Wednesday, November 12, 2008

mealtime mental math

Who knew it would be this fun?  :-)

Seriously, so many things that work well with our homeschooling were really not my idea at all.  Okay... maybe at first it was my idea.... or at least my excuse to buy yet another book.... but how some of these things have been used (successfully) rarely comes directly from me.

For example... mental math.  I liked the sound of it when reading the posts to the living math yahoo group.  A special book that people buy to use for mental math?  Sure... let me add one to my cart.  Ohhh... it's a little vintage looking book with a copyright date of 1877?  Let me hit "buy" right now!

Then it came... I looked at it... it was adorable (still is actually)... but what to do with it.  So, I added it to my shelf labeled "math" back in August and never touched it again until this week.

I'm really not sure what made me get this book out... oh, I know.  The other night the kids (wait, it was just Alex the night Clara had dinner at her friend's house... I think... sad that I can't remember two days ago) wanted to show off their math around dinner time.  My brain was shutting down (much like now apparently) and I couldn't think up questions fast enough.  So, I ran down and picked up this book...

Ray's new primary arithmetic

Alex and I did a few and then I got busy doing something else.  Last night they wanted to show off for their dad at dinner so I got out the book again.  They wouldn't let me put it down!  We had such a good time at dinner last night doing problems from this book.  The book is not difficult math... honestly, Alex is doing harder stuff in his regular curriculum BUT it was a challenge to him because he had to do it mentally.  The first thing he did was grab a pencil and start writing on his napkin.  But I asked him to try doing it in his head instead.  They both really got into it and kept begging for more.  To stay sane, we went back and forth between the two so one wasn't yelling over the other one (I did this for Clara's sake, but I was surprised how she was getting some of the addition ones faster than Alex before we started taking turns).  Eventually I ended up asking Clara questions from the addition section and Alex from the multiplication (with addition and subtraction thrown in occasionally  for fun).

A lot of the book is words problems... but they're pretty uncomplicated word problems that are easy to keep track of in your head.  The book was written in 1877 so the problems have to do with marbles, carriages, spools of thread and buying yards of calico.  

It's shocking to me how much they enjoyed this.  They grumbled at breakfast and lunch today because I told them that we would wait to do the book again at dinner.  Clara has been bouncing around saying that she can't wait until dinner because she's hungry AND because we get to do math again.  

It's really crazy.... but a very good crazy!  :-)

No comments: