Sunday, November 27, 2011

$462 minus $58....That is a Hard One!

The math problem I gave the boys was that they had $462 and had to give me $58.

First I had them use our place value cards and count out $462.

 OK...they both have the $462. But now HOW do they give me $58?  I expected Douglas, 8, to have the solution quickly as he has been doing subtraction with borrowing for a couple years. However, we had not used these cards in a long time and he had forgotten how to use them. I had brought them out to make Charles, 6, do some thinking. So for the moment they are both stumped.

 Charles gives me the $50, but has no idea where or how to get the $8. 

To help them, I keep pointing to the extra cards, referring to them as a "bank."

Charles simply takes the extra six 1s he needs from the bank.

 So Douglas follows suit. Problem solved, right? Hmmmmmmmmm.  I tell them there is just one problem. I am going to have to have them arrested for robbing the bank. They laugh, but put the money back.

 They keep thinking and moving the cards around, but are finding no solution.

About this time, Charles remarks, "This is the hardest problem ever!"

 I remind them again that this is a bank....Charles says, "I got it!" and he told Douglas his idea. He could give the bank one of his $10 and get some $1s.
Douglas immediately sees what he had been missing. He could "borrow" and he knew how to do that.

 Now they still have $462, just with different denominations.  So... is now easy to give me $58.
And the answer is $404.  $462 minus $58 equals $404. PROBLEM SOLVED! 

And a new concept has been introduced. We went on to work the problem out on paper and it made complete sense to him.  He worked several problems with borrowing...both using the cards and on paper.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Dress Code

We have the most interesting dress code at our school. Children may dress as they like. They choose some amazing styles.

Diana in her ballerina dress. She thinks it is beautiful and wears it often. Mom is happy that she is willing to wear it over warmer, modest clothing.

Princess Diana. She loves to be dressed "pretty" which includes jewelry and gloves. It often also includes her fairy wings.

Accessories are important for the well-dressed princess or fairy.

You can never tell who might show up at the school table together. Today it was two super heroes and "Pastor John." As soon as Wesley got up this morning he asked Douglas if he could wear Douglas' new tie. So, of course, he had to wear a dress shirt too. The other boys told him he looked just like Pastor John (from their church) except Pastor John has different shoes. (Wesley has cool spiderman shoes!)
Pajamas are acceptable attire, especially first thing in the morning, or in the evening after dinner.
Even pajamas that glow in the dark!

Hats are OK, too. Grandma often asks them to remove them if she is taking pictures and wants to see their faces though.
Pirates are welcome.
Even those who are heavily armed. We have no metal detectors here...except for the new one Douglas bought himself to hunt for treasure.
Super hero in red is ready to fight for peace, justice, and the American way...or anything else that allows him to use water pistols, swords, guns, bow and arrows, or light sabers.

The Fearsome Foursome!  Douglas in red, Wesley in green, Diana is the ninja and Charles is Zorro.

Wesley, the green caped crusader.
Charles makes a handsome Zorro...even with barefeet.

 Diana is quite a ninja.

The children love to dress-up or be in costumes. They also love to be fairies (Diana), cowboys, Vikings, knights, Pa Ingalls and family, Daniel Boone, and of course, Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker (since they found light sabers at Goodwill). I love their imaginations and their play-acting.

Of course, they get it from their mother who also liked to dress up when she did her schooling at home oh, oh, so many years ago....
Their mom...Cortney.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Apples to Oregon - Literature Unit

Covering most subjects can be done starting with any topic. I like to start with a fun book and spend the morning, day, or week with it. 

Right now we are reading Apples to Oregon by Deborah Hopkinson and illustrated by Nancy Carpenter. According to the cover, this is "the (slightly) true narrative of how a brave pioneer father brought apples, peaches, pears, plums, grapes, and cherries (AND CHILDREN) across the plains."

The children love the funny tall tale with its many exaggerations and delightful illustrations.

Although we had read the book before, we are reading it again and loving it just as much. We read it yesterday. We enjoyed the story and talked about exaggerations and tall tales. Then we watched another tall tale...Paul Bunyan DVD. 

Today we again read the story. The children were watching extra closely for the exaggerations. Their favorite is Delicious's description of the Plate River. She describes it as "as wider than Texas, thicker than Momma's muskrat stew, and muddier than a cowboy's toenails." The part about the toenails sends them all into fits of laughter. I guess the fact that summer is just past and they easily remember the days of being barefoot with muddy feet and toes, gives them a very clear picture of this.

The map of their journey, which is included inside both the front and back covers, fits right in with us learning the states. 

Here Charles is pointing out Oregon to his cousin Jacob.

Before Jacob and Aaron arrived this morning, the other children worked on their US geography. We are learning the northern border states. So while putting the US map together, the Northern Border States song played over and over.
 When the map was completed the children took turns pointing to the states while we sang the song a few more times.

And back to Apples to Oregon. We waited for Jacob and Aaron to arrive before we read the story today because they were not here to enjoy it yesterday. 

