Tuesday, February 10, 2015

School Days

It may have taken three months to do the division bead board, but Me Too finished the division finger board in three days.  He took a break most of last week, but will likely start and finish the division bingo board this week.

One of our Spanish lessons was about flags.  This got Me Too interested in flags and continent boxes again.  He colored many flag pages.  You can print them at Enchanted Learning or, as we did, from Crayola.

The boys enjoyed some new items in their Central American souvenir collection.  A friend recently sent us some very neat things from Mexico such as this Aztec calendar stone.

A little bobble-headed turtle....

We're not so sure what this is.  My gut says Chichen Itza, but it has be reshaped into something of a boat.  Maybe it's a Chichen Itza pencil holder?  The boys have been laying their pencils across the back so they stop rolling off the table while we work. Our house is not very level.

This all prompted more digging in the North America box.  We have a separate box for the U.S.A., so this box holds our items from other North American countries.

All that digging around in the North American box prompted him to dig around in the Antarctica box as well.  He reread a lot about McMurdo station.  He is very enamored with this set of real scientist's dog tags.  I think he's been wearing this on his wrist for a week.

He was so absorbed in exploring these slides that he was super surprised when the preliminary flash went off on the camera.

Kal-El was inspired by his Story of the World listening.  We've been reading about the Mesopotamians.  Here Kal-El has made "mud bricks" our of modeling clay.

And then, he stacked them into a structure.

We've been doing a lot of Story of the World inspired reading.  It is finding our way into our other work.  One of Kal-El's sentence constructions with the grammar arrows this week was "Hammurabi rides his bike."  Kal-El takes pictures of all of his grammar sentences with our little point and shoot, but he decided to take a video of that sentence.  Videos are a lot of work to post, so no go.

Kal-El is still plugging along through our sentence analysis materials.  Here is a sentence he did take a picture of.

Kal-El has started a new stage of checkerboard work.  He is now recording his partial products.  He can do this work abstractly on paper.  He works on long multiplication once or twice a week.  For every equation he does on a "material" he is allowed to do one just on paper.  He needs a little more practice before I feel comfortable that he has internalized the process.  He understands works like these instantly and it would be easy to not make him repeat. However, I find that he memorizes algorithms extremely quickly but it takes many repetitions with the concrete manipulatives to internalize the real process. I want  to make sure he understands the process and not just the algorithm so a minimal amount of work on the materials is still a requirement here.

We used to go to the library to take advantage of "Reading to Rover."  Now we have our own private Read to Truman program at home.  Truman will not be homeschooled.  He starts puppy classes on Thursday.

Me Too has moved on from scowling at division on the stamp game to beaming at division on the racks and tubes.  We are getting to this nice and early so hopefully he will enjoy it for a long time.

Kal-El is moving through the work on this same material rapidly.  He is a little old for it and doesn't like moving all the beads.  I sit next to him while he works and help him clear the boards to speed things up for him.  He demonstrated that he could do equations with four-digit divisors and remainders so I let him skip most of the equations in the box on his first pass through.  The top equation on the paper below is one of his last equations on that first pass.  The first level requires only recording the final answer.

It looks like we will be skipping most of the equations on the second level as well.  The second level requires that you record your remainders at each step and bring down the next place value on your paper.  What you are not yet doing at that stage is recording the number of beads used and subtracting to find the remainder.  However, the second equation on the paper above was one that Kal-El completed his second day of this while I was in a meeting with another Mom at the kitchen table.  He doesn't like the racks and tubes so he did it in his head. This means he was able, in his head, to picture the beads on the board, multiply the width and height of the bead rectangle or square produced, subtract that from what he had in his head and write down only the remainder.  Once we've tackled a few with larger divisors we'll go ahead and move onto the level that allows you to record that step.  Then he won't have to do that in his head, although apparently that poses no problem for him.  He has done many equations like this on paper this week.


  1. I just love reading about your school and looking at all of your awesome photos with them at work!

  2. No homeschooling the puppy? That's cheating. :) Our cat is homeschooled. He gets tons of practical life chasing after birds and pooing all over the backyard so the kids step in it. Ick! I wonder if there are cat classes he can attend.

    Remind me when did you start long division work with Kal-El? I haven't started with any of the kids yet. I'm so terrified of it. I barely have time to get through reading a presentation on How to Apologize, I just wing everything. I'd have to dedicate like several nights of valuable material making time to figuring out what exactly goes on with the long division racks and tubes. Talk me into it please! Tell me how much my kids need this so I can get it done! :)


    1. Oh and I LOVE the stuff from Mexico! I bet I know who got it for ya! We got a couple bobble head cats. One already took a beating and broke his head off :(. I guess my kids need more lessons on how to be gentle with things.

  3. I want to see Hammurabi's bike! ;) That is awesome!

  4. Love your school days posts!!

    S almost fell off the sofa laughing when she read the part about the Chichen Itza pencil holder. We have a Mayan calendar (I think) in our classroom and it stands up on that Chichen Itza cut out piece. :) S then asked for a pencil holder.

    Do you remember where you got your wall book-shelf? That looks about right for our space. I am glad you "left" the yard stick right next to it, so I could see how tall you mounted everything. :)

    Who is laying behind Kal-El doing the Racks and Tubes? We almost left D's dog Chase at the Drs yesterday!!

    And we have to get back to the Racks and Tubes. We went about half way through last year before pausing because doing the notation part you say is "next" for Kal-El required, well doesn't require, but is made A LOT easier by knowing your math facts. And T didn't know his math facts last year. He understood the process well, but the notating got him frustrated so we focused on other things for a bit.

    Jenn--MJ should just come over one of the times we do Racks and Tubes, and T will give him a lesson. :)

  5. T likes the "mung-mung" (puppy in Korean, what a child would say) and he likes Kal-El's Mesopotamian mud bricks.

    And Jenn--just got a T confirmation that he would like to do the racks and tubes with MJ.

  6. What Spanish curriculum are you using? I haven't yet found one that we love.

    1. Meghan, read my comments in this post:


  7. Thanks! I did a quick search on the blog before I asked, but I missed it. We have several sets of 3 part cards that I made, and I attempted to make the grammar box material for my upper elementary son, but it was a bit too challenging with the differences in sentence structure. We lived in Miami for a few years, and my older boys picked it up quickly while we were there. There are few native speakers where we live now,so they have forgotten much of what they learned.

  8. Wow!!! Love your school days!!! The boys are doing amazing!! and they are soo big!!LOL.... So glad to back to the blogger world!! Love your days!!, and of course your post explanations!!, I have to presents some math new materials... so I'm reading some good advises here!! LOL Thanks!!!

    Hugs, Karen