May 14, 2013

Tuesday Teaching Tidbit

Hey there, homeschoolers!  I've been meaning to make some videos for the blog for forever!  I love, when I have a giant pile of laundry to fold, to find a mom blog with a good selection of videos and just let them play through while I fold.  I mean, who can read a bunch of blog text while they fold?  Not me!  So it's been on my to-do list for way too long!  Here's my first go at a weekly video series called Tuesday Teaching Tidbits! Every week (hopefully) I'll just make a short video about some cool little teaching tip or trick.  I've got a few in mind, ranging from this week's topic of skeleton schedules, to more specific things like hands-on activities for teaching covalent bonds.  I know...that's a pretty broad theme there, Skyla!  I get it.  But you know, every now and then you have those little sparks of brilliance, some insight into how to deal with something tricky or teach a tough concept.  Tuesdays will be my time to share useful tips on everything from chemistry to grammar.  From art to field trips.  Who knows what we'll talk about.  I just know it will be fun and useful! Ready?


I promised you some links.  Would it be a stretch to call these life changing links?  Because my mornings with the boys have gotten a whole heck of a lot better since I found the Penmanship Print font.  Like seriously, no more arguing over sloppy handwriting.  They feel like they worked hard on that completely illegible sentence and the idea of doing it again just because mom is blind?  Yeah.  Didn't get my days off on the right foot.  But  with that dashed middle line, baby, my boys are printing pretty!  So, you can save your mornings with that very same font by going here and downloading it.  

Let's see...Yes!  The dashed cursive font.  So, I have 2 that are good for different purposes.  The first, I'm not quite as in love with because some of the letters are a little wonky.  Like the capital I doesn't have that little inward stroke and looks more like a lowercase L. But what can ya do?  It's called Learning Curve.  The other I like because embedded in the dotted lines are little arrows telling you which direction to trace the stroke.  That one is called Jardotty, and it's perfect for that new-to-cursive period.  You can get both of those from Donna Young here.

And then I promised some long division for shorties info!  I didn't know about Montessori math when Hannah Jane was a babe, and I so wish that I had.  It's just so intuitive and it really does enable the littlest of folks to do complex procedures like long division with just a small amount of practice.  Hannah Jane relied heavily on memorization, and when things got more complex, it was clear that she didn't understand the inner-workings of the mathematical processes, so we had to go back and relearn.  That, quite frankly, insulted her sensibilities.  But the boys are starting with the inner workings with the Montessori manipulatives, and so their understanding of math is really quite impressive compared to what we generally expect of such little guys.  Now that I'm aware of it, though, I know that in the Montessori world, they really aren't any different from what would be expected.  It's just an ingenious system they've got going on, so I'm excited to share it with you.  

First, here's Hunter with his homemade division board.  He'll show you how it all works.  



That was in the very early days (he was so cute and tiny!) so I was still giving him numbers that had no remainders, but you can do all division problems with this method.

If you're interested in buying a slightly nicer, maybe wooden board with lessons for how to teach with them from Brilliant Minds Montessori, you can find those here.  It's a little spendy, but this is the only place I've found that doesn't just sell you the materials, but also sends you lessons for how to use it if you're not a trained Montessori teacher.  Obviously, we figured out how to use it without lessons back when we were using our homemade board, but that took some time, and if you happen to have more money than time I'm really, really jealous of you this might be your best option.

Alright, folks!  That's all for today!  See ya next time!

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