Posts Tagged ‘math’

Thankful!

March 14, 2017

Today while I was minding my own business in the Butterfly Pavilion at the Desert Botanical Gardens, a woman approached me and gushed, “I don’t want to embarrass you, but I know who you are and I want to thank you for the article you wrote about your son not reading until he was nine.” I thanked her for saying something, asked about her kids and met her friends that she was butterflying with. She wasn’t done, however. “I cut out that article and put it up in my bathroom. I read it every day! And I say to myself, ‘If Linda Crosby can make it through this, I can make it through this.'”

Her willingness to approach me and spill her beans blessed my socks off. I am so fortunate to be able to speak to homeschoolers through seminars, articles and day-to-day meetings around town. My passion is to encourage others to keep on keeping on. I am so blessed this year to be speaking in five other states, so I can love on some hurting mothers who just want to quit. This home educating gig ain’t for the faint of heart!

By no means am I the Wonder Woman of homeschooling. Far from it. I have made more mistakes than most… ask my kids! No, don’t. It might hurt my homeschool mom feelings. But there is something to be said about hearing how another mom failed over and over again, and seeing that their kids actually turned out okay… mostly, as contributing members of society who aren’t too socially awkward.

Be encouraged, homeschooling mama! The days when everything goes haywire are the days the kids will probably remember the most. (Unfortunately!) Usually they recall how you handled rough situations and they watched you get up out of bed the next day and try again at the homeschoolin’ deal.

My advice for the “End of March Blues” is to relax. Hardcore-Textbook Mom, play some board games. Stick-to-the-Planner Mom, read a good YWAM biography to the kids. Neatnik Mom, break down and let the kids papier mache outside… with the back door locked. OCD-Math Mom, cross out half the problems on today’s worksheet. Live on the edge. It’s okay to relax once in a while and have some fun. Funschooling is real.

Know that you are not alone. Find another homeschooling family… or five, and go to the Botanical Gardens! We did! It was a great break and math will still be there tomorrow!

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Just Another Bump in the Road

October 14, 2015

Mother's Day 2015 014

I have been noticeably missing from My Sister’s Jar for two months….well, at least I noticed I was missing. We have had another bump in the ever bumpy road of our lives, but we carry on, get back in the driver’s seat and plead for God’s help once again.

It was May when our little Colombian princess was tested at a reading specialist and several (meaning more than 5!) different learning differences were detected. This was an AHA! moment for me as well as a WELL- DUH! moment mixed together. I assumed some of the difficulties were because Nora has only been speaking English for four years. This didn’t seem to apply at all once the road blocks to learning were identified.

I believe I have mentioned on here before some of my frustration teaching my own children who can’t seem to remember what I’ve taught them, and don’t really care that they can’t remember, and just want to go outside and look at clouds and dig in the dirt. I handed over Nora’s math teaching to her two older brothers for several months at the suggestion of our principal, my husband. It saved me from the desire to bang my head on the kitchen table when there was no recall of ANYTHING she could do yesterday.The boys didn’t seem to mind re-teaching carrying, borrowing, multiplying with zeroes over and over and over and over and over again. I did mind. It is a weakness of mine, as a homeschool mom, to want my children to learn and retain and move ahead, especially in phonics, reading and math.

With Austin, now 19, he was shown the letter F for 63 straight days of my ever-loving-homeschool-teaching-journey. He finally read the blinkin’ English language when he was NINE. That’s almost TEN. You know, three years before being a teenager. There weren’t any learning differences. He was just a late reader. (Insert mother justification….) He designed and installed our backyard sprinkler and drip system when he was also nine. He’s a smart kid. I kept the faith that God would touch the brain inside that hard, blonde head… and He did! Thank you, Jesus. It still brings me to tears when I relay the story of the first time in his life when Aus read… anything…it was a sign at Sequoia National Park, “Do not feed the deer!”

Back to the Colombian princess. When I heard the phrase “auditory processing” I wasn’t sure what it meant, so of course I googled it. Lo and behold, and what to my wondering eyes should appear, and good golly why didn’t I remember this… a website popped up of a lady WHOM I KNOW!  Oh yeah, she teaches on learning differences. She gave me great suggestions ten years ago when I was trying to get Austin to read C-A-T without the far-and-away look in his big blue eyes. Here is what I discovered: MAGIC! There were 16 symptoms listed for people who have learning differences in the area of auditory processing. Nora has all 16! WHAT? (I pride myself of being an overachiever too!)

