While we managed to adhere to our 8:30 start time, the morning did not pass without hiccup. Noah lost the flashcards he had made for his spelling words two days ago, so he had to start by making new ones. Leila disappeared for a full hour and I didn’t go looking for her, mostly because I was feeling maxed out juggling Noah and Zahra’s needs.
While they all did a little bit of writing, and Zahra had an Arabic lesson, today was mostly a math day. After the morning’s initial scramble settled down, Noah and I worked on defining place value and reading large numbers. Zahra searched for patterns in multiplication and is working on defining multiplication in such a way as to be able to teach it to her siblings. This Math Inspirations program is really terrific. We are approaching mathematics in so many different ways, and it’s really fun for me to watch them figure it out.
The biggest way we approach math is through games. In fact, games are the only things I’m doing with Leila at the moment. Once I located her and lured her downstairs, we skip counted and played memory, matching numerals to their written forms (in both French and English!). We played cards. Math games in the work room, math games in the kitchen, math games on the deck with a view of free-ranging chickens. And then some actual skipping.
We took a break for lunch and decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather by going for a bike ride to the park. The kids taught me a new game called Toilet Tag. Don’t ask. Suffice it to say that I was at a significant disadvantage in flip flops. I caught Leila a handful of times and Zahra once when she was trapped on a play structure. I never managed to get my hands on that crazy fast and agile Noah. Of course, I needed to bring another math concept to their attention, namely that I got very close to catching them only because I know that the shortest distance between any two points is a straight line.
Oh, Leila. This is a picture of her riding her bike. It may be the only one I get this summer since she simply refuses to do it. Claims she’s exhausted and then spends another hour running around the park screaming like a banshee. Sigh.
Back at home, another math game that we all played together. I really like this one. We took turns rolling a twelve-sided die. If I roll a two, for example, I would find the 2 column on my sheet of paper and write “TWO – DEUX” in the first square. The first person to get one number four times or all of the numbers at least once wins. While it was an introduction to writing numbers for Leila and review for Noah, as well as handwriting practice, Zahra was honing in on probability.
Leila ran off to play in the yard (here she is making an ‘x’ out of leaves), and I asked the other two if they wanted to listen to a chapter from a book recommended to me by…someone. Quite possibly Beth of our math workshops. It’s called The Number Devil and is the story of a boy who dreams each night of a number devil who leads him on mathematical adventures. Zahra and Noah loved the argumentative devil and the boy who refuses to be “tricked” into learning while sleeping. They asked for a second chapter and a third before I had to stop to make dinner. We talked about number patterns, the importance of zero and prime numbers.
Soon, the doorbell was ringing. The neighbour kids were home from their first day of school! We found out which teachers they got, and then the kids were off, playing endless rounds of cache-cache (and practising their French—yea!). They reluctantly separated for a lightening-quick dinner before going back to it until bedtime.