If you’ve ever wanted to be in on the ground floor of a non-profit, this is your chance!
MISSION: To serve as many homeschoolers free, quality STEM classes as possible.
Log Cabin Schoolhouse is searching for six primary board members at this time: President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, Grant Writer, and Marketing.
These will be the founding board members helping to set up a non-profit that will aid in finding and delivering free, high quality STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) classes to homeschoolers in the United States. See the job responsibilities below and consider whether these jobs sound like you. We need highly motivated board members looking to truly create an avenue for homeschoolers to affordably obtain skills that will enable them to join the STEM job market place upon either high school or college graduation.
What if they went to office buildings? What if they were taught algebra by professional engineers and biology from biologists? What if they walked through the glass doors of an office building and had to interact with adults in suits in the hallways?
In the current design we build infrastructure to house children, then we build places to house adults. Separately. In the 80’s and 90’s it was popular to de-silo industry. We took a product and found the purchasing agents, distribution folks, engineers, and managers related to that product and arranged them in offices by product and not job function. Things sped up. Efficiency happened. What if we dismantled the silos that keep our students out of the marketplace? I know it sounds pretty radical, I mean, kids and businesses? Won’t that slow down corporate America?
Why do most girls want to be teachers? I have a theory that they see themselves in their mothers that primarily stay home, are teachers, or are nurses. Some women DO work in industry though. Some. It’s around 23% of all STEM workers are women. Women comprise 20% of engineering graduates, but only 11% of practicing engineers. What if our girls had direct access to those working STEM women?
I helped to create that statistic by getting an engineering degree, working for five years, then coming home to raise my kids. But I’m making it my come-back job to change this story for my girls’ generation. I’m going to share this vision every day from now on.
The ATM didn’t catch on right away either. How crazy, right? Money spits out of a machine and automatically deducts from my bank account? Crazy.
There has to be some tax benefits for companies partnering with non-profits like Log Cabin Schoolhouse is about to become. I imagine since my husband can write off his office space in our home as a telecommuter with Microsoft, there has to be a way to allow the business to write off the conference room that was donated to a group of students one day a week. I also know that companies like Microsoft pay non-profits when my husband volunteers his time. He worked for my girls’ cheer gym last year, which is a non-profit. They receive $25 an hour for his time. Kohl’s has a policy like this one. What if we partnered up with STEM companies like Microsoft, Apple, and Google that have office buildings in most states to have STEM professionals teach science, higher math, and programming to our students?
Here are the best free math websites that are available to homeschoolers. Follow along on this blog or the Log Cabin Schoolhouse Facebook Page for Monday Math Tips. I’ll try super hard to focus 80% on higher math sites. So, kids follow along too! There are endless amounts of websites that teach math. I want to help you find answers to all of your “problems”!
The first site I wanted to mention is Desmos! If you haven’t ever used www.Desmos.com you really should try it! I’ve included a knowledge-filled and succinct tutorial. My Geometry and Algebra students use it for graphing and in particular for transversals! Plus, it’s FREE! As will be every site I list on this post.
Next I’m going to give a site that is seemingly elementary math, but even though it is, this guy’s videos are colorful, fun graphics of math going all the way into pre-algebra. My favorite elementary math videos are by www.mathantics.com. They’re FREE, super visual, funny, and he gets right to the point in an intuitive manner! Check them out!
Need a good worksheet to really do some repetitive work? Sometimes that helps a lot for confidence in a particular skill. Check out Math-Aids Worksheets generator! You can make them for almost any math skill… Pair it up with any curriculum and fill any knowledge gap K-12 www.math-aids.com.
Check out Hippocampus for excellent videos teaching most high school subjects. Do you need a video on teaching angles in geometry? How about History or Religion? Physics? Biology? It’s all out there and this company didn’t just put them together themselves, they did some themselves and then researched all the other great videos on the internet and put the best of the best the internet has to offer all in one place!
