## Thursday, February 27, 2014

### Best Hands-on Math Books

There are several different ways to approach the topic of math. Some people prefer the straight-forward method of manipulating numbers and learning to apply formula. Others however, need to understand the application of the formula. The application gives math purpose and makes it important. Here are several resources which explain how math is applied in the real world.

Jelly Beans for Sale is a cute book that introduces children to money. In the book one jelly bean costs 1 cent and jelly beans are sold with a variety of coins.

Pythagoras and the Ratios: A Math Adventure
Pythagoras was an Ancient Greek mathematician who became interested in music. He discovered a set of ratios that work to make musical instruments sound good. This is a great book for children studying fractions.

Life of Fred: Apples, Elementary Math Book, Math As Serious As It Needs to Be (Life of Fred, Volume 1)
Life of Fred is a complete math curriculum which begins at Kindergarten and ends at college level calculus, statistics and linear algebra. Life of Fred is not like any traditional mathematical program. Instead, it is taught in story format with a set of story problems at the end of each chapter. Material is covered in seemingly random order, but progresses in difficulty with the books. While this program is not for everyone, it works fabulously well for some. Many engineers really seem to love it. My husband wishes he learned math this way as a child. Math is put into context so the purpose and application are clear.

For those interested in trying Life of Fred beginning at the first book Apples is recommended for children who have not yet mastered addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Although some of the work will be review, children will gain confidence in their mathematical ability and many new concepts will be introduced during the first book.

For children who have mastered the four basic operations; adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing, starting with decimals and percents, fractions or pre-algebra is recommended.

The Fibonacci pattern can be found throughout nature in both plants and animals. This awesome book tells the story of how Fibonacci's pattern works.

In the chapter book, The Man Who Counted: A Collection of Mathematical Adventures Beremiz Samir is great at settling disputes. In one story a family of three boys inherits 35 camels which can't be evenly divided between the three. One of the boys is to have 1/2 of the camels, another is to have 1/3 and the last is to have 1/9. He settles the dispute by giving his camel to add to their inheritance. Once the camels are evenly divided there are two left over which he accepts as payment.

Our other favorite books can be found on our Reading and Arts Page. To see our hands-on math activities please visit our Math Page.

Bender Bunch

* I did not receive any compensation for this recommendation. I'm just a homeschooling mom who has found many products that I like. If you're interested in the products I recommend on this blog I want to make it easy for you to find them.
** I am an Amazon associate and receive a small portion of the sales on orders made after clicking in from this site, which I promptly spend on homeschooling books and supplies for my children.

## Wednesday, February 26, 2014

### Fabric Flower Quilt

When my eleven year old was six years old I read her The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco. In the story a family quilt was made from old clothes and used on many special occasions. My daughter was hooked! Not long after she sewed her first quilt, and her second and her third. She has only stopped quilting to do some occasional knitting and and other crafting.

This is her latest masterpiece. It contains 108 fabric flowers and I'm completely amazed she finished this project.

Not only does she like to quilt, but she insists on doing almost all the work by hand. After moving to Germany we bought a cheap sewing machine that didn't work very well until my friend adjusted it for us. Rather than deal with a stubborn machine, she prefers to listen to audio stories and sew.

The Keeping Quilt is a wonderful story, and I would highly recommend reading it and doing a small quilting project.

* I did not receive any compensation for this recommendation. I'm just a homeschooling mom who has found many products that I like. If you're interested in the products I recommend on this blog I want to make it easy for you to find them.
** I am an Amazon associate and receive a small portion of the sales on orders made after clicking in from this site, which I promptly spend on homeschooling books and supplies for my children.

## Tuesday, February 25, 2014

### Multiplication and Square Numbers with Cuisenaire Rods

We used Cuisenaire Rods to create equivalent multiplication equations, discover square numbers and determine one times a number equals itself.

My daughter enjoys working with Cuisenaire Rods because she likes a challenge and discovering multiplication and other math principles on her own. I often begin a lesson with a simple example such as using two red rods to create a square. Then I ask my daughter if she could build any more squares. She finds the method very motivating.

