Friday, March 09, 2007

I've discovered that the best time to do school stuff with my kids really is first thing in the morning!

I was ready and they were up. Not sure what time--7? 7:15? I decided to print off a worksheet for ds--+3--and I grabbed our bead frame (which he'd used the other day to count on) and set up the questions with 3 all ready. He loved doing the sheet and was so proud of himself when there were some questions he got really easily. I'm so amazed at his little math brain--so many wonderful strategies in there that are just there, nothing he's needed to be taught. [I'm just thinking: am I respecting the two oldest's differences? If at one point they did have good strategies, they've gone bye-bye, although the 12yo seems to be redeveloping some on his own. I think the 15yo did have good strategies for grades 7 and 8 math--but her desire was to learn and understand. Her mind has shifted to just doing the math, getting the right answer and moving on.] When he did 3+7 he really impressed me. The 3 was already in place and he looked at the beads left and it only took him a second to see that they were 7 (I think he can identify a group of 5 on sight). And he knew that one full row was 10. He said out loud, "3 plus... all of this. It's 10!" Very cool. He's also writing some very nice numbers.

I told dd I was going to show her something in math and that I wasn't going to ask her to do any of it, but she could ask me questions. I put something on the board like 4312 x 3. She said, "I can do that!" and wouldn't let me do it. lol. I've mentioned in the past and on different lists how this can be a valuable technique with kids who feel pressured by us asking them things. She made a small error and I showed her another way to look at the question to see why we add the 1 that we carry after we've done the multiplication. Then I showed her another question and she started coming up with all kinds of crazy questions: times, divide, questions with times, divide and subtract... She grabbed the calculator to see if I was right. But I verbalized EVERYTHING that I did. She's the kind of kid who will learn from the verbalization rather easily. Maybe not this time, but we do some large multiplication a few times like that and she'll be ready to try some on her own. I think the best part of it all was there was no frustration on her part, no feeling bad (not even about her small mistake), it was a very positive math time.

When we finished that, she just HAD to go get the book I took out from the library that I thought she'd be interested in: Arthur and the Invisibles. She says it's really, really good. She's been reading about 1.5 hours now.

My niece is now looking through books, as is ds. It's very quiet here. Except for the water pouring down from the water filter in the fish tank. I'm working on the 15yo's math sheets. I've pulled out the two texts we have and am going to take the best of each and put together some sheets. Each sheet will have a little simple review part at the top (max. 10 questions) and then move onto the lesson stuff, with an example followed immediately by practice questions (maybe 5 each, depending on how many different examples; there are 4 examples in the section I'm doing up today), followed by Extra Practice questions. She will decide for herself if she's going to do extra practice questions and which ones. If she keeps all the sheets, then the extra practice sections can serve as review/practice for just before units tests or her final exam.

Oh, distractions getting in the way. It seems it is now snack time and then we are going to go out.

4 comments:

Jane said...

I do think findiing the right time is vital.....I know we always did 'work' in the mornings but it never worked out well for us.....I am an evening person and so I have no idea why I didn't see that some of my children probably are too.....

Last night watching Lloyd and Susie working on math all evening was wonderful...it just WORKED.....but over the years I guess we are made to believe that 'work' should be at a set time whether it actually 'works for us or not.....

I am soooo not a morning person so I have no idea why I tried to make the children into morning people...square peg round hole...

I like the new look of your blog - at first I thought I'd come to the wrong page!

Daisy said...

I'm coming to see more and more how finding the right time for each child really is vital. It used to work for us all to focus on work in the a.m. and have the p.m. free. It doesn't work quite so well anymore. Dd just seems to have issues with working when the two oldest are here. When anybody else shows up, ds's brain is off school. The oldest can't handle things in the morning so much anymore, but we had some REALLY good afternoon sessions last week... As for the 12yo... I really don't know. He's just so... un-figure-out-able. lol.

They enjoy doing different things with me, but it's been a few times now where I've made a point to do some activities with them before anybody shows up and it works soooooo well. *chuckle*--I don't know how dd would feel about me getting her out of bed at 6:30 to do an hour and some of work with me each morning, though. lol. Ds, however... He's usually awake by 6:30, I think. Maybe it's time for me to change my morning routine.

Daisy said...

Oh, and thanks about the new blog look! I was just finding the dark green from the other one a little too drab. Maybe it's because spring has sprung and I need something new and lighter.

Lisia said...

That's a coincidence: we have "Arthur and the Invisibles" out of the library at the moment too! Tessa chose it but hasn't started reading it yet.

My kids are both night owls and love to work in the evening but I'm tired and not fit for much by then. They are slow to get going in the morning so we don't start our work session till after 10am, which gives me time to exercise and do housework and have some computer time before we start. Maybe I should reconsider how we could better cater to their evening energy.