As a busy, working, homeschooling mother of three I am always looking for inexpensive but effective ways to homeschool my three children.
This year my youngest, who is 6 years old, has finally made it to the “big leagues”!
He has been begging for work which looks more like his older siblings but I have been hold back with him since I’ve adopted the “Better Late than Early” philosophy by Dr. Raymond Moore. His approach advocates that you don’t subject your children to formal, scheduled study before age 8 to 10 or 12, whether they can read or not. You can read more about his formula here.
Since my youngest is not 8 yet, I didn’t want to push him too much. We have been counting aloud to 120 by tens and by ones and I would be content with that but he alas is not.
Since I was scoping out curriculum for my eight year old I decided why not check out the curriculum for him too. I’m happy I did.
The math model example tells the parent what to say to the child, shows a picture of it and then it allows the child to create their own model either on paper or using manipulatives like counters if you have them. This helps your child to truly understand the concept. Based on my philosophy of learning, I think this is ideal for my six year old because he is not bogged down by worksheets. It’s a simple teach and go. Math Fundamentals is focused on helping the students get the concept.
The second benefit to this program is that it is correlated to current standards.
As a homeschool parent I often wonder how my children would measure up to peers their own age. Math Fundamentals takes all the mystery out of it by aligning the workbook to standards and placing them at the bottom of every page.
The final benefit to this program is the Suggested Teaching Path.
Pay close attention to page 8 when you first open the workbook, don’t skip the intro section! The book is not presented in teaching order which can be confusing. For example, it is suggested you start with Counting and Number Sequence on page 83, then jump to add and subtract within 20 on page 51 back to Equivalency and Unknown Numbers on page 73, to Place Value on pages 103 and 119 all the way back to Operations and Number Relationships on page 37 and Word Problems on page 11 to name a few. Thankfully the Suggested Teaching Path explains all of this, but if you skipped this section it can be frustrating.
There is an answer key included at the end of this workbook to make sure your child gets the correct answer. Evan-Moor’s Math Fundamentals are available for students in grades 1 – 6.
What’s the verdict?
If I were Siskel & Ebert Evan-Moor’s Math Fundamentals Grade 1would get four thumbs up (They have two hands each right 😊). It has the right amount of problems for emerging learners. Since I don’t want to tax his young mind, three-five problems at his age was perfect. Great job Evan-Moor!
According to Kaplan, there are five keys to success when taking a standardized test.
Key 1 – Triage the Test
When you triage the test your goal is to move through the test at least three times. The first time is to answer easy questions with quick answers. If the question is taking more than 30 seconds it does not have a quick answer. Make a note of it in your booklet (or scratch paper if you are not allowed to write in the booklet) and com back to it later. The second time is to answer the questions that you know how to do, but are time consuming. The third and last time is to work through the hard questions.
Key 2 – Elimination
If you know some of the answer choices are incorrect, eliminate them and look at the ones that are left. Make an educated guess if you are still unsure.
Key 3 – Use a Letter of the Day
There will be some questions that you have NO CLUE how to do. This is when your letter of the day comes in handy. Before you begin the test, choose your letter (1st choice, 2nd choice, 3rd choice, etc.). When you get to a question that you know you don’t know how to do, choose your letter of the day and move on. Don’t waste your time on it.
Key 4 – Learn the Material Tested
There is no substitution for studying. Most standardized tests, even state tests give you an overview of the material to be covered. Learn it :-). Get a tutor to help you!
Key 5 – Practice, Practice, Practice
The more you practice test questions the more comfortable you will become at testing and the better you will be.
To help you be ready we have created a test survival kit. Click here to get yours today. What do you do to help you prepare for a standardized test?
Developing an individualized plan and/or being able to understand an individualized plan is another important aspect of helping our special needs students. Consider these two plans Plan-A and Plan-B. Which plan is better for the online environment?
I would choose Plan-B because it is laid out very well as addresses all the needs of the fictional student Sally Student. Plan B specified the extended time. It mentioned making sure Sally knew how to use the text-to-speak and zoom features on her computer as well as gave Sally the opportunity to “record oral responses when possible/appropriate to reduce strain to her eyes”.
There are a few aspects of my preferred plan (Plan B) that I would change to be better suited for the online environment. I would change the extended time for assignments from “the following school day from the original due date for full credit” to “two days from the original due date for full credit”.
Plan A was too general. For example, we know that “Sally’s anxiety disorder does surface when she feels she may not have enough time to complete a task and panic sets in” so extended time is a definite accommodation. Plan B specifies how much extended time on a test or quiz by stating 100%. Plan A mentions extended time but leaves it in the open. Plan B specifies that “Sally may turn her work in the following school day from the original due date for full credit” whereas Plan A simply states “Extended time on assignments and classwork”. Finally, Plan A mentions “preferential seating” which is not an accommodation necessary to the online environment.
These are just a few things to consider when creating an individualized plan for a student in the online environment. Are there other things you would consider?
As we continue to discuss accommodations for students with special needs one can’t help but think, how can you make accommodations in an online environment?
While I agree that not every child is cut out for online learning, you might be surprised at how well the online environment can support learners with special needs.
Take my student Haley (not his/her real name) for example. Haley has been diagnosed with ADHD. This means that Haley has difficulty with: following directions, following open ended writing assignments without clear requirements, turning in assignments on the correct due date, task completion due to issues with focus and time management, organization in general and finally not completing all questions or rushing through a test/quiz.
The online environment would be beneficial for Haley’s disability for three reasons. First, it would help her with her tests and quizzes. Second, it would help her focus. Finally, it would help her with open ended writing assignments.