Want to see if your student has completed elementary math? Are they getting a lot wrong in Algebra and you don’t know what happened to your progress? Prodigy Game is a site that focuses on K-8 math. You can get a FREE account for you and your students, allow them to do a placement test (with no assistance) and see where their holes are in their math knowledge. I did this with my 8th grader and we did just a few weeks review on only a small handful of subjects. Algebra is MUCH easier when their foundation is firm! Follow along for more tips! www.prodigygame.com
I seriously cannot believe it took me until number 7 to mention Khan Academy. This is probably the leading FREE math website anywhere. Khan Academy is on a mission to give a free, world-class education to anyone, anywhere. Their personalized learning resources are available for all ages. Video learning segments are followed by practice activities.
Someone asked me about TI Graphing Calculators and how they can help their teens learn to proficiently use them. I’m now recommending this really awesome online course. I’d assign it slowly over a school year and try to align it to their content in their curriculum.
9. Art of Problem Solving is the top math curriculum in existence. Yes, that sounds like an opinion. BUT, I have to say that it’s regularly stumped my husband and I with deep problem solving questions in the Algebra levels. Both of us have gone through Calculus IV in college. Therefore, this truly is a very special program. On this site you’ll find math discussions, competition information, and online classes kids can sign up for. You can find free videos on Pre-Algebra, Introduction to Algebra, Counting and Probability, MATHCOUNTS, and AMC. The founder of this program has a unique way of explaining the difficult concepts.
10. Corbett Maths! Straight from England, here’s a super site for summer or supplemental practice on any elementary or higher math topic you are looking for. There’s videos, worksheets, 5 a day worksheets for the entire school year, and on any math topic you’re looking to brush up on.
And I’ll have one new website each Monday until I run out of ideas!
I’m going to share the wondrous ways God has written math into our world. In this beautifully industrious culture we live in today, we are blessed in so many ways by the gift of mathematics, (think geometric shapes and the physics of ballet!) and yet, so many of us miss math as an essential ingredient to those gifts that we all enjoy everyday. We miss it because we are expecting something out of our math studies that we are misunderstanding as the main point. When we are expecting either a simple correct answer or a quick, easy hour of math, we miss the hour we could’ve spent struggling to understand where we might have used the language or even hearing about the ancient mathematicians, or seeing evidence of humanity inside those numbers.
“You have to learn pretty much everything by doing, and by struggling with it. Because that’s what the real world is, in the real world you just jump in.”
Salman Khan, Khan Academy
Yes. The struggle is real.
MATH IS EVERYWHERE
“Mathematics is the alphabet in which God has written the Universe.”
Galileo, Italian astronomer
Whenever I hear, “I’m just not mathy”, I immediately imagine what might have happened during that person’s schooling years. Math isn’t a race. In order to truly define oneself as not mathy, they must not have been given enough time or enough of the wonderment. I’m so convinced, I need to share this message!
So where in YOUR life does Math elude you? The place where math is hiding, you don’t know it’s there, but it most certainly is essential.
In our cell phone world, we all take pictures. Have you ever taken a photo like the one above? Do you see the sunlight peaking down through the trees? That is refraction of light. In photography, refraction has the same rules as in physics, because there is only one refraction or bending of light. Photography IS engineering and physics if it’s done well, and as an art that moves it’s audience. If you’ve ever taken a beautiful picture like this, I’d argue that you do know math even if you think you don’t. It’s in your blood.
Have you ever wondered how billiards champions make such precise shots? Billiards is nothing but geometry and physics. You have to take into consideration the cue ball and how it hits the object ball. Does it have spin? If so, there’s a top and bottom of the ball. In that instance you can make assumptions about the angle the cue ball with turn after impact. Learn math to be a champion billiards player! This might be a fun side study for a Geometry student!
Figuring out Bills
We all use electricity. Formulas are available to help us figure out how companies prepare our bills. For instance, your electric bill is based on the kilo Watt hours of any electrical devices you use monthly in your home. Does it feel like the company’s whim when your bill comes in the mail? Or do you know how they calculated the value you are responsible for paying? You can go to this site to figure it out, but it’s basic Algebra! It’s definitely not best practice to just pay whatever someone tells you. There’s always the potential for human error.
Logic Brain Training!
