Sunday, October 9, 2016

Book Club Week 11 {Math and Magic in Wonderland}

Our eleven-week adventure through the book Math and Magic in Wonderland has come to an end.  If you were with us from the start, congratulations!  If you've just discovered the book club, it's not too late to join in the fun.  I'll be leaving the additional activities and videos for each chapter up on this blog so you can work through them at your own pace.

To celebrate our book club completion, I have some exciting announcements and a give-away you will not want to miss!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Book Club Week 10 {Math and Magic in Wonderland}

This week, we're reading Chapter 10 of the math adventure novel Math and Magic in Wonderland.  Join us as we explore square numbers, primes, the Fibonacci sequence in nature, acrostic poetry, time dilation, and more!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Book Club Week 9 {Math and Magic in Wonderland}

Can you believe we're already on Chapter 9 of the book club for the math adventure novel Math and Magic in Wonderland?  Join us this week as we catch thieves, double pennies, and eat mock turtle soup.. yum!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Book Club Week 8 {Math and Magic in Wonderland}

In chapter 8 of the math adventure novel Math and Magic in Wonderland,  Lulu and Elizabeth finally meet Mrs. Magpie.  Join us this week as we explore Boolean logic with Mome Raths and Slithy Toves, weight coins on a balance scale, and much more...

Monday, September 12, 2016

Book Club Week 7 {Math and Magic in Wonderland}

In chapter 7 of the math adventure novel Math and Magic in Wonderland, Lulu and Elizabeth collect and deliver a tribute of Tum Tums to the Bandersnatches.  To accomplish this, they must calculate the height of a tree and build a word ladder with the correct number of rungs.  They deliver the Tum Tums to seven bridges which, based on graph theory, look like the seven bridges of K√∂nigsberg.  Let's play along...

Monday, September 5, 2016

Book Club Week 6 {Math and Magic in Wonderland}

Chapter 6 of the math adventure novel Math and Magic in Wonderland centers around the classic "River Crossing" logic problem.  If you take the time to follow rabbit trails, however, there are so many more learning opportunities to be found...

Monday, August 29, 2016

Book Club Week 5 {Math and Magic in Wonderland}

Chapter 5 of the math adventure novel Math and Magic in Wonderland, is full of visual puzzles and "math art".  Crafts are always a big hit around here, and those involving fractals and tessellations were no exception.  Here's what we did...

Monday, August 22, 2016

Book Club Week 4 {Math and Magic in Wonderland}

In chapter 4 of the math adventure novel Math and Magic in Wonderland, we draw circles, find their centers, understand what Pi really represents, and learn about the "rabbit trails" that famous scientist followed.  Kids always do great with geometry because it is so easy to visualize.  I bought my twins new compasses in the "back to school" section of a local store (only about a dollar!) and they spent a lot of time making circle art and investigating the properties of circles...

Monday, August 15, 2016

Book Club Week 3 {Math and Magic in Wonderland}

The third chapter of the math adventure novel Math and Magic in Wonderland, was about cracking "secret codes".  This inspired me to put together an entire spy-themed week for my children.  I sent the kids on missions around the house where they had to find and decrypt each secret message to reveal the next clue. We enjoyed reading mysteries and watching the Spy Kids movie, but didn't forget that great spies are also good at math!  Join us this week as we play with cryptography, learn about permutations of letters, discover a new ending to "The Walrus and the Carpenter", play "Battleship" to practice finding Cartesian coordinates, perform a mathematical proof, and more...

Monday, August 8, 2016

Book Club Week 2 {Math and Magic in Wonderland}

In Chapter 2 of the math adventure novel Math and Magic in Wonderland, Lulu and Elizabeth solve two puzzles based on "ancient games of skill":  Tangrams and Magic Squares.  A squirrel (who loves to speak in puns) guides them in the right direction.  Were you able to solve the riddles along with the story, or did you go off on a tangent?  Join us for Week 2 of the book club...

Monday, August 1, 2016

Book Club Week 1 and Giveaway {Math and Magic in Wonderland}

Welcome to the Math and Magic in Wonderland Book Club!

Over the next eleven weeks, I'll be hosting a virtual book club based on my math adventure novel Math and Magic in Wonderland.

A copy of the book is all you need to get started on a grand adventure into the world of recreational mathematics (math as entertainment)!

