math

My Curriculum Choices 2013: 5 year old 2nd grader

Part 1 of My Curriculum Choices discussed the choices for my eight year old. This time I'll tell you about the choices for my five year old.

Reading/Literature

NIrV Read with Me Bible Illustrated by Dennis Jones: I want to instill in my son the daily habit of reading his own Bible. I feel this Bible is written at the right reading level for my son’s current reading ability.

A Beka Book Second Grade Readers: These readers progress with difficulty at the same pace as the A Beka Book Language 2 that we are using. I like how they compliment each other and the Biblical characteristics and morals that are woven into the stories.

Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt: This is a resource guide for me that helps me select extra reading material for my son.

Writing

A Beka Book Language 2 workbook: I have used A Beka Book’s Language books in the past with my two oldest sons and have been pleased with them. I like the convenience of having a workbook that my son can write in. I like how it explains the language rules and then gives opportunities to practice them and review them throughout the book.

I will also be introducing my son to cursive handwriting this year.

Music

Alfred’s Basic Piano Library All-in-One Course for Children: I will continue this book with my children from last year. I like how this books combines lesson and theory into one simple book.

Math

A Beka Book Arithmetic 2: I have used A Beka Book’s Arithmetic books in the past and have been pleased with them. I like the convenience of having a workbook that my son can write in. I like how it explains things simply and then gives opportunities to practice them and review them throughout the book.

Science

Apologia Exploring Creation with Astronomy by Fulbright: We used Apologia’s “Exploring Creation with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures” by Fulbright last year and it was a good fit for us. This series is written from a creation perspective and I can use it with multi-level teaching. It is more in-depth than many other science books I have looked at, which works well for my analytical son and it has lots of simple hands on experiments and activities for my more hands on son.

History & Geography

All Through the Ages by Christine Miller: This is a resource guide for me from which I plan to select books on the Dark and Middle Ages and obtain them from our library system. This guide makes it easier for me to select quality books from these historical time periods for my sons that are safe from non-Christian biases. This is a multi-level teaching approach. I used this guide book in the past and it works well for us. History is one of my sons’ favorite subjects.

Geography From A to Z A Picture Glossary by Jack Knowlton: This cute book will complement our multi-level study of geography through history. It introduces new geography terms in an easy and fun way.

In my last post, part 1, of this series, I explained why I haven’t listed all of the subjects that I am teaching my children. If you the last post and are interested in why I did this, please check it out.

Also, If you did read the last post, you may have noticed that many of my choices for my second grader are the same as my choices for my fourth grader. Though they each have their own Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic books, for many of the other subjects their books are the same. I use a multi level teaching approach in these other areas. This saves me time, and I feel they learn more when they can share and discuss what they have just learned with each other.

What are your kids’ favorite subjects and what do you use in those subject areas?

My Curriculum Choices 2013: 8 year old 4th grader

In this first part of a two part series I'm sharing my curriculum choices for our eight year old who is doing 4th grade work.

Reading/Literature

NIV Boys Bible by Zondervan: I want my son to continue his daily habit of reading his own Bible. This bible has a few study notes presented in an interesting way to boys, that help my son understand what he is reading better. 

A Beka Book 4th grade readers: These readers progress throughout the year together with the Language Book we use. I like the Biblical characteristics and morals that are woven into the stories.

A Beka Book Read & Think 4: My son requested this book. He used Read & Think 3 last year and loved the stories in them so much that he requested that I get the 4th grade book this year. His reading improved greatly last year!

Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt: This is a resource guide for me that helps me select extra reading material for my son.

Writing

A Beka Book Language A workbook: The A Beka Book Language series works well for my son. I like the convenience of having a workbook. I like how it explains the language rules and then gives opportunities to practice them and review them throughout the book.

I will also be introducing my son to cursive handwriting this year. 

Music

Alfred’s Basic Piano Library All-in-One Course for Children: I will continue this book with my children from last year. I like how this book combines lesson and theory into one simple book.

Math

A Beka Book Arithmetic 4: We used the A Beka Book Arithmetic series in the past and they work well for my son. I like how it explains things simply and then gives opportunities to practice them and review them throughout the book. Though this is a workbook, I plan to have my son use it like a textbook and write his answers on a separate piece of paper so we can reuse this book in the future with my other children. He usually needs more space than is provided to show his work anyway.

Science

Apologia Exploring Creation with Astronomy by Fulbright: We used Apologia’s Exploring Creation series in past years. This series is written from a creation perspective and I can use it with multi-level teaching. It is more in-depth than many other science books I have looked at which works well for my analytical son and it has lots of simple hands on experiments and activities for my more hands on son.

