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Hunting for board members!

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.

If this excites you, as it does me, be sure to reach out to us at Log Cabin Schoolhouse!

Role of the Board of Directors:

  • Playing a top leadership role for our organization, the Board of Directors provides strategic, generative, and fiduciary oversight. This includes:
    • determining the mission and purposes of the organization
    • selecting and evaluating the performance of the CEO
    • strategic and organizational planning
    • ensuring strong fiduciary oversight and financial management
    • fundraising and resource development
    • approving and monitoring the organization’s programs and services
    • enhancing the organization’s public image
    • assessing the organization’s performance as its governing body

BE SURE TO CONTACT US TODAY!

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Best FREE Math Websites

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”!

  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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.
  4. How about games? Need games? Check out PhET Interactive Simulations for FREE math and science games you can play online!  https://www.commonsense.org/educa…/videos/phet-in-30-seconds
  5. 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! 
  6. 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
  7. 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.  
  8. 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!

Jen @ Log Cabin Schoolhouse

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Beauty and Power in Mathematics

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.

Photography

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.

Playing Billiards


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.”

Galileo Galilee

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.

Jen at Log Cabin Schoolhouse 😉 

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Winning at homeschool math!

Math Tips

Ten important things must be done to succeed at higher level math as a homeschooler.

  1. 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.
  2. Use pencil. Seriously, Einstein made mistakes. Einstein Math
  3. 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.
  4. 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!)Exponent Laws picture
  5. 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!)Math Antics
  6. 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
    1. vocabulary,
    2. formulas,
    3. important diagrams, and
    4. rules. 
  7. 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?”
  8. 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!
  9. 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.
  10. 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!

Jen @ Log Cabin Schoolhouse

Algebra Club

Check out Algebra Club here!

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Beast Academy as a Homeschool Co-op?

Log Cabin Schoolhouse

Where are all the Honors Math Programs for Homeschoolers?

It’s time to host an elementary school Honors Math class!

Yes!

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!

Jen at Log Cabin Schoolhouse

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Homeschool Math Review by an Engineer Mom

Hello,

I’m an Engineer turned Homeschool Mom here to give you my Homeschool Math Review based on the math experiences we’ve had in our home through various curriculum.

First of all, here’s my kiddos and their math adventures…

Daughter 1: K-4 – Public school, 5th – Singapore 3A, 3B, 4A, 6th Singapore 4B, 5A, 5B, 7th due to recommendation by Classical Conversation we moved to Saxon 8/7 (where she did spectacularly), 8th Saxon Algebra I (again doing great.) My future plan with this child is 9th Saxon Algebra II, 10th Saxon Advanced Math, 11th Saxon Calculus, graduating early with 5 credits of high school math and possibly some college if we can do Calculus at a community college, which is a consideration for 11th grade.

Daughter 2: K-3 – Pubic school, 4th Singapore 4A, 4B, 5th Singapore 5A, 5B, 6th She has just begun Art of Problem Solving PreAlgebra 1-2 where she’s doing wonderfully. With this child we plan to do Art of Problem Solving for the next few years. She’s still a bit young so we don’t have as solid of a plan for her yet.

Son 1: K – Singapore PreMath, 1st Singapore 1A, 1B, and 2A, and the plan is to try Beast Academy 2 or 3 next year! I cannot wait to use those books!

Over the years I’ve had to go anywhere from intervening a little, to being a fully immersed teacher depending on both where the kids were with the skills and the program.

Here’s my thoughts on each of these math programs!

Singapore: Just WOW! I loved how this program literally rescued my oldest from public school math when we first brought her home. Its brightly colored pages and quick mastery studies allowed us to enjoy math at a time when we were back tracking by 2 years. This could’ve been a very traumatic time for her and it WASN’T! The word problems have been engrained in her mind and she can intuitively do them in Saxon quickly, which is nice as Saxon tends to be a lot of “work” or take a lot of time. If she wasn’t quick, it might be stressful. Again, it’s NOT! They call this program a master program since concepts are taught in depth and reinforced before moving on to the next skill. There are reviews and large section recaps, but otherwise once you master a concept you’ve moved forward to dig into new concepts.

Saxon: I appreciate this program for it’s “work ethic”. As an Engineer, I can honestly say, only the strong and diligent will make it through Calculus 4 in college. No, every kid doesn’t need to be mathy. But what parent doesn’t want their kid to “work like an Engineer!” Teach them this skill and they will always be successful in all that they want to do. My daughter did one lesson a day four days a week in this program along with 15 problems for homework. Then there is about one test a week for maybe 20 weeks. I never took a test every week in all the years I did math! In this program if you do 80% or better overall, you can skip “Algebra 1/2”, which is PreAlgebra. So my daughter went on to Saxon Algebra I for 8th grade this year and is actually attending a class at a co-op where she’s passing the tests each week and has an “A” average. Remember that is the kid whose math skills I had to “rescue” in the 5th grade. Thanks to our path she is now soaring. They call this program a spiral program since the concepts taught each week keep coming back around all year as reinforcement in those skills.

Art of Problem Solving: THIS. WOW. If any program does what it’s title says it will, it’s this program. I recommend this program to anyone with mathy kids who LOVE a good challenge. They are those who actually giggle when they struggle for a while first, and then discover the solution.  Just giggles and smiles at her achievement. Yes, there are tears sometimes as there are with any solidly difficult study. This is definitely a difficult study. If I didn’t have an engineering degree, she would be in conversation with her class and teachers WAY more often. And maybe that would be better… it’s debatable… Now that we’ve started it though I cannot imagine her doing any other program. I never had a program like this one. It’s definitely new and innovative. I like how her text book can be online (If I want…) and the lesson videos are embedded into it exactly where the learning makes the most sense. So my daughter can read rules and then “see” it come alive by a really comical young man. An additional perk to this program is its connection to math competitions if that is what we’d like to try at some point.

Beast Academy: is the elementary program attached to Art of Problem Solving. They are still writing it, that’s how new and edgy this program is! There is a fun colorful cast of monsters that, in comic style, walk young children through math. I cannot wait to meet them! I will update this post after we’ve begun next Fall with my (then) 2nd grade son!

 

I believe the curriculum is very important, but more than that a positive attitude from mom and discipline from the child are all necessary to raise a successful math student! This was my Homeschool Math Review based on the math experiences we’ve had in our home through various curriculum.

Happy to hear what others think about these math curriculum!

Jen @ Log Cabin Schoolhouse