We’ve moved!

Quick note to everyone following this blog — I’ve moved over to a new website: http://realworldlearners.com. I’ve imported my list of followers from this blog, so you should continue receiving notifications of new posts over there.

pic of new website

A few reasons for my move:

  • I wanted my website to be more organized :). I set up the new site with pages for Math, Reading & Writing, and My bookshelf (an annotated list of books I recommend related to improving education). I will be adding pages for Science, Arts and Crafts, History, and excerpts of a book I’m writing — these pages will have links to all the posts I write on these topics so that they don’t disappear into the long list of blog posts.
  • I want to change my focus a little bit and make my website not just a blog about our family’s learning adventures but a source of recommended resources, inspiration, and digital products (free and paid) to help all students rediscover the joy of learning.
  • In line with this new direction, I will create and include more free printable pages in my posts. While I can’t individually teach or tutor on a large scale, I hope that the resources I share can foster happy math times in homes around the world :).
  • I want to help change the culture of Math Anxiety that our educational system produces. Learning is an integral and wonderful part of human experience and shouldn’t be used against students as a fear-inducing mechanism for promoting a one-size-fits-all, efficiency-based, tied-to-a-timeline agenda. We are all born with an unquenchable thirst for learning and understanding the world around us and how we relate to it — I want to foster that desire to ask questions and find answers in my own children and all students.
  • My blog (on the new website) will continue to be a record of my thoughts, research, and experience along these lines, and my website will be a homebase for resources I create along the way.
  • A self-hosted website just feels better than a “.wordpress.com” free blog as I continue forward. 🙂
  • Note: I’m leaving this blog as it is. I decided not to import it into the new website because I didn’t know if all the redirects would work, including all my pinterest pins that linked to this site — or if I would end up with slower page loading times from the redirects and a host of broken links since every internal link would have a new url. So instead I moved every post over by hand and changed every link individually. Not sure that was the best life choice … but it’s done and ready for you! 🙂 I may write occasional posts about lessons I’ve learned about blogging and running a small business from home … stay tuned!

Thank you all for following along! Feel free to take a look at the new site — it’s been a work in progress for a few weeks over here :).

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Math Monday: Free interactive journal page download for Shapes Practice (Pre-K – 1st grade)

Beginning our Preschool Interactive Math Journals

Preschool interactive math notebooks with free printables for activities to try at home

Our new math journals 🙂

I started a simple interactive math notebook with N this week as a way to gather and document some of our learning moments — mostly for fun and something to look back on later, since he’s still only 4 and I want to establish a pattern of happy encounters with math :).

I was watching him cut something out with scissors and realized he’s probably ready to try practicing cutting things on actual lines, so I drew some basic shapes on different colors of construction paper and asked him if he could cut them out. It was definitely good practice, although a bit of a stretch to follow ALL the lines ;).

I pulled out some of our new composition notebooks we had picked up at Walmart (I CANNOT pass by a pile of cute composition notebooks during back to school sales without picking out more for our collection! So now I’m tasking myself with creating tons of interactive journals :).) Continue reading

Parenting hacks: the toy conundrum

We haven’t mastered many parenting topics, but every once in a while we accidently run across a great trick that solves one of life’s little problems, at least temporarily.

Our latest and greatest discovery has been … the garbage can! Or at least the threat thereof ;). 

A bit of backstory here: the dreaded B word (BORED) has begun to surface in our house – the kind of bored where the boys throw every couch cushion and pillow on the floor, jump on them like little hooligans, then flop down and complain that there’s nothing to do. 

My response usually goes something like this:

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Digital Marketing OVERWHELM … and my “No More Tears for Math” mission

For the past several months (maybe a year by now), I’ve been diving in deep trying to figure out how this online world of marketing works. I’ve been signing myself up for ALL the email lists and webinars and reading (almost) ALL the websites … pretty much doing everything except actually paying money to someone to show me how it all works.

There’s a lot of people out there who could definitely shortcut the circuit for me and get  me straight to the good stuff and help me set up a business in the virtual world. But I’m a little bit stubborn and a lot bit money-less. If everybody who figured this out did so on their own, why can’t I as well? <ha!> Continue reading

Crafts with Kids 101: My Aha! moment

We took the boys to a nearby children’s museum today, which is basically a “hu-normeous” (as my 4 y.o. calls it) building full of toys and activities for kids. We have a membership account with another local one, so we get 50% off several children’s museums in their network. This year we bought memberships passes to the zoo and the children’s museum, and between those two we have access to unlimited entertainment for the boys — well worth the price! 🙂 Continue reading

Math Monday: Exponential growth (for young kids)

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We went camping recently and on the way back home we stopped at the top of the mountain pass to see some amazing mountain ranges and catch a glimpse of our favorite volcano. (Lol, it’s not erupting — thankfully! — but that’s what our 4 year old always calls it.)

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Finding value in screen time: our favorite 15 netflix shows, dvds, and apps for young kids

screen timeIn the complex world of twenty-first century parenting, Screen Time can be the subject of much debate and anxiety.

Every family has different ideas and expectations about this subject. I certainly do not have it figured out. Also, my personal philosophy is in flux regarding the advantages and pitfalls of screen-bound entertainment and education. But …

we have managed to curate a list of several kid’s shows that both I and the kids like. We’ll try out new shows on Netflix every once in a while, but we have our go-to list of shows that (fortunately!) the boys don’t mind watching on repeat.

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Math Monday: RightStart curriculum

We went to our state’s homeschooling convention recently. After surveying the math scene, we ended up buying a beginning math set from the RightStart curriculum. We had been to a homeschooling convention a few years ago and I had been so impressed with this curriculum that I had purchased the Geometry set, thinking I could incorporate it into my classroom since I was teaching high school Geometry that year. Well, as it turns out, there was no time or energy to be found that year, so the entire set sits invitingly on my bookshelf, waiting for new homeschooling adventures instead. 🙂 I decided this year to pick up the first set in the series and start it slowly with my son. (This is not an affiliate post — just stories of our experience with it.) Continue reading

Newly released: fresh-off-the-press resources to help students understand and enjoy Math

logo v3I have a little bit of big news over here in our corner of the world — I’ve hit LAUNCH status!

Over the past few months, I’ve been drafting up and dreaming up plans to start a little company of some sort based on homeschooling/teaching products. I started playing around with the idea of turning some of the projects that I do with my own kids at home into larger lesson pack units. I began with some math games for young kids based on ten frames, and over the course of the next few weeks, my simple explanation of our home-made learning experiment turned into a 20-plus page resource with activities, teaching theory, and full explanations … and I remembered that I love doing this stuff :).

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Math Monday: Tessellations

This week in our spontaneous preschool* math adventures we’ve encountered tessellations, patterns, observations, arts and crafts, and dragons. (*Almost everything explained here could easily be duplicated with students of all ages; in fact, older students would be able to better understand and experiment with these ideas.)

tips fortidyingyourcloset Continue reading