Kalahari Day 5

Today was our last day at Kalahari.  It was hard to say goodbye, but it will also be nice to sleep in our own beds tonight.


We checked out at 11 and loaded the vans, then L & I let the girls burn up their arcade and gift cards.  We started in the arcade.  This year, the girls were old enough to go by themselves.  They used their own money to charge the arcade cards and my two shared a 40-credit card that we got for having lunch at the resort’s restaurant.  Periodically, they would pop in to the cafe where L & I waited, and showed off their tickets and prizes. I think it was a great confidence-booster for all of them, but especially the younger two (A9 and O8), who are both rather shy.



After the arcade, the kids took their $20 gift cards (they received those for hosting the Wild Imagination funshop) to the gift shop. S10 picked out a mermaid doll with matching purse; O8 chose a small stuffed cat. The balance was spent at the candy counter.

We stopped for lunch at Panera in Sandusky with L & A9, and made it home by 5:30. Goodbye til next May, Kalahari!


Akron Mini MAKEr Faire

Today we attended the mini MAKEr faire at the Akron main library. We saw a lot of really neat exhibits and had a chance to test out a 3D printer.


In the evening, after telling DH about all the fun stuff we saw at the faire, we made matrices for fun.




3.14159 Is Delicious

My husband is a pie fanatic.  He’s also an engineer, which means he’s a big fan of π.   Once, when I made him the only kind of pie he will eat his favorite, an apple pie, he though it would be clever to ask me if I’d cut him a slice of “3.14159” to avoid having to share.  S9 caught on and wanted to know what that number meant.  This led to an interesting, but cursory, discussion of Pie vs. pi.  So now, we only bake 3.14159s.  That also explains why this cartoon is hysterically funny to us:

Today we baked a pi(e) and decided it would be fun to play around with pi and our pie.  We decided to calculate the area of the crust.

Measuring the diameter of our pie.
Calculating area of our pie with pi

Lesson learned: the area of a 12″ pie crust is 113.097 in².

Oh, and pi can be very delicious.  😉

Year-End Math Summary

Last fall we started with the Saxon math curriculum. At first, we loved it. But as time went on, both the kids and I began to dread math. This particular curriculum was entirely too repetitive and did not fit their learning styles at all. S9 is a very goal-oriented learner; she wants to get the right answer and move on. O7 is dealing with some anxiety and insecurity about various performance-based things, including writing (of all things!). She found the worksheets incredibly stressful and frustrating. The turning point for me was when she had a problem that read something like this:

“Six girls are on a bus. Four girls get onto the bus at the next stop. Draw a picture for this addition problem.”

O7 read the problem, threw her pencil across the table and burst into tears. “I don’t WANT to draw TEN GIRLS!” she sobbed.

There’s no point in making her do extra steps that are just frustrating when the real point is to get her to understand the concept of addition, which she obviously gets. So we quit Saxon math right then and there.

Since then, we have focused on project-based math. Our favorite tool is the grocery store. I have started sending the kids on “scavenger hunts”, which is totally exciting because they get their own shopping cart and list, just like Mom. We started with simple things, like getting three items on a list (loaf of bread, box of cereal, block of cheese. Etc.) Then, I gradually added puzzles and problems. Here are some examples:

  • Get as many bananas for $1 as you can.
  • Compare Tropicana and Florida’s Natural orange juices.  Which one is cheaper per ounce?  Get one jug of the less expensive juice.
  • I use xx brand of coffee cream.  If it is more than $2, buy one carton.  If it is on sale for less than $2, buy two cartons.
  • Here are three brands of toilet paper. (a, b, c).  Which is cheapest per 12-roll package?  Get one package of the least expensive of the three.

Sometimes the scavenger hunt is just to get information, and sometimes we use that data later at home to figure out more complex problems.

  • Write down the prices of your top three cereal choices.   Also write down the number of ounces in each box.  (we figure out later which is the best deal)
  • Which is more expensive per pound: lettuce or carrots?
  • How much is Swiss cheese in the deli?  (Later we calculate the prices of a half-pound, quarter-pound, etc).
  • List three foods that are sold by the pound, three that are sold by volume, and three that are sold by the piece (such as bagels!)
  • I have a coupon for $55 cents off xxx item.  Giant Eagle will double the coupon.  What will the final price of xxx item be if I use the coupon when I buy it?

