I am a big fan of technology and I love to have it at my fingertips when educational opportunities present thenselves, at home or while we are out running errands. This list isn’t comprehensive but I tried to cover a variety.
This list is by no means comprehensive. It’s just to give you an idea of what’s out there to enhance your learning and to be your pocket “teacher’s assistant.”
Do you have a favorite science or math app?
I just love going to my local used home school store. The woman that runs it is a walking home school catalog. Her knowledge of all the different curricula is staggering. And there is where I happen upon most of my home school loves.
My newest favorite resources are these giant, yet unassuming books. They may not sound like a big deal, but they are–at least they should be.
I am in love with all the Teacher’s Book of Lists books (available at Amazon and other online bookstores). They are worth their weight in gold. Yes you can probably find all the information on the Internet, if you took months, and even then you may not find it all. Why put yourself through that? It’s organized and at your fingertips right in this book. For example, some things included in the comprehensive science book are:
And that’s just a few of other over 290 lists. In the literature book you can find 247 lists like vocabulary lists for all sorts of writing; lists by theme, genre and author; lists of award winners and books that have been made into movies. You can search by literary period, find a nice list comparing gods and goddesses and even lists of famous characters.
I think you get the point. You will be so glad you have these books on your lesson plan bookshelf. It is saving me so much time looking up things that I need to grab and move on. These book keep me from getting lost in the details, so I can focus on the principles I want to teach. These lists are great for illustrating principles, gleaning ideas for reading lists and essay questions and for just plain fact-gathering and they cover k-12, so there are no other books to buy (always a winner to me!).
If you prefer integrated studies, these are still valuable. You can use them as project starters, essay fodder and just general resource. Because they are broken down by subject you are able to hone in on just the info you need. You can also see who the subjects intertwine. And you can use them to make mini offices for your kids on any subject. If you aren’t convinced by now, you are a hopeless case. Or you have another easy source for all this information available at the tum of a page. If you’d like to share a favorite resource, please leave a comment. I’m always curious to know what other moms are using in the homeschooling.
It’s fun and easy to make your own math manipulatives. There’s no need to invest lots of money in these fun math helps. You can whip lots of these up in an afternoon, mostly with stuff you have around the house, and it’s fun to get the whole family involved. (These items can keep preschoolers busy too!) Decide what you really need, not just what your math program says you need. Then get busy and make your own alternatives to the pricey manipulatives. Continue reading →
I bought this book a year or so ago and wanted to give a review of it. Actually it will be more of a “why I like this book” kind of post.
Beyond Numbers: A Practical Guide to Teaching Math Biblically by Katherine Loop is the most helpful introduction to teaching math with Biblical principles that I have come across. She packs a lot of food for thought into less than 100 pages, and as a busy mom I appreciate that I can read it in one night.Chapters include “Where Did Math Come From and Why Does it Work?,” Math is Not Neutral,” and “Teaching Math Biblically.” It is a concise synopsis of math’s origin, exactly how to discover principles and how to teach them to your children of all ages. She also offers curriculum suggestions, supplement resources, and help to overcome challenges (which we all have with some child at some time).
BPA requires you to internalize the principles and ideas in order to teach them to your children and she does a good job of helping you do that.If you have a hard time with math yourself or if you struggle to get your children when math lessons come around, this book will bring the subject alive for you. As she states in the chapter “Adopting a New Heart Toward Math, “…I would encourage you to do more than just add Bible verses to your curriculum. Let God change your heart toward math….As you begin to see and use math Biblically yourself,you will be able to teach math Biblically to your children so that they too, can behold God in math.”
For more info on this book visit Christian Perspectives. They offer many mathematical resources.
We started back to school today. We go year-round and will finish up next July. My Princess S was terribly excited about the whole thing. Today we covered Bible, literature, math and English. We discussed scriptures and reasoned why we should study these subjects. Then we created cover pages for each subject. After a while of this Princess S (who is 5.5) was bored and wanted to do math. It reminded me of K with Princess G and she was bored too so I didn’t get upset because I now understand that learning is not always about being entertained.
In math today we were discussing that mathematics is God’s language. While we have been discussing that for a while now, I saw it in a new way. When we read Job 26:7 it clicked for me. Math is the language of God because everything is held together by math, and God spoke all things into being, so math is His language. WOW! He holds the Earth in space by math (His Word). That is amazing. Princess G thought it was “cool.” This is going to be a great year!
Oh, and I have to say that I’m already glad I decided to challenge Princess S because she is such a fast learner and catches onto things so quickly. We both would have been frustrated without more structure and substance to her lessons.
Princess G (8) and Princess S (5)
It’s fun and easy to make your own math manipulatives. There’s no need to invest lots of money in these fun math helps. You can whip lots of these up in an afternoon, mostly with stuff you have around the house, and it’s fun to get the whole family involved. (These items can keep preschoolers busy too!) Decide what you really need, not just what your math program says you need. Then get busy and make your own alternatives to the pricey manipulatives.
Does your family have any fun, homemade manipluatives? Let me in on it!
We use Ray’s Arithmetic at our house and I love it. We started with it (except for a little trial of Saxon a year ago), so dd doesn’t know anything else. I found a review of Ray’s that summed it up a lot better than I could. Even if you don’t use Ray’s there are still helpful things to know below.
