Just last night there were tears again. And, like most of the time we dissolve into tears about something around here, once the emotion was stripped away, the tears dried too, and the world was right again.
What was the horrible, no good, very bad situation that had brought on a flood of nine-year-old tears? Long division. Math.
Do you have that problem, too? One subject — be it math, science, reading, handwriting, whatever — has the power to reduce your otherwise happy kiddo into a puddle of complete incompetence and despair? What is it for you? Let me know in the comments and we’ll brainstorm solutions together.
For us it’s math. And, I’ve had to get pretty creative about finding ways to encourage a love of the subject in a couple of the kids, while still making sure they’re scaffolding to different skills.
One way we’re doing that is by bringing more hands-on learning into the subjects the kids don’t enjoy. Now, we’ve always enjoyed hands-on learning and discovery, but I’m intentionally pulling more free exploration into the subjects the kids are reluctant to tackle.
Geometiles are making that super easy for us to do with our math.
We received a Jumbo Set of Geometiles to use with our homeschool group — comprised of ages 0-15 — at our monthly Mom’s Day Out. The concept is simple… a couple of the moms stay behind in a big library room with a bunch of kiddos, while the other moms enjoy a few hours to take a nap, get a haircut, shop, or sit in a coffee shop and read a book. All alone. In peace.
The moms who stay behind keep the kids occupied, rotating through activities, and having fun with their friends. I decided to bring a bunch of STEM-themed activities to the MDO I was in charge of… and I’m SO glad I did.
There were several activities — catapults, slime, Geometiles, STEM Jr., etc. The Geometiles dominated the STEM date. Not surprising, really, as my kids couldn’t keep their hands off of them from the minute they arrived in the mail. Since then, the tiles have been out at our house every single day.
While a few of the other things got used, by and large, all of the kids were drawn to the Geometiles. In fact, it was interesting for me to watch because I set out all of the activities in stations, and spread the Geometiles out on the floor, letting the kids go where they wanted to. Before too long, most of them, including a few of the moms, were sitting on the floor creating.
Toddlers asked big kids for help in designing dinosaur corrals.
Tweens worked on building rockets with preschoolers.
And, eventually, all the bigger kids tried out some of the 3D shapes found in the educational materials I printed out from the site to take along.
A few hours of STEM fun isn’t nearly enough for eager kiddos, so they didn’t get everything in that they wanted to do, and I’ve already been asked to bring the Geometiles back again, along with a few of the things some kids didn’t get to — like launching catapults.
I’m excited to keep sharing about Geometiles, though, because they really have become part of our daily play and homeschool time. All of my kids use them in place of some of their favorite building toys, and the three older kids use them in their homeschool lessons. I’m introducing new topics to them using the robust educational materials I’ve downloaded from the site, and challenging them to solve brainteasers using them.
Check them out when you get a chance. They’re really great — for reluctant and eager little mathematicians.
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