Nora is attending reading classes with a specialist who understands left brain/right brain connections that need to be established. The “reading class” consists of physical activities outside to help cross the mid-line of the brain. School has taken a decidedly different look this year, with WAY more focus on my part, which has introduced me to a new level of exhausted. From 9:00 p.m. to midnight was MY time to get my work done. Now I’m dragging through dinner and looking at the clock longingly at 7:30 p.m. without the energy to get anything done. But God knows what He is doing. None of Nora’s challenges were made apparent until Austin was graduated from high school. The Lord knows what we can handle and what would throw us head over heels into the loony bin, and obviously teaching Austin and Nora (the new way) together was beyond my capabilities. And I am thankful we learned about all this when we did!

So as I start each new day, as a homeschool mom, around 8:30 a.m. or 9:30 a.m., I remind God that these are really His kids, and I need His help once again to leave my bedroom and teach them how to learn, how to love God and how to succeed in life! I could not do this on my own! And that’s a fact, Jack!

Math the Colombian Way

March 19, 2012

(This picture has nothing to do with this post…. but it’s cold outside, so I picked a snow picture!)

Math is different around the world.  I’m convinced of that.  My husband was taught math in Canada and he DOES NOT do multiplication the way I was taught here in the good ol’ US of A.  And he’s not converting from metric either; he simple learned a funky, three-step process to do the facts, and I merely memorized them.  On occasion, I do use my fingers for the nine’s times tables, but that’s only really late at night. [You know… hold up your ten fingers.  Bend down the number you are multiplying by nine.  Read the tens and ones with the remaining fingers.  I.e.  9×4  Hold up your ten fingers.  Bend down the fourth finger from the left.  There are three fingers standing on the left (tens = 30) and six fingers still standing on the right (ones = 6)  Hence, 36.]  But my dear husband’s process has you subtracting and adding numbers up and down from the number you started with.  And you’re supposed to remember all these numbers as you go.  Too many steps for my little brain.

Today, at the kitchen table while teaching math to the little Colombian princess, I was assuming that Colombians learned addition differently than I did.  Here are the equations and her answers:

15.   5 + 4 =  24

16.   3 + 8 = 27

Get it?  I didn’t.  For a LONG time.  Finally I explained that it was a pre-test and I didn’t expect her to know how to do those problems yet.  THEN I SAW the DOTS.  She draws little dots and counts them.  For the first problem, she drew 15 dots, 5 dots and 4 dots.  She counted them all and wrote the correct answer!  SHE WAS INCLUDING THE NUMBER OF THE PROBLEM!  Hahahaha!  And she DID know how to add them ALL!  So after we got it all ironed out, it was smooth sailing.  Colombian math is just like USA math, but probably not like Canadian math! (If I can help it!)

Four Peas in a Pod

November 10, 2011

Last night was the last of ten homeschool mentoring classes that I have had the joy of attending.  You may be wondering why I would take a homeschool class….. in my eleventh year of homeschooling.  Well, believe it or not, I still don’t have it all figured out.  Our church has a homeschool support group that offered this class and since I don’t know too many homeschool moms outside of my safe little bubble, I decided to join the class.  It was WELL worth my time! Many quality friendships were made.

Every homeschool mom NEEDS a support group and/or co-op buddies in order to make it through this educational journey and not pull out all the hair on the sides of your head.  When I first started teaching my kids at home, I remember being in awe of moms who had been at the task for ten years or more.  Then I turned into one…. almost overnight.  How in the world did that happen?

Last night in our last mentoring class, we went around the circle and spoke of those ideas/books/charts/theories that inspired us the most during our time together.  For years, and I mean YEARS, like 24 years, I have known of learning styles and the benefits of figuring out how each kid ticks… so as to teach him so he understands.  However, I haven’t looked at learning styles since sweet Nora has graced our homeschooling haven.  There is a chart in our mentoring manual explaining each of the four styles and how to best help them.  I looked at it again last night and realized that I have one kid of each style.  Perfect!  I always like to get one of everything!  Like at Panda Express… how can you choose just two entrées?