The online environment would help Haley with her tests and quizzes because since she has a habit to rush through the questions or not complete it, the teacher/parent can enable the show clock feature to show the time left in timed quizzes or tests. If Haley has the accommodation of extra time, and in this case she does, restrictions could be set up to give her extended time. Haley gets 50% extended time in my math class and her grades are soaring in the As.
The online environment would help Haley focus more simply because she would be doing her work at home or outside of the regular classroom environment. Haley and her family would be able to control the environmental factors more, thus helping her to focus.
Finally, the online environment would help Haley with her open ended writing assignments if the teacher enables the rubric feature which allows the student to see precisely what would be graded and how it will be assessed. Haley might also have the option to submit the assignment orally or by video. In this case, Haley did not need that accommodation in mathematics.
There are a few challenges Haley might experience if not managed well. She might experience trouble turning in assignments on the correct due date and time management issues. As a teacher I post the assignments weekly and reminders. There are several outside resources that she can use to support her. If she has a smart phone, utilizing a digital calendar with reminders that pop up would be helpful as well as a schedule.
Haley seems to have managed potential challenges very well and continues to excel in my class with her extended time accommodations.
Are you considering online for your child? What do you think might be the challenges they would experience?
As an educator I am constantly learning and growing. I would like to share with you what I am learning through my Special Needs 1 training to help you as a parent or educator think of strategies and best practices to help your child(ren) reach their academic potential. The following students are fictional characters.
Imagine that you are Joyce.
Joyce has accommodations for an Emotional/Behavioral Disorder. Her mother informed you that Joyce’s specific diagnosis is Anxiety and Depression, and she sometimes does not respond well to correction. She plagiarized a large section of her essay for your class this week.
How would you handle this situation?
Let’s first think about the difficulties Joyce might be experiencing as an online student with Emotional/Behavioral Disorder. She has a hard time adhering to acceptable rules of online etiquette, etc.. She might also be struggling with feelings of depression over low grades or feelings of being overwhelmed with work when viewing the schedule all at once which is why she might have plagiarized. Since she is online and as a teach you are unable to read her facial expressions or body language in class, it would be hard to know that unless the student told you and with her anxiety, she would NOT want to tell you because of the internal struggles she might be dealing with.
So how can we help Joyce?
We can help Joyce by avoiding direct confrontations: rather, state the issue
objectively and provide them with a choice or suggested course of action to correct it . Suggest strategies to get started on doing the essay again and communicate what she should do in the future if she needs help so that she does not feel the need to plagiarize again. I would then address it, document it, and move on.
How about if you were Hopper?
Hopper has an IEP with accommodations for Dysgraphia. Your class requires written reports in each unit on various topics. Hopper expresses concern over his grade in your class because of the written reports. You know Hopper is putting forth effort, but he still is not passing your class. He asks what he can do to improve his grade.
How do you respond?
Since Hopper has dysgraphia Hopper has difficulties such as omitting words or letters, not completing words or sentences once started, not following proper grammar and spelling conventions, difficulty copying written items or diagrams or taking notes or thinking while writing.
So how can we help Hopper?
To help Hopper I would allow him to use the video or audio tool in the online course to present projects, assignments, or assessments orally. I would encourage him to show mastery using other modes rather than written expression. Finally, I would provide copies of instructional materials not included in the content specific to helping him with the written reports.
Does your child or student struggle with a learning disability and you need specific strategies to help them? Click here to check out the Specific Strategies Chart.
Sometimes it’s hard to find math in the Bible but when you start training yourself to look, you’d be amazed of how much you’ll find.
Today is March 14 and as a mathematician I could not let the day go by without talking about pi. Pi is the Greek name of the symbol that represents the irrational number π that we truncate to 3.14. Today is 3/14…get it 😁.
But where did pi come from? The abbreviated version is that around 250 BC the Greek mathematician Archimedes created an algorithm for calculating it. HOWEVER, civilizations including Egyptians and Babylonians were calculating it WAY before that.
In fact it’s in the Bible! In 1 Kings 7:23 it states “And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim to the other: it was round all about…and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about” (KJV).
You see pi is the ratio of the Circumference (the distance AROUND the circle) to the diameter (the distance across the middle of the circle).
In 1 Kings 7:23 the “ten cubits from the one brim to the other: it was round all about” lets us know the diameter is 10 cubits. The phrase “…and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about” let’s us know the Circumference is 30 cubits.
To calculate pi we would do C/d and get 30/10=3. It is also known as pi at 3.
What you will notice is that this number is not quite pi but perform this experiment with a variety of circles and you will notice a pattern of 3.14…. emerging.
According to CNN, The Independent Verification and Validation Facility has been renamed the Katherine Johnson Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) Facility in honor of Katherine Johnson, a hidden figure in African American history.
Katherine Johnson is the mathematician behind calculating trajectories for the shuttle launches. She has published over 26 scientific papers and is considered a pioneer in space science and computing.
According to an oral history archived by the National Visionary Leadership Project:
At first she [Johnson] worked in a pool of women performing math calculations. Katherine has referred to the women in the pool as virtual “computers who wore skirts”. Their main job was to read the data from the black boxes of planes and carry out other precise mathematical tasks. Then one day, Katherine (and a colleague) were temporarily assigned to help the all-male flight research team. Katherine’s knowledge of analytic geometry helped make quick allies of male bosses and colleagues to the extent that, “they forgot to return me to the pool”. While the racial and gender barriers were always there, Katherine says she ignored them. Katherine was assertive, asking to be included in editorial meetings (where no women had gone before). She simply told people she had done the work and that she belonged. (Oral History Archive: Katherine Johnson”. National Visionary Leadership Project. 2005. Retrieved December 29, 2016.)