Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Numbers, Pips and Index Cards

     Arden and I used our math hour to play number games.  Normally the math hour is the time we spend creating battle scenarios with Cuisinaire Rods, but, frankly, I'm starting to get a little bored with the destruction and mayhem.
     Arden is slowly, very, very slowly, working his way through Saxon K.  He's not big on writing, he's a man of action, so Bryan (the math teacher here) wisely doesn't require writing.  Arden is good with numbers and easily masters the concepts in Saxon K.  This is a huge benefit of homeschooling.  If your boys can't sit still and hold a pencil to save their life, but they can add 14 and 13 in their head, you can work with that and don't need to drug them to sit in a chair.
     Arden began by counting forward to ten and back, then to twenty and back, standing on the living room rug and twisting his torso.  Then Arden used index cards with the numbers 1-20 and laid them out in order on the floor, while Bryan got ready for work.  Then the games began.  Arden would turn around and hide his face and Bryan would take a number away, then Arden would guess the missing number.  Bryan would take away another, and Arden would guess.
     After Bryan left for work, Arden and I used the number cards 1-9 and dice.  We learned this little game at my mom's house, thanks to a Christmas catalog and a magnifier.  My mom wrote the numbers on paper and used pennies to cover them, we used number cards and some pattern blocks (because they were out anyway, yesterday they were part of a sea wall beside the forts) to cover the numbers.  Begin with all numbers uncovered.  On the first person's turn he shakes the dice.  Let's say he rolls a five and four.  Using the pattern pieces Arden can cover either the 9, or the 5 and 4.  Arden continues rolling until he misses and there are no more numbers he can cover.  Then it's my turn.  We uncover all the numbers and I roll until there are no more numbers I can cover. 
     Arden can easily add all the numbers on dice.  We didn't drill this into him, we just played lots of games and after counting the pips on the dice over and over he could add.  Truly, the dots on dice are pips.  It's the technical term.
     When Arden became restless I hid all the numbers in the living and dining room and Arden had to find them, in order, and lay them out on the floor.  This is a game that can easily be made harder and easier.  Years ago, when Ally was about 4, someone gave us this idea using sticky-notes, but today we had numbers on index cards and were good to go.  While Arden was searching, I had time to sweep the floor and clean toys out from under the couch, check on Sam and his math lesson and still give "hot and cold" clues.  The only problem was by the end I couldn't remember where 19 was in the third round, but I could remember where I hid it the first time.
     Arden learned a little.  He kept busy and therefore left his siblings alone.  I accomplished some housework,  and didn't have to fight a naval battle.  It was a good math hour.  Nineteen is still lost, by the end four of us were searching and it was too well hidden to be found.

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