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Math

Eagles, Apples and Bears! Our Homeschool Week | 2nd – 6th October 2017

Homeschool UK Charlotte Mason

It’s been wonderful to get back into our homeschool curriculum this week, after the disruption of last week! We’ve been learning more about the Vikings, have enjoyed some great works of literature and made loads of art projects from our Toucan box.

Read on to take a look into a typical homeschool week with us, using the Charlotte Mason approach to education and the Ambleside Online homeschool curriculum.

charlotte mason homeschool uk hawthorn

Monday 2nd October

This morning the kids worked through a few lesson of CTC Math, on the computer. They are enjoying the programme and benefiting from the way it approaches maths. My eldest learnt about map co-ordinates and different types of graphs; whilst my younger son learnt about the concept of symmetry. It was a fun morning!

Today in circle time, we learnt about famous viking explorer, Leif Erikson and looked at another famous painting by Hokusai, “Mishima Pass in Kai Province.”

We have been using a wall calendar for picture study, as they are very inexpensive compared to art books, and can hang easily on our wall; allowing the kids to look at it and learn from it throughout our school week.

Muslim homeschool circle time

Tuesday 3rd October

The highlight of the day was the Toucan box came in the post! Thankfully the boys had already done most of their school work before it came, otherwise nothing would have been done! It was all very exciting!

We have recently upgraded to the largest of their boxes, the “Super box”, which contains 4 different craft activities and a picture book. To read a review of the Toucan box and see an un-boxing video we made, CLICK HERE.

For more information about Toucan Box, visit their website HERE and use the referral code GEMMA-9E6X to get your first box free!

Out of the four, the boys decided to do the underwater scene first. It turned out lovely, and we read the picture book that came at bed-time.

Toucan box

Underwater sea craft from toucan box

The postman also brought a new new book to go along with our study of Medieval Britain, A Knight’s city by Philip SteeleThis book is AMAZING!

It is filled with the most incredible pop-ups that are so intricately designed. The book takes you on a tour of life in a medieval city, and it is full of great information along with pop-ups of a cathedral, castle and bridge. It really sparked my boy’s imagination and has helped them to visualise the scenes in the living books we are reading from.

Medieval history pop up book for kids

Sight word game for kindergarten

After all the excitement, we spent a little time in the afternoon reviewing sight-words with the game POP from learning resources.

Wednesday 4th October

Today we learnt about Hereward and his battles with William the conquerer. Never heard of Hereward….me neither! But if you are covering medieval history this year you should look him up!

We also raed about Prophet Nuh (Noah) from the book Lives of the Prophets by Leila Azzam. We discussed how Nuh’s wife and son were not from the believers, and how faith is a gift from God and should be cherished.

The afternoon was filled with activities outside the home; like Quran class and a Muslim beaver scouts meeting.He came back with even more badges for me to sew on! MashAllah.

Thursday 5th October

Along with the usual school work, the boys had a swimming class this morning. The long drive there gave us an opportunity to listen to the literature component of our curriculum Understood Betsy.

We have really been enjoying listening to the audiobook version on Audible. In fact, I have personally enjoyed it so much, I have been tempted this week to put it on for myself to listen to whilst I was getting on with housework! It’s really good!

After swimming, and a Seerah class with their other home-ed friends, we went into our garden to enjoy the autumn sunshine.

We have been using these flashcards from word united to teach handwriting and reading to my 5-year old, as well as using their French and Arabic range for foreign language study.

Handwriting flashcards

Toddler fun!
Keeping herself busy…You have to pick your battles with 2 year-olds!

Friday 6th October

It’s Friday! Hurray!

Friday for us means nature walk! This week we went out to a patch of scrub-land near the river and explored. It was beautiful!

Homeschool UK Charlotte Mason
RUN! Woohoo!

Charlotte Mason homeschool

Along the walk, I noticed some beautiful cowslip flowers by the pavement. I stopped, without saying anything, took a photo of them and walked on. A few minutes later I turned around and found my sons sat down by the same flowers having their own discussion and conversation about them.

There was no need for me to say anything, and “force” a learning opportunity. Instead of saying, “Look at these boys,” or “Do you know what these flowers are called?”, they were able to make the discovery themselves! These are the moments that will stay with them and that they will retain, not incessant lecturing from me!

