Negative numbers can be scary for some, but it shouldn't have to be. An understanding of the number line should be enough to get the general concept.
But, we all know what should be isn't always the case.
My goal with math for Jon during his younger years was to introduce to him basic fundamentals to allow him to work with those concepts for years before digging deeper into more complex math. We are right at the beginning of Pre-Algebra and am so glad I focused a ton of those fundamentals.
A few years ago he decided to try out basketball. He had never played before but wanted to give it a shot. He made it onto the all-star team. He was shocked. Everyday, he would spend hours outside practicing his layups or drills his coach had showed him to work on at home.
We would spend time working on math, then we'd shoot some hoops. We'd go back to math for a bit, then shoot some hoops again. Eventually, he wanted to play a game that he made up.
For every hoop that you make, add one, for every hoop that you miss, take one away. He kept score throughout the game and was quick to let me know when I was lagging behind.
I saw this as a learning opportunity so I played along for a while then decided to test my theory.
I explained that the "take one away" is like a negative number and the "add one" is like a positive number. That brought up the discussion of the basics of working with negatives.
Sure, we have rules to learn and practice to do, but I know that he understands what he needs to in order to solidify the concepts in his mind. Working with integers is going to be a huge part of his schooling over the next few years and I am so glad that I took the time to mention this basic idea all those years ago.
This holiday weekend I took some time off of my part time job as a dispatcher to get some work done on a group trip coming up in October. It can be hard to balance everything, but the best part about have the flexibility is being able to do "school" when sis asks to and work on art projects in between!
Our last art-related project, Identifying Numbers Should be Fun! we worked on a fun way to identify numbers. Finn painted, identified and played until her little heart was content.
Her art project stays in the living room so she often wants to "play" with it. This past weekend, she said mom, let's write my numbers. Don't be fooled. She wasn't the one writing anything, but she wanted to tell me what numbers were that I wrote on a piece of paper. She can identify 1, 2 and 3 and this weekend we added in 4. This wasn't forced. This wasn't scheduled. This was HER idea. After 2 or 3 minutes she was over it and she wanted to play "teacher and student," but she's learning to love learning!
For this weekend's project, I simply wanted a fun way to paint fun pictures! If we could get some learning in, so much the better! But, I had no intention of any "lessons."
Like last time, we didn't have every item on the list of supplies we needed, but we improvided. Instead of paintbrushes, we used q-tips. Instead of water paint, we used food coloring. Instead of white paper, we used construction paper. At the end of the day, it all worked out fine!
Finn's job was to pick what color paper she wanted to use, grab some q-tips, stir the food coloring into the water, help put salt over the glue and paint the picture. Mom's job was to draw the picture, trace with glue, help with salt, and clean up as we went along!
I wasn't sure if we needed to wait until the glue was dry to start painting, but I figured, if we mess it up, we can start over. We are both too impatient to wait for anything to dry, so we went with it!
She did her own thing. Half-colored stripes, water-colored stripes. She was happy. So I was happy. I can literally watch her excitement shine through her smile everyday!
We decided on a heart for the next picture. She had the same job for this picture and she did for the rainbow. She picked the color and went with it!
If you look closely, you can see our German Shorted Haired Pointer, Riley in the background just anxiously watching. He's like one of us humans. I believe if he could figure out how to hold a paint brush with his paws, he would!
Our last picture was her name.
Not once did I ask her "what color is this?" "How many colors are in the rainbow?" "Do you know the colors of the rainbow?" But I did say " pass me the yellow water, please." "Can you give me the red construction paper, sis?" "How many pictures do you want to paint, today?" These are all natural ways of testing her knowledge. This, in my personal opinion, is the most natural way of learning.
For my oldest, we need to work on those few lasts items to wrap up What Nature Teaches Us. If you've read any of my older post, you know writing and proper research is the big things for this year. I am going to have him write a paper on the anatomy of the spider, possibly the differences between the two spiders and I am sure he will draw a picture of one of both.
For this art project, I am going to have research why this works--- why does the colored water travel through the glue and salt? I am thinking he can find something on YouTube. I'm sure he won't be happy with me having him write a paper on his findings, but I know he would agree it's much better than writing a paper on himself or a famous author from the 1500s. I mean, I am sure we will get to that one day.
B, F & J
As a homeschooling mom who found that her children thrived more when living life together instead of being stuck in a classroom 8 hours a day, I turned my love of travel and educating my kids into the perfect mix: unschooling.