Cookie Sheet Magnetic Math Board and a Science video

Well, we have been homeschooling for 4 weeks now! I can't believe it has gone so fast! We have had good days and bad days, and then some really ugly days...but I am trying to take it all as a learning experience. The beauty of homeschool is that I can evaluate our struggles as they come. I can change tactics for tomorrow based on what happens today. I don't have to wait to make necessary course corrections. We have struggled with the ability to focus independently and work efficiently, so I have tried to stay with my son as he completes his assignments, using a timer to keep him on task. It hasn't worked perfectly, but it has helped. And it's not like I wouldn't have this struggle if we were going to school. Nope, I'd be dealing with the same thing in "homework" form, only instead of handling it in the morning when we are relatively fresh, I'd be dealing with a tired, cranky kid in the afternoon. I'll take the homeschool struggle.

Since my son is a tactile, hands-on learner and his Singapore math program does not come with manipulatives, I decided to make my own. We are working on addition and subtraction in up to 3 digits, with carrying/borrowing. This was my solution:

This is just a cheap, dollar-store cookie sheet. I printed "hundreds, "tens," and "ones" on some scrapbook paper, cut it to the right size, and mod podged it down to the cookie sheet. Then I used strips of black construction paper to make the dividing lines, mod podged over all of it, then sprayed it with some clear acrylic sealer. For the moveable 1's, 10's and 100's, I printed a bunch of them onto construction paper, cut them out in circles, glued them on button magnets, then glued a clear stone (also from the dollar store) onto the top to make it look cool. At this point, the magnets were a little too strong and it wasn't as easy to slide them around as I would like, so I glued a small felt circle to the bottom of each. Perfect. And to make my boy want it more, I told him he couldn't use it until next week. (I was kidding of course :).

Along with the hard core academics, I have tried to schedule in enough art projects, games, hands-on projects, bike rides, etc. to keep a 6-year-old happy. I have also decided that I need to be finely tuned to what he wants to learn, and adjust my plans accordingly. It broke my heart this past year on several occasions to interrupt his passionate study of some wonderful subject only because it was time to go to school. I promised myself that I would make our homeschool more flexible. So yesterday, even though I had a fun art project planned that coordinated with our history this week, we did science instead. We had just picked up some new chemistry books at the library, and my son was all over that. Here's his explanation of a fruit sugar molecule, made from spice drops. Perhaps he needs a little practice making his points, but he loved being on camera, and I thought it was cute! :)


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