Archive for the ‘Math’ Category

Multiplication Help

Margie has been struggling with math largely because she doesn’t have her multiplication tables memorized. We’ve worked on it and worked on it, but it just hasn’t clicked for her. Last year in her math class she spent pretty much the whole ear working on drills, I gave her a sheet with songs and tricks to help her memorize them over the summer. She hated doing them. It was beyond boring for her. I respect that. I told her over and over again that I understood, but that, really, her math life would be so much easier if she did this. I think she is finally at a point where she understands that. Or maybe her brain is finally ready to conquer this. I don’t really know. In any case here are the resources we are using to work on this.

Not necessarily in this order:
~A blank multiplication chart. She can fill it out herself and then use it as a resource.
~Learn the multiplication tables in 21 days. <–Has some good ideas and tricks.
~We are printing out drill worksheets for each set that she can use to practice skip counting on her fingers.


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For Christmas, the kids got some memberships to some local museums. From Grandpa & Nana, a zoo pass. Thanks to Groupon and various Groupon-like websites, we were also able to pick memberships to the Model Railroad Museum, the New Children’s Museum, and the Chula Vista Nature Center. Since we were already in Balboa Park for our visit to the Natural History Museum, we also activated our membership to the Model Railroads and stopped in for a quick visit to the Lego City since it’s seasonal (I think) and will be gone until next December. Since it was much less crowded than it had been on the eve of December Nights, we were able to hunt down every item on the scavenger hunt list. Here are my favorites.

scavenger hunt

(Please excuse the poor focus)

ostrich taking flight

flag #3


cat burglar


Click here to see them all in order (mostly).

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Margie was REALLY negative today. I just crawled into my brain and sang happy songs and tried my best to ignore it all. Then, she went into her room to do her math and came out about 30 minutes later (it was a long review she chose to do all at once) perfectly happy and content. Go figure.

While she was in there, I created my own little project – Roman money. I took pennies, nickels, and dimes, added a sticky square, and wrote the corresponding Roman numeral on it. When she came out, we had a Roman feast with chickpea pancakes (recipe from SOTW), olives, and figs. We “bought” the food and had to figure out how much to pay. (Later, Margie wrote her own Roman numerals in a project she was working on.)

roman money

Margie didn’t like any of the food, but this DID inspire her to create her own lunch of bananas, sliced and topped with peanut butter, sprinkled with raisins (we figured the raisins were probably Romanish).

In the afternoon, she had an acupuncture appointment and did FABULOUSLY. Yay!

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Today we took advantage of the free museum day to go visit the Museum of Man’s Ancient Egyptian exhibit. While there we also peeked in at the human evolution exhibits, but mainly spent time in Egypt since that is what we are studying in SOTW.



pharaohs, one possessed.

to weigh a soul


~2 pages of spelling
~1 exercise in her math book (which was rather involved)
~Notebooking page about Akhenaten
~Listened to intro and first chapter of Insectigations.
~Listened to one chapter of Casting the Gods Adrift.
~Practice in using scissors
~PE – soccer

~Practiced using scissors

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Today was hard. It was a classic Thursday in every sense of the word. The kids were antsy and squirrelly during lessons and when it all fell apart, I snapped the books shut (figuratively) and we headed out to the Air and Space museum which the kids had passes for. We also spent some time afterwards sitting in the park, drawing things we found – leaves, bugs, etc. We tried looking closely for details we might not otherwise notice. We found one of these little green leafy bugs which I will have to look up to remind myself what they are called.

this guy

sketching together

Museum photos:

reflected in the mask


ready for takeoff

barefoot astronauts

Aside from all that, during formal lessons this morning…

~Did her daily spelling
~A lesson (3 pages) in math
~Micromanaged Elliott
~Practiced cutting out a flower
~Listened to a chapter of Casting the Gods Adrift.

~Practiced ASL “B” and learned the sign for “banana”
~Freaked out when he saw M cutting a flower and declared he wanted a flower, too. Had to settle for a bear. Did a pretty good job, actually, but it ended in frustration.
~Painted some pictures of “B” things.

Here’s a picture of the spiders they made last week. I had a particular image in my mind and neither kid went for it. M used toothpicks for legs b/c it was more authentic and she decided against any googly eyes b/c the people of ancient Africa would not have had those, after all. E sat his spider upright and decided it needed a nose. I am relieved that the nose matches the legs, though.


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~Mapwork from SOTW
~2 pages spelling
~One exercise (3 pages) in her math book*
~Copywork (she demanded it and was pissed when it was a short quote, quite a change from a year ago when writing was torture for her)
~Read Mary Poppins in it’s entirety. No, really.
~She and I began reading Casting the Gods Adrift.
~Practiced her scissor-skills. She is getting better at it again very quickly.
~Practiced the Apple Poem we learned last week.

~Practiced his scissor-skills, too. He is doing awesomely, too.
~Learned the ASL sign for “B” (and “A” since we forgot that last week)
~Drew a picture of a bell which was not one of his words at all, but he knew it began with “B”
~Begged me to read Mary Poppins, but two pages into it he declared it “too hard” (and gave me a sort of “WTF??” look when he realized there weren’t many pictures)
~So we read The Big Balloon Race instead.

Together, we went to storytime at the library where Elliott dominated the conversation. This is the first time he was entirely immersed in the stories and he totally enjoyed it. I was a little irritated when the librarians said “this is bonding time for you and your kids so you should participate when we ask you to” b/c A) I’m rebellious and being told what to do ticks me off B) I bond all freaking day long and so C) things like storytime are my times where I get to work and/or knit. So those librarians can kiss my…

Anyway. It was a good day back after a holiday and a day of illness. We are all enjoying this new routine.

Want to add that we also stopped at a playground for about 30 min while out running errands.

*I am finding that math is going so very smoothly for her this year. She is ready. I am SO glad we didn’t push formal things before, because I feel that would have hindered the peace we are finding in it now. She has in the past said she doesn’t like math, but this year is looking forward to it – I think that, although she was ready for the concepts before, she was not ready for this style of learning and waiting until now was just perfect for her. I am really happy about this.

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Over the weekend we finished up our SOTW African projects – the kids finished their Anansi spiders (pics to come) and I fried plantains which quickly became one of my favorite foods and which no one else liked. Pft.

Early in the wee hours of Tuesday morning Margie woke up sick so we put off our usual schedule and laid around for the morning. We did watch Obama’s speech and Margie enjoyed that – I think she was particularly excited that he was speaking especially to children. I don’t have any idea how someone reasonable could consider this speech to be controversial. Pft.

After a three-hour nap and several hours of holding down food, Margie and I cuddled up on the couch and did the reading involved in this week’s lessons. We read Chapter 12 of SOTW (Egypt’s Middle Kingdom) and Lesson 5 of Living Math (Thales, who spent time in Egypt). We talked about how the pyramids used to be covered in limestone, making them bright and white, about how the Pharaohs stopped using them as places for the deceased and moved into the Valley of the Kings, about different theories that some archeologists have about the use of the pyramids and lots more I can’t remember offhand. We also looked at Unit 3 in Singapore math and used number lines to do math – she still insists on guessing at it, she seems to feel that just magically knowing the numbers is somehow less perfect than having to work it out in her head. So she often gets answers wrong until I make her count it out properly.

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