Monday, April 12, 2010

Saturday, April 10, 2010

ANOTHER COOL LINK:  I'm really enjoying the Living Math Yahoo! group these days.  People post some of the most amazing links to free stuff on the Yahoo! group.  If you're not already a member of their group I would definately suggest joining.  I thought that this link was really cool.  It shows you how to make Montessori number rods with supplies that you probably have around your house.

I don't know if anyone has ever used this book before.  It's called Janice VanCleave's Play and Find Out about Math: Easy Activities for Young Children.  It's really a very fun book!  I give it 2 thumbs up. The book offers very simple, yet fun activities to introduce math to young children in a concrete manner.

Janice VanCleave has lots of other books similar to this one. I really want to order the math one for older children, but my budget is slim pickins right now.  However, on Amazon right now it's selling for A PENNY used.  Seriously?  1 penny??? 

Disclosure:  I just like to be honest with everyone that reads my blogs.  I DO make a certain percentage of profit on any link that you click on from my blog.  However, please know that when the book only cost $.01 it's definately not something to fret over.  So, rest assure that I'm not becoming a millionaire at my blog reader's cost.  : )

Weekly Review 4/5-4/10/10

We began our week this week with playing with our new cuisenaire rods.  Yea!  I love them, and our children quickly became engrossed with the rods and spent a good 45 mins. exploring with them.  According to Miquon, playing and exploring the rods is the first step to using them.  So, we are defiantely on the road to learning with rods.

My children have not been very interested in doing any sort of school...even fun games.  Weird, huh?  It's as if any time I have an end goal of education in mind my children can sense it and are hesitant. 

I decided not to organize any activities this week, but to simply incorporate math in our reading and strew some education mathmatical things that the kids can pick up and do on their own such as the rods.

Other things that were strewed this week include tanagrams, pattern blocks, and cups with a jar of buttons for the kids to play with.  There are so many things that the kids can come up to do with the buttons and cups.  Lots of ways to categorize them, pattern with them, count them, etc.

On the LivingMath Yahoo! group today someone shared this really cool link to making your own math manipulatives.  Go check it out!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Somethin' Special Sunday

This is a great article written by Cathy Duffy about how to teach math through 1st grade without the use of any textbooks.  Awesome article!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Weekly Review 3/29-4/2/10

This week we read 2 great math books:  My Even Day (which I own and really love) and Missing Mittens which is a book in the Math Start series.  I really love the Math Start series.  In fact, I'm comptemplating just purchasing as many of the Math Start books as I can find for my youngest when she's ready for math.  I love the fact that practical activities that correspond with each topic are already planned out for you in the back of the book.  That takes lots of pressure off of me.

We also did some aking this week and we discussed fractions in basic terms.  The kids now know that the number on the bottom of each measuring cup (that we have) is how many of those it takes to make 1 cup.  I feel like this will help prepare them for fractions later on.

This weekend we will be doing another activity out of our Family Math for Young Children book.  The kids enjoyed playing the HiHo Cherry-O game. 

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Somethin' Special Sunday

Uhhhh...oops.  I meant to share this on Sunday, but apparently it got saved as a draft.  A WTM  forum member suggested this fun way to learn math facts outside!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Saturday, March 27, 2010

We veered off course this week and did some activities involving meaurements. This week was an unusual week, because we had a conference we attended starting on Thursday.  That really threw us off, but we were still able to get a  lot done.

We read Millions to Measure and How Long or How Wide. We used a yard stick and a tape measure to measure our favorite stuffed animals and compare their sizes.  Later in the week when my nephew was over I had each child pick something from the house that they wanted to measure and we used linking cubes to measure each item.  Then, of course, they spent lots of time just building with the linking cubes.  

We had fun with a book called Gobble Up Math.  1 of the exercises included measuing popcorn before and after it was popped.

We also measured things around our house.  At this point, I'm not trying to get the kids to remember all of the right terminology.  I'm just introducing them to measuring in general.

This weekend we are having fun with Pattern Play.  What a fun way to engage our children's minds!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

New blog design

Yea!  Look a my pretty new blog!  Isn't it gorgeous?  I wish that I could take credit for it, but my peeps over at  did an awesome job!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Friday, March 19, 2010

Spring Break!