Remember when you were little and you learned how to put different shaped objects through similarly shaped holes? You were training your brain to do logic. After shapes, you learned to count. This trained you to start to see patterns in your world. Skip counting and multiplication facts further exemplified this pattern recognition. Around age 12 you probably started learning about “x” and finding patterns in the question as well as in the answer became the new challenge. The one thing the same from the day you picked up the first block was the “challenge”. Even if you never answer the question of “solving for x” in your adult life, you will always be served challenges or solving problems. Always. Algebra is the brain training that will help you with adult, real world problem solving. The Arabic word, “al jabr” actually means “the restoration”. And balance is a goal for us in all areas of our lives. The video shows the history of the word “Algebra”.
Where will you Work?
I’m willing to bet that any industry has algebra as an ingredient into it’s greatest successes. I used to work for Technicolor, the company that duplicates and distributes Warner Brother and Disney videos. The first year I was working in their Detroit office, the management made the decision to consolidate six buildings into one very spacious Livonia, Michigan office. There were racks of inventory in all six buildings that would be moved into the one new, large building. The old racks had a numbering system and the new racks needed a numbering system. Then the inventory needed to be intelligently guided into the new building in some sort of order and at a decent speed and quality rating. Going slow and losing inventory would cost money. I was given the task of running that system because I didn’t mind the task of figuring out that algorithm. The job was just “Inventory Clerk”. I didn’t consider it a mathy job, but it became one because I rose to the challenge. I was hired in alongside two other college graduates that told me they couldn’t have done what I did because they weren’t mathy.
Nurses need to know high level math!
I tutored an adult friend of mine last year through her college math classes. She had to know calculus! Think about it, calculus is just limits or ranges. And every medicine has a range of goodness. Not enough of a medicine and you don’t fix anything. Too much and you could kill someone. That is calculus or limits in a nutshell, and all nurses need to know about it. Come to think about it… shouldn’t all parents understand limits?
Algebra opens up other fields of study…
Algebra is the gateway to a multitude of fields of study: biology, chemistry, physics, engineering, computer science, economics, food science, environmental science, medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, psychology and social sciences. Is it really worth it to not do well in one class, that you may close that many doors?
“Mathematics is the key and door to the sciences.”
Compound Interest is hard to understand without Algebra
If you hope for an easy life where you can afford to work at a comfortable pace and perhaps retire someday with money in the bank, then algebra is an avenue you may want to travel down. There are two types of savings if you had to break them down simply. One is simple interest on your savings, and the other (better) option is compound interest. As long as you don’t plan to keep your cash under your pillow or mattress, you’ll be saving your money to the tune of either simple or compound interest in a bank. In order to understand compound interest and to have any sort of control over your own money, you’ll need to understand the formula of how your savings will grow differently and more quickly with compound interest. Trust me, you want to know this. Here’s a site that will explain how to calculate compound interest.
Math truly is in Everything. Galileo was correct when he said Mathematics is the alphabet from which God has written the Universe… It is balance, restoration, and beautiful.
Ten important things must be done to succeed at higher level math as a homeschooler.
Use graph paper. Some of the most basic skills are what lead to the best accuracy and thereby good math grades. Graph paper forces students to line up each place value purposefully.
Use pencil. Seriously, Einstein made mistakes.
Square every answer. If students draw a careful square around each and every answer, they will get used to both looking for the squares on their work saving themselves time in grading, and they will begin to enjoy seeing their neat work.
Memorize math grammar or knowledge such as formulas, vocabulary, and rules. Most people think they’re done memorizing after they conquer their multiplication tables. That’s false if students want higher math to go quickly, and without added stress of shuffling back and forth through their text. Keep memorizing. Know that when people tell you NOT to memorize they don’t mean, not to learn the concept. They mean don’t memorize only to forget it. Learn it.(Checkout Log Cabin Schoolhouse’s Algebra Club curriculum. Coming soon for sale!)
Know how to find videos. There are a few really great math websites for explaining math concepts, such as www.mathantics.com and www.khanacademy.com. Beyond that there are literally millions of sites where really smart people have explained problems. Knowing how to quickly find just the right video can be a real skill. Students must know the vocabulary of what they are learning so they can figure out the basic context of what they don’t understand. So, first define your question’s vocabulary, then search on the most significant words in the question. (Here’s Log Cabin Schoolhouse’s favorite free math websites!)
