Where have we been for weeks?
Not writing on this blog certainly. Thank you for your patience and supportive emails over the past couple weeks. Our time in Singapore has been a lovely respite from the adventurous weeks in Malaysia. Josh’s been out the door every morning by 8:00 to conduct trainings and we’ve actually been doing school each day for a couple of hours. So while I don’t have lots of news about exotic animal encounters, I have a snippets from our everyday adventures in homeschooling.
Multiplying for Mentos
I’ll tell you the end first, then come back and tell you how we got here later. Max knows his 2, 3, 4, 5 6, and 10 times tables. Everyone shout hurrah for him!!
One of the big learning mountains in the third grade for Max is multiplication. He and I both knew that it was an ambitious task before us. While Max is an exceptional learner of all things outdoors, sitting down and crunching numbers is not on his list of favorites.
How to get the math facts in his head (and stay there) and then get them out agin was a bit like cracking a safe. I had to try lots of combinations of methods. We’ve been skip counting (reciting times tables), drawing pictures of dots in rectangle shapes, good old flash card drills, making up rhymes and taking speed tests. Not much success and a good bit of crying (for each of us). Finally I asked Max to look at the number facts and tell me what they looked like to him. Here’s an example: 3 x 9 Max said “Once there were three trees. In the trees were nine birds. Then the birds flew down and ate the worms. The answer is 27. I see them here —> 2 (looks like a wiggly worm) and 7 (looks like a bird beak).”
These “story facts” stick in his brain. When he recites his fact he remembers them with key words like 3 x 7 “bird beak.” I just want to clarify that he’s created stories for about 20 problems so far. Each story has to be unique and connected to the problem picture. It is a complex and impressive demonstration of Max’s linguistic talent and his perseverance. I am awed by him.
Now I know that this sounds very complicated and roundabout to get to the answer, but for Max it really is working. Once he had some comfort with his facts he started to do timed texts. To really add some excitement, I told Max he’d get a candy of his choice when he could finish all 12 problems in 2 minutes or less. For Mentos it seems is the ultimate tool in the mathematics arsenal. Max has been blasted through the tables and gained a bit of confidence. We’re on to the 7s tomorrow.
Singapore is a funny kind of “proper” city– post colonial british world. We’re staying with lovely British family friends (3 kids just our kids ages) and they do all sorts of normal kid things (girlscouts, soccer practice, dancing lessons, art class) We have cornflakes for breakfast, and a proper British Sunday roast with Yorkshire Puds. On Wednesday we go to the Singapore Polo Club. We swim in the pool watch the girls at their riding lesson (English Pony Club) and then eat dinner on the terrace and watched a polo match. Very posh! It is so easy to feel comfortable in this Ex-Pat lifestyle.
We have settled into a homeschool morning routine (breakfast, math practice, swimming, followed by an outing in town). It’s become a little ho hum to be on this journey with them. I am really trying to stay present each day and find something new to appreciate about our setting. Challenging!
I have 2 more posts I am working on and will send another one up tomorrow. Lots of good pics so stay tuned!