History & Geography

All Through the Ages by Christine Miller: This is a resource guide for me from which I plan to select books on the Dark and Middle Ages and obtain them from our library system. This guide makes it easier for me to select quality books from these historical time periods for my sons that are safe from anti-Christian biases. This is a multi-level teaching approach. I used this guide book in the past and it works well for us. History is one of my sons’ favorite subjects.

Geography From A to Z A Picture Glossary by Jack Knowlton: This cute book will complement our multi-level study of geography through history. It introduces new geography terms in an easy and fun way.

You may have noticed that I skipped a few subjects like Health & Art. It’s not that I’m not teaching my children those subjects, it’s that I don’t have specific text books for those subjects. Instead, I’m choosing to design my own plan for those subjects and other subjects I may be adding to the books that I’ve listed. Those areas not listed certainly aren’t forgotten.

Next week I'll tell you about my educational plan for my 5 year old who's doing second grade work.

Are you ready for this school year?

Grocery Shopping for Learning Opportunities

The grocery store seems to be an endless opportunity for learning. It’s amazing that so many of my children’s learning opportunities are tied into the grocery store in some way. I realized that I spend almost an hour there every week with my children. It’s hard to be with my children for an hour and not teach them something. It’s just not natural for me. My oldest child is only seven years old, so I’m sure that the teaching opportunities have barely even begun to be tapped at the grocery store.

Here are some of the lessons we have done while grocery shopping and a few extra that I plan to do in the future. Most of them only take an extra minute or two while shopping. They are mostly  preschool or early elementary related. It seems that whatever stage my children are at, I can tie it into something while at the grocery store. Oh, the possibilities are endless!

Counting

I can have him count the items as I put them into the cart. He can count how many eggs are in a dozen. He can count how many yogurt cups we buy today. He can count how many bananas are in the bunch. He can count how many different types of grapes the store sells. He can count how many people he sees in the store.

Colors

I can have him look for a certain color of food. The produce department is my favorite area for this game.

Shapes

I can have him look for items that are a particular shape such as a cube or cylinder.

Letters

I can have him look for a particular letter on signs or labels. He can find items that beginning with a particular letter (again, the produce department is great for this). To take this a step further, during my Letter a Week kindergarten curriculum, I even let the child pick out an item that started with the letter of the week. I would then incorporate it into our meal plan for that week. My boys really loved this! I have to admit, I did too.

Reading

I can have him read signs, labels, or anything in the store. Sometimes I make a grocery list in advance for my son and have him check off the items as we put them into the cart or read the items to me that are left on the list. I’ll ask one of my sons to get me a specific item such as sharp cheddar cheese. He can’t just look at the picture then. He has to read to figure out which cheese is the sharp cheddar.

Writing

I can have him write the items that I buy on a list.

Money

I can have him write the cost of items I buy on a list. He can calculate the total bill. He can round each item to the nearest dollar. He can then estimate the total bill (this is my method of estimating my total bill each trip to make sure that I don’t go over budget). This is a great still for him to learn! I can pay with cash and have him figure out how much of each denomination is needed to pay the total or how much change I will get back.

Other Math

I can talk about and show him different units of measure such as 1 dozen eggs, 2 pounds of bananas, 1 gallon of water, 1 quart of milk, or 2 liters of pop.

He can compare and contrast items by type or size.

We can discuss metric versus English measurements such as liters versus quarts. He can find items that are sold by English or metric measurements.

He can find items that are sold by volume or weight or quantity.

He can estimate the weight of bananas or other produce that we buy.

Social Studies

Where we live, we often see people from different ethnicities and speaking different languages. I like to teach my children a little about where they come from, or what language they are speaking. If I know, I’ll maybe even teach them a few words from that language (I can at least say “Hello” in a few different languages).

History

This one pops up occasionally and unexpectedly for me. Sometimes I’ll see something that was common in the past, but not common now, such as glass bottles of pop. I’ll take that opportunity to discuss with my kids how things are different now than they used to be when I or our ancestors were children. I can discuss with them how glass bottles of pop were common for Grandma and Grandpa and how they used a bottle opener to open them.

Sometimes my kids will ask questions like why an item comes in a certain type of container such as baking soda in a can. I can discuss the history of how that came to be (though I often have to look things like this up).

I can teach him the history of certain foods. We once read a book about bananas. We learned how they came to the US and how many different varieties of bananas there are. It was fascinating! Did you know there are bananas that taste like ice cream?