Anywhooo…  last night was the first time I read the little captions under each of the styles.  It made me laugh out loud.  For your personal enjoyment and mine, here they are:

  1. The Structured Learner (Inside the box) – My eldest daughter
  2. The Moving Learner (Outside the box) – My eldest son (In my mind, this one could also be PLAYS with the box!)
  3. The Analytical Learner (Stares at the box) – My younger son
  4. The Community Learner (Talks to the box) – My younger daughter

For those homeschool readers who are curious about the course, here is the link… the manual is FABULOUS!  http://www.thebalancedhomeschooler.com/

Onto more important homeschooling news, Nora’s math books arrived yesterday and she FINALLY feels like she is doing school now.  :o)  I originally tried to start her in grade two math, but I discovered too many holes in her learning…. and we are re-starting with kindergarten.  I predict she’ll be done by Christmas.  She did a week’s worth of lessons in less than an hour.  Makes this mother’s heart glad.

I’m Finally Making a Colombia Scrapbook

September 15, 2011

Yes, we’ve been home with the Colombian princess for almost nine months…. next Thursday, it’ll be nine months.  I’m finally getting around to making a scrapbook of our trip.  I’ve spent much mental anguish on the Colombia scrapbook topic over the past six months. (The first three months home I just needed a nap.  That’s all.)  I know there are LOTS of photos.  I know there are LOTS of photos that I want to include.  I also know my scrapbooking speed is not what it used to be in the days of old when I got 65 pages completed on a weekend retreat.  I’ve weighed the digital vs. traditional issues too.

This morning my problems were solved when I opened my email and Snapfish had sent me a free digital hard-cover scrapbook.  Well, the first 20 pages are free.  I was all over it…. but the deadline is Sept. 21.  My husband and I are leaving on a jet plane in three days… and not coming home until the 22nd.  So today, instead of teaching my pupils (well I did have Nora do math… and the others are pretty self-motivated at the moment)…. (yes, those were guilt justifying comments)… I uploaded 296 photos and put them in a digital book.  BAM!  Done!  Well, almost.  I only did half of the journaling… and it’s too late in the day to write coherent sentences, much less remember the Spanish names of places and fruits.

Into my closet I went searching for my journal from our trip to South America.  One paragraph smacked me between the eyes and I want to share it with you.  For all those who have adopted, want to adopt, are trying to adopt and are thinking they might adopt…. here’s some cold, hard facts to think on:

“As I drove home the seven hours from the Colombian consulate in Beverly Hills, I had one of those God-moments where I realized that this whole adoption is not about me… or Rick and I… or even Nora.  It’s about God taking care of His children – about His children taking one step at a time, obeying the call on their lives – about God providing everything we need – far before we figured out what we needed.”

 

This was taken right after we landed in Bogotá!

That was so philosophical of me…. and rare… here’s the next page in the journal for your pure enjoyment.

(This was the night before we were leaving Cali to fly to Bogotá.) “As late as it was after packing, 12:30 a.m., I simply could not fall asleep.  The thought that Nora was leaving behind her life as she knows it – kept me awake.  One reassuring thought was that we LOVED Cali SO much – we will return someday.  I also wondered at 2:30, 3:15, 4:12 and from 4:35 on…. would Nora have motion sickness? Would the airplane terrify her?  Did we check under all the beds? And finally – I was awake at 5:00… “ready” for our adventure to Bogotá.”  No wonder I needed three months of naps!

I’m a Poser

August 17, 2011

I figured it out.  I’m a poser.  I’m not a real homeschool mom.  It all came crashing down today as I sat at my fellow-homeschool-mom’s kitchen table.  Books, planners, test guides, lists and schedules were strewn from one end of the kitchen to the other.  She was busily slipping pink sticky-notes into each literature book before they were stored in the red plastic box that nobody is allowed to touch except her.  The queen mother of homeschooling.  I mean, good grief, the lady’s got six kids.  And no twins.  Each hot pink note said something different:   “Read Aloud”  “Jimmy”  “Easy Reader”   “Lisa”   I’ve never seen anything like it.  Mounds of books.

