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Reader Feedback, Middle Ages Resource, Math Story Problems

By Heather Idoni

Added Monday, January 28, 2008

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 9 No 8 January 28, 2008
ISSN: 1536-2035
Copyright (c) 2008 - Heather Idoni, FamilyClassroom.net

Welcome to the Homeschooler's Notebook!

If you like this newsletter, please recommend it to a friend!
And please visit our sponsors! They make it possible. :-)


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Notes from Heather
-- Reader Feedback
Helpful Tips
-- Internet4Classrooms
Resource Review
-- What Really Happened?
Reader Question
-- Help with Math 'Story' Problems
Additional Notes
-- Searchable Archive
-- Our Email Group
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

Reader Feedback

[Note: Cindy Prechtel of www.HomeschoolingFromTheHeart.com recently
reviewed Memoria Press Traditional Logic for us. I made the mistake
of assuming this logic curricula could be considered for math credit.
A thoughtful reader wrote in and gently corrected me! -- Heather]


"Our family has used Memoria Press Traditional Logic and will
start Material Logic soon. I highly recommend it. Just one
thing needs to be mentioned. Logic, as taught in that series
and as part of the Trivium, is a language arts subject, not math.
Martin Cothran addresses this in an excellent article which can
be found here http://memoriapress.com/articles/peoplecomp.html
on the Memoria Press web site. For logic that is more math based,
Jim Nance from Logos School has an excellent series in which he
even gets into a bit of computer programming language. Our family
actually did both logic books and each has its place in the curri-
culum. www.VeritasPress.com has both logic courses listed in
their catalog. Happy schooling!" -- Lisa Z.


Thank You, Barb Frank!

"I am so excited to apply Mrs. Frank's ideas. Such good ideas
for topics!" -- Lesa

If you missed last issue, Lesa is referring to the free
report on "Teaching Children to Write" that Barb offered to our
readers. For a limited time, you can still access it here:


Do you have comments to share? Please do!
Send your emails to: heather@familyclassroom.net


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Helpful Tip


"I just got this from another group and the mom who recommended
it said she actually used it for her daughter's 2nd grade curri-
culum. The link I've given goes to the kindergarten level but
at the bottom you can choose your own grade level as needed."

-- from Joy - a member of our HomeschoolingBOYS.com email group


Do you have an idea, experience, or tip to share? Please write!
Send to: HN-ideas@familyclassroom.net

Resource Review

What Really Happened During the Middle Ages
Compiled by: Terri Johnson
For more information or to order: www.bramleybooks.com

Written with families in mind, "What Really Happened During the
Middle Ages" features historically accurate, engaging biographies
of eight figures from the Middle Ages: St. Patrick, Empress
Theodora, Alcuin, Good King Wenceslas, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Joan
of Arc, Johann Gutenberg, and Martin Luther. Each biography is
written by a different author, with the entire collection compiled
by Terri Johnson of Knowledge Quest, Inc. In addition to the
interesting text, the reader is treated to beautiful illustrations,
maps, a thorough glossary, and a timeline of key characters from
the Middle Ages. The biographies are the perfect length, about 30
pages each, so they can be read in one or two sittings.

Children ages 8 to 14 are the intended audience, but the whole
family can benefit from reading these inspiring stories of faithful
individuals who accomplished great deeds. I appreciate that, while
there are some well-known people featured, the publisher also chose
to include some 'lesser-known' individuals as well. "What Really
Happened During the Middle Ages" is a perfect book to supplement
your history studies, or to provide the starting point for a more
in-depth study. Keep your eyes open for other titles in this series,
featuring more historical biographies from different periods of

-- Cindy Prechtel

Last Issue's Reader Question

"I'm having a problem teaching my 12-year-old daughter how to
choose which math process to use in a given problem. She may
add when she should multiply or subtract when she should divide.
This occurs with word or 'story' problems." -- Kay in WV