Here are some ways we recently used Cuisenaire Rods for multiplication.

The above picture shows a quantity of four red 2 cm rods and a quantity of two purple 4 cm rods. They represent the multiplication problems 4 x 2 = 8 and 2 x 4 = 8.  Playing with Cuisenaire Rods, the differences and similarities in the two equations became visually obvious.

After presenting the simple example above, I asked my daughter if she could create any more equivalent rectangles.

2 x 6 = 6 x 2 = 12

5 x 10 = 10 x 5 = 50

Writing down the equations was an important part of discovery.

Next, instead of creating rectangles, we created squares.

These squares represent square numbers.
1 x 1 = 1
2 x 2 = 4
3 x 3 = 9
4 x 4 = 16

After discovering square numbers, the equations were rewritten with square symbols.
12 = 1
22 = 4
32 = 9
42 = 16

Finally we multiplied a number times itself and wrote down the equations.

The method is simple, but the visual component combined with self discovery makes it a great activity for children who need to learn by figuring it out.

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## Sunday, February 23, 2014

### Formation of the Universe Activities for Kids

Week 7: We watched a video explaining the creation of the universe, found spirals in our world, and painted galaxies.

Teaching the formation of the universe is a highly personal topic. While some choose to teach creation of the universe from a biblical perspective, I have chosen to teach this subject from a scientific perspective. Although some of the lesson directly aligns with science, much of the material and activities should be useful to lessons based on other views.

Watching the National Geographic Despite video Birth of the Universe we learned the universe was once so small it could be held in the hand, but the same weight it is today. Elements are created in the stars when particles crash together during nuclear fusion reactions. Amazingly, some university scientists have built a machine which can replicate parts of nuclear fusion. Despite the fact that the National Geographic video was a challenge to understand, it was useful in our overall understanding of the universe.

Since much of the matter in the universe is spinning and shaped like a spiral, we found and discussed spirals familiar to us.

List of Familiar Spirals
Snail Shells
Whirl Pools
River water flowing around obstacles
Horns of big horn sheep
Water flowing down the drain and toilet

Inspired by the galaxies on The Art Club Blog, we created our own.

Using watercolor paper, blue, black white and a little red or yellow paint, the galaxy backgrounds were created.

Each background was unique, but they all contained spirals.

The fun part was painting the stars by splattering different colors of paint onto the paper.

Please be sure to visit next week for a Life Cycle of the Stars activity.

True Aim Education

## Saturday, February 22, 2014

### Rome Unit Study - Writing Assignments

In conjunction with our Roman Unit Study the kids did several short Roman writing assignments.

• Concrete, surveying tools to build straight roads, etc. What do you think was Rome's best tool or invention?
• How did aqua ducts and running water change life for the Romans?
• Write about how a Roman Fort is similar to an American Air Force Base.
• Write a postcard to a friend or family member far away like the Roman soldiers did.
• Pretend you are a Roman soldier and you just saw an elephant for the first time. Write down your thoughts.
• Many of the things the Ancient Romans did are considered immoral by our standards. Choose one immoral act of the Romans to write about. (Gladiators, slavery, enforcing views and way of life on others).
• Pretend you are the historian Pliny and you just saw Vesuvius erupt. Write about what you saw.
• Pretend you are a charioteer at the Circus Maximus. Write your story.
• You are a Roman water engineer working on a new water system. Describe your design. What are your concerns?
• Interview Hadrian and ask the function of the Pantheon. How was it designed? What was it's original name?
• How was Hadrian's Wall similar to the Great Wall of China?

Sola Gratia

## Thursday, February 20, 2014

### Best American Historical Fiction Books

There are so many great American Historical Fiction books available for children. This is a really short list and I would love for you to leave comments with your favorites.

Girl of the Shining Mountains: Sacagawea's Story
Sacagawea was a Shoshoni Indian girl who was kidnapped as a pre-teen and later became an important person in the Lewis and Clark expedition. The story, told from her perspective, gives the reader insight to what a difficult journey it was. From sickness, to encounters with grizzly bear, translation between languages and nightly meals, this book engages, educates and entertains.

