Friday, May 27, 2005

Home schooling? Some resources for math ... and summer fun

Attention home schoolers! Bargain book of the week - 59% off Math Curse by bestselling Children's author Jon Scieszka - Only $6.99. While supplies last. From my own experience with parents and kids involved in home schooling, I understand only too well how math can be a challenge for some children. Here's a book that actually makes math fun.

"If you can believe that!" someone will say. But did you realize that when the famous French mathematician and theologian, Blaise Pascal, was being home schooled by his father, Etienne, attitudes toward math were very different. Math was one subject so exciting, so intoxicating, that duels were sometimes fought over competing mathematical theories. The great mathematician, Tycho Brae (1546-1601) even had his nose cut off in a duel over math and had a prosthetic nose made of silver, which required him to always take a bottle of glue along with him for repairs in case he sneezed.

Etienne thought the subject of mathematics so enticing that if his kids caught even a whiff of it, they would be unable to concentrate on anything else. Careful father that he was, Etienne therefore secretly locked up into a closet all the the math books. It was only after Etienne discovered that his son, Blaise, had discovered a considerable amount of Euclidian geometry on his own that he unlocked the math books, realizing that he had a genius on his hands.

Another boon to the effective math education, as many home schoolers will know, is the Saxon Math series of texts, whose exercises not only progressively cover material introduced in the chapter, but continue to reinforce material covered in earlier chapters. Christopher, one of our sons, practically taught himself algebra by working through one of these books. These books are available for different levels. But for a sample, see Saxon Math 87: An Incremental Development, about which one Amazon reviewer raves: "My son used this and S.A.T. tested high 90th percentile!" The reviewer continues:
"My 12 year old son has used Saxon materials at home for 4 years. His younger sister is currently using 8/7. It can be challenging, but they've been very successful! It's nice as a mother of 5 to have confidence in the Saxon program as it frees me up to deal with other things. If they have a question, it is easy just to review the short lesson and find the answer! If I could give it 6 stars, I would. Now my third child is also in Saxon. Thank the Lord for this effective curriculum. The results have been great!"
Oh, and just in case you like to take your family on camping excursions, I saw this incredible deal: 55% OFF on a Columbia CB-5400 Black Mountain Dual Composite 6-Person Cabin Tent for only $99! This is the easy-to-assmble type of tent with a mix of flexible fiberglass and steel poles, not the kind with easily breakable aluminum poles that have to be inserted into one another. Several years we tented with our family all the way to Banff and Jasper, in the Canadian rockies, and back to North Carolina--which was a trip we shall never forget!

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