We just finished our most intense math block of the year – introducing fractions for 4th grade, and basic arithmetic (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division) for !st grade.
The 1st grade math was fun – we used a story with squirrels gathering nuts (Addition gathers them a few at a time and puts them all in a big pile, Subtraction sorts out the bad ones and the ones to put away, Multiplication gathers the nuts in groups at a time, and Division divides them up fairly). An abacus has really helped her see what’s going on and keep track of the four operations. I wish I’d had one when I was teaching Mirin.
The fractions went well, too. We had a (gasp) workbook we used. It’s very schooly, but Mirin kind of liked that (at first). The nice thing about it being homeschool was that we went through and used it to introduce new ideas, but we skipped anything that he understood easily and would have just been busy work in school. One thing that was really great with the fractions was having a batch of home made play dough on hand. Play dough pies, snakes, and apples to slice up over and over again, and stick back together were wonderful. We also used real apples to solve a word problem in the Number Sense and Nonsense book about sharing 17 apples between four people. Then we made apple sauce.
It’s been fun, but we’re ready for something new. I like the method of working intensely with something, and then letting it rest. It seems like it works better than always juggling all the different subjects all the time.