To my credit, I’ve done more planning this August than all of my past ten Augusts added up.  I’m branching out this year.  I’m not using the tried and true curriculum that has served me well for ten years.  I’ve always taught all of my kids together on the same topic.  It’s so much easier to teach that way!  But this year?  No.  Well, yes and no.  We are studying American History with a vengeance, but not like any unit ever tackled in this house of school.  My two high schoolers are in my US History class, so they are on the same page, albeit at drastically different levels. My junior higher is in for the shock of his life.  I just finished writing his assignment for the YEAR…. literature, history, vocabulary and math. (He’s taking a science class from the homeschool mom mentioned previously… with the booky kitchen table.)  I have NEVER written down a year’s worth of assignments for anyone, including myself.  I’ve always flown by the seat of my pants…. planning a week or two… or miraculously a month in advance.  Not this year.  This is a ton of work.

My level of comfort was surpassed when it dawned on me…. early June… that I am teaching English as a Second Language to a youngster… for the very first time in my life.  Our girl can sound out words in Spanish… she can write a handful of words in Spanish… but we are swiping the slate clean and starting at square one in English.  It’s been a while since I looked at phonics… a, ay, ah.  The more I learn the 27 phonograms, the less sense the English language makes.  Spanish is so much easier with every letter making ONLY one sound.  Brilliant.

The plan is set in stone… .like never before.  Even if I get carried off by gypsies the kids will know what to work on until late May.  They may not even notice I’m gone!  Even their dad could hold down the homeschooling fort!  All this planning does make sense to me…. but what it we have a hiccup?  What if we fall behind?  What if I need fieldtrips… LOTS of fieldtrips???  What if? 

So, fellow homeschool moms.  I’m with you this year.  My planning is done.  I’m not posing this year as a mom-educator with children at home who has it all together.  I do actually have it all together.  First time in TEN years!

Most Talented Mother of the Year!

January 10, 2011

The City of Phoenix gives out cultural passes at the libraries so uncultured people can go to museums and attractions for free.  They are trying to upgrade the average Phoenician’s cultural experience.  And it’s working.  At least in this house.  “If it’s free, it’s for me!” is a famous quote from my sister…. and I borrow it on occasion.  When the homeschooling bus hits a bump in the road, we go on field trips. It’s a no-brainer…. get out of the house… pronto!  The get out of jail free passes are so handy!

Last Spring, when Spring fever was burning our house down, I gathered passes to the Natural History Museum and the Children’s Museum in Mesa, Arizona.  My then-16 year old daughter was NOT interested, so we kidnapped a fellow 12-year-old friend and ventured off for a day of cultural learning.  I was quite astounded when my then 13 and 11-year-old sons believed me when I told them that they were to assemble ALL of the mammoth sized wooden floor puzzles of dinosaurs in the museum.  They did it.  And I didn’t laugh out loud once.  Then they panned for fake gold for 45 minutes in the hot sun.  If wonders never cease.  They were probably thinking that if they didn’t use up their time, I would drive them back home to their math books.

We exited the Natural History Museum and discovered a gigantic music shop across the parking lot.  It was enormous and contained every musical instrument known to me… and a few more!  Hundreds of horns, drums and guitars in all shapes and colors.  The boys wandered in awe claiming which ones they would buy!  At one point I heard a banjo call my name.  It was just sitting there tempting me like a piece of white chocolate with almonds… I had to touch it and taste its goodness.  The store was pretty noisy, so I figured I could get away with a bit of pickin’ and grinnin’.  I know just enough about stringed instruments to stay in one key…. and then it happened…. my unknown inner-banjo talent played like hot grease on a skillet.  I laugh just thinking about it.  I picked as fast as I could and all three boys turned to face me in absolute amazement… jaws all hanging slack.  “I didn’t know your mom could play the banjo!” our guest spit out.  Without taking their eyes off of me and my banjo, both my boys responded, “I didn’t either!”  It was priceless.  I didn’t know I could play the banjo either.  Well, I really can’t.  But I am a supreme faker.

My boys are writing a book called “The 100 Funniest Things” and my banjo playing made the list!  (Right next to the dog eating a pancake off my son’s head……. don’t ask.)

End of the School Year

May 12, 2010

Tomorrow is supposed to be the last day of school for LAKE Academy.  (L = Larisa, A = Austin, K = Keeve and if Zaza’s real name starts with E… it will all be so perfecto!)  However, none of my pupils are finished with their work.  My most hopeful student did not pass his last math test with over 90%…. which is not a passing grade at LAKE Academy.  We have high standards to uphold… and math requires skills that need to be remembered over and over.. and mastered.  He will be doing some review and then retaking the test.  Some of you may balk at my expectations, but the kids know they can live up to them… so I set them HIGH!  If I set them low, they would live up to those as well.  We are not striving for mediocrity in this home school!  No, I’m not pushing my kids beyond their capabilities either.  Calm down.

