Kids Make The Best Teachers

My son's Lego battles

My son’s Lego battles

Last week the kids have been immersed in Lego. Lego heroes, Lego battles, Lego houses. They built Lego together. They built Lego separately, and then joined their worlds into one.

More Lego

More Lego

Lego Land

And more Lego

 

What did I do? Well, I just let them play. It was another lesson the kids were giving me about “letting go.”

I was letting that self doubt start to creep in. Questions, worries, uncertainties.

Are the kids learning enough? Are they learning? Are they having fun? Are the choices we are making adding and enriching their life or diminishing it? Am I making the right choices?

Of course when self doubt creeps in for me, it creeps into the kids and they show it in their own ways. Ways that are not always easy to manage if I’m not in the right mindset. They bicker, they have dramatic upsets, they complain. Their sleep is interrupted, the choices they make may not always be stellar. It’s the cycle that flows from me to them. If I am feeling uncertain and unhappy, of course they will too.

I have become better at recognizing the slippery slope and am able to either catch myself sooner, or pull out of it sooner. So I tried to let go and let them lead the way. They played completely focused and engaged for about 2 or 3 mornings in a row. Then with that space they asked questions, and explored.

I watched them. I read. I practiced yoga. At one point I was watching a video about Math that was focused on the growth mindset that we discuss a lot in our home education days. The kids would pause, watch, ask questions and then go back to what they were doing. The pauses became longer and the questions increased until they moved from their Lego into other areas of creation and math problems.
Their world kept growing and expanding out from Lego to working on tangrams and building shapes.

Building the puzzle

Building the puzzle

 

Finished putting it together.

Finished putting it together.

 

Another Tangram Puzzle...one of many

Another Tangram Puzzle…one of many

 

Tangram Heaven

Tangram Heaven

They watched videos about the Fibonacci sequence and discussed where we can see the sequence in nature. They looked through a book on the works of MC Escher and tried to find the sequence in his art.

Getting push ups in between math problems and checking out the Escher Art Book

Getting push ups in between math problems and checking out the Escher Art Book

They visualized and encoded numbers, created patterns, and worked on various math problems.

And no, we did not end up getting to Origami that day

What do you see when shown a configuration of dots for a under a minute. How many dots are there? How do you see them?

 

What do you see when shown a configuration of dots for a under a minute. How many dots are there?

Everyone sees things in their own way. Each way may be different, but just because they are different does not make them wrong. 

They were engaged, and excited and each one had their own area of interest that they focused on a little bit more.

My daughter expands her knowledge of subtraction.

My daughter expands her knowledge of subtraction.

 

My niece built different patterns with small blocks. She changed the number of elements with each pattern.

My niece built different patterns with small blocks. She changed the number of elements with each pattern.

 

My son drawing out the different ways he sees the dot configuration

My son drawing out the different ways he sees the dot configuration *

Close-up of his work. What shapes do you see? How does it reflect the number of dots in the image you were shown?

Close-up of his work. What shapes do you see? How does it reflect the number of dots in the image you were shown?

 

He also worked on another math problem from the website youcubed.org

He also worked on another math problem from the website youcubed.org **

 

So back to my self doubt and uncertainty. Are they learning enough? Are they learning? Are they having fun? Are we making the right choices?

If they are still showing a curiosity and interest in learning and in the process- then yes they are. So the education continues. My education. Because sometimes I am their guide but really most times I am the student in this.

 

*The majority of the Math videos we watched and math problems we explored that week came from the website https://www.youcubed.org/ along with talks featured on the Ted Talks website. “Hackschooling Makes Me Happy” is a favourite of the kids.

The Ice Cream poster problem that my son worked on can be found here.

**The dot configuration problem can be found in the Week of Inspirational Math (iMath) on the youcubed.org site.

 

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Angle It

New season, new life, new change.

There have been so many great things happening. We have been enjoying the moments and I have not stopped to write about any of it. So like a new season, a new start, I am starting to post again.

This week has been what I call a week of math. I have not decided that. My kids have, of course. I just go with it.

A short while back my father-in-law introduced my son to angles. What they are, how they are different, and how we can measure them. He really enjoyed the impromptu lesson.

