Tag Archives: math

Getting Ready!

Young Sprout (my grandson) is about to start kindergarten and is enrolled in distance education, meaning that my daughter Umm Sprout will be his main instructor with curriculum, supplies and guidance from a teacher.  Much is supplied through the program but we need to get a few things together ourselves (nothing like the regular back to school shopping I had to do when my two were in school though).

One thing is to provide the child with what the parents guide calls a Beautiful Junk Box to be stocked with egg cartons, cores from paper towels, boxes, clamshells from salad, etc. to enable the student to get creative and make models and do crafts on her or his own.

I found a good sized extra sturdy box in my storage locker


but it needed some oomph.


contact paper to the rescue!

And it’s already partly stocked with cores, boxes  and cheap ribbon, which I just happened to have on hand.  I have ideas of other stuff to put in that is already here but should consult with Umm Sprout first.  Am also planning to label the box using an 8-1/2 by 11 inch mailing label.  Again, I want to consult with my daughter as to what she wants it to say.  I’m excited but don’t want to over involve myself and suck all the fun out of it for everyone else.

Apparently they also need a box for math manipulatives but I just happen to have shoeboxes available which are probably a good size, and enough left over contact paper to do a coordinated cover.

Interestingly I phoned around before setting out to buy the paper and a deservedly famous local hardware store had the big box store prices well beat!


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Filed under Art, Math, organization

Why the Taj Mahal was not the high point of our field trip

Hmm, I dunno, maybe because we didn’t actually go to India?



Or could it be …,. that the model railway, complete with a button to make it run, was a competing attraction?

it couldn’t be the Duplo, or could it?

This was a great outing to the Sidney Museum, which is free, does not have a gift store, and is entirely run by volunteers.  The annual Lego show is on through March.


The Taj Mahal is the biggest Lego kit available with nearly 6,000 pieces and took 35 hours to assemble.  We left with thoughts of making a Kaaba with Mega Blocks (made in Canada!), you would need a base plate and lots of black blocks with a few yellow ones.  I could see that as a good homeschooling project.  (Young Sprout already recognizes the Kaaba) .


The Duplo train was the most fun for youngsters because it was interactive.  We had to promise to go back for more fun.

My personal favourite is good old Albert, because the artist had to put some thought into building a wall with just three colours to convey an image.  I think he did a pretty good job, don’t you?


Filed under Art, field trip, Math, Travel, Yet Another Reason to Homeschool (YARTHS)

Anno’s Counting House

We’ve read our share of board books that purport to teach counting, and loved some of them.  A personal favourite of mine is One Ted Falls Out of Bed, by Julia Donaldson.  But counting can quickly become a rote recitation of random numbers, “one, two, three, twelve, five …”

Far more important that a child learns to understand mathematical concepts.  Lining up plastic farm animals in a line or a row is a pre-math activity.  But it does have to come from the child and his interests.  A two year old who realizes that if she sits on the chair next to her usual chair, Mamma and Baba can move round one spot, but Grandma will be left with nothing on her side of the table to sit on, is starting to understand basic math.

My theory is that much of the math anxiety in adults is caused by rote drilling, whether it was the seven times table of my generation or the math facts of my adult children’s.

I remember in second grade remembering that six plus six makes twelve but nevertheless counting in case it had changed since the last time I had to do that sum.  A friend recalled obsessively counting people’s fingers to be sure that they had five.

By fourth grade we were multiplying hundreds by hundreds, yet many children did not have a clear concept of how long a foot was or how heavy a pound was.

How much better to learn from experience and get thoroughly familiar with basic operations in a practical way.  If 12 people are coming to the party and they each want two slices of pizza, how many pizzas do we order?  How many servings in a gallon of ice cream?

Click here http://www.childrensliteraturenetwork.org/birthbios/brthpage/03mar/3-20anno.html for more information about Anno.

Anno’s Counting House can teach addition, subtraction, odd and even numbers, position, changes over time, etc.  Of course the child’s age factors into this too.  The introduction is written for children and there is a note to parents and other adults at the end.

The resident almost three-year-old enjoyed the windows and noticing the things they were moving from one house to the other.  It gave my brain a workout as I decided we would name the children, so I had to remember the names and pay close attention to what each child is wearing — something that comes far more naturally to kids than to adults!  Far more engaging than reading a story with words.

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Filed under Math