Monday, March 26, 2012

Math and Books = a great combination

Peals of laughter ring out from all in the room. I glance up and see little eyes peeking around the corner, the enquiring glaze asking what the fun is all about. One look at the picture and a quick explanation from big brother and all are soon joining the amusing conversation which follows. A puzzled expression from our littlest, leads to the older ones explaning how to tell the time, followed by adding all the combinations which equal 7. All the while, a single comment or glance is all that's needed to start another burst of laughter.

This was the scene in our home last week and it began with . . . . me reading a book.

We have discovered some fun, well written Math books. The authors have cleverly woven stories in a way which captivates the children. The lessons learnt are in real life situations and judging by conversations around our home - they are remembered and integrated into real living.

Following on from my discovery of the fantastic combination of Math/Paint which I shared here, I've got a few of my favourite Math/Book combinations.



The Life of Fred series captivate the children's attention. The books tackle all sorts of topics and spark the flames to fuel further conversations and learning about Math. The big positive is the way everything is brought into real-life scenarios, so there is a reason for learning this - after all Fred needs it! Our whole family love these books and all the children are usually found secretly listening as I read them aloud.

Life of Fred Elementary Series: Apples


What's Your Angle Pythagoras is a delightful story of a mischievious, young boy living in Ancient Greece. He makes some discoveries while playing where he shouldn't be and helping his Dad in the process.

What's Your Angle, Pythagoras?: A Math Adventure

Some more in the series:

Sir Cumference and the Viking's Map


A Place for Zero: A Math Adventure


Multiplying Menace: The Revenge of Rumpelstiltskin












Thursday, March 22, 2012

five plus five equals ?


Numbers, measuring, adding, estimating . . . . . the list continues - all bundled together and labelled 'Math'. We use it everyday, no matter what our days consist of. All sorts of tasks become simpler, smoother and quicker if our brains have a good handle on the subject. But . . . .

  . . . . . it seems terribly unfair that the mere mention of that 4 letter 'M' word brings all sorts of ugly thoughts to light. It's been given such a bad name.

Boring worksheet after worksheet, feeling overwhelmed and out of depth, and simply not-getting-it.

Do you relate at all?

Well, I'm no Math scholar myself. Sure, I never had any great dramas with it in school and even thought high school geometry was kind of 'enjoyable' in a weird sort of way. But I didn't excel either, just sort of average, I suppose.

University studies provided me with an opportunity to savour my deep love of language, linguistics and that sort of thing.  But in my very first semester along came the obligatory Math subject. Ok, I could handle that - in an average sort of way, I thought.  I was met with a huge surprise, I didn't find it average, I found it FUN. Shock. . . . Really?

Math = FUN, just didn't seem to add up at first. I blitzed those Math subjects with the highest honours possible. Possibly the most lasting impression of all my years of study came in that very first semester. One very knowledgeable man, a professor no less, showed me that math was FUN. And if Math could be FUN, then what else could I change my old thinking about . . . . . this lesson has served me well over the years.

Now, I've turned a full circle. I realize that my attitude and way of presenting any topic will greatly influence my children's entire lives. The way they think of Math largely depends on the way I present it to them in these early years. Wow, what a responsibility. So, I poured over curriculum long and hard and after great deliberation one was chosen. Together, we have consistently worked through page by page. All is going just fine, I thought. Till . . . .

 . . . . . .I was trying to teach the 10 facts. You know those facts you need to recall in a split second, ever so often.

. . . . . flashcards were met with resistance. . . .


. . . . . all sort of matching and moving activities seemed pointless. . . .

. . . . . I created all sorts of charts and cards and resources . . . . .

 . . . . . finally . . . . . . . . I tried paint. Paint? I hear you ask. Exactly.  And what  a breakthrough.

Whatever goes on in the brains around here, I puzzle about sometimes. I get myself in such a quandary working it out in theory - left or right brained, visual or auditory, etc. etc. etc. It all sounds so easy in a book, but the reality with my four children is a rather different story.


Then quite by accident I discover paint is the answer - I'm not sure why. I don't have the educational theory to back it up. But it works and Math is now met with squeals of delight from all children. And just like my professor taught me all those years ago, Math is FUN around here these days!!!









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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

It's a Beautiful Morning



One eye slowly eased it's way open, very quickly followed by the second. The moments ticked by, each seeming longer than the last, until the world itself seemed to pause, waiting in anticipation. A soft whisper of air wafted in the half opened window, bringing the freshness of a new morning. Light was creeping through any tiny crevice between the blinds, reaching out to welcome me as a long lost friend. Finally, I dared to believe what was happening, so rare an occasion this was.

Silence filled the house, sweet bird songs bringing the morning welcome inside. The leaves rustling ever so gently outside the window, providing a harmony for the natural symphony which surrounds. Feelings welling up from deep within, consuming me with delight, joy and contentment. The occasion, seemingly such a simple delight, but I know moments so fleeting are meant to be captured, savoured and stored in the nearness of my memory.

Every day brings new tugs on my time. My brain begins and ends most days in overload while constant crowding of my mental and physical space fills the in-between. A day can come and go with nothing more than an "I made it through" sigh left in it's wake. This season of life is busy, joyously busy, but busy all the same. I pledge daily to remember, notice, appreciate, love and laugh.
When darkness creeps in and little ones tucked in tight, the time has past to savour the beauty of the sunshine, the freshness of the day, the infectious laughter filling the rooms. Sweet moments often hidden between laundry, cooking and the mundane. When I look, they are reaching out at me from every direction, waiting to be noticed so they can shine and bring even more sweet moments with them to fill my days.

This day began with such a moment of beauty - silence. No noise, person or electronic device abruptly ended my slumber on this spectacular morning. No hustle and bustle which greets me on a normal day, I woke to silence and savoured it sweet.

What moment of beauty is waiting to be captured by you today?
Leave a comment to share it with us all.