download to make the booklet here) he copied all of the equations without remainders, those underlined in red, onto graph paper. He finished today. He started in October. It took 2.5 months if you allow for not really having school due to illness in December. Now we can move on to the finger boards. This should go quickly because he really doesn't see a difference between the division equations without remainders and the multiplication equations he already has memorized.
Me Too wanted something fresh to do after finishing all of that old division work. He dug around in our "specimen" drawers for a bit and came up with dinosaur skeletons and dinosaur cards.
Getting a fresh perspective.
He invented some kind of work for himself that involved assigning each skeleton a "category type" and sorting the cards below as belonging to that "category." Then he took it upon himself to record each "family" of dinosaurs on paper. About this time, Kal-El came along and asked him about his work. Kal-El determined that not ALL of the dinosaurs in each category were a perfect match for the skeleton at the top. Me Too explained that they were all "similar" and then the two of them, as a TEAM (I was very quiet and tried to make myself invisible while they had this rare moment of GETTING ALONG.), discussed what features they should compare to decide which dinosaur in the category was actually a perfect match for the skeleton at the top. This is a good example of how easily the boys go "off work plan" and of how the work plan does not act like a checklist or limit their freedom or creativity.
Both boys are performing at Federation music festival soon on their violins. They are also both taking a the music theory test there. So, we've had to spend a little time familiarizing them with a couple of concepts they haven't gotten to elsewhere (such as labelling intervals by size) and how to take a test. This will be the first test either of them has ever taken.
There has also been an uptick in requests to listen to The Story of the World audio book and a lot of projects that have spun off from that. Speaking of spinning off, we still work on copywork from Writing with Ease and the boys ALWAYS want to read the whole book that has been excerpted. This week I started The Happy Hollisters as a read-aloud, but Kal-El was so interested he took over and finished on his own. We have to get our library to round up some more of the series for us.
Kal-El's favorite book right now is Star Wars: Jedi Academy. The boy in the book keeps a diary and draws cartoons. Kal-El mentioned that he wished HE could keep a diary. So, I leapt to pull a fun journal out of my basement stash that I had been saving (for four years) for just this moment. Now Kal-El spends a lot of time each day writing in his diary. He writes stories, records his day, and draws cartoons. It is not a secret diary so I'll have to have him choose some pages to share with you all soon.
Also to be shared soon will be some fun work on multiples Kal-El did this week. I had several pictures of it so will give it its own post.
Note: This post has a record number of Amazon Affiliate links I think so it bears mentioning that if you buy something after clicking through one of those links, even if it isn't what I linked to, there is no extra cost to you but I do receive a small percentage in return from Amazon. Any money earned is funneled right back into educating the boys here and writing about it on this blog. I don't usually mention it, but that information is always available in the disclosures at the bottom of the blog.