Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Math Gnomes

I mentioned in my last post, that we've moving toward a more Waldorf approach with Little Bit and that it was doing a unit on Math Gnomes that got me started thinking about it. So I thought, today, I'd share about the Math Gnome unit we did. I roughly followed the first grade math blocks from Ancient Hearth.

Since Little Bit already knows how to count, I did a quick "intro"/summary of the first block. We only spent a week or so on it, I just wanted her to become familiar with Roman Numerals. So, I set up the entryway shelves to be a forest scene. 

The 2 children follow a squirrel through the woods to the big green tree, where the squirrel disappears down a hole at the base of the tree. The children follow the squirrel and find themselves in a pinecone forest . . . 

They follow the squirrel through this forest until they find a fairy guarding a cave door. She tells them that if they learn the "secret of numbers" it will open the cave door and allow them to enter the Land of Numeria. 

The secret of numbers was the Roman Numerals 1-10. I used glitter glue to write the 1 I on a piece of cardstock and "hid" it in the bottom of the plastic container of salt/glitter that we use to trace letters/numbers/forms, etc.  You can see the container (red lid) on the shelf under the pinecone forest along with the white shell the fairy gave the children to dig in the glitter sand. Once she found the glitter numbers she copied them into her school notebook, then we did the same with  2 II and so on up to 10 X. Once she'd learned these numbers the fairy gave her some little black stones with regular numbers and Roman Numerals on them (I bought small black rocks at the craft store and wrote the numbers on them with a silver Sharpie). Her job was to match the regular numbers to their corresponding Roman Numeral in order to unlock the cave.  Once she did, she (and the peg children) discovered the Land of Numeria . . . This begins the second Math Block on the Ancient Hearth site.

I set up the land of Numeria on the cedar chest/coffee table in the sunroom. It was covered by playsilks until she unlocked it. When the children entered the land of Numeria they met a wolf who would guide them through the land of Numeria. They traveled through the land and met "Gnome Share". He taught them how to share things equally (otherwise known as division). Gnome Share gave the children a treasure chest full of jewels so Little Bit had to help the children divide the jewels equally between the 2 children and the wolf.  

After Little Bit divided the jewels evenly. Gnome Share gave her a plate of strawberries (red like he is) to divide evenly between her, her sisters, and me.

We spent the rest of that week dividing other red snacks, and practicing dividing the jewels more and such.

The next week, Little Bit woke up to a new part of Numeria on the cedar chest.

Gnome Share traveled with the children and wolf through more of Numeria until they discovered Gnome Plus. We spent the week playing with addition, and eating green snacks.

The 3rd week's journey through Numeria took introduced us to Gnome Minus Takeaway who had, unfortunately lost the shepherd boy's sheep. The wolf called his friend, the Collie to help them track down the sheep. But first we spent week 3 learning about subtraction, and eating blue snacks.

The final week, the collie led us to a different part of Numeria, where it was snowy.

We met Gnome Multiply and he helped the shepherd boy find his sheep, hidden in the snow (Ashlyn painted the sheep & collie for me, aren't they cute?). And 4 lost sheep had multiplied into 6 sheep (2 lambs)! 

 We spent the week learning about multiplication and eating yellow snacks!

Also each week I draw a gnome picture and poem either on the chalkboard or on paper. Only managed to take a picture of the last one. Little bit copied the picture and at least part of the poem into her school book each week.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Wrapping up March

Sigh, I'm behind again . . . March . . .

Starting in January we've been hosting a monthly American Girl Club for our homeschool group. In January, one family came. In February, 2 families came. In March . . . there were 21 people at our house! It was awesome! I have to admit, I was a bit nervous about how that many people would fit . . . and if/when we end up having a rainy day, it will certainly be loud, but it really worked out wonderfully! Altogether there were 8 girls there for the club, which is the maximum that will fit around our table. We were focusing on Samantha's time period, so we did a craft and ate a snack from 1905. Meanwhile the moms and younger brothers hung out in the sunroom, and the older siblings hung out in the living room. Once the craft and snack were done, the girls played with their dolls in the living room for awhile and then most of the kids migrated outside for the last while. We had a great time, and I was happy to see that our house can handle a "crowd" without feeling claustrophobic.