Geography

I can have him look on food labels to see where different foods come from. He can look up that county on a map when he gets home or even learn about that country from an encyclopedia. He can look for foods from a particular country that he has learned about at home or heard about in the news lately.

Science

I can point out different produce that the store sells. If I don’t know what something is, I can learn by asking a produce department employee. We can maybe even try the new food.

I can discuss how different plants grow such as carrots are roots, apples are fruit of a tree, or celery is the stalk of the plant.

I can discuss what is the difference between yams and sweet potatoes. When my children are older, I can even have them research these things on their own and write reports on them.

What learning opportunities have you discovered at the grocery store?

Next time I will write about the educational opportunities I create as I prepare for grocery shopping.

My Curriculum Choices 2012: 4 year old doing first grade work

Part 1 of My Curriculum Choices discussed the choices for my 7-year-old. This time I'll tell you about my first grader.

Reading/Literature

”NIrV Read with Me Bible” Illustrated by Dennis Jones: I want to instill in my son the daily habit of reading his own Bible. I feel this Bible is written at the right reading level for my son’s current reading ability.

A Beka Book “First Grade Readers”: These readers progress with difficulty at the same pace as the A Beka Book “Language 1” that we are using. I like the Biblical characteristics and morals that are woven into the stories.

“Alpha-Phonics” by Samuel L Blumenfeld: We started this book last year and are going to continue it this year. It is very simple. The lessons are short which is important since my son is still young. It is reusable which is important because I have younger children that I plan to homeschool in the future also.

Writing

A Beka Book “Language 1” workbook: I have used A Beka Book’s Language books with my older son and have been pleased with them. I like the convenience of having a workbook that my son can write in. I like how it explains the language rules and then gives opportunities to practice them and review them throughout the book.

Music

Alfred’s Basic Piano Library All-in-One Course for Children: I introduced the keyboard to my children last year with this book. I plan to make it a weekly experience this year. I like how this books combines lesson and theory into one simple book.

Math

A Beka Book “Arithmetic 1”: I have used A Beka Book’s Arithmetic books with my older son and have been pleased with them. I like the convenience of having a workbook that my son can write in. I like how it explains things simply and then gives opportunities to practice them and review them throughout the book.

Science

Apologia “Exploring Creation with Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day by Fulbright: We used Apologia’s “Exploring Creation with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures” by Fulbright last year and it was a good fit for us. This series is written from a creation perspective and I can use it with multi-level teaching. It is more in-depth than many other science books I have looked at, which works well for my analytical son and it has lots of simple hands on experiments and activities for my more hands on son.

History & Geography

”All Through the Ages” by Christine Miller: This is a resource guide for me from which I plan to select books on Greece and Rome, and obtain them from our library system. This guide makes it easier for me to select quality books from these historical time periods for my sons that are safe from non-Christian biases. I used this guide book last year and it worked well. History become one of my sons’ favorite subjects!

Health

A Beka Book “Health Safety and Manners 1”: I like the Christian perspective and short, simple approach to this topic.

“Before I was Born” by Carolyn Nystrom (God’s Design for Sex series): I like to review this book yearly with my sons to encourage a healthy Christian perspective of sex education.

In my post last week, part 1, of this series, I explained why I haven’t listed all of the subjects that I am teaching my children. If you missed last weeks post and are interested in why I did this, please check it out.

Also, If you did read last weeks post, you may have noticed that many of my choices for my first grader are the same as my choices for my third grader. Though they each have their own Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic books, for many of the other subjects their books are the same. I use a multi level teaching approach in these other areas. This saves me time, and I feel they learn more when they can share and discuss what they have just learned with each other.

If you have multiple children, do you use a multi level teaching approach? I’d love to hear why or why not?

My Curriculum Choices 2012: 7 year old doing Third grade work

In this first part of a two part series I'm sharing my curriculum choices for our 7 year old who is doing 3rd grade work.

Reading/Literature

"NIrV Read with Me Bible" Illustrated by Dennis Jones: I want to instill in my son the daily habit of reading his own Bible. I feel this Bible is written at the right reading level for my son’s current reading ability. 

A Beka Book "Readers": These readers progress with difficulty at the same pace as the A Beka Book Language book that we are using. I like the Biblical characteristics and morals that are woven into the stories. 

Classic Books such as The Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Warner: I have selected a few classic books for my son to read this year in addition to the A Beka Book Readers. I want to expand his reading styles and introduce him to some classic literature. 

A Beka Book "Read & Think 3": The goal of this book is to improve my son’s reading speed. I like this book because the stories that it uses are often historical.