This is a good moment while I am reading (and slightly posed). The two littlest ones have a hard time sitting still for stories unless they are on my lap. So I used some events in the story to give them a moment to move.

When they are crossing the Plate River on a raft, the raft begins to sink. Delicious (the oldest daughter who is telling the story) gets the idea for all the children to take off their shoes and put their feet in the water and kick FAST. 
So the children lined up along the edge of the rug (pretending the rug was the raft) and kicked!

Another opportunity to move during the story was when Delicious described how the trees they were transporting began to droop from lack of water. So the children all stood and first pretended that they were strong, straight, well-watered trees. Then we talked about the long time in the desert between waterholes and the "trees" began to shrivel. The children were eventually almost to the floor. BUT...Delicious saves the day again. She finds a water source. So our "trees" began to perk up and gradually were once again tall and straight.

 Since we wanted to learn a little more about Oregon we turned to our favorite collection of state books by Sleeping Bear Press. Here Wesley is holding B is for Beaver, An Oregon Alphabet by Marie and Roland Smith. Below Douglas is showing some of the beautiful illustrations by Michael Roydon.
The "O" page which tells about the Oregon Trail reminded the boys of their other favorite book series Little House. They think the girl looks just like Laura or Mary Ingalls.

The "J" page tells of Chief Joseph, of the Nez Perce tribe.

So Douglas is going to read the American Girl book, Meet Kaya. Kaya is of the Nez Perce tribe.

After we finished reading today, all the children drew a picture from the story. 
Charles also wrote a few sentences and Douglas did a couple paragraphs about a part of the story.

This was a fun part of our morning today.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Fall Walk Around the Neighborhood

Monday, October 24, 2011 we took a walk around our neighborhood looking for signs of fall. I enjoyed taking pictures. The children picked up leaves, acorns, stones, sticks and other "treasures."

 Diana checks out the neighbor's decorations. She had to look at each and every one up close.

 Our wildlife does not begin to compare to some places. (Like Alaska and the bears, eagles, etc.) However, we do have some critters and they can be fun to watch.

 Love how they often take their walking sticks with on a "hike."

 While we do not do any special celebrating for October 31st, we do celebrate fall and enjoy how people decorate The Harvest.

 There were still a few pretty flowers to be seen and photographed.

 This little guy seemed just as curious about us. He would duck behind the tree, but soon peeking out again. I took LOTS of pictures of him as he was so cute.

 With the leaves off most of the trees, so many different nests were visible. Often several in one tree.

The explorers take a closer look at the crack in the sidewalk and make a "discovery."
 The discovery ... moss. But it was carefully carried home.

 Mr. Bob, a neighbor, came by and said, "Hi." It provided a good lesson on who is it OK to talk to and who it is not. Mr. Bob is definitely an OK. He and his wife live next door and are very special to our family.

 The sharp eyes of the children found this critter.

 Another nest and...
  ...some beautiful fall flowers!

We HAD to go back home. The battery on my camera died and I can't really enjoy a walk without my camera...LOL. Wesley decided to stay at home and ride bikes with some of the neighbor children. Douglas, Charles, Diana, and I headed off again in a different direction.
 Walking through leaves is always a favorite fall thing to do! When their mom and uncle were young we had a special park we loved to go to. It was full of huge oak trees. The leaves would be over a foot deep! So much fun.

 A neighbor stopped to introduce us to Samson, his new St. Bernard puppy, 4 months old. Diana was the only one that was determined to pet this exuberant puppy.

 Our back fence. Mom's raspberry bushes have escaped under the fence.

 This is the school the boys would be going to if their parents had not chosen to homeschool.

A big brother's hand always makes a little girl feel safe and loved

 Charles checks out an evergreen. Diana declared it, "too pricky!" 

 Have you hugged a tree today? Douglas and Diana gave this one quite an inspection. And Charles ponders why someone would cut off all the limbs...they are what make a tree climbable for a boy.

 Douglas tests a branch as a possible new bow.

 The beautiful red of this tree really stands out since most of the trees have lost their color.

 What a view he must have from his high perch.

We took a few minutes to look UP. We checked out the different cloud formations.

The playground at the school provided a little break. The children had to try out all the equipment. Diana didn't think it was much of a playground. She kept asking, "Where are the swings?"

 So she substituted with a little climbing.

 Limbo anyone?

 Charles loved this low bar.

So many things to climb!

 Not sure what you call this one.

A race!
 Diana is racing too! She ran the whole distance.

 I said, "Don't step in that puddle." She said, "It is not a puddle. It is water." I said, "DON'T step in IT." You can see she is really pondering what to do.

 Birch trees are a favorite. They are the first trees the children have each learned to identify because of their distinctive bark. They are extra beautiful with their yellow color in the fall. This one is hiding a nest.

 A bountiful harvest display.

 A perfect climbing tree makes for a fun picture place.

 Another perfect picture place!
 Another good picture. I wish Wesley had been here too.

Every good photo shoot ends with a funny face picture! 

Hope you enjoyed taking our fall walk with us.