Tag Archives: maths

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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The Education Dilemma with a Dyslexic Child

We’ve recently had the letter from the Schools Admissions team for R for next September. I knew it was coming, but it still threw me. It seemed a gradual progression with L when we went through this two years ago, just taking each step as it came and deciding as each option came along.

R has decided that she would like to go into a local primary, just for a 2  day visit, not a permanent place, just to see what it is like. She has been adamant for a long time that she won’t go to secondary school…. but this is where things are now slightly wobbly…. she now is still mostly saying she doesn’t want to, with occasional glimmers of maybe she might try it.

So, now we hit the… do we apply for a place in case?

With L I could see that as the decision came closer that she was ready and happy and wanted the independence of making the decision and has been happy with her decision.

R, I think is beginning to want the independence side of things, and to perhaps widen her social circle further… but in terms of school I am very worried that all the confidence building we have done around her dyslexia could be undone within a week, even if she does just go and try school. Her reading is coming on, and we read teenage level fiction / young adult, she often struggles on small words and is amazing on larger more complicated words! I don’t think she’d have chance to read higher level books at school, it’d be dumbed down…. we’ve seen it with L, where they have to read a certain colour and can’t move up until they’ve passed tests on the lower coloured books.

R’s maths is great, but I generally read out the questions, as she struggles reading, thinking and writing all together.

We are covering some really lovely stuff at the moment… we have had several theatre visits recently, including today when we went to see ‘Lord of the Flies’ at the Mayflower theatre, with questions and answers with the actors afterwards. Although surrounded by school parties of 13/14 and 15 yr olds she asked two very good questions, and we have had such in depth chats about it all before and after.

We’ll go with a couple of days at a local primary and see where we go from there.

Watch this space!

Anyone been through the same with a dyslexic child?

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Awards and Film Watching at School

Awards and film watching plus drama and art

L has had a good week for awards. She had a presentation evening at school for being in the Netball team. S went and said there was a lot of high achieving sports, but also the yr 7 netball team, because although they hadn’t won any cups or awards… they had worked very hard and improved, and been reliable too. L was really pleased with her certificate and badge.

L also came home beaming yesterday with a green badge with G on it… which apparently you get if you are put forward by 3 different teachers as gifted in their subjects. She was put forward in Maths, Science and Spanish, and as talented in Metal work.

I am obviously very proud of her (though I don’t need a badge and certificate to make me proud of her.. or to tell me she’s doing very well), and I wasn’t sure about this whole gifted thing at school…. but apparently it is seen as something you work for each year (or term), it isn’t a permanent label, seen as unmoving, which did reassure me. L is certainly working hard, because she wants to and enjoys what she is doing… but she isn’t stressed, or over working… perhaps because she sees it less as work and more as something she has chosen to do.

I was labelled as gifted at school and personally it seemed like an unwelcome pressure. If you do well it is just expected, if you don’t do as well then it is a disappointment…. Not a pressure from parents particularly, just a general feeling.

Read this article recently: Pushing kids to be gifted

The wind down to the summer holidays is well truly under way at school, there are lots of nice things going on and L is having a fab time. The only thing that has bugged me this week is that some teachers are showing the first bit of a film in class as a treat (Ice Age) knowing that there won’t be time to watch the end, with no intention of letting the class see the end on another day. This would bug me! Wouldn’t it bug you? Other teachers have managed to show a whole film over two lessons, or have picked a shorter programme that fits into one lesson… makes more sense to me!!

R is having a good week too. I think she is pleased with the maths we have done this week, especially as L brought home her maths exam paper and R looked through and could do quite a lot of it. (Though she did say that she’d be worried about reading and understanding what the question says. If I read it to her then she totally understood the maths side of it. Such a shame exams don’t allow for this (I haven’t researched this enough… I know some people can get extra time if diagnosed with dyslexia, and possibly a scribe sometimes.. but I’m not sure if you can have someone read the question out loud… it isn’t something I’ve heard of.)

R had her drama performance of ‘Where the Wild Things Are’. It was great, all the kids did really well, you could hear them all clearly, and they were all confident, even the usually more quiet and shy ones. It was on a proper stage, with lighting, back drop with pictures from the book and well chosen music too, with some groovy dancing to ‘Wild Thing’ R loved every minute of it. S came too and also our friend A, with lots of other parents too. Really enjoyed it.

We even did some more maths when we got home…. then R needed a nice break because her brain started melting!!! 🙂

I’ve done some painting today, good relaxation for me.

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R has been over to see Granny and Grandpa and Auntie J and Auntie M, she’s played badminton, running Granny round like a mad thing. Then she wrote out care instructions for Auntie M who is having R’s guinea pig when we go away soon.

 

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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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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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Drama, Den Building and Maths

R had drama this morning, they have started rehearsals for a production of Where the Wild Things Are. As usual she came bouncing back afterwards with her friends W and L.

There was a serious carry on of the epic playmobil game they’d started last week, with dragons and fairies and clans (I haven’t moved any of it yet but will definitely need to vacuum soon… it is just so elaborately set up I haven’t had the heart to move it yet! Even the electricity meter man was impressed as he tiptoed through it to read the meter today. We then had lunch in front of a clip about order of operations in maths on MathsWatchVLE see Maths that we’d mentioned and wanted to show the 3 of them…. so as a time management thing, so they wouldn’t miss out on important play time we watched it during lunch!!!

Then there was den building in the front room with soft toys galore moving in, and signs keeping adults out.

R also played with her guinea pig who is so chilled out with us now.

Plus some gardening… cutting back some of the jungle that has appeared very recently. R has also been practising her chin-ups.

I’ve been looking through resources about the Magna Carta as we are going to Salisbury tomorrow to see it. Some excellent resources here: British Library Magna Carta resources

If you’re into history you may like:

Oodles of History

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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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Drama, Minecraft and Maths.

R loves her home ed drama session every week, we hire a teacher for 15 home ed kids, they have a great venue and the teacher is lovely. We have tried various drama sessions with different people in the past but this one just really works, it is a good group of kids and the teacher does some great things with them. It is quite an age mix, but works really well.

That was the morning, we walked home in the sunshine, having a good chat about all sorts of abstract things. Walking places and chatting usually ends up with some pretty interesting conversations about the World.

R then wanted to play on Minecraft in preparation for the next YouTube video: R’s YouTube channel Pink Rose Kitty.

We then did some maths on Doodlemaths and watched some science YouTube videos.

Went to a friend’s house for tea, L met us there, kids played and adults chatted. So great to have kept up a weekly meet with our ‘baby’ group!

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