Writing

A Beka Book "Language 3" workbook: We have used A Beka Book "Language 1" and "Language 2" in the past. They seem to work well for my son. I like the convenience of having a workbook that he can write in. I like how it explains the language rules and then gives opportunities to practice them and review them throughout the book.

Music

Alfred's Basic Piano Library: All-in-One Course for Children-Book 1: I introduced the keyboard to my children last year with this book. I plan to make it a weekly experience this year. I like how this books combines lesson and theory into one simple book. 

Math

A Beka Book "Arithmetic 3": We used A Beka Book "Arithmetic 1" and "Arithmetic 2" in the past and they seem to work well for my son. I like the convenience of having a workbook that he can write in. I like how it explains things simply and then gives opportunities to practice them and review them throughout the book.

Science

Apologia "Exploring Creation with Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day by Fulbright: We used Apologia’s "Exploring Creation with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures" by Fulbright last year and it was a good fit for us. This series is written from a creation perspective and I can use it with multi-level teaching. It is more in-depth than many other science books I have looked at which works well for my analytical son and it has lots of simple hands on experiments and activities for my more hands on son.

History & Geography

"All Through the Ages" by Christine Miller: This is a resource guide for me from which I plan to select books on Greece and Rome, and obtain them from our library system. This guide makes it easier for me to select quality books from these historical time periods for my sons that are safe from non-Christian biases. This is a multi-level teaching approach. I used this guide book last year and it worked well. History become one of my sons’ favorite subjects. 

Health

A Beka Book "Health Safety and Manners 3": I like the Christian perspective and short, simple approach to this topic. 

You may have noticed that I skipped a few subjects like Spelling & Geography. It’s not that I’m not teaching my children those subjects, it’s that I don’t have specific text books for those subjects. Instead, I’m choosing to design my own plan for those subjects. For instance for Geography I’m planning on using a computer game called Seterra for part of our curriculum. My son will also be writing reports about different states he studies. I’ll even incorporate current global events and ethnic nights into our geography curriculum. So even though I haven’t listed a text book, those other areas certainly aren’t forgotten.

Next week I'll tell you about my current educational plan for my 4 year old who's doing first grade work.

Have you started your school year? What is your favorite subject to teach and how are you teaching it?

Useful Junkmail-An Oxymoron

I hate wasting things. I’d probably be a hoarder if I didn’t hate clutter so much. Because of my unique combination of personality traits that God has created me with, I try to find non-traditional uses for things that I would otherwise just throw away (If I can’t find an alternative use for something I still throw it away, so in case you were wondering, no, I don’t have a big ball of dental floss hidden in a cupboard somewhere in my house). One of the items that keeps coming into my house, that really has no traditional usefulness, is junk mail. Since we have such a plethora of it, I have through the years come up with a few creative, educational uses for the junk mail I am constantly receiving.

Homeschool Doesn't End When Summer Starts

If you are like me, you probably recently finished your school year or are almost done. I admit I’m calling it the end of the year. My children are excited to be promoted to the next grade (before they even put down their pencils after the last assignment), but we aren’t really done. Learning is such a part of our lives, that I just can’t stop teaching them. We enjoy it. I see summer as a wonderful opportunity to do more hands-on-learning such as field trips and science experiments and math games. I feel like we have more time for fun learning during our summer days because we aren’t doing as much book work. Yes, I meant to say “as much”. 

Gift Stress

My husband and I sometimes struggle with giving gifts to our children or receiving gifts for our children from others. We are thankful for whatever our family receives and are truly appreciative of the sentiment behind the gifts given to us and our children. However, sometimes the gifts we receive bring with them issues.

One of the issues that sometimes arises with gifts of toys, is the educational value of them. We are okay with our children playing with toys just for fun, but we don’t want mindless entertainment toys that quickly lose their entertainment value to be the main focus of our children. We prefer toys that serve some form of educational or developmental value. We feel that quality is far superior to quantity in the area of toys.

The other main issue that arises with gifts of toys for us is quantity. The reasons are two-fold. First, there is the general issue of a large quantity of toys and the stress it places on the child. There are studies on this topic so I will summarize it to say children with fewer toys are often less stressed and happier (which also makes Mommy less stressed and happier).

The second part of this issue, is that we live in a small house with very limited storage space. I am constantly going through stuff in our house to try to make room for other stuff that I deem more important. When we receive more stuff, there is always the question of where to put it. Even if the stuff received is more exciting and fun toys, the question of where to put it still remains.