Pupil #3 got braces put on this week and it has slowed his progress in math and grammar.  I gave him a check-off list five weeks ago with what needed to be accomplished each day.  He has been faithful and diligent until this week.  He may be able to complete his work for the year on Friday… if his mouth is not distracting him.  Wires poking your cheeks can be such a detriment to every day life.  Good grief!  Thank God for wax!

Pupil #1 has had an unbalanced year.  She had way too much of a good thing during the first semester and much making up for the lacking things during second semester.  I also gave her a list of what needed to be accomplished to complete her sophomore year.  Frankly, it will probably take her another month.  But that’s OK.  Her calendar is wide open!  She’ll be winding down the same time as her cousins in Washington who don’t finish school until end of June.  Perfect.

As the homeschool marm, I reflect on my teaching for the past year… right about now…..  Mid-May.  I didn’t do as well as I had hoped with staying on top of high school history.  Spanish for my boys died mid-winter and is still in need of resuscitation.  We may be doing that all summer.  For spelling, both boys advanced more than a year!  They also finished math and are right on course… actually, #2 son is about 2/3 of a year ahead.  Their writing dramatically improved this year thanks to an IEW course.  (Institute for Excellence in Writing)  They know how to take notes from three sources, compile them, make an outline, write a three paragraph paper with opening and closing/clincher sentences… AND know how to add strong verbs, adjectives, adverbs, clauses and sentence openers.  (More than most high school graduates!)  So I feel great about that!  Not so great about high school history.

Out of my nine years of homeschooling my kids, I would only say I did a great job one out of nine years.  That’s not good odds. I’d tell you the exact percentage, but my calculator is missing from my desk.  And I don’t do math in my head.  As soon as I have to carry a number, they all get mixed up.  My great year was last year…. year EIGHT!  But, hey, there’s always next year!  And if we don’t set our goals high… we wouldn’t accomplish hardly anything at all!  Next week I’ll be breathing easy.  Whew!

School Has Started

January 15, 2010

Can you tell?  I’m still not quite caught up with everything, but by next week I’ll be golden.  Konos, grammar, math, worldview and Larisa’s History of the World are all going strong.  I still need to decide what to do with Spanish for the boys.  We’ve been using a highschool level course, that has been ok, so far, but someone gave me an elementary version, so I need to give it a looksie and pick one or the other.  Larisa needs more of my time than he got last semester, so my blog time is limited.  (I wish my love of math was transferable to  non-math-loving children.)

The naked house is slowly getting dressed.  The family room was put back together today as we needed the end table to stack our library books.  The pewter picture frame collection for the entry table is out… but not set up quite right.  Next week…. golden.

Please stand by for exciting hockey news.

Word Problems

April 27, 2009

tapemeasure01

Math word problems can be complicated enough without throwing the homeschool curve on a fourth grader.  Keeve was sitting in the kitchen doing his math today… estimating and measuring lengths in inches, feet and yards.  He seemed to be staring out the back door quite often… sometimes this means he’s thinking.  Sometimes it means he’s mentally checked-out.  I asked if he understood what he was doing and if he needed help.  After blowing out a long exasperated breath he said, “Is the kitchen table my desk?”  “Yes, son, today it’s your desk.”  Some guessing transpired along with some measuring.  Then he retrieved the measuring tape from the pantry and was moving it around and around on the kitchen floor and into the family room and hall.  I asked if he needed help again.  He replied, “Where does my classroom start and stop?  Is the family room my classroom too?”  Oh, the struggles of homeschooling.  Nothing cut and dry here on the home front.

This morning I caught my eldest son counting aloud days on the calendar.  Just when he was nearing the end of the teens I announced loudly, “Nineteen!”  He was a bit surprised that I knew EXACTLY how many more days of school we have.  Well, duh.  It’s my summer holiday too.  :o)

Thankfully I found a DVD on Galileo for this afternoon.  Whew.  Remember how much YOU loved movie day at school!?!