Thursday, June 9, 2011

A quick peek at maths in our home.

Pocket many lessons to be learnt....

We set up a chore system after which the kids get paid for their chores and can spend their money on anything they desire.  We've started off with a very low payment per chore-we'll give them a raise soon ;-)  They have little sense of the value of money and not much knowledge of the coins or notes-evidence that mom uses the credit card too much ;-) .  It's made shopping trips very interesting!

As I didn't have the coins on hand we substituted beans for coins and got an added lesson in counting.  Michael's concept of numbers and his counting ability have grown so much.  At the beginning of the year he could count to six.... now he get's to twenty most days. There are so many little lessons which can come out at payment time: counting, making up groups of a number, matching one to one....

or in Jenna's case counting in groups of five.  I had been really hesitant to teach her counting in 5's, 10's and 2's as I couldn't find any practical way to relate it to her life so that it would make sense to her.  As soon as we started pocket money it became a natural exercise.

Lapbooks.....I thought we'd give these a try!  So before our visit to the Fire Station I found a Fire Station lapbook online at HomeSchoolCreations.  We found different ways of using the ideas in the lapbook-making it seem more like a game.

Matching number symbols to dot "fire dogs".....

 using beans (again!) to match one to one to the dalmation's dots.....

 identifying a number mommy calls out and counting out the number.

I believe counting is really important to develop number concept.  So we count a lot!  We use all different types of counters (beans, plastic stars, acorns, cars, legos, bottle tops) and these counting frames are great for counting out a number and then dividing it into different groups of 10, 5, 2, 4.  This is a good foundation to multiplication later.... How many groups of 10 make forty?  How many groups of 5 make forty? etc.

I try to keep maths as practical and hands on as possible. This does mean though, that at times Jenna has to play games at Michael's level-but that's what makes it more fun for them....

The lapbook had a repetitive pattern activity in it and I wasn't sure if Michael would understand the concept.  So we played at making different patterns.  First copying mine and then extending mine and then creating their own.

Doing a lapbook resulted in LOTS of cutting.  Something Michael doesn't really sit down to do on his own.  So it ended up being fine motor and hand-eye co-ordination experience for him too!

Before we made a pattern in our lapbook there was even  a bit of sorting to do....not a difficult task but an easy way to see if he understands the words-put the same pictures together-for developing sorting vocabulary.

 We also like playing maths games on the computer.  This is a Gold Star maths CD I use with Michael and if we're not out of internet time Jenna and I spend time on the IXL maths site.

Jenna still likes to have pretty books to work in-I think if I had to choose her learning style it would be Visual-so I found these Numeracy and Literacy books by Smart-Kids.  They're one of the more interesting workbooks I've found and plus they're South African.  I still like the way Maths was taught at schools here and for the moment I'm finding using the CAPS curriculum statement as a guide line along with a few tips from Ruth Beechick to be the way we're going for now.
So when I do problem solving with Jenna, Michael usually plays with a maths game that he can do on his own.  (I think this is called Geo-Stacks in the Smile catalogue-I bought it second hand long ago in my early days of teaching ;-) Then she can work in her Maths book while I play computer games with Mikey.

Learning at our home has been a lot more structured this year..... but there are days when I say: let's throw out the routine and we may just spend time in the kitchen bringing maths to life by making soup and chicken pie for supper.

How many stars can you fit on your dough? Which is the best way to layout your girls to save dough?

Oops!  That reminds me-I need to go switch the oven on otherwise THAT pie won't get eaten tonight!