The grocery store has been a great tool because we go there every week anyway.  It takes me a little bit longer to write out my list, but that’s not a big deal.  The kids love to shop and work independently, and this is a skill that they will use their entire lives.

Meanwhile, we have been talking about what to do with math in the upcoming year.  The kids have started playing around with Khan Academy’s website, and really dig the online format.  S9 has already started teaching herself some geometry.  O7 likes working on the computer, though she is not as motivated to teach herself new things.  I think we are going to play around with it some more over the summer and see if it is something we can use for the long-term.  I love that I can be their “coach” and see what they’ve been working on.  We are thinking of using the “energy points” for some kind of reward system for O7, who is not quite as self-motivated as her sister.

Math Games and a Tour Eiffel

Today in our math work O7 was supposed to play a game of “Making Ten”. This is a simple card game where you remove the 10s and J, Q, Ks from the deck and use the remaining cards to make sums of ten. To play, place one each of the A, 2, 3, 4 & 5 on the center of the table. Deal five of the remaining cards to each player, and place the leftover cards in a pile facedown next to the center cards. First player can play any card in her hand on a card in the center that will make ten. For example, a 9 can be placed on the A (worth 1); an 8 can go on the 2, etc. Play continues in this manner until someone is out of cards. If you cannot play a card on your turn, draw two from the pile. I can’t believe how much they like playing this simple game. It is a lot like Sunya, but easier to set up.


We also worked on some items for the kids to display at the Kids Marketplace during our upcoming homeschool conference. The girls made bookmarks with craft (popsicle) sticks, glitter glue and construction paper. They have also made some little blank journals, mini journals, and even a photo frame. We need to think of a name for our little business venture and make a sign. I have a stack of posterboards and will have to remember to put a few in our luggage.

Later, we worked on O7’s Eiffel Tower puzzle, a 3-D model that one of her friends gave her at our recent Paris-themed birthday party. The puzzle/model was not that hard to figure out, but it was a little tricky in spots. It came out great, though. Now they have an Eiffel Tower for their LPS figures to visit. How fun, for the Pets to hang out in Paris!


Tonight we are headed to Open Gym for a few hours of activity. It will be good for them to have some time to burn off some energy. Between the weather and being sick, we’ve been confined to the house for a while now.

Symphonette 1-15-2013

S8 and I both ended up sick Sunday night, so we missed swimming and violin yesterday.  We are going to reschedule violin for later in the week, but swimming has a tight schedule and the policy is that if you miss a lesson, you are just out.  But missing was the only option, under the circumstances.

Today we felt much better and did our math and violin practice.  In the evening, I took S8 to her second symphonette rehearsal.  She was beaming when she came out.  Apparently she was able to play quite a bit of the music and felt a little surge of pride when she told me about it.  I am happy for her.


Young Historians Club, Session 2

Today was the second meeting of the 2012-13 “Young Historians Club”.

S8 forgot her folder, which contained all the memory cards she worked on from the last meeting.  She was very upset to discover she had left it on the bar at home.  But it was a good lesson for her about being responsible, and she ended up not really needing it for today’s class.  Fortunately, she had remembered her box of supplies.

Today’s topic was “Our Constitution”, and they focused on the actual document.  (Last month’s program focused on the men who wrote the Constitution.)  They learned about the articles and also the Electoral College.  Their homework is to make a flip book of the Bill of Rights.  I also have to print off a copy of the Constitution for her to put in the folder.

Next month’s topic will be “The Commander In-Chief”.

After Young Historians, we took O7 up to her gym class.  She had a proper leotard to wear tonight and was very eager to go.  I think S8 was a little bit jealous, but she managed to suffer through.  I let her play some Sudoku on my phone as a consolation prize.  She picked it up pretty quickly and now I think she’s hooked- just like her mother.