Tag Archives: algebra

To Wonderland and back again

Half term was a blur, the girls did a two day drama workshop with a performance at the end which was great. We caught up with friends, went to a birthday day in the forest, which was a good mix of old home ed friends, some who now have kids at school, others who are still home ed, and us with one of each!

Went to an Alice in Wonderland event which was fab,

The Red Queen and Alice
The Red Queen and Alice

Caught up with more friends, went out for a walk at Holly Hill.

Out trick or treating with my sister and her boys, what a treasure trove!!

The last day was spent in pj’s having a lazy day which we all needed I think!!

This week we started on Monday with an art session at the library, we made stain glass window pictures, which came out very well indeed. Using gold card and cutting out holes and sticky coloured see-through coloured sheets on the back.

Unicorn
Unicorn

We’ve done some reading. Having had a break R’s reading has yet again improved a lot. She has also had a go at some typing and her spelling is getting better… the attempts at words are much closer now.

More algebra, we both enjoy that using MathsWatchVLE videos. Today we covered Factorisation of some fairly tricky equations.

A local author has asked R to critique some of her new poems, which with the promise of a small recompense R is very excited about doing!! We had a look through, and commented on the first five poems today.

R also had a go at some 11+ Non verbal reasoning quizzes on Education Quizzes which is a great site with lots of different subjects and levels. Worth e-mailing them as they offer free access for teachers and also Home educators. You have to sign up for each subject separately, but well worth it.

I’ve been busy as ever with the local library … which looks like it may well end up closed by the end of March 2016, along with others in the city. We have now written to the Secretary of State asking for an inquiry, especially as all 5 libraries and the mobile library come out in the most deprived quartile of the poverty index. R challenged one of the Cllrs at the Alice in Wonderland event we went to at our local library. He actually blushed when she asked why certain options hadn’t been properly looked at!!

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Learning in Chunks

A sociable Saturday with visitors and an anniversary party.

A chunk of gardening and woodwork

Then we had S’s parents and Auntie J round on Sunday to help clear a load of bits in the garden so we can move our old shed and put up a new one. We achieved loads, especially the clearance of a particularly large buddleia. L and R came out in the garden too and helped clip up the pieces into more manageable sizes. R decided that when the new shed is up, there will be room for a den behind it… so she is keen to build it. There were some pieces of wood with lots of nails in them, so Grandpa showed R the easiest way to remove them and L helped too, so they both spent ages sorting out the pieces of wood, ready for den building.

A chunk of games

The last library session of the term yesterday, with board games and card games, we had an excellent laser board brought it, with puzzles to solve of sending the laser round different ways using different mirrors. Someone else brought a Bakugan board which was popular, most of the kids played Tsuro,

2015-07-14 17.08.57

which is up to 8 players and most ages can cope with it. We also had Happy Families. So, a good session. There were also judges there looking at the library borders, which our group had planted some of the bulbs for.

Friends round in the afternoon to play playmobil, and out in the garden too.

 A chunk of Maths, Spanish, Art and Molecules.

Today has been a very constructive day with a huge chunk of maths, we looked at Straight line graphs, distance-time graphs and real life graphs. Videos on MathsWatch VLE.

Further Algebraic simplification… Multiplication and Division.Expanding brackets. Also videos and questions on MathsWatchVLE. R was really enjoying it, we only stopped when her numbers started to be written backwards which usually shows she needs a break.

We then had a chunk of Art, R is designing mythical creatures and lands,

 

2015-07-14 17.09.34

and we had a Learning Spanish CD on while she was drawing. A Michel Thomas CD, who is absolutely brilliant for learning how to speak various languages. Worth getting out from the library if you can. R moved on to playing with the molecule kit we have, but still wanted the Spanish on, and must have listened for a couple of hours (in amongst chatting over some of it… ) not full concentration, but she was obviously getting something out of it. We also managed a chat about the structure of diamond.

