Sunday, January 25, 2009

math doesn't wait for monday

Yesterday while cleaning out a closet where I keep a bunch of homeschooling supplies (we're getting ready to do a big room switcharoo) Alex found these little boxes I had bought at Target back in September. They are little geometry boxes with a compass, protractor, ruler and such inside. I had bought them because they were cheap and I might need them someday. :-)

Anyway... Alex found the box and took a look inside. He was pretty intrigued by what he saw. He wanted to know what everything was and what they were for. Here I began to struggle...

2008 Me: Those are really cool geometry tools Alex. Give me some time and I'll pull some stuff together and we'll do a little unit on them this next week.

2009 Me: Here, let me tell you what they are and what they're used for. And by the way, see that K'NEX Geometry Set on the shelf? You can get that out too.


Which one do you think won out?

I stuck to my new plan, but let me tell you that it was both sooo hard and extremely easy at the same time.
The Hard Part:
It killed me to not have prepared for this. My fingers were itching... I could see the teacher's manual CD in the K'nex kit materials and it was all I could do to keep from telling him to stop everything until I could go upstairs and print stuff off. I kept seeing all we "could" do with this if I just could prepare. I eventually had to walk away.

The Easy Part:
We sprawled out in the floor together and I showed him how to make a circle with the compass and how to measure and draw angles with the protractor. No frills... nice and simple. He then got out the K'nex kit and I walked away. He came running upstairs a while later to show me what he had been doing. Using K'nex, he had made a line, line segment and a ray. He had also made various angles out of K'nex, traced them onto his paper (ack! one angle per sheet of paper... but I let that slide) and then measured them. From there we had a little discussion about acute, right and obtuse angles. We also talked about what is meant by at 180 degree turn and a 360 degree turn. He was excited and engaged! He learned more about geometry in that half and hour than he would have if I would gone the 2008 route (because, let's be honest, something else would have come up and I wouldn't have gotten around to planning the little lesson I promised).

Shortly after this, he abandoned the whole pile of stuff and was off playing with Clara. It was all he personally needed to know at that moment so he was done. Even if I would have gotten my act together, there's a really good chance his enthusiasm for geometry would have waned by the time we worked on it "during school". I might have prepared more (notice I said "might") but he wouldn't necessarily have gotten more out of it.

1 comment:

julesgreen said...

Hooray for you in going ahead unplanned anyways! I know that can be really hard at times:)I love reading your adventures, thanks for posting!