We’ve done a few things to help deal with these issues. We now limit the number of gifts we give to our children. We usually choose no more than three gifts per child. Sheer quantity helps with the issues of storage immensely. We are also mindful of the size of the gifts we choose. Some things are simply too big for our space and are therefore just not options.

We have also stopped giving mostly just fun entertainment toys to our children. We now give mostly stuff with a purpose. In addition to the old standby option of clothing, we have gotten a little more creative. This year one of our children is getting a new backpack because his old one is worn out. Our children love art projects so they have gotten things like glue and tape and even construction paper before. They love this! It’s also helps our financial budget. We like to give our children educational gifts as well, like science books about animals, manipulatives they can play with, a microscope to view things, or a globe to learn about the world. Sometimes we give these gifts to an individual child, but often the educational gifts we give jointly to all the children to share. Another type of gift that we have considered, but not yet given, are less tangible items like a zoo membership, tickets to a museum or sporting event, or a state park pass.

Not only have we made these personal changes in our gift giving to our children, but when grandma and grandpa inquire about gift ideas, we make sure to request these types of gifts as well.

One thing we have done to help with the quantity issue after Christmas, is the “In one, out one” rule. If you are not familiar with this one, it means that when you receive “one” gift “in”, you take “one” item “out” and get rid of it. I usually do this with my children a week or so after Christmas or their birthdays.

We also encourage our children to give of their own stuff to others throughout the year. This takes a bit of effort on my part to find areas for them to give their stuff that it will be appreciated, but it is worth it. In addition to minimizing the quantity of toys that creep into their space, it helps them learn to be givers. Which is a lifelong character quality I want to instill in my children.

Merry Christmas!

 

Teaching Math Through Laundry

When my oldest son was one year old, he would follow me around the house as I did laundry and other chores. He would “help” me with the laundry. First he helped me collect the laundry. Then, he helped me sort the laundry. I did two simple piles-whites and colors. At first, he obviously needed help and he didn’t do it perfectly. Quite often my husband’s tan socks among other things were in our load of whites. I choose to temporarily tolerate this, because I wanted to encourage my son’s willingness to help and not focus on his failures. I decided that a helpful son was more important to me than perfect laundry. As he got older however, I did occasionally teach him such things as a particular shirt was tan instead of white and that I wanted it sorted in with the colors pile. This worked well, and by the time he was two, he was gathering and sorting the laundry, pretty well, all by himself.

Color identification and sorting are basic math skills. I think by simply helping me sort laundry, it set my son up for easy success in those areas of math. However, those were not the only things I have taught my children through laundry. In addition to the obvious life skill of knowing how to do laundry, I’ve also used laundry to aid in teaching my children the following math skills:

Counting-As we sorted laundry together sometimes we would count how many items we put into the basket.

More than/Less than-After we counted the clothes that we had sorted into each basket, I would ask my son which basket had more pieces of clothes (or articles of clothing) and which had less.

Paring/Matching-Obviously my children learned pairing and matching when I had them match up and fold the pairs of socks.

Shapes-I’ve pointed out the difference between a square and a rectangle using a washcloth and a hand towel. One day while my second son was folding towels, he excitedly pointed out that if you turn a square washcloth 45°, it becomes a diamond! He was happy to fold the diamonds that day (a task he usually complains about)!

Directions-I would give verbal instructions on how to fold a particular item such as “fold the shirt in half by placing your left hand in the middle of the shirt while you use your right hand to lift the right sleeve over to the left sleeve.”

Fractions-I’ve told my children to fold the washcloths in quarters and the hand towels in eighths. Then I’ve shown them how to count the layers after the items are folded to make sure they have folded them according to the correct fraction.

Skip counting-My oldest son really struggled with skip counting by twos, until I had him pair up our socks and lay the pairs all in a row on the floor. Then I had him count the socks. We did this a few times, and then he started getting how to count by twos.

Addition-I have had my oldest son fold our clothes and put them in separate piles for each family member. Then I had him count how many articles of clothing were on each pile and tell me the total number of articles of clothing (I did this with a small load the first time).

Multiplication-I’ve had my son lay out and count the pairs of socks in a load and then tell me how many socks total. This is a very basic intro to multiplication by 2’s.

As my children get older, I’m sure I’ll come up with even more ways of teaching them math while we do laundry together. When we are working on something new in math, I don’t usually bother to get out a special manipulative, I often just use what’s closest to hand at the time. With six people in our home, laundry is usually near by. My children seem to enjoy it when I teach them math through laundry.

What other ways have you used common household chores to teach your children math?

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