Take notes! If a student were in a classroom setting they would get a lecture on new math concepts and they would be forced to diligently note everything the teacher explained in a notebook designated just for this course. Why would it be any different for a homeschooler? Take notes!! Maybe even consider getting a three section notebook large enough for Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, and Algebra 2. Imagine the wonderful keepsake you’ll have when you’re finished! (Some kids will want to color code it too… blue for vocabulary, green for formulas, black for rules.) Minimally, as you read the text, copy down all
important diagrams, and
Write neatly. I wouldn’t want a doctor to make the drawings for a bridge I had to cross. It’s simple. Neat math papers = accurate answers, which = good math grades and high standardized test scores. The other random effect that comes along with neat math work is confidence. How nice is it to hear, “Wow! Did you do this beautiful math test?”
Check each answer and rework incorrect problems. A student will never learn anything if they don’t do the work of correcting wrong answers. They will keep getting it wrong over and over again. Do the hard things!
Read and then re-read a question before moving on. So after a student reads the question their brain becomes occupied with doing the work. If a higher level math problem takes them fifteen minutes to work out, there’s a good chance they’ve forgotten the details from the question like what units the answer should be in, or if it were a two part question. Re-read the question after finding and squaring the answer.
Know every word’s meaning in the assignment. If you don’t know the difference between a coefficient and a constant, write them in your notes and look up the definition. If the student doesn’t know them how can they get the right answer? Do they know the difference between a mathematical statement and a mathematical equation? Words matter in math too.
There you have it! Ten tips that will, in all likely-hood, lead to stellar grades and test scores! Go through all of these and count up how many your student already does in their day to day math work. Work towards doing all ten by the end of the next school year. New habits take 21 days to become permanent! I have faith in you!
Where are all the Honors Math Programs for Homeschoolers?
It’s time to host an elementary school Honors Math class!
I seriously cannot wait until this Fall for this class to start! Please come along for the ride so we can start a movement in our homeschooling communities because we have a lot of brilliant kids among us!
What if we could gather 8-10 kids and walk them through math as a gang? What if after that we could, as a team, conquer Art of Problem Solving Pre-Algebra? Yes, AOPS for any mom! I see teamwork as a way to raise the bar for more of our kids.
There are already ways to get great math advice in homeschooling circles. Currently, we can hire tutors, send our kids to Mathnasiams, send them to a co-op, or do online classes. But what about an actual honors class that will really push the love of mathematics to any child? Let’s grab a curriculum that goes deeper than any other and gather kids and their moms and really dive deeply! We can do this!
I took to the home school pages on Facebook a few weeks back searching for other teaching plans for this idea and low and behold I think I’ve stumbled onto a new idea… Some people even said, “Please keep me in the loop if you try it …” We collectively tend to fear math, but I beg you to join me and believe in ourselves. I want to see the bar for homeschool math raised, and I want us to do it one day at a time…
I’m going to map out my thoughts here and I’ll come back as the year progresses and update this post as I grow this class. I’ll be learning ways to teach this class as I go through this school year with my first group of kids. I’d love for other mama’s to join me and tell me their thoughts as well!
First of all, did you know that angles in geometry and trigonometry were named after the angels that ancient sailors believed were guiding their ships? Math has a fun story! Get to know it from a different perspective if the one you’re coming from isn’t working – or even if it’s working, but you also want to raise the bar.
Curriculum: There are two curriculum choices on the market that dive deeply; Beast Academy and Singapore. The first has levels 2-5 created as of the current date. BA is the leader in diving deep, almost to the exclusion of repetition work which some kids need. Critical thinking skills abound wihtin this program. Singapore has K-6 like most programs. It walks smoothly through the skills learned in elementary math with some repetition, but not spiral repetition. So it’s actually a great workbook to pair with BA. In my first bash at this idea I’d recommend BA as a primary spine with Singapore or Prodigy, which I’ll address below, for the added repetition a child may need. (I’d love to have a list of BA chapters aligned with Singapore chapters if anyone has done that yet.)
