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1  EARLY LEARNING / Teaching Your Child Math / Math Training for Base Ten Blocks ages 2-3 and up on: July 11, 2016, 07:40:22 PM
If you are wanting to teach math to your EL child and aren't sure how to do it, I'd like to invite you to the Gattegno Cuisenaire Training held at the Bronx Charter School for Better Learning. You have the option of attending live with some veteran EL moms or live streaming. If you live stream - you might as well have a streaming party and invite your friends. I know, you aren't out of the EL closet yet. Been there.

This conference is sponsored by my blog and probably 1/2 the attendees will be veteran EL moms. We all met on BK 3-6 years ago and have found varying degrees of success with teaching reading, music, science etc. Math has always been a sticking point for most of us. It's not just you.  I went on a binge to fix the "math problem" . I found a solution. It is not THE solution, but I'm not certain there is one solution.

You are welcome to join us and you can join us over on FB at I'll do my best to check in here often to answer any of your questions or you can post them on the dedicated FB page for the conference

You can find out more about the conference and the Bronx Charter School for Better Learning here:

2  EARLY LEARNING / Teaching Your Child Math / Re: Mortensen math? on: September 25, 2015, 04:26:35 PM
I just want to post an update on our use of Mortensen/Base Ten math. It's been a year and this is where we are now.

1. I know math better than I have in my life. After countless hours of playing with blocks, math finally makes sense to me. And not only does it make sense, it is beautiful. I no longer have to struggle to make math interesting, it just is.

2. We started last year and P. (my 5 year old, then 4) was adding/subtracting numbers inside of 10. We were doing some stuff with numbers above 10 if they showed up in games, but mostly up to 10. We were skip counting and working on multiplication facts with Times to Remember.  Now, at 5, his favorite math is playing around with polynomials. He can easily do percents, add, subtract, multiply, and divide. He can do those things with negative as well as positive integers. We are getting a grip on fractions and what those are. He can do area and perimeter of shapes. He has had an introduction to trig, geometry, and next week we will be exploring Calculus in the form of an infinite series, which he discovered.  We are still skip counting and working on addition and subtraction and getting our facts to instant recall.

3. We formed a base ten blocks FB group, it now has over 100 people in it.

4. I also started a website for Mom's who are just like me. Didn't understand math well enough to teach it. But they want to learn. You are all invited to join us.

No you don't have to have the blocks to begin. In the FB group there is a PDF for paper blocks in the files section. A year ago I said that I didn't think there was a way for most of us (normal moms like me) to teach math without base ten blocks. Of course, you can teach it, but not in an accelerated or EL manner. Base ten blocks are a game changer in my opinion. I do hope if you are looking for a math program you at least cut up some paper blocks and give it a try.

FB page:
FB group:

Here is the last post I did about teaching fractions to the pre-school crowd.
3  BrillKids Software / Little Reader - General Discussion / Loyalty Points Redemption on: December 15, 2014, 01:47:23 AM
I am sure this has been discussed before, and I know the policy has changed since I became a member. I am looking for the current policy on loyalty points redemption. Can I purchase a discount coupon with my loyalty points for someone else? I know we can't transfer our loyalty points to others anymore and this seems like essentially the same thing. But I want to make sure.

Thanks for anyone who knows the answer to this.

4  Parents' Lounge / General Parenting / Re: PokerCub Update & Converting His Train Table to Magnetic White Board on: November 24, 2014, 11:24:21 PM
like this a lot......but more than I want to spend...... 

Still figuring out the train table and yes I want it magnetic.
5  Parents' Lounge / General Parenting / Re: PokerCub Update & Converting His Train Table to Magnetic White Board on: November 21, 2014, 10:09:18 PM
I haven't done this yet. I have been thinking about it since you mentioned it.

Why not just paint the sheet metal white and draw on top of it? It will eventually get discolored but so does a white board. Just do a spray paint touch up and you are done.  Just asking because maybe I haven't thought it through well enough. I love the table idea and we have a huge train table 5' x 2' so we can get a couple kids going on there at once. I want to be able to remove it for use with a train.

I think we are getting one of these for Christmas Then we can make math towns with destructive cars, which seems to be a huge interest for my son.

