Friday, November 4, 2011

Lattice Multiplication

I'd inadvertently downloaded a lattice multiplication app a couple weeks ago and thought "Huh?" when I looked at it. But yesterday I watched the Khan Academy video on lattice multiplication and now I'm sold!

I'd never heard of it before, but I think it is a really nice way to do multiplication of multi-digits. Better than remembering the 0 in the standard way--so nice to do all the multiplying then all the adding. Plus it's kind of fun. It feels like it is too tricky to actually work, but it does.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

We are really liking Real Science Odyssey: Life Science

I got an MS in Zoology, so it's a favorite subject of mine, but I have a hard time sharing my interest with my kids (besides catching bugs, having lots of pets over the years and reading National Geographic...) This year, on some recommendations from a couple of people here, I got Real Science Odyssey for Life Science. I have really liked it, and the kids have, too. So far we have done some good observational activities (outside doing a plot study and studying the parts of an egg) and some fun models (jello models of plant and animal cells and this week a karo syrup based model of blood). I love that the lessons are one page of text. I feel like it hits the key points of the material, plus gives a good explanation, but keeps it short enough so the kids stay interested. We've been supplementing with relevant Bill Nye videos and the Discovery Ed streaming stuff (the kids dig Slim Goodbody) and I feel like it's a really good curriculum for my kids.

Anyways, just wanted to share as I've seen lots of science threads pop up lately. You can download a pretty good sample at their website. I'd looked at the sample before, but it didn't win me over. Really doing it, though, has made me a fan.

Monday, January 24, 2011

still chugging along

So I started working part-time from home in mid-October (the astute among you might notice that that date coincides with the date of my last blog post here), so it hasn't left a lot of free time for blogging. Yes, I do set my own hours, but with money always managing to find uses for itself, I don't spend a lot of free time blogging or otherwise enjoying the internet like I do when I'm not working.

Homeschooling is going well, though. I introduced "Independent Folders" to each of the school age kids, into which I put any of the stuff for the day that they should be able to do without my assistance. It has really helped us get started more smoothly in the mornings, as they can just open their folders and get to work. Then I can jump in between assignments if I want to do some of the work they need me for. Right now, Spud only has math, a maze (for fine motor skill development plus some fun), handwriting practice on a lined white board, and Explode the Code in his folder, but it is enough to get him going. Then we do reading time and a computer program for reading together.

Noodle has her math, cursive, Latin worksheets (2 per week), spelling, and sometimes math or Latin flashcards in her folder. She also does her piano practice and independent reading time on her own as well. I work with her on grammar and writing, and we all do history and science together.

I am feeling pretty good about our current curriculum setup. It is always a temptation to see if the grass is greener on the other side of some hill, but there is SO MUCH OUT THERE that I find it is better not to look for something new unless there is a legitimate reason to do so. So, I try and not look for problems. I am trying to figure out an approach to geography, though, as I'd like to do more of that.

We've started working with Sprout to learn his ABCs, and he seems really interested. he calls letters "ah-ees." I made a simple ABC book that I'm having printed, and I also compiled an ABC playlist on youtube. Youtube Playlist It's my hope that with a lot of exposure he might just kind of "pick up" on reading a bit more than the other kids have. It has been quite a bit of work getting the other kids to learn to read, so anything that makes it easier I figure is worth a shot.