Each week, we'll be playing with the math, language, and logic topics found in a single chapter. I'll be posting ideas for extension activities, videos demonstrating the concepts for the week, and additional resources. I'm really excited for the opportunity to share all the extra ideas that have been floating around my brain which I didn't have room to include in the book (as in Marco Polo's famous words: “I did not tell half of what I saw.”)

Monday, July 11, 2016

Reviews for Math and Magic in Wonderland

Some wonderful reviews have started coming in for "Math and Magic in Wonderland".  Please check out the reviews and follow these fantastic blogs:

"Puns, poetry, and plenty of puzzles. Tangrams, tessellations, truth-tellers and liars. History tidbits and many classics of recreational mathematics. 
No matter how challenging the topic, the book never talks down to the reader."
Review from Denise Gaskins, author of "Let's Play Math":

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Let's Play Math {Book Review and Giveaway}

"Why are you smiling?" asked my 7-year-old girl as she peered over my shoulder.  I glanced up from my book - "Let's Play Math" by Denise Gaskins - but before I could answer her question, my daughter disappeared.  A minute later, she returned with a piece of paper and a box of sparkly markers.  "Can I play too?"  I looked at the book on my lap and my smile widened.  My daughter had noticed this image on the open page:

We spent the next hour playing with the Fibonacci sequence (using crackers) and making patterns out of Tangrams. That's what I love about "Let's Play Math"; This book not only gives parents ideas for making mathematics fun for children, but it also provides concrete examples that foster a family culture of enthusiasm around math.  At our house, playing with math as a family is just part of life.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Upcoming Book Club and Math Circle {Math and Magic in Wonderland}

There is no Frigate like a Book  
To take us Lands away,  
Nor any Coursers like a Page  
Of prancing Poetry –   
This Traverse may the poorest take         
Without oppress of Toll –   
How frugal is the Chariot  
That bears a Human soul.
                               -Emily Dickinson

Have you ever read a book that you just had to tell all your friends about?  What about an enthralling math problem you just had to share?  If you nodded at the former suggestion and chuckled at the latter one, you are not alone!  One of the reasons I wrote my book, Math and Magic in Wonderland, was to make the world of mathematics as fun and accessible as the world of literature.

My family has been having such a wonderful time playing along with my math adventure novel, that I just have to share it with others.  Today I'm excited to announce the Math and Magic Book Club and Math Circle.  I invite other families to join us as we read through the book and "play math" together...

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Role Playing Games for Homeschool {RPGs for Kids}

A couple months ago, I read about Roleschooling from The article invited homeschooling parents to educate their kids through the use of Role Playing Games (RPGs).  I was intrigued, but unsure of my qualifications;  Afterall, unlike my husband who spent countless hours of his high-school years playing Dungeons and Dragons in friends' basements, I spent my time hanging out with the teenage deviants of my class and had never touched an RPG.  As someone who only embraced her "inner nerd" later in life, would I be able to not only learn how to play RPGs, but also use them as a teaching tool for my children?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Traveling Chair Art Activity

A couple week ago, the kids and I tried out an art lesson from the Getti Museum called "Chairs, Rooms, and Time Travel".  It turned out to be much more than an art lesson as the kids discussed history and geography, used descriptive words, and employed creativity.  Here's what we did...

Monday, June 6, 2016

Inspiring Kids to LOVE Math

It was a warm Saturday afternoon and the smell of fresh tortillas wafted through the Mexican restaurant. Scarcely had the food arrived before I roughly pushed my plate aside and began scribbling on a napkin at a feverish pace.  "What are you doing?" asked my younger sister, raising an eyebrow and swallowing a mouthful of food.  I mumbled something about Pythagoras and the tile floor.  I don't know if my sister shrugged, rolled her eyes, or stuck out her tongue in response; I was too busy writing to look up.  A minute or two later, I slammed my hand on the napkin dramatically.  "Q. E. D.!" I declared aloud.  My parents gave me an inquisitive look before continuing their meal.  I picked up my burrito and took a large triumphant bite.  My entire face glowed with a secret delight.  I was 14 years old, and I had just found a new proof for the Pythagorean Theorem...

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Da Vinci and Invention Theme

The kids and I have been having fun learning about medieval history this year in The Story of the World Vol. 2.  My biggest complaint regarding this curriculum, however, is that most of the stories focus on war, and there is not much attention given to the art, music, literature, and inventions of the Renaissance.  So wherever I can, I try to fill in the gaps by taking some time to explore influential figures of the time (who were not monarchs or military leaders).  Last week, the kids and I learned about Leonardo Da Vinci, and participated in a number of activities around the theme of "Inventions"...

