Sacramento Homeschool Math By Hand

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

June 21st, 2014 · No Comments · Homeschool Math Curriculum

Day 158

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 continue reviewing the Common Core ELA standards, which are listed in blue and are followed by their ambient counterparts.

English Language Arts Standards > Language > Grade 2
Conventions of Standard English:

Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
Use collective nouns (e.g., group).
Form and use frequently occurring irregular plural nouns (e.g., feet, children, teeth, mice, fish).
Use reflexive pronouns (e.g., myself, ourselves).
Form and use the past tense of frequently occurring irregular verbs (e.g., sat, hid, told)>
Use adjectives and adverbs, and choose between them depending on what is to be modified.
Produce, expand, and rearrange complete simple and compound sentences (e.g., The boy watched the movie; The little boy watched the movie; The action movie was watched by the little boy).

These standards have all been grouped together because they are an excellent example of dissecting the whole to get to the parts.  So much more can be accomplished by starting with the whole and allowing the parts to appear of themselves when the time is right and ripe!  If children are read or told stories from classic or complex literature, they will very likely in future become great readers and writers.

Notice that the example sentence in standard 2.1.F is neither classic nor is it complex in its interest, vocabulary, and structure.  It comes from the same genre as the “See Spot Run” or “Dick and Jane” series.  Children at any age know when subject matter is condescending or dumbed down.  In the Waldorf second grade, classic fables are told, as well as saints and heroes stories and legends.  They are humorous, inspirational, and complex, and certainly not watered down for easier consumption.

William Steig was one of our favorite authors when my daughter was in second grade.  His writing is both humorous and complex.  The scope of vocabulary and plot is impressive, and the illustrations are wonderful!  Read and enjoy this excerpt from one of our very favorites: “Gorky Rises.”  And consider reading and telling stories of this calibre to engender both a love of reading and good writing skills.

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.

As soon as his parents kissed him goodbye and left, Gorky set up his laboratory by the kitchen sink and got to work.  He took a clean tumbler, let in one squirt of water, and added first a little of this and then a little of that: a spoon each of chicken soup, tea, and vinegar, a sprinkle of coffee grounds, one shake of talcum powder, two shakes of paprika, a dash of cinnamon, a splash of witch hazel.  He stirred vigorously and held the mixture up to the light.  Too murky.
Very carefully, he put in a bit of his father’s clear cognac.  Better.  But something still was missing.  What?  Aha!  Attar of roses.  Gorky stepped out of his laboratory to fetch his mother’s best perfume.  He meant to use just a few drops; but, ravished by the scent of roses, he recklessly poured in all there was–half a bottle.
That did it!  The thick stuff sank to the bottom of the mixing glass and he had a reddish-golden liquid full of tiny bubbles that glinted like particles of fire.  This, obviously, was the magic formula he had long been seeking.  With a steady hand, he decanted the pure bubble part into the perfume bottom and firmly closed it with the glass stopper.  Then he went out into the sunlight.

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