6  EARLY LEARNING / Teaching Your Child Math / Re: Mortensen math? on: November 21, 2014, 01:46:50 PM

There is no reason to get the books. And I have a basic set of books that are similar to the smiley face books   Mortensen sells plus the teacher's guide. It is going to give you some basic stuff and get you some algebra. I asked CR if I needed the books for Calculus and he told me no. Just blocks and a password to his site.  I think if you go through the books you end up missing a lot of teaching opportunities. I would just watch the free videos. One thing I do recommend is taking the teacher training. It was really helpful to me.  And just watching a lot of video.

7  EARLY LEARNING / Teaching Your Child Math / Re: Mortensen math? on: November 17, 2014, 01:06:42 AM
I do not charge extra for EL. I am in a state that does not require that I have a license or a certificate. So, I can pretty much do what I want. Early Learning has no legal definition in the US that I am aware of. Preschool does. I cannot run a preschool.  I don't charge extra because I didn't start out to be a EL daycare. I got pregnant when my oldest was about ready to  graduate. So much for menopause, huh. We decided what we would homeschool again but I needed to fix some of the mistakes made the first time around. One of those things was that it isn't good for little kids to be only children. They don't turn out bad, but a lot of issues can be taken care of just by having other kids around. I didn't want to have more kids so I decided to rent some. Well, actually, get paid to take them. As I discovered EL it just kind of became what we do all day.

I have been doing this a little over 4 years. I started out with one bunch of kids and weeded them out to the one I wanted to keep. And then was very fortunate to pick up a little girl with Down Syndrome who fit in perfectly with the little boy I had and my son. She was 2 and a half when she came. She is now 6 and in school full time. But her mom had two more kids. That family is pretty much it for us. And now they are very much like my own kids.  I have a great relationship with them. When I get a hair brained idea and want to buy another curriculum they will usually split the cost with me. They paid for 1/2 the violin when started violin lessons.

If I were doing this over again, I would charge more and I would be very careful about the kids I take. Much more careful than I was in the beginning. One kid, who isn't used to be disciplined, can wreck your whole life. There isn't much you can do to discipline them if a child insists on being a brat. There are parents who reinforce the brattiness in a kid. I would also not take a kid after 18 months as they are set in their ways and it takes a huge amount of time to integrate them into your EL routine. I had a little girl this summer that I took because her parents were desperate. It was a disaster - not for her, but for us. Her mom commented that I was the only babysitter she liked going to. Towards the end of the summer she was starting to come around, but we didn't get much EL stuff done the whole summer. She was mentally lazy and disruptive. That isn't her fault. And I had compassion for her, but that doesn't change the fact that she was a huge problem. Make sure you interview the parents as much as you spend time with the kids.

I didn't set out to do daycare. My husband is set to retire in the next couple years and will be helping more with the homeschooling , so when Zoey, 2 months, goes to school I will be done other than keeping them before and after school. But it has been a wonderful experience for us. And the kids we have taken, and that have stayed with us, have become like my own children and my son's extended siblings. The first little boy I had still comes to me one day a week in the summer and we do field trips. He goes to camp all the other days, but my house one day a week because we miss him. He stays overnight sometimes during the school year.

If you decide to do it and you find a child that fits into your home, it won't take long before you have parents calling you. Good daycare is hard to find and word spreads quickly.

8  EARLY LEARNING / Teaching Your Child Math / Re: Mortensen math? on: November 16, 2014, 09:03:33 PM

Raising kids is a lot of work! Since I run a small daycare in my home and we do EL with all the kids, my time is very precious. I think that is true for all parents. I am getting better at cutting things out and saying no. You have to pick what is important.  So, what is most important to you and your family? I haven't introduced the periodic table. It isn't important to me. I would rather take that time and take my kids for a walk and collect leaves or pick wildflowers, press them and place them in their nature journals. Or maybe I don't have time, because it is really important that we have home cooked meals together.  And we have a garden which takes a ton of time and it is something I don't want to give up. You have to choose.

