Collage Friday - Mostly Math


Today's Collage Friday has a math emphasis (among other things). Our math times have been much more enjoyable this year, and I wanted to take a chance to share that with you.

We thought and researched very carefully about math instruction this year; resulting in a "math epiphany" of sorts.

For my children, a rigorous, no frills approach to math works best.  Our spine needed to be demanding and very structured.  Math is one of our "non negotialbes" (read more about a day in our homeschool) that is completed first thing each morning.

A spiral curriculum that is tried and true is what we eventually chose.  In my curriculum post I shared our plans for the 2012-13 school year - new math included.  

Join me at The Homeschool Classroom today as I share more about our plan for math this year.  

Allow me to take this opportunity to tell you about what our week looked like from a "math perspective".   I think math is one of those subjects that gets very little blog "air time" -- we know we all do it, but rarely blog about it!   This will be mostly activities for my youngest, since my oldest is taking a math class outside of the house... she gets assignments, does them independently, and other than me grading her homework, I am pretty much removed from the equation.  

{Am I a bad mom if I say this makes me happy?}

I have two very different math kids.  My oldest will tell you she doesn't like math, so I seek ways to make math more meaningful and enjoyable for her.  She works right on grade level and is in Saxon 7/6 this year.    My youngest (7) LOVES math - and I'm not exaggerating.   When he has a problem such as "Write a number sentence where the answer is 7, he writes this:

 1,000,000 - 999,993 = 7 

Everything in Grant's world is a number or a problem to be solved.  Everything in Anna's world revolves around literature, music,  and history.   They are just DIFFERENT kids.  I wouldn't have it any other way. 



 1.   Math Curse is a WONDERFUL book if you have a math kid.  Right away, my son noticed it was written by Joe Scieszka (author of his favorite series, The Time Warp Trio), and we had to check it out from the library.    The book takes you through an entire day of being cursed by seeing everything as a math problem!  We spent a good 45 minutes with the book over the weekend, and it was great fun.  

2.  I just love TARGET!  My youngest is working through Saxon 3 right now.  I think it's easy for him, but I want to make sure he has all of the basic concepts under his belt.  I am always looking for supplements for him.  Enter the dollar section at Target.   They have so many great educational materials!   I purchased 5 Minute Quick Quiz! Math Blast Multiplication  and several other math workbooks.   He loves anything timed and anything he can work on for a "grade" from me.    

3.  Do you know how much a Googol is?   Another math book we got from the library was On Beyond a Million... which explores the concept of "power counting" (exponents).  Wow -- I learned lots from this book, which leads me to  discover there are lots of book about "Googol" -- I think we'll be getting some of those!

*Have I mentioned how much FUN it is to have a child who is gifted in a certain area? In many ways it is very difficult to keep him engaged and challenged in math, but oh I'm learning so much with him!  

4.  Lots of lots of drills for BOTH kids this week.  Dare I say they look forward to me timing their facts practice sheets each day?

5.  Measurement is another concept we are exploring - right now it has just been shapes on a page, but I'd like to expand that next week.

6.  This is my son's "math meeting box" - it consists of all the Saxon materials we use, and also any supplemental workbooks, etc...   When it's time for math I just ask him to go get the math box!   


In the midst of all my son's math, my daughter is completely caught up in her music world.  She had her first rehearsal for the children's chorus she will be a part of this year.   Saturday it was a three hour rehearsal and Monday it was a 90 minute rehearsal.    

As you can see, the hall where they will perform is beautiful... I would love the chance to play this pipe organ!   Her participating in the chorus is so special to me - when I taught public school music in this area I would attend their concerts, and also attend teaching workshops with the director (who is AMAZING!).   To see my own child in this chorus brings me so much joy, not to mention the fact she is getting theory instruction and a quality group choral experience.   

The drive to practice is just about 45 minutes.  My husband has worked it out with his work schedule to keep my son during this time, so it's just Anna and I going to practice.  While she is in rehearsal I can wait for her (they have fast WiFi and a beautiful lake stocked with swans!).   This is going to be a peaceful time for me each week, and I'm very thankful.  I am also grateful for the time with Anna to and from rehearsal... she talks with me during this time without having to compete with her brother.  

I have one last collage for you.... it's been a busy week (which is why I didn't post much), but I wanted to document everything.  


We enjoyed a dinner out with just Grant, my husband and myself.   We hit a favorite Mexican restaurant.  Anna had her first night of mdidle school fellowship at our church.   We were pleased to see our new pastor there (actually, our FIRST CALLED PASTOR) and had a chance to chat with him.  

Tuesday was a solid RAINY day.  I also had a diagonstic procedure done on my back - the doctor pretty much pinpointed the source of my pain and I actually had relief for a few hours.  So, this makes me a candidate for a much lengthier procedure where they can burn off the nerves that are causing the problems.   It should offer me at least a year of relief before it needs to be done again.   We are praying about this, and I would appreciate your prayers, too.    Lots to think about.

Finally, Target strikes again (in fact, it is my favorite resource this week!).   I picked up a pack of World Landmark flashcards (36 landmarks) and challenged the kids to memorize the names and locations by the end of the week.   If the accomplish this they get to choose a movie to watch (rented from iTunes on the new Apple TV!) on Friday.  (More on ways to use Apple TV in your homeschool at a later date - but I can tell you it is a very cool tool!).    

There is SO MUCH MORE that went on during our week!

When you write it all down, you see just how much you accomplished:


  • learning about Martin Luther -- and I started reading Bonhoeffer:  Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy (WOW! This is a must read... very enlightening especially in light of our current political situation.)
  • kids each chose an animal to research - we went to the library and chose books and began to take notes
  • spelling and writing lessons each day
  • daily piano practice
  • 2 baseball practices
  • successfully getting rid of nasty colds!
  • a lot of silent reading... kids are trying to Get Rich Reading!
  • finishing our read aloud - The Happy Hollisters, and continuing  In The Heart of the Rockies


I would love for you to link with me... I try to visit as many of you that link as possible.  Last week I know I didn't make it to all of your blogs, but please know I appreciate each and every one of you who take the time to link up and visit other bloggers on the list.  

Please grab a button or text link back to this post and have fun viewing everyone's collages!