This isn’t an average day, we have some much less ‘formal educational’ days, but when R is interested and chooses to she picks up an incredible amount…. and takes in far more than if we had a lot of days of forced learning without her being engaged. She is excited about Algebra, so we can carry it on as much as she likes… and she is really understanding it. We definitely work learning in chunks, and we can adapt the size of each chunk of each thing on each day to suit the circumstances. So sometimes a five minute chunk of maths is all that is needed, other times it is twenty minutes, today it was an hour and a half solid. Other days nothing. It is all valuable. 🙂

 

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Gentle days

We are enjoying having some gentle time at home more often recently. R and I have been making the most of sitting in the garden reading together, having water fights, doing art together and chatting. We’ve also carried on with more algebra related maths. It is a chilled out time and the days fly by. R has also been challenging herself to improve and gradually be able to do full chin-ups… she still can’t quite manage it yet, but she has improved with trying every day.

We had a student round this week. I met her at the library, she is here for a year from Taiwan to do a Masters degree and wanted to meet some non-students…. normal British people (I can’t help with the normal… but we are outside University life.) She came round for the afternoon and we chatted lots about all sorts of things, differences and similarities in culture, travel, families, education etc. R came and chatted with us for quite a while too. K has offered to cook some Taiwanese food for us another day, so we’ve got to decide on some English food to introduce her to as well.

Woodcraft was a walk around the old city walls, which the girls really enjoyed.

R had drama, which has one more rehearsal before the show next week and a play with friends here, they built another den in the front room.

L had a trip to Paulton’s Park with the school. She loved being able to go with her friends and not have to be with an adult.

Today has been a Granny and Grandpa day for R, which involved an hour of badminton and then a catch up with some Great Aunts.

I had some time to catch up on a few things and also do some painting in the garden which was lovely to lose myself in.

A twelfth birthday tea after school this evening with our “baby” group… we’ve met up pretty much every week since our oldest kids were babies and they’re all turning 12! Amazing. All so grown up and so lovely. 🙂

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Science at the Library

We had a science session at the library which I ran.. I had a few ideas ready but decided to wing it depending on who came along. Initially a few children started a game of chess, others joined in helping with advice on tactics etc, then when that finished I offered the science idea.

It went well (these things don’t always)

I got each child to be an H or an O and then we had O2 molecules or H2 molecules. Then we did H2O molecules with the H children holding hands with the O children and acting out how things worked. We talked about elements and molecules and the periodic table and then we built some molecules with a kit I have.

This led on to talking about carbon and carbon chains and organic chemistry, and diamonds and graphite. The session went really quickly and the kids were all engaged.

A couple of friends then came back to play, but we also did a bit of algebra because they’ve been doing some at home and so have we, so the kids showed each other (and parents) what sort of methods they’d been looking at. We’d been looking at working out the nth term. They’d be looking more at factors, so it was a good swap of ideas.

There was then lots of playmobil play, and some time playing in the garden as well.

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A whole week?

How does that happen? A whole week has gone by. I’m not very good at posting everyday, as if we have been out or done much then I am often wiped out for the evening with a brain that isn’t functioning well. The joys of M.E. 🙁

The week has whizzed by. R had a trip to Legoland with home ed friends, they had a fantastic time. Rose was the guide as her friends hadn’t been before. They also had a trip to Runnymede (the riverside site of the sealing of the Magna Carta) which was yet another addition to our Magna Carta knowledge! See more here: Magna Carta

Father’s day was a lovely relaxed affair, with just the four of us, Ticket to Ride Europe board game, the film Skyfall, and a barbeque.

We caught up with Home ed friends we hadn’t seen for a while.

I’ve managed some painting which I’ve really enjoyed and been pleased with.

painting
acrylics

Pizza making at Woodcraft.

Lots of Algebra, we’re now on around level 6 stuff on MathsWatchVLE as R wants to stick with algebra and keep working her way up before we start a different topic.

We’re reading another Michelle Paver book, The Outsiders, this time set in Ancient Greece, so some good conversations about that, and a book on ancient Greece out from the library.

I’ve read my first Bernard Cornwell book, Sword Song set in England in 885AD, which I enjoyed. Not a period I know much about, so I’ve learnt a lot and have chatted with L and R about it. L knows more about King Alfred than I do, so we’ve chatted about that and what I read in the book too.

Drama, they are starting rehearsing ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ which R is enjoying.

Auntie M came and had R for a day, they went fabric shopping and laid out the pieces for a shirt that Auntie M is going to make. R helped with the design.

