Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A+ For Math

By A+ I don't actually mean that's my daughter's grade, but rather it is the program we are using for math again this year.  A+ Tutorsoft is math program you can purchase to use online or on a CD. It has instructional videos, interactive quizzes, as well as both online and printable worksheets and exams. It has everything we need for one year of math.

Gess really struggles with math so we are using the 3rd grade curriculum. Gess has been unable to memorize her math facts so I still allow her to use helps (including counting on her fingers) to help her solve problems, but she is able to add and subtract large numbers that way. We will begin focusing on multiplication and division this year.

I prefer A+ over other online programs because the lessons are presented in a way that Gess seems to both enjoy and understand. When it's time to do the interactive quiz I often have her solve the problem on the board instead of a worksheet. She enjoys that. Here she is comparing three numbers and putting them in order from greatest to least.

Once she finds the answer she sits back down at her desk to enter the solution.

I know this seems like a lot of up and down, but for her that seems to help. Math frustrates her so I think it helps for her to be able to "walk away" from the worksheet while she tries to find a solution. Whatever the case, it works for us.

While my laptop works well for the lesson and interactive quiz, the font for the online worksheets is pretty small. When I increase the font she can't see the whole thing on the page. For us that isn't a problem because we have a big screen television hooked up in our living room. (It's how we watch streaming television and avoid the cost of cable!) Anyway, here she is doing an online worksheet.

I use the online worksheets for lengthy word problems because it is easier to for her to read them online than on a printed page. There is less ink and paper waste that way too. I will use the printable worksheets when she has actual problems to solve. For now she has just been reviewing basic number sense like comparing numbers, writing numbers in various forms, and things like that. Next week we start on addition!

I am also using Life of Fred to supplement our math. We do A+ in the morning and she has one assignment to complete after school. Then we do Life of Fred together in the afternoon. I will share more about that later.

Gess is doing an excellent job reading so this year I am going to trying to make some major headway in math!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The World Of Science

With Gess now being in what many call middle school it has been hard for me to find appropriate curriculum. She can read really well and her comprehension is even pretty good, but it is not yet ready for middle school level. Couple that with her inability to read small print and it makes finding a text book hard.

We have also been all over the place on science. It has turned out to be Gesserine's favorite subject and many times I have let her choose the topic. Her fascination with weather comes alive every spring and in the winter when she is often sick she focuses on human anatomy and biology. While we have done some studies on plants and animals and various other things, I fear there are some things she has missed. So this year we are doing a full science review. For that I purchased the book The World of Science from Master Books.

The book is divided into 7 sections. It covers 6 majors areas of science with the final section being experiments that correspond with the other 6 sections of the book. The topics covered are:

1. Matter and Chemicals
2. Energy, Motions, and Machines
3. Electricity and Magnetism
4. Light and Sound
5. Earth and Life
6. Space and Time

Of course there are only brief explanations of each topic but it will be great to review and it will help me discover what Gess may have forgotten or possibly not covered in her previous studies. As we go through the book I plan to supplement with extra resources either from our previous text books, library books, personal library, or the internet. The experiments also look to be lots of fun. You can see some sample pages of the book at their website. The image below will lead to that link.

I think this will be a great way to review before Gess enters on into high school. While our focus is usually on reading, math, and basic life skills science and social studies have still been a priority for me. It helps that Gess has had an eager interest in science. That actually helped spark her reading interest for she loved reading about the weather and other science related topics. I can barely get her to read a novel but give her a science book and she won't put it down!  I think this book will add greatly to her library and will spark many new avenues of interest. I am eager to see just how far this book will take us!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

First Day of School

We officially started school yesterday! I always think I am going to wait until later in September but since all of our friends head back, the pool closes, the reading program ends, and all the other "summer time" stuff ends, we go ahead and start.

We had a very productive day! We got in all our subjects including math twice, as well as a haircut, painting class, library time, and the park. I also cleaned two houses, neither of which were my own. I am very excited about the year! I will share our subjects one at a time in future posts.


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