As far as the blocks taking time. All math programs take time unless you want to use a DVD or computer program. And you can, but at this age it is still going to be labor intensive for the parents. My kids don't get very much screen time at all, less than an hour a day and on many days none. If things are really crazy or the kids are sick we do movies. But if you just leave the blocks out to let your kids play and then make observations while they are playing, your kids will learn a lot. And maybe even more than if you were hovering over them telling them stuff. While you are doing laundry tell your son to make a problem for "what's under the cup?" and you will answer it when you are done folding. He will get to where he wants to make it hard for you and he will be doing the math to get the answer. Have him make a math town and just leave him to it and go do something else.

I have used skype with two people not with more than that. And I know some people prefer google plus. I am not experienced in this. So we will see. Someone will come forward or not and I will have to learn. LOL. But people do it everyday, so it can't be that hard.
9  EARLY LEARNING / Teaching Your Child Math / Re: Mortensen math? on: November 16, 2014, 07:54:43 PM
I know Andrea's blocks re on their way to Romania. She should have them by the end of next week. If you want to send me a PM if you want to join a skype math group that would be great! It would be helpful to know where you live, when you are available, how many kids and their ages. That way I can kind of see if we need more than one group and the best time. On there please share with me your skype credentials.  Unless someone has used google +. I know google plus we can have 10 people in one chat. I am not sure about skype. If anyone has opinions on this please let me know. I don't. I am pretty technologically illiterate.   

Update for us:  Our weekly routine consists of making walls and pyramids for various addends. We do like to push cars through the walls and knock them down; we are building squares and square roots (for memorizing the squared numbers for 1-25); attempting to build rectangles out of prime numbers (right now we are just collecting a list of numbers that can't be made into a rectangle or square (in preparation for memorizing the prime numbers up to 1000),  We do multiplication and skip counting, and basic algebra and some subtraction. The kids can all subtract numbers through 20 so I am just getting them used to seeing that subtracting and negative numbers are related. -7 +9 is the same as 9-7. 
10  EARLY LEARNING / Teaching Your Child Math / Re: Mortensen math? on: October 31, 2014, 01:52:35 AM
I am not sure how old you mean when you say older, but I know CR uses it with high schoolers and college age kids. So I think you are probably good to go.   Wink
11  EARLY LEARNING / Teaching Your Child Math / Re: Mortensen math? on: October 23, 2014, 10:44:13 PM

This is for you.
12  EARLY LEARNING / Teaching Your Child Math / Re: Mortensen math? on: October 23, 2014, 10:38:32 PM
We are waiting for Andrea to get her blocks. Then we will do one mass sharing by PM on this forum. It is better for me if we do it all at once. And it will also depend on who wants to join us.

I like those cards and placing the blocks over the top is great. I watched the video. That is wonderful. What a great way to keep the interest and keep playing. That is what I was after. My kids are older so we are working in the Mortensen tray building addends. But as a change of pace I like this a lot. Basically you are playing "What's Under the Cup?" with your tunnels. There are a lot of parents on here who do not know how to do this with really little ones. Mine are older right now. The more video you can post in here with your great ideas, the more helpful it will be. 

13  EARLY LEARNING / Teaching Your Child Math / Re: Mortensen math? on: October 23, 2014, 06:11:09 PM
Will they cut it for you? We have a train  table we haven't moved to the play room yet. I love this idea. Then you can build math towns too...
14  EARLY LEARNING / Teaching Your Child Math / Re: Mortensen math? on: October 23, 2014, 10:46:30 AM

Can you show me pictures of this? I knew there was a way to get math into these little ones. Give good tools and a good idea and this community will take off and run with it.

I don't think CR thinks you shouldn't show it to them, but that you don't need to. Ray's is more don't show it to them. The idea of moving from the concrete to the abstract and switching back and forth makes sense to me as my kids are all familiar with numbers already. I am very fond of the whiteboard idea to just write and wipe and you can build with playdough on there too.

I am excited to see what we all come up with as we use this to teach our little ones.

Thanks for sharing!

15  EARLY LEARNING / Teaching Your Child Math / Re: Mortensen math? on: October 20, 2014, 03:04:10 PM

We are waiting for Andrea to get her blocks and then I really do want to start skype math. I don't think you have the right sonya in skype. I will PM you with my credentials.

If anyone wants to join us, I am open to take as many as will come.
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