I have to remind myself often, to follow the advice of Charlotte Mason, and stay quiet! I find it so tempting, in my enthusiasm, to give constant prompting to the boys. This was a beautiful reminder to myself, that they don’t need me to do that! They have each other! mashAllah.

Nature study

Amongst some other discoveries, we found a few apples trees growing along the route, and a muddy puddle full of different foot prints; different kinds of birds and dogs (although my boys were convinced they were bear foot prints!)

My 5 year-old also found the biggest feather he’s ever seen! He was so excited and, as we had seen birds-of-prey in the area last week, and decided it was an eagle feather!

Bear footprints nature study
Bear footprints?

After a stopping off for hot-chocolate at a cafe, we started walking back to the car. It was a long walk, so I decided to distract them with Quran!

Each of the boys had to recite all the Quran that they could remember. We talked about how the Quran is the word of Allah, and everything in creation wants to hear it. So as they recited, we talked about how the clouds in the sky, the grass under their feet and birds in the trees were listening to them. Subhanullah! Before we knew it, we were back at the car!

We made it to Jummah prayer at the mosque. Although we went to a mosque I don’t usually visit, there is something very powerful about standing shoulder to shoulder with women, whom I didn’t know, praying together. Unity.

We didn’t have time to sketch and paint in our nature journal’s today, but the boys did make a lovely chicken a mushroom pie! It was a great end to the week.

How was your homeschool week?
Please do let me know and tell us all about it in the comments!

Peace and Love,

Our Muslim Homeschool Dr Gemma Elizabeth

How to Teach Maths to Gifted and High-Achieving Children

Homeschool Maths curriculum for gifted children

This blog post has been written in collaboration with CTC Math, who gave my family free access to their online Maths programme and compensated me for my time. The following may also contain affiliate links (see “Disclaimer”)

Tears. Tantrums. Frustration. For many of our children, Maths can be a struggle; a struggle for chldren to learn and a struggle for homeschooling parents to teach.

When you are homeschooling a gifted child, teaching Maths can be be just as challenging. Gifted children can also end up crying over their Maths, but the reason for their tears is not a lack of ability or understanding, but instead due to frustration, boredom or trying to simply dealing with the intense emotions that  gifted children notoriously experience.

Teaching maths to the high-achieving and gifted student can be both immensely rewarding and incredibly frustrating for homeschooling families! Although gifted children are usually quick to understand an apply mathematical concepts, they also bring with them a unique set of challenges that other homeschooling parents may not have to face.

How to teach Maths to gifted and high achieving children

Homeschool Maths curriculum for gifted children

It is worth noting, that there is a difference between “giftedness” and being a high achiever. For more information about the difference, read this simple introduction from Psychology Today.

It’s also important to remember that not all gifted students are “gifted” in Maths. Being intellectually gifted can mean an increased aptitude or talent in any number of academic subjects or creative pursuits. However, for simplicity’s sake, when I talk about “gifted” children in this blog post, please assume I am referring to those who are mathematically gifted.

From my own personal experience, I have compiled my top tips on “How to teach Maths to gifted and high-achieving children”, to help you teach Maths to your own children. This advice is what has worked in my home, and I hope that is will give you some ideas for your children too.

1. Forget the Way You Learnt Maths!

Unless you were fortunate to be homescholed, the likelihood is that the way you learnt maths is not going to work for your gifted children. Conventional all-in-one math curricula do not work well for gifted students.

Many of us are used to the idea that a math concept is taught, examples are given, and then the student practices this principle by completing many practice questions. Gifted students often no not need as much practice as conventional workbooks offer. They are able to fully grasp the concept and move onto its application much quicker than conventional curricula allows for.

This means that if you ask you gifted child to work through a conventional math programme, they will become increasingly bored and frustrated with its slow pace and repetition.

Instead, you need to get creative in the way you teach maths to gifted students! One way of doing this is by providing them with a variety of materials.

Teaching maths to gifted children

2. Use a Variety of Maths Resources

It may surprise you to know, that maths does not need to be taught with a textbook and workbook! In fact, there are many other ways that mathematical principles can be taught. In my experience, these are often more effective and memorable than the traditional maths textbook.

