Sunday, 15 November 2009

What a week!

Now that we've made it to the weekend and can relax I'll try to record a few [schooling] moments because although we experienced many interruptions, we did manage to accomplish some things.

Firstly, Math-U-See. As you know, Tama 1 is working through Gamma. We're steadily working through Lesson 25 at present and we're making tremendous progress.

A Big Thumbs up for Steve Demme's method

Honestly, it is just wicked! Once I sat down and figured out how to do it myself, it was incredibly simple to implement. In a matter of minutes I understood the workings of it and I have only word to describe it - awesome! Yes indeed, for my little non-mathematical brain to have understood it is jolly impressive.

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[When you see how tidy he is in his approach to writing things out you can see why we're only doing one page per day at the minute.
I realise that in the new manuals, MUS have printed on both sides of the pages to cut down on the bulkiness and cut down on paper wastage. Speaking for ourselves, we actually prefer these older-style manuals because the kids do all their workings out on the left-hand side. But that's just something we will have to adjust to. I guess it won't much matter now that Tama 1 is actually working on larger equations because there's not enough room in the manuals to do his workings out anyway.]

In all fairness, I can say that Tama 1 understands both the 'traditional' method and the 'Math U See' method, so he's flexible enough to move between the two if need be, ie recognise different methods. The problem last week had nothing to do with using the traditional method, but rather, it was the fact that he had bigger multiplications to do, ie not just single or double digit numbers. Now that he's advancing into triple digits and upward thereof, he was simply daunted by the amount of work to do; or more to the point, the amount of work to do on his own. When I sat with him (acting as nothing more than his study-buddy) he managed the equations all on his own because simply by having me nearby he was able to relax. I can relate to that. I can remember being quite frightened being wrong in front of my fellow students and teacher when I was his age because it was at the multiplication stage of my short enjoyment-in-life-of-math that everything went pear-shape for me. In my case "embarrassment equalled failure."

Returning to last week again, I figured out quick-smart that one of the problems for Tama 1 when doing the bigger multiplication problems, is the fact that there's no columns or ruled lines across to act as an aide for the child. As soon as I drew lines down and across, hey presto!, he mastered each equation. Once he's run out of room in the manual, he moves to writing on a pad of paper [... hence the photo included above]. Tama 1 takes pride in his presentation, which I freely accept he gets from me! lol. In order to keep his workings out with the manual, I think I'll trim the sides to fit and glue along the top of the workings page then pop it in the manual that way. He prefers to draw the lines as opposed to mum printing out the grid pages and that's fine by me. Whatever makes it more enjoyable and understable for the kids then that's the way we'll do it.

The main thing is, Tama 1 is doing fine with his multiplications. It's still rather intimidating to look at more numbers for him and I know he is daunted at the prospect of working on even bigger equations (having glanced further along in Gamma). However, I know we have worked out a way to assist him and if I'm honest, I'm actually quite keen for him to do more than one page per day so we can get to those bigger equations already!!!! (tsk tsk mum! So much for learning some patience, lol).

Saturday, 8 o'clock at night

Tama 1 takes a pad of paper to whaiāipo and says, "I think this is how many hours there are in a year ... and this is how many in a leap year." He was absolutely correct on both accounts.

Then he decides to calcuate how many minutes there are in a year! Now THAT was a big equation so I helped him out just a little, ie indicating it was a two-part equation and explaining he'd need to add an extra zero when calculating as he would be multiplying by three digits. (There's probably a technical term to explain this, but I'm sure you'll understand what I'm saying. I know it's to do with place value, but if there's a special term I apologise, but I can't think of it right at this time.)
  1. There's 60 minutes in one hour and there are 24 hours in a day. He multiplied 60 x 24 without a problem. Total = 1440
  2. Now for the biggie - 1440 x 365. That's where I needed to teach him to add an extra zero:
Now, if you aren't familiar with MUS's method or you haven't reached Gamma yet, you may or may not understand how this works. It's a neat way of carrying over your figures. You write them in the body of the equation as opposed to placing them at the top of the equation. Such a simple yet very effective method!!

SOTW Volume 1

It's been an eternity since we did any History studies and I feel dreadful about that.

If I had an excuse as to why we haven't done SOTW for so long, well, I would probably say it's because I've allowed the children to actively pursue their interest in other areas. For example, Tama 1 loves engineering so for weeks now he's devoured the books at home here on engineering structures, machines and such like. He has drawn so many inventive plans of buildings, aeroplanes, ships and goodness-knows-what-else that I've not for a moment felt he's fallen behind with studies. Considering History is chock-a-block full of inventors, who's to say our son won't be in the history books himself one day?

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But anyway, this week I dragged out SOTW Volume 1 and the above photo is what we worked on this week. We discussed Hammurabi and the Babylonians. I asked him if (next week) he'd like to type out his notes (1) for his typing practice, and (2) as an alternative method of note-taking. He likes that idea, so I'll be sure to include a photo of him working on that next week. One point he enjoyed learning about the Babylonians is the fact that they were the first people to divide a year into 12 months, divide a day into 24 hours, and an hour into 60 minutes.

Tamāhine 1 has been working well this week on all areas of her schooling. There is one area though that I have neglected a little and that's her handwriting practice. I got a little lax about practicing daily, so over the past few weeks I have made a more committed effort to re-establish it into our routine. I'm sorry the photo below isn't as clear as I wish it could be, but I was trying to provide an example of how she's come back to it like a duck to water. It took her a lot longer to produce her work, but once I reminded her to sit straight and relax her arm, she found it easier. The tendency to lean onto the forearm initially certainly exhausted her so I sat with her and with subtle yet encouraging reminders of what to do, she soon found her feet again and as the days passed, all aspects improved.

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Tama 1 and Tamāhine 1 worked together during the week to learn US currency. So far we have learnt about American coins:

Penny = 1¢ - Abe Lincoln on the front, Lincoln Memorial on the back
Nickel = 5¢ - Thomas Jefferson on the front, his home of Monticello on the back*

Dime = 10¢ - Franklin Roosevelt on the front, torch on the back
Quarter = 25¢ - George Washington on the front, Eagle on the back*
Half-Dollar = 50¢ - John Kennedy on the front, Presidential Seal on the back

* For us to distinguish between the two we noted that Jefferson had a wig with no curl and Washington has a wig with curl.

We had a lot of fun learning the coins and adding up with the American currency. Okay, so it's not quite so relevant living all the way over on the other side of the world for us, but at least we'll be prepared if we ever get the chance to travel over there, lol.

And finally, just a quick reminder to any whānau members checking in. Hopefully you have sent in or voted online (like I did).

I thought it was pretty flash to receive the form with secret code to vote online. Tumeke alright.

I cast my vote on receipt of the form on Friday rather than wait because (1) of the ease of convenience to vote online; (2) even though I have until 10 December, I already knew who I would vote for; and (3) we have a busy few weeks ahead what with two birthdays within six days of each other and getting myself organised with baby clothes etc for our new baby arrival. Besides, it's a good feeling knowing I've got another task out of the way (albeit small).

So there's a quick wrap-up of our week. I've tried to include everything that was achieved and hopefully I haven't left anything out. Time to get a coffee me thinks! and get outside with the kids and whaiāipo.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

1 comment:

  1. hey, I think I have some real
    American coins if that would be useful (or did I miss something in the blog, should re read). Great to see you back on line, I have missed your presence. xxxx