I officially deemed this week Spring Break.  We weren't going to take a Spring Break, because our school year starts in Jan., so we haven't been at this very long.  However, the weather was just too good to pass up.  We did do 2 things this week.  We read the Gummi Bear Counting book and followed this lesson plan

Now, I have to warn you that this book is very simple.  It would be a good activity for children that need some extra practice with number recognition.  How I used it was that I would read the page and when it got to the part where I was supposed to say a number I would point to the large number on the page and have the children call out the name of the number.  This worked really well.  They thought it was fun, and it helped me to know which numbers they still need help on.

When we were done with the lesson plan I had the kids take their numbers and put them in order.  That was such a good reinforcement.  I definately suggest it.

The other activity that we will be doing today is a number hunt.  We are going to put on our "spying glasses" and go hunt for numbers around our house.  It should be fun.

For some reason my children are still struggling with number recognition.  So, I will be working on that, but I also want to ease up and do some other things, and just let all of the stuff that we've been doing sink in.

In other news, my oldest can officially count to "30"!!!  WoooHooo!  My son is this close, but not quite there.  Yea!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Mid-Week Encouragement

Here is a great article on getting started with Living Math. is an awesome resource!  It was a little overwhelming to me when I started, but now I'm starting to be able to gain some insight from it.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Check this out!

Check out the DVD!  Sid the Science Kid:  The Ruler of Thumb.  What an awesome introduction to graphing. measuing, and more!  WOW!  I definately recommend this one.

Sunday Somethin' Special

Here is a link to a great FREE game that someone on the WTM foruns suggested.  It looks really cool. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Week of 3/8-3/14/10

Another successful week of living math!  Yea!  I'm really liking this and so are the kids.  It just seems so natural.  We started the week off with this book:                     

The following day we made a group graph using coins, so we were able to accomplish 2 things at once.  I think that this really helped to solidify their graph skills.  We used our white board and I drew a blank graph.  Then, sorted all of the coins and discussed the names of the coins.  To my surprise, my Dd already knew the names of all but one of the coins.  Huh.  Interesting.

Then, we worked together to make a graph of the coins.  We were just comparing the number of coins in our graph.  My oldest liked the graphing so much that she wanted me to make another blank graph for her to do on her own.  She did a pretty good job!

The kids now seem to have a solid grasp of graphing.  So, later in the week we got out our Singapore books and stamps and completed pages 43-52.  The pages go super quick, because we use number stamps to answer the problems.  Educational Insights See and Stamp Jumbo Numbers and Math Symbols Stamps. I don't require my son or daughter to complete any workbooks at this age, but I do offer it to them.  Both children were more than excited to get to do the workbooks, because they love stamps.  The stamps are a little big, so we had to improvise in some areas, but I think the size of the stamps are good for their little hands.

Honestly, I don't think that there is any need for the workbooks.  I can tell just by working with them whether or not they know their stuff.  I guess I'm just adding it in for fun???? 
For the last day of the week (we do math 4 days per week), we did an activity pages 68-69 in Family Math for Young Children. 

It is an activity where you guess how many Tablespoons of rice or beans, etc.  it will take to fill up a cup.  Then, you take turns rolling a die (dice) and putting in that many T. of rice until the cup is full.  I didn't have any dice, so we used a poker chip a I wrote the number2 on one side and the number 3 on the other side, so that we could flip it.
I have both of the Family math books.  In my opinion there is a pretty big difference in the young children book vs. the older book.  I really, really like the young children book.  It helps the children form a really good foundation of comparing and estimating which are essential skills for math and science.  I'm pretty impressed!

In our evenings this past week and our upcoming weekend we will be using these fun and educational games:                                        

Mighty Mind is AWESOME!  Again, Mighty Mind is AWESOME!  No joke.  It's fabulous.  It progresses the child through a series of number cards that increase in difficulty.  They also have a magnetic version that you could use in your car or just simply if your children are having trouble keeping the pieces steady.  I higly recommend them.

On to my future plans, after looking through our Singapore Earlybird books, my state standards, and the Family Math series I have put together a sort-of game plan.  Just basically an overview of things that I would like to accomplish over the next couple of months or so.  Please remember that we school from Jan.-Jan.  So, our school year just started.