Supplements: Places that I’ll find teaching resources to supplement the primary spine:
Math Antics – This is, IMO, the BEST place to find videos to show any elementary topic in a fun way to your child.
Khan Academy – Most people have heard of Khan. It’s very thorough! More thorough than Math Antics, but not as fun and colorful. Definitely a great choice to explain content.
Prodigy Game – This game is a colorful, fun game that my kids say is a cross between Pokemon, Zelda, and Khan Academy. Mom can select what standards she wants to see her child learning. Then Prodigy tests the child out of skills they know and reveals what they don’t know. It doesn’t have videos explaining content. You have to go to Math Antics or Khan for that. Then send them back into Prodigy to “play” through the content you just revisited with them by assigning quizes. I have a post explaining more on Prodigy HERE.
Agenda for class:
Read the comic aloud, like Reader’s Theater, after handing out character assignments. Funny voices mandatory!
White board lesson on weekly topic. Simple handout or workbook page in class.
Assign a prodigy buddy for the week and homework.
Games. Addition Facts/Subtraction Facts/Multiplication Facts Around the World each week. I’ll do a separate post eventually on great classroom math games.
Where are you headed? Do you have a K-12 math path for your kids?
No it doesn’t have to be solid. It just has to exist to be altered along your journey.
Here’s mine for my 3rd grader.
So tell me what you all think? If you’re local, join me!
So math seems to make your child cry? Does it make them jittery and unable to sit still? How about angry? Does it actually make you think you don’t recognize them and you want your happy-go-lucky lovable kid back?! I mean, just a second ago you were laughing and telling jokes and now you know your entire school day is shot. Well, read on. I have the magic wand. I’m not selling anything either, by the way. I’m just an Engineer turned Homeschool mom who’s always searching for the next best tool for casting a love spell on my kids so that they will love math as much as I do.
Prodigy Game has been invigorating for our Homeschool. And I’ve mentioned it to a number of friends and believe each of them have seen something similar to what I’ve seen. I should repeat that I’m not a sales person for this game either.
So what is Prodigy you ask??? When I first heard how popular it was with kids I wanted to get on it right away too. No, it’s not a curriculum in itself. It’s better used as a supplement. In my Homeschool we are starting Beast Academy this year with my little guy and my older girls are both in Art of Problem Solving. But two of them love Prodigy now, and the little guy does it daily “for fun” in addition to an hour inside his main curriculum daily too. My 13 year old thought it was fun just to level herself one day and see if she could pass out of elementary math on it and she got herself all the way to 8th grade math where it gave her some geometry that stumped her. This summer I’ll have her play it to freshen up on her decimals and fractions because… why not… she’ll be happy to get to do battles and score some points with it anyway!
Back to the main question: What exactly IS Prodigy Game? Well, my kids describe it as a cross between Pokemon and Zelda with Khan Academy math questions as the battles. I love that it’s totally free. Always. Kid tested. Mother approved.
Here’s how we use it. First, we use our main program one hour a day for four days a week. I’ll make another post on how we do Beast Academy next. This year I’m creating a co-op class that will be Honors 3rd Grade Math. I’m super excited about it! But, Prodigy will be at a set time each day and my 3rd grade son will FaceTime with a friend while he plays. They can usually do about 25 math problems in that hour they think is social time. That’s what’s happening on the front end. The kids just think they’re battling each other. And they love being able to talk to each other during their Homeschool Day.
I’ve created quizzes or standardized tests on the back end and the questions I’ve assigned are being passed to him unknowingly. Only I see the quiz or assignment results. So, for instance, there are about 18 standards in the second grade for my state. Since he was leveled the first time he went out there I knew right away a few of the standards he already passed. Then I slowly, over a few months, tested him out of the rest that he already knew. Then I spent a few days doing white board lessons on some of what he didn’t know yet. Some of it would come up in his curriculum and he’d learn it naturally. What ended up happening though is we got ahead into the next grade level’s standards pretty quickly and now we’re moving ahead at a faster pace simply because of that regular 25 questions and his new love for math. I could never get him to sit still for so much math practice, happily.
I would love to answer any questions you might have about how to utilize this program in your school. Or comment below if you use it another way. I’d love to hear from you!
