Review: Stanford’s Gifted and Talented math program.

play quote1I know it’s Tuesday, and in the past we have done Toddler Tuesday, but I don’t have a toddler anymore. She’s more of a child now. That’s not to say we don’t play a lot – because we do. Play is the work of children. It shouldn’t be their break from work, it is their work. But it does mean that Toddler Tuesdays are no more. Instead, I will just post her lessons here too. A lot of them are the same as Nicholas did when he was her age.

Yes, she likes art best. But that doesn’t mean I’m not making sure she gets her full share of math and science. I certainly don’t want to be accused of pigeon holing her so young. So she gets exposed to a bunch of things. But art and play are important.

As I know, my son likes math. The harder the better – even though he whines about it. If it is too easy he simply refuses to do it because he’s already done it and already knows it. Therefore, we make sure his math is hard. Or I try to make sure his math is hard.

We use Stanford’s Gifted and Talented program for math. I generally like it. Except that it can get repetitive. He’s done – according to the program – 54 sections on addition with carrying. That gets a bit tedious. Although the program makes sure that there are only about 10 questions in a section, and mixes them up with different math concepts.

For instance, today he did a section of 10 questions on lines of symmetry, one section of plotting information on a graph, an addition with carrying, a word problems (set 13), more addition with carrying, and fractions.

I’m generally happy with the program. It’s got small introductory videos when they are working on a new concept. It never introduces too much at once  -everything is broken down into these little lessons.

The only thing I’m unhappy with it how it progresses. It doesn’t let him master something and move on. It simply moves him through the progression they have on the computer. If he screws up too many problems in a set – generally because he’s not paying attention – it makes him redo the set. I’m fine with that. What I’m not fine with is when there’s more addition with carrying. He’s done enough, let’s move on. Except that isn’t the way the program works.

They have a new Redbird course out that I’m thinking of trying out for the next semester. That course is supposed to be more adaptive to the child – which would be nice.

But what is really nice is that I don’t have to do the teaching. The computer does it. And he listens to the computer better than he listens to me.

http://www.giftedandtalented.com

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Newton’s Three Laws.

nlmWe’ve been focusing a lot on Physics these past few months. Nicholas just wants to keep learning more and more, so we do more and more. I’m big into child-directed learning (as you probably know), and like to follow his lead. It doesn’t mean that we don’t do anything else, but we do a lot of things that he likes.

I’ve liked the whole “lapbooking” thing for a while. But what I don’t like is that so many lapbooks are cut and paste – they don’t have room for the kids to write or draw. So when I use someone else’s lapbook, I tend to add things into them.

In this case, we used this small window book of Newton’s Laws from Jimmie’s Collage. I simply printed out the file and then cut everything out. We also didn’t make a real window book, I simply stapled the sides of the paper together. But instead of having it be a cut and paste activity, I added things in.

First, we cut out the picture of Newton and put it on a cover page and Nicholas had to write “Newton’s Laws” on the front page. Second, he cut out the boxes that titled each law (the ones that say Newton’s First Law, etc) and glued them to a page. he then had to copy what each law says under the pasted on box. He wanted to use markers, so I let him. He still doesn’t write really well, which is fine, so sometimes it took two pages to write the law.

Then we stapled it all together and he got to make a book. He was really proud of the book – which is a good thing because I like it when he’s proud of the work he does.

After we completed the book, we went online to view some images of Newton’s Laws. This site has an amazing series of little GIFs about the laws that was really helpful for Nicholas to see.

Lastly, we pulled out his toy cars. Toy cars? Yes. Toy cars. After seeing the GIFs and writing the laws, I wanted to see how much he really understood about them. What better way than a practical exam?

So I would say a law and he would have to demonstrate it with his toy cars, and use the correct words. Nothing in our house can go “fast,” it has to “accelerate,” have “constant speed” or be “in motion.” It’s important to use the correct words from the start. When he decided he was confused, he could refer to the book he made.

Surprisingly, he did quite well. He wanted to play at this quiz a lot longer than I did. We spent about an hour with me saying things like, “First,” and  “Second” and having him use his cars (and crash them together) to demonstrate the laws of motion.

So that was our study of Newton’s Laws.

We’ve been away, but we are back……

I would like to say that we’ve been away, but the truth is I’ve just not had the energy to do all our homeschooling and do everything else – which includes the blog. But I’ve since rediscovered why I liked blogging, and am getting back to it. So expect more posts from us as the weeks go on.

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