In James Rose’s A Guide to American Christian Education, James Kilkenny lists things to consider when buying math resources (P. 249-250).
1. Statement of principles and rules. Ray’s Practical Arithmetic says
Every principle is clearly explained by an analysis or solution of a simple example from which a rule is devised. The application of the rule to the solution of problems of gradually increasing difficulty completes the presentation of the subject.
The exercises have been constructed with a view to affording the mental discipline necessary to strengthen the reasoning power and to giving the pupil a mastery over the problems that are sure to present themselves in the common walks of life.
Ray’s method is to explain a principle, analyze the principles, derive a rule and assign exercises to which the principles and rules may be applied (p. 249).
2. Overall organization
The logical organization of an arithmetic course is:
I. Skills of counting
B. Written (notation and numeration)
II. Categories of Application
A. Counting individual objects or individual groups
B.Counting equal parts
C. Counting units of measure
3. Are scripture references inherent to arithmetic?
Is the Scriptural foundation and use of the subject identified, or are the Scriptural references tacked onto each chapter as a pious exercise that bears little or no relationship to the nature of the subject? The teacher should do his own study of the Scriptural origin and purpose of the subject so that he will be able to intelligently apply this standard (p. 250).
What if you have already invested in another math curriculum? Mr. Kilkenny states:
“…the teacher who understands the organization of arithmetic can pick and choose useful exercises and statements of principle from books that fail to measure up to standards one and two.”
Things I personally love about Ray’s:
Or you can get the book version from Mott Media. They also offer workbooks that follow their books for extra drills.
While FACE officially recommends another math program, they have endorsed Ray’s in the past and offer Ray’s from their site. I also recommend FACE’s Mathematics Curriculum Guide. It’s full of helpful information, suggested scope and sequence and help for discovering and applying Biblical principles.
I am planning my lessons for next week. This takes quite a bit of time, even for my young ones. But it is a total labor of love. So my arithmetic lesson this week is a wonderful example of why I love the Principle Approach so much. Princess G needs to work on her numeric place value to 1,000,000. She’s doing okay but we need to continue to reinforce it. I was studying the principles that apply to this concept and I just had to giggle when I think about how good God is. As arithmetic is orderly and predictable, so is God. That’s good to know. But there’s more!
When studying place value you see that each number has a unique value in relation to all the other numbers. WOW! It’s a picture of the body of Christ:
Eph 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all
things, which is the head, even Christ:
Eph 4:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by
that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the
measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself
God speaks to us all the time in His creation. If I wasn’t searching out Biblical Principles I would never have considered this. We all have value according to God. He considered us of great worth, sending His Son to die for our sins. This value is constant and consistent.
When we talk about place value this week we will discuss this scripture and place value will take on a whole new meaning for her. This is what PA is about: finding the principles that the subjects come out of. Who knew you could find place value in the Bible? God did!
I hope you will consider your Place Value and discover what treasures God has given you for the body of Christ.
This is strictly my own interpretation of how to go through this section (which begins on p.231). It was authored by James Kilkenney.
Rabbit trail here: James Kilkenney’s wife is named Barbara. My parents are James and Barbara. James Rose’s wife’s name is…you guessed it. Barbara. Three James and Barbaras. Kind of odd, no?
I must say that I really enjoyed this section more that I thought I would. It’s really amazing how exciting a subject can be when you get to the principles, the reason behind it all. I love how easy it is to see God in math (which I elaborated on in a earlier post). So here we go.
Personally I use Ray’s Arithmetic. The lessons are constructed in a simple sequential order so there are no grade restraints. We are free to go at our own pace. If you like worksheets you can find them that coordinate with Ray’s for the different lower grades here. And you can get higher math–even algebra, calculus and trig for the high schoolers-here. (And it doesn’t hurt that an entire K-12 curriculum on CD-ROM with teacher’s keys–a 20-volume set– is $59 !) But of course use what you are comfortable with.
When you read Mr. Kilkenney’s writings I hope you’ll consider planning lessons and teaching math yourself, and not simply going through a textbook. Especially in the lower grades it is so satisfying to instill these biblical principles that will last a lifetime. For more along this same train of thought read Lisa’a great post here.
Mathematics is one of my favorite subjects to discover using the Biblical Principle Approach to education. It reveals God’s character and nature in such an understandable way. God uses the language of math to give us insight into who He is. Math is infinite. It is orderly. It is predictable. It is universal and unchangeable. It is so easy for me to see God’s image in math.
One more thing I want to highlight. On p.239-240 of James Rose’s book, A Guide to American Christian Education, the author discusses the “Principle for Solving Problems.” In Isaiah 33:22, God reveals Himself as judge, lawgiver and king. (This triune principle is repeated many times–in the Trinity, in our civil government, in our homes.) This applies to mathematics as planning, application and checking. These steps apply to any problem at any time. When Princess G understands this she can solve any problem because she understands the principle behind it.
This is but one example of the difference between PA and other Christian forms of education. We don’t just stick a Scripture on it and call it “Christian education.” PA seeks out the foundational principle behind the subject and glorifies God in everything. It is not a method, it is a philosophy of government, and hence, of education. For more information read here. And check out Lisa’s thoughts on this subject.