Though the week started off a bit rough, it finished on a really good note in regards to homeschooling. Dora and I looked at the sense of sight this week and did some really fun projects. The biggest hit, hands down, was the light box. I had read about several bloggers using light boxes with younger kids, but had wondered if Dora would be too old to warrant the cost. Then a few other projects came up where a light box would be really beneficial for us to have, so I took the plunge and bought the Porta-Trace 10″ x 12″ Stainless Steel Lightbox with Two 8 watt, 5000°K. Lamps. Once it arrived, I realized that we didn’t have a lot of the fun stuff that I have seen other bloggers use with light boxes, because I am slowly, but surely, trying to purge our house of plastic. So first I brought over our marbles, which looked really cool and were just fun to roll around on the lightbox.
We did have some plastic color paddles left over from last year’s study of color, which worked really well with the light box. The colors came out really true with the light box, so when the paddles were held together, they blended perfectly. This really helped to cement Dora’s knowledge of mixing primary colors.
I also got out some acrylic gems that I have for collage work, as well as some wooden buttons. Dora felt that those needed to be studied with a magnifying glass.
Dora then asked for a pitcher and some glasses and ended up turning the experience into a light-filled pouring exercise!
Finally, we used the Haba Kaleidoscope Blocks. I just love the way Haba blocks are so consistently made. We have a variety of their sets, plus some of their marble runs and they all mix and match perfectly. After we played with the Haba blocks on the light table, we took a red, yellow, and green block and stacked them on the floor like a stop light. I then proceeded to shine a flashlight through the various colors while Dora drove her bus around and sometimes obeyed the “traffic signal”, while other times preferring to repeatedly “break the law” so her bus would be “put in jail” (which the bus would then proceed to crash out of – which I guess is what I deserve for building a bus-jail out of wooden blocks, what was I thinking?).
We were supposed to go to the eye doctor for our “fieldtrip”, but the exam had to be rescheduled, though we did go to two eye glass stores looking for glasses for Primo, where Dora begged me to buy her some glasses (little realizing that her wish may soon come true and she’ll have her first lesson in being careful about what you wish for). For our new literature selections this week, we read three books. Our first selection was Elmer by David McKee, which is all about being yourself. At first, I was little worried that it was going to be too preachy as several books with that theme are, but all of a sudden, a surprising and silly event occurred that had both Dora and I laughing. The book finished on a light-hearted note, reminding us all to be ourselves, without hitting us over the head with the message. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that this was our favorite read-aloud for this “school” year, thus far.
We also read Sight (Five Senses) from the senses series that we have been reading. Once again, the book conveyed the topic simply and enjoyably. Finally we read Spotted Yellow Frogs: Fold-out Fun with Patterns, Colors, 3-D Shapes, Animals for math, which is one of the weirdest books that I have ever read and that I can’t really recommend. I’ve decided that this whole “Living Math” approach to math is just not for us. Honestly, I’d rather use workbooks than read unenjoyable books in an effort to teach math. Many of the books that are recommended to teach math using a “Living Math” approach are either really hard to find (and sometimes very expensive as a result) or just not enjoyable. The author will decide to teach a math concept and write a book around the concept rather than have a story, from which a math concept evolves. In my mind, this difference is what distinguishes a book from being just a “book”, as opposed to literature. So I am just going to start sticking with using the Montessori approach to teaching math and if I find a book that looks good and happens to teach a math concept, great, but I’m not going to exert myself trying to find “Living Math” books anymore.
How about you? Have any of you used “Living Books” to teach math? If so, did it work well for you and if it did, do you have a good list of recommended books?
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