Homeschool and Cyber School Moms, are you ready for a trip to the ballet with your kids?
Come see MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM at Whitaker Center for the arts by Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet.
Taking a child (K-12th grade) to the ballet can be really exciting! In our home we’ve had a ballerina for the past four years and all of us have learned a great deal about arts appreciation. I’m going to pass on some different ways to learn a little bit each time your family attends any sort of theater, but in particular, the ballet.
This is Krystal (age 14) from Carlisle, a Grantham Classical Conversations Homeschooler who has danced at CPYB since she was 11.
This Spring Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet will be presenting Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. If you do plan to attend it will be a good idea to pick through this post and learn a little about any number of categories; ballet/pantomime, Shakespeare, or Midsummer Night’s Dream.
WHAT? School Show of CPYB’s Midsummer Night’s Dream by Shakespeare
WHEN? Friday, April 13th, 2018 10AM
WHERE? Whitaker Center for the Arts in Harrisburg, PA
COST? Students $6, Chaperones $12.
HOW TO PAY: I’m accepting payments via PayPal only so I can easily keep a register of who is paid/going. My PayPal account name is paypal.me/JenniferWolverton. In the comments please include names and ages of whom the tickets are for. If you Click on “Friends and Family” we can avoid fees.
Meet in the lobby and we all go in together. There are no paper tickets for the school show.
This is Rylan (age 15) from Carlisle, a 21st Century Charter Cyber Schooler who has danced at CPYB since he was 10.
WHAT IS BALLET? According to the Pittsburgh Ballet, “ballet is an art form created by the movement of the human body.” There are different kinds of ballet as well, which you can read about on this link. CPYB tends to perform purely classical ballets.
This is Abby (age 9) from Carlisle, a Carlisle Classical Conversations Homeschooler who has danced at CPYB since she was 7.
HOW CAN I UNDERSTAND PANTOMIME? Well, I have found just the video from The Royal Ballet where they have presented for about six minutes some basic mime language. I never knew before my daughter started dancing that there was an official set of terms and movements used in all ballets that once learned made theatre going much more enjoyable. I’d imagine your children will find it to be like reading a Look-and-Find book or a treasure hunt to seek out these movements at their next ballet!
This is Makayla (age 13) from Hummelstown, a Hershey Online Academy Cyber Schooler who has danced at CPYB since she was 6.
WHO IS CPYB? You can read about this children’s ballet company here. A typical week is 30 hours of ballet. Many of the children at CPYB are boarding with local families so that they can be trained at this very special school.
This is Sage (age 8) from Gettysburg, a Carlisle Classical Conversations Homeschooler who has danced at CPYB since she was 2.
WHO IS SHAKESPEARE? That is the question! Depending on the ages of your kids, where you want to go looking for information on this could vary. I’ll suggest just a few here and acknowledge that there will be many places beyond this that you could look.
This is Daniel (age 12) and Keely (age 12). Keely is from Mechanicsburg, a 21st Century Cyber Charter Schooler who has danced at CPYB since she was 3. Daniel is from Carlisle, a Carlisle Classical Conversations Homeschooler who has danced at CPYB since he was 8.
If you’d like to attend the April 13th 2018, 10AM school day performance of this production feel free to reach out to me. I sell Homeschool and Cyber School tickets only. I’m happy to refer schools to CPYB as well. Just leave a comment below!
Do you want to teach your kids to learn their elementary science facts FAST? Check out this deck of about 120 science cards that you can set out by group and memorize quickly. A good idea is to go through the cards once a week along with reading picture books on these topics to solidify the meanings of the terms.
My visual learner (who also created the cards!) laid them out in front of her and grouped and regrouped them until she could picture the groupings in her mind. For instance, when you have to memorize 9 planets it’s easier to put them into some sort of order. Obviously you’d put them into their planetary order. But what if you also put them in alphabetical order and then thought about how many planets started with the letter “M”? After playing with the cards for a while, then opening up a book on planets you’ll picture the groupings in your head while you read and deepen your knowledge on the topics.
I hope you enjoy them as much as we do! They were created with love by 12 year old Mercy. You can read her bio and support her science passion on the page I will be creating here on this blog next school year.