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Math manipulation

I love the medieval era. Actually, I could probably say that about any number of historical eras. What I really love is history. I love it almost as much as I love Saturdays, that day when we can always find a book sale somewhere to peruse. My mother was relieved when I assured her today that we also donate books to book sales, we're not just hoarding them all on our shelves. What I failed to mention is that the incoming volume probably far outweighs the outgoing. At least for right now. I didn't take a picture of today's finds, but I was really excited to bring home an illustrated hardcover of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and a copy of the classic Pinocchio as illustrated by Roberto Innocenti in library binding. I love library binding almost as much as I love Saturdays, history, and the medieval era.

When we got back from our morning out there was a box waiting for us on the front porch. If you've ever seen Christmas Vacation maybe you remember the ringing of the doorbell, each echo sinking further and further into the deep notes of doom. I heard that sound in my head the minute I saw what I knew to be a box containing curriculum on our front porch. Last weekend Jon and I went to a homeschooling book fair to visit Math-u-See, and check out their math manipulatives. I have no intention of starting a rigid curriculum of any kind with Calvin at this age, and after listening to the rep lecture us about having to take tests after each section, having to complete each section in order, yadda yadda, I was internally screaming "No! No! This rigidness is exactly what we are trying to avoid!" But I really liked the manipulatives so we ordered them, and, because another part of my inner self was crying out "I don't know how to do this!", we also ordered the primer book and teaching guide for me to read through.

My intention had been to read through the books and make my own plans for how to use the manipulatives to fit our needs, but now that Calvin can read the instructions for himself he is free to make some of those decisions on his own, too. His excitement over this stuff kind of surprised me, although I'm sure it shouldn't have. The moment I unpacked it he was sorting the blocks, and then, while I was cataloging and putting away our new book sale books, he launched right into the primer. He finished the first nine lessons (mainly number recognition) before he moved on and I breathed a sigh of relief.

And then, like a good child should, he played with the packaging, which is something I'm much, much more comfortable with.

I still have no intention of officially starting Calvin on this stuff. I balk at the mention of tests or curriculum, but I'm nervous about teaching math concepts without a little guidance. It's not that I'm uncomfortable with math, just that I'm unsure of my ability to teach it. What a terrible thing for a homeschooler to say! How many times have I told the doubters that anyone can teach, and learn, anything? But while I may not use the math curriculum, for some reason I feel better having that guidance available, and I really like the manipulatives. I'll get back to you on the rest of it.

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Reader Comments (1)

Have you ever looked at Math On the Level. It might be what you are looking for because it is very open ended but it lets you know what concepts are built on what others. I find it a great resource to refer to. Don't bother buying all the planning stuff, however. Not our style.

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