Sunday, 29 June 2014

Math - Associative Law

During math we needed a hands on explanation for the associative law of addition and multiplication.

I used buttons to to explain addition,

but had to resort to mini marshmallows for multiplication as I didn't have enough buttons.

Needless to say they remembered the multiplication law (grouping doesn't matter) best because they got to eat it : )

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Bouncy Learning Math Game

The girls have had great fun with a bouncy castle this week,
not only did they get to play but it was a great opportunity to chant their math facts whilst jumping - it even turned into a fun competition to see who could get furthest in their times tables before they fell over. Don't you just love summer learning : ) 

Weather Fronts Activity

The girls have been learning about weather fronts this week and they decided that rather than making a poster to record their work, they would put together some actions and record it for you.

I loved the little cold and warm fronts they painted onto their hands : )

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

May Wrap up - Well Dressing, Bradford Cathedral and more chicks :)

Sorry this one is late but that's because we went on a camping trip at the end of the month and I didn't hit the schedule button properly : )

We had a great History trip to Bradford Cathedral with our Home Ed group. The sent us on a hunt around the cathedral, (where they spotted the remains of a Celtic cross)

did a presentation on the history of the cathedral (including great information on Bradford during the Civil war I knew nothing about - in 1642 when they padded the tower with bales of sheep wool to protect from cannons)

made a time line

and hosted a workshop on stained glass windows and William Morris.

We also had an unexpected history activity whilst we were camping - there is a little village in Derbyshire called Tissington. Each year they have a well dressing ceremony (end of May to first week of June) to celebrate Tissingtons bountiful water supply - there are two stories as to why this started.
1) The first theory is that the custom began just after the Black Death in 1348-9 Although the population round about was ravaged by plague, all in Tissington escaped and immunity was ascribed to the purity of the water supply and it became custom to decorate the wells in thanksgiving.

2) after a severe drought in 1615 (no rain between May and August) thousands of livestock perished and crops were 'burnt up', the five wells in Tissington flowed freely and the surrounding district had cause to be thankful for the unending supply of water from the little village. Again the wells are decorated in thanksgiving each year.

There was even a lesson on how the dress the wells - they start by soaking wooden boards in a local pond before covering them in a local clay trod through (like grapes) with salt. The picture is traced onto the boards and marked out with cone from the alder tree. Then comes the delicate and laborious task of infilling with flower petals and other natural materials. each petal is placed separately and overlaps like roof tiles to protect it from the rain. This can take up to three days.

This year the theme was a remembrance of World War 1 (100 years) which provide yet another history lesson for them : )

Sewing has been going really well - the girls finished their greeting cards

and started on a needle case.

We also had two more chicks hatch.

Learning Palette - TOS Review

We've been reviewing from Learning Wrap Ups is an online educational program, it provide a fun and engaging way to reinforce and review skills whilst providing a self checking approach to learning. 
When you log in you are taken to the main menu - here you can choose between Math and Reading, the Math program offers Basic through to Level 5 and Reading - Basic to Level 3. (level info ) Each level offers about 6 topics and there are around a dozen cards for each topic. Subjects include numbers, coins, geometry, algebra, probability, fractions, phonics, reading comprehension, grammar, vocab, prefixes and more. The main menu also shows which cards you have completed.

Each question is presented as a palette. There are a variety of questions at the centre of the circle with the solutions around the outside, you then have to drag a coloured circle to the correct solution. Some of the questions are quiet small but there is a magnifying glass that zooms in. They can then check their answers, correct errors and go on to the next card or opt to back to the main menu. There is also a parent log in where you can review progress and see things like average score, completed cards and time spent etc. have provided the standards and correlation for each level. for those who have to deal with common core correlations.

You can pick and choose which order you do the questions in but we have been doing the cards in order and have noticed that the problems become progressively harder. We were given a years access to their online program for five users and Rose used the basic level, Tulip alternated between level 1 and 2 while Sunflower used level 4 of reading and level 5 of math. The younger girls ended up using this on the tablet as the touch screen made it easier for them to use while Sunflower was happy with it on the PC.

I did have a couple of technical problems with this - the site was too large for my screen so I had to make it smaller to fit and it sometimes didn't register the circles in the right place but otherwise the girls have found it easy to use and manoeuvre around the site without my supervision. So far they seem to be enjoying this and are happy to use it as their screen time - they seem to be treating it more as a game than lessons so it all positive for me, sneaking in extra revision outside their lessons is always a plus. is available for $59.99 for up to 5 users. They are currently offering a 20% discount using the coupon code HOMESCHOOL. There is even a free demo so you can try before you buy.

You can see what my crew mates thought of this and some of Learning Wrap Ups other products including the reading kitsmath kitsvocabulary intro kit10 days to multiplication mastery wrap up and book combo10 days to addition mastery wrap up and book combo and the math intro kit over at the TOS Blog

Thursday, 5 June 2014

A Life in Balance - TOS Review

 I was offered the chance to review A Life in Balance, it's the story of Frank Belgau and how, over time, he developed The Learning Breakthrough Program as an ADHD alternative treatment and a dyslexia treatment. 

I was very intrigued by this as the program claims to train your brain resulting in improved reading and concentration - all without the use of medication. I was keen to see how Frank was able to help so many children with various learning issues.

The book is 210 pages and is very engaging to read - it's the fascinating tale of both the man, his passion and his dedication to his life's work. 

It starts with the story behind Frank, who himself struggled with reading and didn’t excel at school even though his siblings were considered bright and great athletes. It discusses in depth how this effected his self-esteem and talks about his discovery that once he improved his physical/sporting abilities it coincided with him overcoming his learning issues. It follows his life through the military and into his time as a school teacher in the 1960's, which was the beginning of his career in special education and the decades long development of his unique Learning Breakthrough program. How he encouraged his students to focus and to learn even though others had written them off as incapable of learning and how he had to fight against the established order to bring benefits to those who needed them the most.

The second part of the book is an explanation of the tools used in the Learning Breakthrough Program. It discusses how he developed the balance board and how it evolved. How the combination of bat, bean bags, pendulum etc. work and he explains in an easy to understand way exactly how these tools and activities work to help students learn to control their bodies which creates connections in their brain resulting in improved learning skills.

The final section of the book deals with brain theories (how the brain develops, how learning occurs etc). It discusses some interesting research about how the program has helped senior citizens (including himself in later years) improve their ageing brains and increase their mental agility. It also explains how the program can benefit average or smart students as well.

At the end of the book there is a series of exercises called "The Space Walk" which he found to be very successful. It's a nice way to to assess your abilities and correct some of your own coordination/balance issues.

I honestly feel this book has benefits for everyone - not only is it an 
engaging read, an inspirational story of a great pioneer but it offers advice for anyone interested in brain training or having to deal with ADD/ADHD, autism, alzheimer's, sensory processing disorders, dyslexia etc. 

I loved that it provides some hands-on ways you can test these theories out on yourself and others. I can honestly say that after trying the 'space walk' with the girls I noticed a vast improvement in concentration levels and a definite progression in Tulip's abilities especially in her reading improvement. It has made me rethink how we learn and encouraged me to create time for more of these exercises.

A Life in Balance is available for $16.94

You can see what my crew mates thought over at the TOS Blog

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