Monday, January 19, 2015

the week

Last week was our first week consciously trying to fit a few things into our days - you know, something other than watching Dr. Who and reading Garfield.  We get bucketloads of that...So, sometimes my suggestions of things to do are a hit and sometimes they are a bit of a flop. I'm trying to come up with some ways to play with math that will appeal to Eliza - I'm looking for a hook, an in. She has a grasp of basic functions but does not enjoy math at all, finds it intimidating and horrible. One approach to this would be to just focus on the math that comes up, which is a lot of what we do: measuring, figuring out finances, etc.  Another approach would be to pile on the math, which doesn't really make sense to me. Hate math? We must not be doing enough of it!! 

My brother-in-law, who has a keen interest in how and what we are doing around here, being an avid learner himself, thinks the "in" might be geometry, appealing to the artist in her.  I mostly want it to be playful and interesting.  I do ask myself (an echo of my daughter), why is it important that she work on math? My answers vary.  One, I think it is good to challenge and stretch your brain and know a little about a lot of things.  Math is like gymnastics for your mind.  I think it can also deepen appreciation of art, architecture, science, and even history, understanding how people saw and thought about the world hundreds of years ago.  The reason that we keep plugging away at our math program (Teaching Textbooks - terrible name, fine program), to varying degrees of satisfaction, is that we are required, as registered homeschoolers, to provide evidence of progress and learning. Ugh. This does not feel like a real reason, but there it looms.  My solution just now is to do a little of the lessons - one or two a week - to keep a hold on the things that have been learned, and to find what else is out there to play with. 

This week it was a Vi Hart video about snowflakes, which lead to some snowflake cutting, of course. We also played a little Euclid The Game, but got stuck early on and it just didn't catch on. Another day, perhaps.  Ani wanted to make another times table and was really enjoying the patterns, especially in the nines, which she and I are rather enamored of right now.  I've also picked up a book called The Adventures of Penrose, The Mathematical Cat by Theoni Pappas that she and I are reading through.

Math came up while were reading the materials that came with Mapping the World with Art (Ellen McHenry's Basement). There is a brief chapter with each drawing activity, focusing on the history of mapping.  The first lesson talked about how people actually figured out that the earth was more or less spherical a very long time ago. The second lesson talked about Strabo, the ancient Greek geographer, and Eratosthenes, the mathematician and geographer who figured out the circumference of the earth.  Math!  Ani and I had come across Eratosthenes earlier, reading The Number Devil, and played with his "sieve" of prime numbers.  (Wow. That sounds pretty geeky. Math geeky. Me. HA!)

Ani's Nile
Mesopotamia by Ani
We started back with the homeschool coop this week - no it wasn't as bad as I was anticipating - and the girls seem excited about their classes.  Eliza is taking a fashion/sewing class and spent the next day and several hours since at her machine.  We've been moving things around in her room trying to take advantage of the light and clear things out a bit.  She is feeling so proud and happy about her space...

...and having a friend come down from Columbus for the weekend was good incentive to keep it looking good!  

That brings us to the weekend! It was gorgeous. Spring gorgeous. Dan and Ani and took a couple hours to walk down the bikepath and around across the river.  Bluebirds, Pileated woodpeckers, blue beautiful.

1 comment:

merry said...

I left a comment but don't see it. This gives me a chance to add how much I love Ani's maps! I hadn't checked in here for a couple of weeks and finally feel connected again! Missed these updates on your lives.