The main things that I am going to be focusing on come out of the Scope and Sequence of the Singapore.  Things such as:

Unit 3: Numbers to 10

Unit 4: Order (Number order)

Unit 5: Shapes

Unit 6: Patterns

Unit 7: Length and Size

Unit 8: Weight

Unit 9: Capacity

Unit 10: Compare Sets

However, a lot of these things are things that my children are alrea comfortable with (if not mastered) from prior teaching or just daily life.  So, some of these units I won't be spending much time on.  plan to s a living book to teach these units asas living math activities.  I will use the Singapore pages when I want to, but I won't feel pressured by the Singapore books. Some of the units the kids will pick up using other acitivities such as the pattern puzzles for shapes, etc.  I do, however, have some goals for the next year or however long it takes.  
  • I want to do a lesson out of the Family Math for Young Children book (see link above) at least every other wk if not every week. 
  • I also want to make sure that my children can count to 30 and count objects to 30.  The kids are really close to this, but we still need to work on it a little.
  • I want them to be able to add using objects to 10
  • I want to improve my children's estimating skills
  • I wan to work on things like length, weight, etc.  
  • I want to continue to offer fun games and activities that are math related for in the evenings and the weekends. 
I'm not sure how it will look from week to week, but I do have some things to focus on when I plan my week.   I have a couple of fun things lined up for next week so come back and check them out!  I'm also getting my blog renovated by the girls over at the Cutest Blog on the Block.  YEA!!!
Here is our oldest enjoying the Geoboard puzzles.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sunday Somethin' Special

Every Sunday I'm going to **try** to post a litle somethin' special for my readers.  This week it is another freebie that was suggested on the WTM forums.  This is a link to Math Their Way Summary Newsletter.  It's free if read online and has TONS of hands-on practical applications for math.  I'm very intrigued by the way that they teach writing numbers.  Take a look and leave me a comment to let me know what you think.  Also, if you have a little $ burning a hole in your pocket take a look around the rest of their site. Click here to go directly to the Summary Newsletter.

It's like Christmas around here....

I've been doing a little amazon shopping lately.  Shhhh....don't tell.  This is what I got in the mail this week...

I also got my used Family Math books in the mail.....YEA!!!!  I have a few other orders coming in over the next week or 2.  So, stay tuned to find out how I will be using all of these fabulous things.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Week of 3/1/10-3/7/10

Our first week of living math and dropping the curriculum has gone better than I had ever hoped!  The kids had so much fun!  They loved doing math.  That makes it a success this week in my book.  We started the week off by reading this:

Then, we did one of the acitvity suggestions in this book and used silverware to make patterns.  After we finished with that I brought out some playing chips that we use for a family game and I started a pattern for each of the kids to finish independently.  After they finished that they made up their own patterns.  Something so simple, and yet the kids loved it!

The next day I thought that we would work on number recognition and writing our numbers.  I'm of the mind that I really don't like to push writing.  So, we are kinda late on this, but I wanted to make sure that their fine motor skills were up to par before starting.  I'd hate to frustrate them, and then they not like writing.  So, to practice writing our numbers this is what we did:

That's shaving cream with their choice of food coloring in a zip-lock baggies taped at the top.  I made 2 mistakes with this activity.  I put too much in, and I put the shaving cream too close to the top of the baggie.  What resulted from me doing that was that it was really hard to get the air out of the baggie which made it hard to see the lines we were making.  Oh well, I'll know better for next time.

On Wednesday we had a REALLY fun day!  I printed off these.  And we did this:

And here is what the youngest did while we were doing our math:

I guess she likes math, too!

I added to the lesson plans for that sheet and we did 3 things.  First, we used the m&m's to count to 30, then we sorted them into colors.  After they were sorted into colors we did some patterning and lastly we did the graph.  I bought an extra bag of the candies and split them between all of my kids in their own small bowls before we started so that they weren't tempted to eat their "math".  Look at how many different concepts we covered so easily!

I printed out some dot-to-dots for free online.  My children have been struggling with number recognition past 7, so I printed off some free ones that only go up to 10.  I thought that I would put them in a folder and give them to the kids to have fun with this weekend.  A couple of the pages that I printed off only go up to 5, but I thought that it would be a good confidence booster.  Here are links to the sheets that I printed off:

It was a crazy week with our move, so we are cutting the week short, but we will be working on writing the number 4 in our salt boxes tomorrow. 

This week's failures (or something like that):

We are in the middle of moving, so we weren't able to get as much done as I had hoped.  I have all of these grand ideas, but sometimes it just doesn't work like that.

I bought a set of tanagram blocks and an animals patterns book from Sonlight, but when it came in the mail the book is really for older kids.  That was disappointing.  I'm trying to find some free tanagram puzzles online that will fit our blocks.

I'm starting to feel somewhat "behind".  I'm working hard to fight those urges.  My kids are only 4 and 5!!!  how behind can they actually be?  I'm such a planner that this whole "fly by the seat of my pants" thing is hard sometimes.  When I start incorporating the Singapore I think that I will feel more organized.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Lost treasures...

