Stanley F. Schmidt, I could kiss you!

Well, maybe not literally. But figuratively, yep, I could. And Sal Khan too.

Life of Fred: Apples by Stanley F. Schmidt is kind of a maths text-book, kind of a story, and with a bizarre sense of humour and an absolute resistance to ‘dumbing things down’, but you really have to see it to get it. (There are sample pages at that link) As well as providing a fun practise for maths concepts, there are so many conversation starters as well, snippets of information with no real bearing on the story, but great fun for us to share.

Afterwards I set C up with the Khan Academy while A and I played with some bean pouring and melon-balling.

The Khan academy (thanks to another friend for convincing me try it!) is a fabulous free resource begun by Sal Khan for maths learning. It is very no frills, but has a video and practise questions for many, many topics. When you register, you are shown a topic tree, you choose a topic and it will display questions on that topic. From this screen you can watch a video, or use a ‘scratch pad’ (think “Paint”) to help you solve the question. When you get enough right, you have mastery and the computer recommends the next topic for you.

Its lovely when you find something that works.  🙂  It’s even better when they are free or affordable.

Video Classics on Education

A classic video that is always worth watching! Thinking about how society is changing and is likely to keep changing makes home education make even more sense!

How to Learn

Diana Laufenberg: How to Learn? From Mistakes

This is a great TEdx video, and it’s fascinating.

Imagine if we as a society truly understood the difference between training and education.

Imagine if we had an education system that challenged students.

Imagine if we had faith in the ability of children, if we had high expectations for children and then supported them to get there.

While in some ways, home education is the perfect place to provide an education like this, I miss the synergy that can sometimes happen when children are working together, bouncing ideas off each other, learning together. Sometimes this can happen in schools, but it isn’t happening as often as it should, so that isn’t the solution. The problem is that we are so often educating, as in parenting, in isolation. We are not always connected to each other or to the wider community.

I’m not sure I’ve got answers. Sometimes I think I’m not an answers person, just a questions one. But sometimes, questions are important.

Great Maths Presentation

This presentation popped up about mathematical learning. Although it is aimed at high school teachers, I found it really interesting. Another reason why the idea of scheduled learning is a little bit of an illusion. It also served as a reminder not to underestimate the impact of sharing ‘sitting-on-the-bus’ advocacy.