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!schooling 0000C11c-15n | Feb 25 - Mar 01

posted on: Sunday, 3 March 2013 @ 1:44pm in

[minor pseudonymising edits during Drupal to hugo migration for all the good that will do now]


8yo decided to do Khan Academy for maths, and happily worked through a few addition/subtraction stacks. After he giggled at me a few times for taking longer than he had to work out the problems, I told JJ that he could supervise at least 8yo’s maths from hereon (it won’t happen as I’ve said that a few times from about two thirds of the way through last year, and I’m still supervising everything except when I’ve asked JJ to supervise due to work). He didn’t watch any of the videos as he understood the basics behind the stacks and just needed some assistance with the 4 digit stuff.

8yo's Khan Academy report 2013-02-25

8yo’s Khan Academy progress report

He made two attempts at the telling the time problems before getting silly, and called it quits as he’d done a few stacks by then. Perhaps I need to change the clock widget on his tablet to an analogue.

We couldn’t find the Reading Eggs book he was working through so he did his Excel one. A couple of sads and “Forget it"s were cracked when I pointed out he was getting some of his letters backwards, and he chose to focus on being depressed about not getting the letters right rather than me telling him that his writing was a lot neater and his letter formation was getting a lot better. Told him he just needed to keep practising and he would eventually just write them all correctly. Last week sometime the kids had watched an ep of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic where one of the characters had popped up dressed in a Sherlock Holmes hat and smoking a bubble pipe declaring “Elementary my dear [another character]” to solve a mystery that had cropped up. 8yo and I got to talking about pop culture references and I managed to find our copy of Hound of the Baskervilles which we have started reading. 8yo reads the first sentence of each page out loud to practise reading and a couple of times has taken on the character of Dr Watson. He’s also been reading his game screens more frequently as while his new Transformers (PS3) game has a lot of voice acting there are some notifications (of approaching enemies or allies) that are text only that appear in the middle bottom of the screen, and he has to read the mission screens in his Jurassic Park game in order to do them as there is no voice acting at all in that.

After telling me he wasn’t that interested in drawing anymore he did come up with this “map” for a game they were playing outside.

'Map' of the house and frontyard

The house has been drawn from the top in a blueprint view (the column down the middle is a corridor inside the house and the blocks are rooms), the tree and the skate ramp behind it are drawn as seen from the patio, and the cubby house has been drawn as if being views standing in front of it, as the rock wall faces the tree rather than the house. I didn’t think the attention to detail was terrible.

He’s been watching a lot of Minecraft videos on Youtube and mentally calculating in his head how much resources he would need to build this thing for this building he wanted me to help him build. He told me he needed two lots of 64 [something or other], I asked him how much two lots of 64 was. He paused for a moment, then replied “128.” A bit later he went off counting and every time anyone spoke to him he asked them to please be quiet, and later came back with a much larger number which I missed the significance of but had something to do with the building project.

I’m going to see if I can steal some of the videos off his tablet, as occasionally he’s asked me to take a photo of something and I’ve suggested he use his tablet, and instead of taking a photo he’s done little video presentations.


6yo got excited by Khan Academy as well so I made her an account and got her started. 8yo came and poked his head over her shoulder on occasion and after a few incidents of him calling out answers I told him that we needed to teach 6yo how to do the problems as well and not just tell her the answer, so he then tried to explain to her how to do some of them, though I think he got a little frustrated that she didn’t pick up as quickly as he did. She earned more points in her session as she watched a few videos on how to do some of the maths problems.

6yo's Khan Academy report 2013-02-25

6yo’s Khan Academy progress report

In some of the maths problems graphics representing those blocks often used in primary school for teaching number place (come on, you know the ones, the cubes are 1000, 10x10 squares are 100, sticks of 10 for 10, and single tiny cubes for 1), and there was a bit of a gap in her knowledge between knowing what the numbers were (if you write 256 she can tell you it’s two hundred and fifty six) and how they worked as far as place value went (she struggled a bit knowing that there are 2 hundreds, 5 tens and 6 ones in 256). A few problems in and I think she’s getting it.

Reading Eggs on the other hand is fun and she did both a Reading Eggspress comprehension exercise and extra pages in a Reading Eggs workbook, and read me a few pages out of a picture book from the library.

Altogether now

8yo packed sandwiches and water bottles for all three and they tromped off on a “Jurassic Park Journey” which involved making their way through the forest (across the yard via the geranium bush) and climbing to the top of a “snowy mountain” (the skate ramp) to have a picnic and observe the dinosaurs (there was a pteranadon, a T-rex, a velociraptor and a herd of triceratops). They came up and watched me watering the seeds (what was left of them, planting them the day before 4yo’s birthday party was a remarkable lack of foresight on my part) and we noticed a couple of the peas germinating and had a good look at them before I covered them up again. Then inside for a tea party with a “ghost” (a mask and cape off a Batman action figure), two My Little Pony figures and two “boys” 4yo put together from two blocks of Duplo each.

They all watched an episode of Backyard Science; watching 8yo’s face during the segment where two kids were developing mould farms was rather amusing. The boys went on to watch Jurassic Park while 6yo retreated into the computer room to watch more Backyard Science on the laptop.

We’d missed Wednesday training due to 4yo’s birthday and me cooking sausage stew for his birthday dinner as requested, so made the special effort to go on Thursday, plus there was the added bous of a couple of the other students’ kids being there too. The dad offered to train the kids while I went to train, I opted to not let him try to hande six kids aged 2-8 on his own so we did some kung fu and some lion dance training (with minimal training on our parts). 8yo went for nearly a full hour, 6yo for about 40mins (and she spent a lot of time babysitting the 2 and 4yo girls) and 4yo for about 15-20. All three had a blast with all the jumping and dodging and ducking and weaving that got done, and they also got to beat up a bag. They were really tired the following day so it’s a good reminder to not overload while we’re still in the process of loading.

We hit the zoo on the weekend as JJ wanted to try out what we’re calling the sniper scope (a 500mm lens that looks like a small telescope). The two big kids spent a lot of time perusing their maps (we bought one and 4yo got one in a zoo membership package). 6yo read the labels and worked out with 4yo what they wanted to go and look at and do, 8yo worked out wht he wanted to see and routes to get to the things they wanted to see. JJ and I were answering fairly specific questions from 8yo as he’s been quite easily reading the names of the animals we were looking at on the information panels, but didn’t always read the rest of the panel as he had to look a fair way up for some of them.