Wednesday, January 18, 2012

We use flashcards often, when quizzing Alexis on her math facts. She is doing so well, I thought I would try out some multiplication. She caught on very quickly and can easily tell me the answers to the 0, 1, 2, 5, 10 tables.

We are still working on addition but she is now asking to do multiplication instead. I was worried that too much multiplication would only confuse her when they are only doing addition and subtraction in first grade. It was suggested to me that we give her problems such as 3*1 + 2*4 =__. This way she will still be practicing addition facts.

I grabbed up a piece of scrap paper and wrote out some problems. I was amazed when she began showing me how she got her answers.  She doesn't just have the multiplication facts memorized but she actually understands how to get the answers. I was most impressed when she stated 1*0 was the same as 0+0.

Now I need to come up with some multiplication game ideas.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Give Save Spend Money Jars

We have implemented a meager allowance for Alexis. She loves to go shopping and if given the chance will spend all of her money at once. Since we are beginning a new year, I thought this would be a good opportunity to begin teaching about budgets and the importance of saving.

 Spend Save Give Money Jars

Dividing The Money Between Jars
Now, I will teach Alexis how to divide up her money.  I'm thinking 50% spend 40% save 10% give.
Spend Jar - Spending money can be used on anything her heart desires. However, if her heart desires a high dollar item she will have to save her spending money to reach her goal.
Save Jar - Save money can not be spent. This is strictly for long term savings such as college or a car. Each month the money in the save jar will be put into a savings account.
Give Jar - At the end of the year, this money will go to a charity of Alexis's choice.

How I Made My Money Jars
These money jars were a cinch to make. I bought 3 very inexpensive glass jars at my local Dollar Tree. Then I  used some pretty pink scrapbook paper I had on hands, to wrap around the jars. After creating my own labels, my money jars were complete and they only cost me a total of \$3.00. Easy Peasy!

Teaching Money Terms and Budgeting
ING DIRECT has a kids savings account with a .85% APY. So far this is a higher interest rate than what I have found locally. I'll have to give that some more thought before I decide. ING DIRECT also has a really neat online game called Planet Orange. This is an interactive game where kids can learn about saving and investing. Alexis visited Planet Orange and learned lots of new terms. She also learned that you can grow your money by using a savings account or buying bonds and cd's.

Inquiring minds want to know! What are your methods for spending, saving, and giving?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

K5 Learning Review

Recently, I was given the opportunity of a 6 week trial period to use K5 Learning, an online reading and math program for kids from kindergarten through grade 5.  I have made a list of pros and cons based on my 6 week trial. I do recommend that you try K5 learning for yourself.  You can get a free 14 day trial by visiting K5 Learning.

Pros
• Free online assessment. The assessment is used to determine your child's skill level. I found this to be a useful tool.
• The lessons were adequate and challenging.
• Parents can decide which grade level is appropriate for their child.
• Parents can choose which assignments are to be completed.
• Math Facts are timed but you can adjust the time limit to fit your child's needs.
• Reports are available to parents, which chart your child's progress.
Cons
• The tutorials are a little slow. My daughter reads faster than the automated prompter speaks. The program will not allow answers to be selected until it finishes with the prompt. She would get frustrated waiting for the prompter to finish a sentence, in order to answer the questions.
• The prompts are too repetitive. If my daughter was taking her time to make her selected answer, the prompt would repeat itself. The program continued this until an answer was selected. It was very distracting, when my daughter was trying to concentrate on the selections.
• The price of \$25/month  or \$199/yr is too steep for our needs. If I was a home schooling mom, I might feel differently but I have used at least one other similar program that is less than half the cost of K5 Learning.
If you try the free 14 day trial, leave me a comment to let me know what you think.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

I'm hosting a reading challenge at Super Readers Book Club. All of the details are outlined below, I hope you will join us!

The Challenge
This is a fun reading challenge for kids in grades K-6. Parents you can get involved as well by reading these books aloud to your children. The goal is to read each book on one of these two lists by December 31, 2012.

How many books do I need to read?
There are 2 lists to choose from. The Grade K-3 list has a total of 60 books. The Grade 4-6 list has a total of 57 books. You can pick the order in which you read your books.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Making A Wooden Tangram

I had never heard of a tangram until I began reading homeschool blogs. I did some research and learned that tangrams are an ancient Chinese puzzle.  They consist of 7 pieces, called tans, made of geometric shapes. There is one square, 2 small triangles, 1 medium triangle, 2 larger triangles, and 1 parallelogram. The object is to create shapes using all 7 tans. The tans must lay flat and each piece must touch but none may overlap.

In my research I found an interesting interactive tangram puzzle at National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. I challenged Alexis to play and we had a lot of fun. There are mathematical benefits to tangrams. The experts say using tangrams helps you to gain a better understanding of geometry and spatial skills.

Since Alexis enjoyed the interactive game I decided to make her a wooden tangram puzzle.

For mine, I used a scrap piece of wood found in my basement and cut it to 6 inches square. I created grid lines every 1.5 inches. Look at this tutorial on making a tangram for a more detailed explanation. (Foam sheets would work for this project as well.)

After I got all of my pieces cut, I painted each piece of my puzzle just to make it look a little nicer. You can see I also made a puzzle booklet of shapes to create with my tangram puzzle using these tangram templates

This is a cat I made with my puzzle pieces. Ok...thanks for reading about my tangram...I'm off to see if this homemade gift will impress my 7 year old.

**Just an afterthought...if you were to make 2 puzzles you could challenge an opponent to see who could make the desired shape the fastest.

Christmas Book Advent Days 17,18, 19, 20

Who's That Knocking on Christmas Eve? by Jan Brett
A Christmas book with trolls, what fun. Every year trolls invade Kyri's house and eat up her Christmas feast. This year the trolls have a surprise awaiting them, a big polar bear!

Baboushka by Arthur Sholey
A Russian folktale, about a village where  everyone is talking about the new bright shining star in the sky, except Baboushka who is too busy cleaning her house. Three men, who are following the star, in search of a new baby King, ask Baboushka to join them on their journey. Baboushka is too busy cleaning, and refuses the offer. Later, Baboushka is filled with regret, so she sets off to Bethlehem with a bag of toys in search of the new born King. When she arrives, it is too late for the newborn is no longer there. Baboushka continues searching for the new King.

Christmas In Noisy Village by Astrid Lindgren
This is a story of six children growing up in a small village in Sweden.

Christmas Is Coming by Claire Masurel
Juliette and her stuffed animals prepare for Christmas by baking goodies and trimming the tree.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Book Advent Days 14, 15, 16

Christmas City: A Look Again Book by Michael Garland
Tommy's receives an invitation from Aunt Jeanne that sends him on an amazing adventure to Christmas City. A flying cab is awaiting to whisk Tommy away. On the journey, Tommy finds riddles left by Aunt Jeanne that will guide him to his final destination.

This book is full of hidden pictures and words. We had to get out our pencil and paper to keep track of all of our findings.

Sadie and the Snowman by Allen Morgan
Sadie builds a snowman but as it begins to melt she saves as much of the snowman as she possibly can. Every time it snows, Sadie rebuilds the snowman combining new snow with the old snow. Sadie rebuilds the snowman several times throughout the winter, forming a close friendship. As spring approaches, Sadie realizes there won't be anything left of her snowman so she saves a part of him for next winter.

Reindeer Christmas by Mark Kimball Moulton
Two children and their grandmother help a weak deer that is found in the forest. They feed the deer and keep it warm nursing it back to health. On Christmas morning, a gift from Santa is awaiting them explaining how they saved Christmas.