We are in the middle of a move, so I decided to go back through my gobs of random homeschool supplies to see if I had anything that I could use for math fun.  Here's what I found:

Yea!  I found buttons, link cubes, a couple of games, lacing beads, Mighty Mind, and a shape sorter for my youngest.  All of these things should lend themselves well to our math studies.

Monday, March 1, 2010

I heard some amazing words today.....

"Mom, I LOVE this math!"  followed by "Can we do this math everrrrry day???"

I haven't even brought out the andy for graphing, yet!!!  Today was our first day of living math, and those words are music to my ears.
I picked up our books for the next couple of weeks yesterday from the library.  I've decided on a couple of them and some activities that we will be doing with them.  Then, at the end of the week I will share what we used.  That is what I will do until I get the sutff that I ordered in.  After I get those in I hope to be able to share our overview for March/April with everyone.  Have a good week!!!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Passing along a freebie...

Over on the WTM forums a member suggested a website that you can download a tangram booklet and other math resources for FREE.  Here is the webiste.  (click on the underlined text to follow the link)

This is my plan...

I thought that I would detail a little more how I'm getting started with Living Math.
  • First of all, I'm going to put away RightStart for a couple of weeks.  This is really hard for me, because **I** love RightStart.
  • I wanted to get something really super fun for the kids to do to bring their attention back to math and have them looking forward for "the next thing that Mommy has up her sleve."  So, I ordered some tangrams.


  • Then, I ordered some pattern cards to go with them.

  •  After ordering tangrams and some pattern cards I knew that the kids would be satisfied for a few days while I figured out what I was going to do with our math.  So, I went searching for more information on Living Math and how to incorporate it into our Family Learning.  When I searched, I found quite a few resources.  Maybe too many resources. My favorite resource BY FAR for learning about Living Math is this squidoo page by Jimmie.  I love just about any squidoo page that Jimmie makes.  I have learned a ton from her.  Thank you Jimmie! 
  • I definately plan to use a lot of Jimmie's ideas and planning strategies for our Living Math.  I just hope to put them a little more in perspective to a pre-k or Kindergartner.
  • Next, I ordered Family Math.  I ordered both the younger book and the older aged book, so that I could compare them.  From what I have been told by my sister and multiple other online resources, these books are amazing and are worth every penny.  I've been told that they can take your boring, drab math and turn it into your child's favorite subject.  I plan to base most of my living math off of the activities in these books. I'll let you know if everyone is right when I get them in the mail!

  • The last thing that I bought was a few of these living math books.  These books are awesome for incorporating math literatured math games into your home.  I just bought a couple of them, and I only bought levels 1 and 2 even though there are at least 3 levels.  I also went onto my library's website and found out that they have quite a few of these books available there.  So, that is why I only bought a few of these right now. 

These books have a great, fun little storyline that incorporates math in a gentle way that your children won't be turned off by, and then at the end of the book they have games or activities and ways to expound upon those math skills.  How fun!
  • So, a few of those books and the tangrams is what I will be using for the next week of two while I wrap my mind around this whole Living Math thing.  It will also give me time to look over my Family Math books, and come up with an outline of where I would like for the rest of the year to goas far as math is concerned.
In a later post I will share some of the resources that I will be using to come up with my plans.  I won't be making a strict schedule.  Just an overview that will allow for all of those bunny trails.

I hope you come along on this journey with me and discover how to make math fun for your children!

First Post

I decided to start this blog to chronicle my journey towards living math.  I'm excited about it!  I am a complete novice when it comes to living math, and I am definately not a math whiz.  I hope to share the steps that I take to make living math part of our daily lives.  I will be sure to share both the successes and the failures and also any interesting resources that I find.

I have always felt very strongly that living math using tons of hands-on fun stuff is the way to go.  That's why I purchased RightStart Math A when my children turned 4 and 5.  Unfortunately, it isn't something that my kids LOVE to do.  I have to convince them to do RS.  They like it when we are doing RS, but I often see their eyes glaze over and see that they really aren't enjoying it as much as I had hoped.  I may still use RS, but just do at most 2 lessons per week.

We also have Singapore Math Earlybird A and B.    My daughter absolutely loves Singapore.  She's a workbook kind of girl.  So, most likely I will use the Singapore along with some elements from RS, Family Math and all of the fun games and resources that I can find on the internet.

I hope to make a weekly post listing all of the links, resources, books, and fun games we used that week.  Well, that's the plan at least.  Later, I will come back with more details fo what I have done so far.  Come join me on the journey!!!