Category Archives: Maths

Maths and Khan Academy

So, Puggle has finished Right Start C. I love Right Start, and think it’s given him a fabulous maths foundation (he started with Level B), however, the practical aspect of having maths requiring my undivided attention—while also teaching Bilby to read, and giving her that same Maths attention (and maybe working with Cygnet, and playing with Howlet), has driven me to make a change. I’ve decided to shift to Galore Park‘s Junior Maths books (and he’ll skip the level 1 book, and I’m expecting him to finish book 2 by the end of this year) next. But it isn’t actually here yet. (And how grateful am I that it’s available through Book Depository? Quick to arrive, and no shipping!) And Paddington pointed out that Khan Academy (who have a fantastic collection of short teaching videos on a huge range of topics, now have practice questions available in maths. And it turns out, it’s not just individual questions. The have a web of topics (showing connections, so you can see what are pre-requisites for other topics), with structured sub-topics, with questions for each.
Even better than that, if you give your child a child account, they need to have a nominated coach (and it’s now possible to have more than one coach, so both Paddington and myself are able to watch his progress from our accounts). He can log in, and do whatever topics he chooses from this topic web. With the basic stuff, he just works through answering questions and collecting leaves and energy points. They all count towards badges and patches, so he can see how much effort he has applied. But when he chooses to do something more involved, perhaps something he knows nothing about, he can have a go. If he doesn’t understand what to do, all those videos are there (the appropriate one is linked from the question page). If he still doesn’t know the answer, there’s a hint button, which can be used a couple of times. So it’s not just a review site, it provides a number of learning tools as well.
And Paddington and I can watch. We can see how much time he’s spent on the site, which topics he’s attempted, how many he got right, what videos he’s watched. It means he can go ahead and work on what takes his fancy and I can see if he’s having problems.
I’m still a little worried that he’ll jump all over the shop, and not actually cover all the basics, which is why I’m planning to stick with a text, but when the book arrives, he can do a couple of days on each:-)
And so far, he absolutely loves it:-) And I love the fact that I can spend that time focussing on the basics for the other kids—knowing that I can still easily keep an eye on what he’s doing:-)

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Filed under Home Education, Maths

Times Tables = Fun

Recently, I decided that we needed some music to assist the learning of times tables. Puggle has reached the stage where he kind of knows them, but he has to calculate (from scratch) to be sure what they are. Obviously, that takes longer than we’d prefer. We already have a chart on the back of the toilet door, and he’s worked through and understands how they’re formed, but what’s missing is the ‘automatic’ response. Given how well my kids learn songs, music seemed the logical next tool.

So I spent hours listening to possibilities on iTunes (and really, there’s not a huge amount you can do with tables, so there was a fair amount of repetition:-( ) But finally, I settled on Times Tables = Fun. (And how cool is that! The ABC shop currently has them on special!)

I really like the fact that each table is quite distinct musically. So, obviously, the three times table is a waltz, with a ‘german tenor’ singing. (The connection between the music and the table is less obvious for the others:-) ) I must admit to a certain fondness for the two times table (sounds rather like The Young Ones singing:-) ), and the Wild West Dustbowl sound of the eight times table:-)

The younger kids enjoy singing along with them—they couldn’t yet do it without the music, but I think it’s probably priming them nicely, so that once they begin working with multiplication, they won’t actually need to learn the tables, they’ll already know them:-)

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Filed under Home Education, Maths