Examples include:

  • Living Books – Children can learn maths through stories! Find well-written mathematical stories that ignite your child’s imagination and teach maths at the same time. My children have recently been enjoying The Adventures of Sir Cumference and What’s your angle Pythagoras?
  •  Problem solving/Critical Thinking – Develop you child’s analytical and problem solving skills with critical thinking books and exercises.
  • Computer Programmes – Incorporating computer programmes into your curriculum can be a fantastic motivator for children. Our favourite online Math curriculum is CTC Math (see below)
  • Variety of different workbooks – Mix and match different teaching styles and approaches to keep your gifted child interested and engaged in their learning.

Teaching maths to gifted children living books

 

3. Chose a Curriculum that allows for Flexibility

The introduction of CTC Math into our homeschool has provided us with both the structure and the flexibility that my children need. Using this online Math curriculum 3-4 times a week, has helped to ensure that my children are not missing any important concepts as they “jump about ” within their other varied maths resources.

It is also gives the student and parents the flexibility that is needed for so many gifted students. You no not “need” to complete previous lessons in order to move onto the next level. You do what YOUR CHILD NEEDS to do…and I love that about CTC Math!

CTC Math Gifted Homeschool curriculum
5-digit Addition with CTC Math

 

In previous curricula we have tried, my son became infuriated with the unnecessary repetition and practice questions. With CTC Math, if your child understands the concept, you can move on!

It also allows you to enter your child into any grade that you, as the parent, feel is suitable. CTC Math has allowed my 6 year-old son to start 4th Grade maths, and it is wonderful to finally see him challenged by an online Maths programme.

CTC Math Gifted Homeschool curriculum
CTC Math allows parents to easily monitor progress

The lesson begins by watching a short 4-9 minute video where a concept is taught by audio and animation. Then the student takes what they have learnt, and applies it to a series of practice questions. Parents are kept informed of their child’s progress with a weekly email showing their marks throughout the week.

The people behind CTC Math are very supportive of homeschooling families and offer 60% OFF the cost of the curriculum + 6 MONTHS FREE to homeschoolers! This massive discount is only available to homeschooling families. If you are interested in finding out more, CLICK HERE.

CTC Math Gifted Homeschool curriculum

CTC Math works fantastically for gifted students because of the flexibility it offers. You can go back and repeat lesson, and you can jump as many lessons ahead as your gifted student wants to. In addition to this flexibility, it also gives parents the security of knowing that everything is being covered and there will be no gaps in their child’s knowledge.

CTC are offering a 2 WEEK FREE TRIAL at the moment. If you are interested in trying it out with you children for free, CLICK HERE to sign up for your FREE TRIAL

 

3. Make Maths Cross-Curricular

If your child has a natural talent for maths, they will enjoy bringing it into their other school subjects.

For example, we have studied maths whilst learning about Leonardo da Vinci and his incredible inventions. My son also learnt the “Pythagoras theorem” during our study of Ancient Greece. Together, we discovered the Fibonnacci sequence when learning about snails and their shells, in nature-study.

If your child is interested, maths can be brought into almost every subject as it is an integral part of our real-lives.

Maths book for snails homeschool unit study

4. Apply Maths to Real-life situations

Life is full of learning opportunities, and maths is no different. In your day-to-day life, you can engage your gifted children with mathematical problems and meaningful learning. Here are just a few examples of how:

  • Calculate distances trigonometry or estimate using the time it took to travel
  • Help with finances and accounts – if like me, you run a business from home, having a child that loves maths can be very useful at times!
  • Calculate probabilities
  • Working out quantities needed for cooking or home-improvements
  • Converting units
Teaching maths to gifted children real life math
Real life Maths!

Teaching gifted children maths is challenging, and is certainly not simple! However, with a little creativity, it is very possible and very rewarding. 

Gifted children need our attention and guidance, as much as other children do. Without it, they are at risk of become disengaged, uninterested and underachieving.

I hope this blog post has given you some inspiration and ideas of how to teach your gifted or high-achieving children Maths at home.

For further reading on home-educating gifted children, I would recommend “Homeschooling Gifted and Advanced Learners” by Cindy West and “Creative Homeschooling : A Resource Guide for Smart Families” by Lisa Rivero

What have you found to be the most effective way of teaching maths to gifted children?

How do you balance the freedom and flexibility that they crave, with the need to “cover all bases”?

Please share your experiences with us all, in the comments below.

Peace and Love,

Dr Gemma Elizabeth