This week he decided that he wanted to learn more about angles and practice making them. So that is what we have been doing. As I am sure most homeschooling parents will find, homeschool is not a lesson for the kids as so much a lesson for the parents.

Geometry Fun

Geometry Fun

So here I am, enjoying geometry again because of my son.

He brought out his protractor and paper. (We could not locate a compass yet)

He drew lines and vertexes. I did the same. He measured them and learned how to correctly record the angles on paper with the angle sign. We talked about circumference, and how a circle is 360 degrees. He knew what a 90 degree angle was, but joined the connection of 90 degrees to 180 degrees to 360 degrees. He noted that once the circle was drawn 90 degrees divided it into 4 quarters.

Without a compass he used a cup to draw his circle

Without a compass he used a cup to draw his circle

And he kept wanting to go further.

We talked about and drew right angles, reflex angles, and obtuse angles. The difference between diameter, and radius.

Different Kinds of Angles

Different Kinds of Angles

He likes to make his angles into chomping crocodiles

He likes to make his angles into chomping crocodiles

We discussed geometry in nature. How a honeycomb fits together perfectly. All the cells are the same hexagon shape. Or the bearings on a compass. We use degrees to measure navigation, starting with zero degrees which represents North.

He wanted to expand into shapes and drew triangles, cubes, and pyramids.

3D sketches

3D sketches

I am refreshing my vocabulary. Equilateral triangles, isosceles triangles and scalene triangles. He drew each triangle and checked the sides and angles to make sure they add up to the correct amount. ( All 3 angles must equal 180 degrees in a triangle )

He also played with interactive triangles. The website https://www.mathsisfun.com/triangle.html has been a great interactive resource.

Triangles, Triangles

Triangles, Triangles

It was a math week for all

It was a math week for all. Zahra was focused on subtraction. 

This has been our last few days. And as I type, he sits beside me still drawing angles.

 

The Flow

Homeschooling is a different flow.

Some things work as planned, some things do not. Sometimes there are no plans, and the world flows naturally.

Some days are busier than others.

Both of my kids are active in various sports and activities. On the farm we are 30 minutes from town so on busier days we are usually home later in the evening. Because of this I try to keep busy-ness down to a bare minimum those mornings.

I am finding as I meet and talk to more and more homeschoolers a lot of the longer term homeschoolers are like this. Each year they better get to know themselves, better get to know their children and contrary to belief, instead of pushing them to learn more, learn faster, cram everything in and finish early, they instead slow down.

They enjoy their time with their children. They allow them to play, to explore more. They travel, they read, they surf, they ski, they build. They take it as a great time to build on their relationships. They go with the flow. 

How much am I going with the flow?

Yesterday morning my daughter asked if she could watch a specific video and then play a game on Brainpopjr. One thing that I am fairly strict on is the amount of screen/TV time my children have. This is not something I would usually allow first thing in the morning. But that morning I said okay.

Why not?

There was something specific that she wanted to see. Isn’t that why we do this? When our kids have an interest or curiosity, we let them follow it.

I let her watch and play on the computer. My son and I played chess. Then my son took a turn on the computer. 

It was actually a math game on number concepts, fractions, decimal percentages. Treefrog Treasure. I sat with both of them and we talked through some of the problems that were presented.

Which is bigger? 3/4 or  1/2? 

If you think of the decimal .5 as 50% where on the percentage line would that go?

When I was making lunch my daughter and I drew some fractions out. I would draw the “pie” and she would colour and then write out the fraction. My son soon joined us. We took out a measuring cup and compared the fractions on paper to where the fractions are on the measuring cup. 

It was a fun, quick, hands on lesson.

Remembering to just go with the flow.

We started playing chess using the Chess For Dummies board. It is a great way for young learners to understand and remember their pieces and how they move.

We started playing chess using the Chess For Dummies board. It is a great way for young learners to understand and remember their pieces and how they move. Ronan has now become an avid player. It is getting hard for me to beat him!

Learning fractions. Zahra's doodle sheet. Plus some play on words we were having fun with.

Learning fractions. Zahra’s doodle sheet. Plus some play on words we were having fun with.

Ronan and Zahra's fraction doodle sheet.

Ronan and Zahra’s fraction doodle sheet.