I love family. I love learning. I love food. This is simply a collection of thoughts, memories, and recipes that are a piece of me!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Math...As Serious As It Needs To Be.

When I was in school, I hated math.

And I do mean hated math.

I could write a 20 page paper over the societal implications of The Scarlet Letter without hesitation, but my word, once letters entered into my math problems, I was out.

I guess that's why it never offended me that when people found out I was homeschooling our kids, their first response, almost inevitably, was, "Wait...what are you going to do about math...?"

I have sort of bounced around over the last few years about how to tackle this issue.  I didn't want to buy a whole curriculum set every year because, honestly, I needed to either actually understand it myself or have someone else teach it, and those sets tend to contain a workbook and a teacher's edition with little more than a basic overview and the answers.  I spent so many days and nights in tears trying to find something that I could teach but also something the kids would enjoy at an affordable price.

Then I met Fred.  He is a 5 year old math professor.  He is so cute and funny and entertaining.

This is a new and interesting way to approach math that I haven't seen in any of the curriculum packages I've poured through, and honestly, I'm a bit smitten.  Rather than page after page of problems and drills to work through, Life Of Fred teaches children (and their mothers in some cases) math through real-life scenarios that Fred finds himself in in a novel-style story where he encounters the need for math and learns the methods to solve his problems.  Never again will I look at a math problem and think, "Now when would I ever actually use that in real life??" because I can see exactly where it would be useful!

I really love this because even though we use it as our base curriculum, it's great for a supplement.  If you have a kid in school who doesn't seem to "get" math, this is a great set of books to order to help explain the "why" behind the concepts.

We are starting now with the elementary series, but this program runs through some college-level math courses, and even in elementary, we are learning things that we will build on to make middle and high school-levels easier to understand.

We do add a few extra worksheets or games throughout our week to reinforce what we are learning through this series since there are only a few practice problems as the end of each chapter, but with this approach to math, even I, the Hater Of All Things Numerical, am actually understanding it in a way that makes it possible for me to teach it, too.

And bonus!  I hear Isaiah giggle his way through his math lesson every day.  He has even requested to do math on days we aren't even doing school just so he can see what is going to happen next!

I would strongly recommend the Life Of Fred series for anyone who wants to learn not just the "how," but the "why" behind math in a funny and entertaining way!

Click here to check out the website!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Day We Got A Gecko.

If you know me at all, you know I'm not a big critter fan.  They freak me out, and I really would rather not have animals.

I have enough work with my three human animals.

But after many years of being married to a guy named Bird, I grew to love kinda like some animals.

I'd probably quietly cry if something happened to our hyperactive Australian Shepherd, and I loudly cried for many weeks when my favorite cat, Apple, disappeared.

So today, imagine my own surprise when I found myself actually excited to get a gecko.  

We had already decided we were going to get a lizard several weeks ago because it will be a great way for us to study reptiles up close.  I knew we could learn a ton from books and videos, but there's something about watching how one moves and eats and when they sleep and are awake on a daily basis that helps kids learn.

We found a great little independently owned pet shop where we got to ask tons of questions and sat on the floor and held the baby geckos and let them crawl all over us and jump all around, and when we found one we wanted, we brought it home in a little bowl.

We had to be super careful, though, because these little guys jump.

So the lid stayed on.

We got a habitat kit, but we added to it by going outside and finding rocks and sticks that would work well in a lizard habitat.

We had to learn a lot about how these little guys live before we could actually put him in his new home.  We learned he drinks best from dew or condensation, so we had to mist the cage before we put him in.

We have to be really careful in how we handle him because he can drop his tail from stress, so Daddy Bird carefully placed him in his new home.

We are so excited about this fellow, and we are really anticipating learning everything there is to know about crested geckos and cold-blooded creatures!
Welcome to the family, little Zilla!