Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Surviving Long Division

When I had three children to homeschool, I was dazzlingly busy.  It was a full time job.  Homeschooling Mark still takes a big block of time but is a less intense.  I love it.  I love spending time with my boy.

I mean, look how cute and cuddly he is.

Here's what is hard:  the in between time.  Mark will be working on an assignment and he is working fairly independently, maybe with just a question now and then.  And I am sitting there.  Inactive.

It didn't happen when I was a school teacher in a classroom.  There was always someone who needed something.  It didn't even happen when I had all three at home.  There was always something.

Now, I can sometimes slip away and do a quick task...the laundry room is directly off the school room.  Sometimes I have time to make my bed, or load the dishwasher.  (But I have to be careful.  My little sprite is an opportunist and he'll escape if he sees an opening.)

And then sometimes, Mark is doing long division.  For reasons known only to the writer of our math curriculum, it moves at a breakneck speed.  In a matter of weeks Mark learned all the multiplication facts, zipped through division and has moved onto long division.  I say "learned" but not really.  He has a solid grasp on about half of the times tables (which I think is pretty good actually).  So he needs me to be available as he toils away at long division.

It's not active time, like when I'm teaching him a concept.  I just need to be there at his elbow, reminding him to now subtract, now bring down the next number, and 8x7 is 56.

It makes me a little crazy to sit there not doing anything except supplying an occasional long division prompting.

Inactivity makes me itchy.  I needed a mindless task to keep me from losing my mind.

I found a perfect candidate, a paper chain.

Awhile ago, I got a book from Amazon that was numbered incorrectly.  The good people at Amazon sent me another one.  (Wow, they have good people there.  Handsome too.)  I didn't toss the mis-numbered one in the recycling because I wanted to do something with the lovely printed pages.


I found a perfect candidate, a paper chain.

I've been slicing paper into strips (and all the while helping with long division).

I've been looping them into hearts (and helping with long division).

I've been linking them into a chain (while helping with long division).

I think I'll wrap it around my Christmas tree.  Or not.  I'll see how it looks.  Maybe I'll just end up with a chain to rival Marley's Ghost.

Either way.  It gives me something to do during long division


Olivia Cobian said...

My kids saw the pictures and were shocked that somebody they know would do that to a book. "Is that the only paper she HAD?" Lili wondered and "Would YOU do that to a book, Mom?" I explained the situation to their satisfaction.

Thelma said...

You are raising your kids well that they value books. Good job. Kids are always shocked that I painted words on my kitchen wall too. They gasp...who WROTE on you WALL?

Mark Dahl said...

Maybe you could embroider, cross stitch or crochet during long division. Or read of course.

Mark Dahl said...

That last one was from your mother. I didn't want to change to my sign in because then your dad can't get to his email.


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