Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bored: Just add Kids!

Some things are just more fun with children.  Swingsets, disney movies, spelling.  Even exercising is more fun with the kiddos.

Husband has been doing very basic exercises for about 2 months or so. He starts with sit-ups and push-ups.  Then does squats and jumping jacks.  He does them EVERY morning.  I try but don't.  He also does about 5 times more of each than I can.

But on the weekends, we do them as a family.  I do my sit-ups while laughing at Sugar (4) which makes them harder and more useful.  I do my push-ups mostly on an wall for now. (My upper body strength needs A LOT of work.) My 4 year old is on the wall under me, so she bumps her head on my abs if she goes too slow.  We do squats as partners.  Husband and Ginger (6) are paired, for height and commitment reasons.  I get stuck giggling with Sugar. (I actually think I get the better deal.)

Jumping jacks are done as a group and it is hard to keep count when watching the younger two.  Sugar is not at all coordinated and looks like a flailing, bird first out of the nest.

Now, as much fun as the giggling is, it is equally as sad when my 6 year old does more of everything than I do.  Sugar counts wrong, cheater. Ginger just has way more energy than I do, plus she weighs much less and has fewer years on her.

Do you detest physical exertion?  Grab a kid and try again.  I promise you will laugh.  PS.. The younger they are, the more you will laugh.

The very act of laughing is good for you, so go!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Math-U-See Review

(Not a paid post. Too Bad, So Sad.)

We have been using Math-U-See for 3 years now.  Ginger has used Primer, Alpha, and Beta levels and is currently using Gamma.  Sugar has started Primer level.

The gist is that your child (and you, if you like) watch a 5-10 minute DVD lesson.  Then there are 3 pages of lesson practice and 3 pages of review problems.  Tests start in Alpha level.  In order to See your math there are manipulatives that are color coded for quick recognition.  The child will learn that brown is 8 (chocol-8 if you like.) The blue is 10. The red block is 100. The program is divided into concepts and each is given a latin letter designation.

One point I absolutely LOVE, is that they introduce Algebra at even the Primer level.  Example: B+5=10.  Very simplistic and it lays a foundation for the harder stuff.

We have used 4 levels so far.


I loved the concept when we started 3 years ago.We started when Ginger was 4 with a very simplistic Primer level.  This is the equivalent of a Kindergarten introduction to math.  Nothing is expected to be retained at this stage.  It is just teaching the kids what math looks like and what they will see.  

With Ginger, this was too simplistic for her and she was confident with her concepts.  I think we blew through these 30 lessons in about a month.  Yep, a 6 page lesson each day.  She ate this stuff up.  I was thrilled!

Sugar is taking longer.  This might not be the best program for her learning style.  I find she is less motivated than Ginger.  I do plan for her to work through Alpha and see if she picks it up once we reintroduce it to her in a more concentrated and less tasting menu type of way.


This stage is for all the basic adding and subtracting facts.  (About 15 lessons each.)  This level does a more thorough job of teaching the facts than the intro they had in Primer.  This stage concentrates on mastery.  It still has lesson problems and review problems, but this level adds a test page and an activity page.  Trying to make the math more fun.  Ginger took this at a much slower pace.  (It could have been because Sugar was distracting us both in her toddler phase.)


This level drives home the addition and subtraction facts and shows multi-digit usage.  Roughly 15 lessons each on carrying and borrowing.  The lesson set-up is the same, but there were no more activities in this book.  


Ginger is currently working through Gamma.  She is learning her multiplication facts.  The set-up is the same.  5-10 minutes for a DVD lesson, 3 lesson pages, 3 review pages and a test.  This program was made for Ginger and she is excelling at it. (She is learning multiplication at 6 years old.)


Delta is where we will start division.  I have not purchased this level yet, so I can't give you a run down on it's effectiveness.  

I do plan to continue Math-U-See with Ginger.  I need to evaluate Sugar's learning style before committing to the program with her, but for now we plan to keep using it, since I already have it on a shelf.  If Ginger continues at the rate she currently devours these book, she will be in Algebra at age 12.  As a comparison, I stated Algebra at 13.  She's a year ahead of me.  I better refresh my Calculus skills soon.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

+10 to All Hide Checks

I have a love/hate thing going on with this Creative Playscape at San Gabriel Park in Georgetown.  

I love the theory of kids playing in a labyrinth of castle walls and towers.
I love that most of it is shaded.
I love that it is taken care of and we don't come home with splinters.
I love that it has a fence around it with only 2 exits.

I hate that I have to get in there to find my kids.  I prefer to be able to glance over and see them.  Ginger was in a neon green skirt last time, so it was easier to see her.  Sugar was in muted colors so of course I could never find her.  I should have dressed them both in bright neons or at least Sugar, who at 4, is just a tad bit too young to roam free.

Since that is my only hate, I guess I just need to mom up and remember to dress them like highlighters.

(ps.. I apologize if your kids face appears in this photo.  I try not to post pictures of other people's kids and I just assumed no one was able to see anything in this like I was in real life.)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Magic Bean

Last year before Sugar's MDO program ended she brought home a little plastic cup of dirt.  She has watered that thing almost every day with out fail.  She taught the dirt how to swim, by over watering it. She was very invested in the growth of whatever was in the cup.  I had no idea what was supposed to grow in it and I think she forgot.

Magic Bean it is!  One day when she was preoccupied I pushed a dried bean into the dirt.  I think it was a navy bean, but that is not the important thing.  The important thing is that it has turned into this:

The other important thing is that Sugar has claimed it as the original whatever that was supposed to grow in this little cup.