I went to see ‘Curious incident of the Dog in the Night Time’ at the theatre which was fantastic. I had considered taking the girls, but wasn’t sure. In fact I think they probably would have enjoyed it. Maybe I will try reading the book with them first and go another time if it comes again.

Lots of other things went on, it has felt like a productive week. R and I also had a sort through resources and cleared some out and got on top of the house a bit…. One thing that is hard about home ed is keeping the house tidy and clean… or even approaching tidy! It is a constant flow of things moving around the house as games are played, craft is made, resources are used, with things left out to go back to… but I’d rather that than a tidy house with nothing going on!!

That’s a quick round up of this week!

It has been a good one. Hope yours has too.

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Algebra, Smoothies, Exams and Sword making

Made use of some time at home with R to look at some maths videos on MathsWatchVLE, a resource L has from school. We’ve covered some interesting algebra and also long division which seems 100 times easier than when I did it at school.

It has taken home education to finally fill me in on the education it would have been good to have!

We’ve also done some art, R is mostly creating drawings of new creatures for Minecraft. All very colourful.

Woodcraft folk this week was a smoothie making session, which went down very well and I should think managed to dose the group up on their 5 a day in one go!

L has had her first ever ‘proper’ exams this week, in the hall at school, full exam conditions (there have been plenty of tests at school this year but only in class)

She has had three exams today and seemed happy with them all, she just ran out of time with the last couple of questions in the maths paper.

I have really mixed feelings about it all. L is totally chilled out, she has done a bit of revision but not loads, and she doesn’t seem worried in any way about the exams. Her teachers at parents evening suggested that she should be in higher groups for English and maths. I think my main concern is that I want her exams to reflect her ability as they don’t have SATS results for her. I want her to be in the right set for her so she doesn’t get bored.

I have been suggesting she might want to look through some things with me, as I’ve had that horrible pre-exam feeling and haven’t wanted her to get into the exam and panic.

I’ve then had to step back and give myself a talking to….. she is not me…. she is not seeing it as I would have… and this is a good thing! She is in control of her education, and the wobbles are mine, not hers!! I’m very proud of her.

We had friends round today and had a session making things from balsa wood with files and saws….

Making a sword
Making a sword

R was very pleased with the result and is keen to make other things too. It was good to get advice on the best way to shape things and join things. I learnt things too.

We also sat watching some baby mice that have appeared in our garden….

Little mouse
Little mouse

See also:

How we do Maths

 

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Algebra means less writing

What an excellent way to sell algebra to a dyslexic child!

Instead of writing: Think of any number and then double it, then add five.

You can just write 2x+5.

This appealed enormously to R and we worked through how to write out quite a few expressions. We also worked on simplifying fractions which appealed to her as well.

R finds reading and writing hard work, and as she reads to me I can tell that she is seeing words in a very different way from me, she can recognise some very complex words and then stumble on a word that looks simple to me. Thankfully maths doesn’t produce the same issues, although we do still occasionally have a backwards 3 or 2 and also mixing up of which word means which operation. Sometimes it is just a lack of confidence and she does know, she’s just not sure enough.

It has been confidence building for R to realise that she understands and is capable of much of what L is doing at school (especially in maths).

In school R would struggle so much more though, one-to-one is so beneficial for her – I’ll do the reading while she focusses on the mechanics of the maths problems. It seems that combining too many different skills at once makes it harder – so processing reading, writing and maths all at once is very difficult.

The same with writing things herself, if her brain is concentrating on the content it makes it extremely hard to also concentrate on word formation and spelling, so dictating a story to me helps, or writing practice just for actually writing, rather than content makes it easier for her.

R read some more Secret Seven to me out in the garden with chin-ups on the swing frame as little breaks. I then read more of Ghosthunter, the final book in the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness by Michelle Paver – R had listened to a CD of it but then wanted me to read it as the CD had been quite intense, with scary mood music, with me reading we can stop and talk about bits. We did both well up a bit as it got quite sad, but it gets happier at the end 🙂 Fantastic series, based around 6000 yrs ago, really exciting stories.

More playmobil playing, some minecraft, chatting, playing with the guinea pig, plus a bit of tidying and cleaning.

R set up a spy game for friends coming round after school, with disguises, walkie talkies and pens and notepaper, we had two lots of two friends round today, one lot after the other, so the kids all had a good play, spies in the garden and Wii U too.

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