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Learning about Clouds

The kids decided that they wanted to study meteorology, so we spent a week learning about the weather, mostly focusing on clouds. Here's what we did...

Monday, May 9, 2016

DNA for Early Elementary

One of the twins' (6.5-years-old) homeschool activities involves finding interesting encyclopedia articles and summarizing them.  Recently, L was especially fascinated by a photograph of a mouse that has a fluorescent green glow because it received jellyfish genes.  As a follow-up to all her questions, I decided to do a little DNA mini-unit for the kids...

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Homeschool Recap: April 18 - May 6, 2016

The kids have been engaged in a lot of self-directed learning over the past three weeks while I get my first novel ready for publication (details coming soon).  They've been cooking, sewing, inventing, and writing their own books.  The twins (age 6.5) have even been creating their own Preschool activities for little brother H (age 4.5).  Here's a summary...

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Welcome May!

I try to do something special to welcome each month in our homeschool.  Yesterday, we celebrated the start of May with a little maypole dance.  The girls danced with silk scarves around a broom handle while we watched some real maypole dances on YouTube.  This was integrated into our learning...

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Botany for Children

The kids and I explored the world of plants a couple weeks ago.  Botany is actually an ongoing science topic at our homeschool, especially with the arrival of spring and more opportunity for outdoor nature study, but I wanted to share some of the resources and activities we've already used...

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Creative Writing Activity {Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant}

The kids and I enjoy Jack Prelutsky's humorous poems. A couple weeks ago, we read (and listened to) his poems from Carnival of the Animals while dancing and making animal masks. This week ,we read Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant and Other Poems, which inspired a creative writing activity...

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Homeschool Week in Review: April 11 - April 15, 2016

Doing schoolwork in a plague mask?  It's just another day in our homeschool.  Here's what we covered this week...

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Homeschool Week in Review: March 4 - March 8, 2016

This past week felt lighter in "schooling", but the kids had plenty of time for play, creativity, and self-directed learning.  Here's an overview...

Friday, April 8, 2016

Learning About Tchaikovsky and Swan Lake

Last week we studied Russia, so it was only natural to do a little unit-study on Tchaikovsky for our Music lesson.  We read the book, Tchaikovsky Discovers America by Esther Kalman (the picture above is from the back cover)...

Monday, April 4, 2016

Parts of Speech Grammar Game with Plastic Eggs

Since we had plenty of colorful plastic eggs from Easter, I decided to use them for a fun little game to reinforce our grammar lessons on the parts of speech.  It was really simple to set up...

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Homeschool Week in Review: March 28 - April 1, 2016

Future homeschooler, Baby L (7 months old) is definitely part of the family - he falls asleep clutching a book!  The older kids had a good school week.  Here's a summary..

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Duct Tape Fashion Top

This isn't a new project, but I really wanted to share it.  A couple months ago, L (age 6.5), who is a little fashionista, asked me if she could sew herself a dress.  I wasn't quite ready to get all my sewing things out, so we decided to make it out of colorful duct tape.  L has watched Project Runway with me on occasion and was very excited for her own "unconventional materials challenge".  We winged it rather than following instructions, and it was actually quite easy.  Here are the steps we took...

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Homeschool Week in Review - March 21-25, 2016

We took a week off last week for "Spring Break" (which was really just a chance to let me and E recover from the flu).  Towards the end of that week, I asked the twins to take an online CAT test for 2nd grade.  They both did an excellent job, scoring far above average in each category.  It's good to know that homeschool hasn't left any major gaps in what they need to know (I always worry about this, since we got a slow start to the year with a new baby and we're picking and choosing pieces for each subject rather than going with a box curriculum).  This week everyone was feeling better and we're back to a school routine.  Here's what we worked on...

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Homemade Compass Experiment {Where the Mountain Meets the Moon}

L (age 6.5) is currently reading one of my favorite children's books, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin.  In this novel, the main character, a girl named Minli, makes her own compass using a needle and a bowl of water.  Since we were learning about magnetism and the Earth's poles in science, recreating Minli's invention was a perfect experiment.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Dancing with Degas: Artist Study

The kids and I have been so engrossed with science lessons over the past couple weeks, that we've been neglecting our Art and Music studies.  I found some fun (and free) art lesson plans from the Getty Museum.  We had a fabulous time with the one titled The Art and Depiction of Dance, about Edgar Degas.