Friday, April 12, 2013

After Visiting the Vendors

I do not have any desire to attend a homeschool expo and listen to a bunch of speakers. I looked at the list of the local exposition and honestly felt that I did not need or want to listen to them telling me how to manage the children or how to put Christ first in my life.

Simply put, I believe I am balanced in those aspects.  I did want to visit the vendors. We know that we are not changing from our A Beka Book  curriculum.  I wanted to touch and feel the Math U See program that everybody tells me I should try.  Kelley and I both wanted to see what other hands on activities we might find or other items to supplement what we currently do.  We expect great things from the children. They are bright and eager learners.  One may wonder what I thought of what I saw.

The hands on activities are things I can already find in locations as less cost.  Price gouging a group of people who are desperate to find items for their children at a one stop shopping place is horrible.  They even have the audacity to claim expo discounts. I know what we need to begin deliberate but playful learning with Owen and Kelley is already doing it.  I didn't see a lot of purchasing taking place but many people will return for the conference speakers over the next two days.  I was disappointed to see that the expo information did not cover all speakers that would be present as it was clear that many of the vendors also will be speaking.  That would have been a calmer way to learn about if they have something of interest to me.  It does sound like we were shopping for a change but we were shopping out of curiosity for enhancing or incorporating something new into my method of teaching.  What I found was that I love our choice.  For instance, so many talk about SonLight Curriculum.

Well, they are not a complete program and suggest Teaching Textbooks for math.  They do a lot of reading to your child as well.  My grandchildren love to read at their age. They learn so much more about language because they see the words on the page, the punctuations used and the proper formation of a sentence. 

Teaching Textbooks doesn't have any new or unique way to teach math.  In comparison I like the entire lesson plan books as well that I get with   A Beka Book.  The new way to teach math was with the Math U See program.  It sparked an interest in Kelley but left me irritated with the sales representative.

(Dear Grandma Jean-- Google search Math U See and watch the demo videos of addition and multiplication)  I would put the link here but I really would rather just promote the program we use.

The representative performed a simple multiplication problem on the board.  She treated me as if I am not smart enough to understand it.  I told her that I get it but that is a long, drawn out method and asked when do we teach them the correct way to multiply.  She challenged me by asking me if the answer was wrong. Of course it was not incorrect but it was not computed using simple multiplication steps. Then she asked what I meant and it force Kelley to write it on the board for her.  Well, long story short, I do not like condescending sales people. That normally would have had me walk away but Kelley was intrigued and we left with a demo video for Matt to watch. 

This morning I had grandpa watch the video and performed the same problem on the board for him in the same why that was shown.  His response?  Bull....bologna!  It has however sparked an interest in working on our school house/room and has he gave me some ideas to reinforce some prior material each day. 

I am sure this program is a good program for some and maybe it would be a good fit to help Grace more.  Still, I can do that without a complete change in curriculum for math.  If we actually had more children the current math would be better as we could use the games they suggest. I think I will look more at that as well and see if I can convert the games a bit to fit our tiny group of two. 

I did find a book set that I liked as an addition to our class library.  It was a history book that was like a coffee table book.  I like books that take history in a great concise timeline.  It was too brief to call it a true history curriculum but a great item to add.

Today is a field trip to the Nature Institute where the girls will learn about insects and get dirty. The programs we participate in there are never a disappointment.