Our Readers' Responses

"My daughter is almost 12, and was having trouble figuring out
just what was being asked in story problems (and therefore
having difficulty determining what process to use to solve the
problem). Her speech therapist recommended the book 'Math Word
Problems' by Anita Harnadek. It can be ordered from
www.criticalthinking.com -- or you may be able to find a copy
on half.com or ebay. It has worked wonders for my daughter!
The problems start off very simply, and the problems in the first
chapter all use the same numbers. The emphasis is put on under-
standing what is being asked, rather than being overwhelmed by
a bunch of numbers. The problems get progressively harder. My
daughter has gained so much confidence. She no longer just sits
and stares, nor does she give 'random number generator' answers.
She is starting to really be able to manipulate the numbers
because she can grasp what they represent now. Even her speech
therapist is amazed at how quickly she has improved." -- Kristi


"When my boys were struggling with which Math operation to use,
I taught them word clues. In the beginning, with addition and
subtraction, I stressed that whenever they read or heard the
question 'how many in all' or 'how many all together', it would
be addition. 'How many are left' always means subtraction. When
they moved to multiplication and division, 'how many in all/all
together' applies to multiplication, and 'how many in each' or
'how many of each' means you need to divide. It's a little
trickier when they confuse addition and multiplication, and sub-
traction and division, but again, there are word clues. Both
multiplication and division sentences will usually use the words
'in each'. Multiplication problems will tell you 'how many in
all'; division problems will ask 'how many in each'." -- Donna


"We've just started using 'Making Math Meaningful' by David and
Shirley Quine. We are now working through problems where the
student must decide which math process to use. This is specifi-
cally covered in the Math 5 book. I like this curriculum because
it makes you think about 'how and why' things are done. You
might want to give it a try." -- Virginia


"Kay, you might teach your daughter some key words which are
clues as to which operation to use. 'Of' will always mean to
multiply; 'total, sum, altogether' will always mean to add;
'difference, how much more, how much less' will mean to subtract;
and so on. Have her read the story first without paying much
attention to the numbers, and use some common sense to figure out
what's happening, and what she needs to do to solve it. You could
also make up word problems from situations that you actually
experience in your family -- for example, 'We have three kittens.
If each kitten eats two pounds of cat food during the week, how
many pounds do we need to buy for the week?' It will be more
relevant to her if the problems are about things that she can
relate to. She could make up problems for you, too." -- Mary Beth


"I would recommend doing word problems that are far below your
daughter's math skill level to work on 'translating' the English
words to 'math words'. Story problems can seem like a foreign
language when unfamiliar. Also, instead of solving the problems,
have her describe to you exactly what the question is, then under-
line or write the question with the story problem. She may be
confused about exactly what the story is asking. Then you can
reassign the same sheet and have her write out the equation only.
This should be easy because she already knows what the question is.
You can see if she understands the process before she works through
the problem.

You may have to teach key translations if she is still having
trouble. (Like 'and' means you are going to add and 'less' means
subtraction.) Perhaps you could even do only addition problems one
day and all subtraction another, etc., until the language is second
nature to her. Then you can move on to problems that are at her
math skill." -- V in MA

Answer our NEW Question

"I have a 12 year old son who is a kinesthetic learner. He has
been struggling with English for most of this school year. He
will get so frustrated that he will shut down and do nothing for
that day (in English). I found notebooking helps him with this
subject. Now I don't know if I have enough material for him
or too much. I have three headings (chapters) Writing: basic
grammar rules, which when implemented will help his writing
develop; Composition: works in progress, essays, short stories,
poems, etc; Reading: books read, books to read (his list and mine),
and reading log. Could there be more headings and what would be
included in them? Or does anyone have more suggestions for the
headings already existing? I don't want to overwhelm him, but I
do want to challenge him. He is always up for a good challenge."
-- Kellie in NY


Do you have ideas or suggestions for Kellie?
Please send your answer to: HN-answers@familyclassroom.net

Ask YOUR Question

Do you have a question you would like our readers to answer?

Send it to HN-questions@familyclassroom.net and we'll see
if we can help you out in a future issue!

Need Immediate Help?

Visit our Homeschool Encouragement Center! This is a live 24/7
'chat' area where you can talk live to our homeschool counselors
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and let them know that Heather sent you!

This ultra-safe chat is supervised by experienced moms who are
there to serve and share their wisdom... or just offer a listening

Check out our schedule of daily chats and jump right in! :-)


[Note: This ministry is geared toward Christian parents, but all
are welcome. You may need to download a Java program to utilize
this service. Email Luanne@educationforthesoul.com if you have
any technical difficulties.]

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