Sacramento Homeschool Math By Hand

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A Year in the Life: Ambient Math Wins the Race to the Top!

June 1st, 2014 · No Comments · Homeschool Math Curriculum

Day 144

For one year, 365 days, this blog will address the Common Core Standards from the perspective of creating an alternate, ambient learning environment for math.  Ambient is defined as “existing or present on all sides, an all-encompassing atmosphere.”  And ambient music is defined as: “Quiet and relaxing with melodies that repeat many times.

Why ambient?  A math teaching style that’s whole and all encompassing, with themes that repeat many times through the years, is most likely to be effective and successful.  Today’s post will begin reviewing the Common Core ELA standards, moving through them more quickly than the Common Core math standards.   The standards will be posted in groups of three to five in blue, followed by their ambient counterparts.

English Language Arts Standards > Reading: Literature > Grade 2
Key Ideas and Details:
Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.
Recount stories, including fables and folktales from diverse cultures, and determine their central message, lesson, or moral.
Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.

There is not an imperative yet at the Grade 2 level, for independent reading and writing.  The children continue to hear excellent examples of world-class literature, exposing them to all components listed in the first standard here.  Text understanding is deep and complete, as demonstrated by the amount of detail and accuracy with which all of the stories are retold by the children.  Connecting the content of the story to an artistic rendering, writing key details as captions, and blending it with academic content deepens this understanding even further while making the academics more developmentally accessible and understood.

As is true of all literature presented at every grade level in Waldorf education, the Grade 2 focus is on a culturally diverse body of original source material.  Though the fables included in the Math By Hand stories book are all Aesop’s, there’s an awareness of and encouragement to also explore fables from other cultures.  The saints and heroes legends can come from widely diverse times and cultures.  The central message or moral of the fables and legends is not directly emphasized or taught since the vessel of the story encapsulates it in such a way that it can be understood and processed on a much deeper level.

Both the fables and saints and heroes legends provide abundant opportunities to explore the characters’ responses to major events and challenges.  Though the fables’ characters are almost exclusively animal ones, there is no lack of real and challenging situations that need to be carefully thought about if not resolved.  And the saints and heroes legends universally deal with much more intense challenges than most of us must grapple with in our daily lives.  Because the saints and heroes characteristically respond with grace and love, their stories do wonderfully counterbalance the wiliness found within the fables, beautifully reflecting the polarity with which a typical 8 year old faces the world.

Knowledge ensues in an environment dedicated to imaginative, creative knowing, where student and teacher alike surrender to the ensuing of knowledge as a worthy goal.  Tune in tomorrow to continue with the Common Core ELA standards and their ambient counterparts.

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