Naya Nuki: Shoshoni Girl Who Ran
When Sacagawea was captured she wasn't alone. Her friend she was captured with decided to escape. Naya Nuki is the story of what happened to her.

The Great Turkey Walk
A young boy too old to attend school decided to purchase a flock of turkeys in Texas and sell them in Denver where they would be worth much more money. Based on a true story this hilarious story gives the account of marching hundreds of turkeys hundreds of miles.

Carry On, Mr. Bowditch
A career aboard a ship is filled with inherent danger, and the danger is compounded when the tables used to calculate position are incorrect. Nathanial Bowditch was a young boy who was good at mathematics and grew up to be an expert sea navigator. This exciting story is filled with science, mathematics and adventure.

The Little House Collection Box Set (Full Color)
My daughter was inspired to create hand-made Christmas gifts after reading this series of stories six years ago and has made them each year since. Pioneering was a way of life during the 1800's and this series gives us a sense of what life was like. I highly recommend it and can't wait to begin reading it again with my two younger children.

* I did not receive any compensation for this recommendation. I'm just a homeschooling mom who has found many products that I like. If you're interested in the products I recommend on this blog I want to make it easy for you to find them.
** I am an Amazon associate and receive a small portion of the sales on orders made after clicking in from this site, which I promptly spend on homeschooling books and supplies for my children.

## Wednesday, February 19, 2014

### Simple Doll Skirt

Last summer my six year old worked with grandma to create no sew skirt for herself. Recently she created one for her stuffed hedgehog. First she cut a piece of elastic to fit the waist of the hedgehog. She did sew it into a circle, but a safety pin could be used if no sewing at all is truly desired. Then she cut strips of tulle fabric and tied them in knots to the elastic.

This photo shows the skirt half completed.  Here's a link to the one she completed for herself.

## Tuesday, February 18, 2014

### Skip-Counting with Cuisenaire Rods

We used Cusienaire Rods to explore skip-counting.

If you aren't familiar with Cuisenaire Rods, here is a earlier post which gives a brief overview.

After creating this design skip-counting by 2's, 4's and 8's was practiced as well as counting by 1's.

Following the white blocks horizontally across the design it is easy to count from 1 to 16. Following the red blocks, which are 2 cm long, skip-counting by 2's also results in a total of 16. In addition, the purple 4 cm rods, and brown 8 cm rods can be counted across the design for a total of 16.

Next, several more designs were created and used for counting.

Here are some questions we answered for the above design:
How many white cubes are there? - answer 5

The subsequent questions were answered without counting:
How many red rods are there?
How many black rods are there?
How many purple rods are there?

Using the top figure, skip-counting by 3, and 6 was practiced.

This figure was used to count to 14 a few different ways.
3+1+3+3+1+3=14
3+1+3=7 and 7+7=14
7+7=14
3,6,9,12,13,14 - skip-counting green rods, and then white

This figure was use to skip-count by 2's.

To see other ways we have used Cuisenaire Rods, please visit our Math Page or come back next week for estimating.

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Sola Gratia

* I did not receive any compensation for this recommendation. I'm just a homeschooling mom who has found many products that I like. If you're interested in the products I recommend on this blog I want to make it easy for you to find them.
** I am an Amazon associate and receive a small portion of the sales on orders made after clicking in from this site, which I promptly spend on homeschooling books and supplies for my children.

## Sunday, February 16, 2014

### Winter Animal Tracks

Winter is the best time to see animal tracks and Snow Tracks is the perfect book to go with the activity. The story contains several animals and their adventures. As they go about their day they leave tracks and many things can be learned from the tracks. Here are a few quotes from the book.

" His tracks were gay tracks which might have been read to say: "

" His tracks met the skunk tracks."

Here are some tracks we found.

Deer Tracks

Dog Tracks

Bird Tracks

Rabbit Tracks

Not Quite Sure Tracks - Maybe Marten Tracks

What were all these animals doing?

Another book great for nature hikes is In the Snow. In this book the kids see clues like berries in the snow and balls of fur and bone, and wonder who has been there.