The next day, it snowed! After a winter of no real snow, we got a BUNCH in March! Go figure! I really didn't mind. It came when we didn't need to be anywhere, and we could just enjoy it's beauty while snuggling up indoors and staying put. And the nice thing about March snows is they tend to melt pretty quickly :)

I had to laugh at Moccasin. We had set a bowl out in the snow to catch snow for snow ice cream. After we brought it in, I walked into the sunroom to see Moccasin waiting to come in, sitting in the indentation from the bowl. Guess he thought it was a cat seat LOL. I'd say it was because he didn't want to sit on snow, but pretty sure there was still snow under him, so who knows . . . he's a silly cat!

The girls took advantage of having Daddy trapped at home with us, to play Monopoly with him. It's fun to listen to them argue . . . Daddy's risk-taking and Ashlyn risk-aversion tend to clash . . . it amuses me :)

Our church hosted a game night at the school gym one Saturday night. The "main attraction" was human hungry hippos. People also brought board games and Lexie and Ashlyn helped with setting up and supervising minute games (I think that's what she called them). Quick little challenges. They were a hit. My kids won't let me post the rather amusing pictures I have of them participating :)

 One of the snacks was sour patch kids. Not sure any of my kids had ever had them before. Little Bit's face when she tried one for the first time was PRICELESS! :)

It was a fun evening.

One night when I went to tell the girls goodnight, I found Tracy sleeping on the American Girl doll bed. Apparently she thinks she's an American Girl doll. Or maybe she just thinks that everything in this house is for her pleasure and comfort LOL.

I managed to not take any pictures of birthdays this year. They were pretty low key. I came down with a bad stomach bug 2 days before Little Bit's birthday, so lost my final "prep time" completely and was still moving pretty slow on her birthday. It was a nice day, just quiet and low key. Lexie & Ashlyn's birthday was also "low key" because they don't like a fuss being made AND don't like pictures taken, so I didn't push it this year.

We'll finish up this brief summary of March with a couple pictures from Little Bit's school. We're doing a slightly structured waldorf-ish approach and she seems to be enjoying it. In January and February we did a math gnomes block that I'm still planning to do a separate post on. Once we finished that we moved on to Form Drawing. This is something I didn't know much about, but it's recommended that we "catch up" on the first grade forms before we start the second grade curriculum that we're planning to start in July, so we'll be doing a long Form Drawing block with breaks for holidays and such, from now until July. We read stories, and I draw the form on the chalk board. We practice it in the air, on each other's back, in a "fairy sand box" (that is actually salt & glitter), Little Bit practices "painting" the form with water on the chalkboard, and drawing it on the chalk board. We also go outside (weather permitting) and draw the form on the sidewalk with sidewalk chalk big enough that she can walk the form. Once she feels confident that she can draw it accurately, she adds it to her school notebook.

One of the things about Waldorf that I knew would be a good fit for her is all the art. We are learning the wet-on-wet watercolor technique as well as drawing with block crayons, and some days I'll draw a picture on the chalkboard that she copies into her school notebook with regular crayons of colored pencils. We will also eventually be sculpting with modeling beeswax, but I have to admit, *I* am still really struggling to figure out how that works, so don't want her getting frustrated with it until I understand it better.

She still has days when she doesn't want to do school. And of course, with it being spring, on gorgeous spring days we forget about book work and go outside and soak up the spring! But I feel like we're getting into a good groove. With the modifications I've made to the "prescribed" Waldorf method, it provides the structure that she needs but tons of creativity and the block schedule means it's not always the same (the block schedule would have not been a good fit for Ashlyn, but seems to be working well for Lina. Lexie just wants to be moving and doing hands on stuff, she doesn't care if there's structure or not LOL).