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Sunday, January 15

Science & Math for Struggling Learners

2017 vcf-009
The subject of the week for the Virtual Curriculum Fair is math...and science.  The two kind of go hand in hand, don't they?

We'll introduce you to our favorite :
  • hands-on science program
  • science dvds / learning aids
  • math resources for struggling learners

Struggling Learners
Math.  It's the dreaded four-letter word.  At least in our house...what about your's?  After a few years of math lessons, and still no progress on being able to count by ones, we had to try something different with our special needs son.

I stumbled upon this Montessori hundred number set, and it's helped quite a bit.  It's both visual and tactile, but without requiring handwriting (another struggle).

Another program we've used is Touch Math.  A teacher-friend of mine recommended this one, and helped with learning how to apply it, and it has made a world of difference for our son.  It's definitely a program for tactile learners.  Granted, he'll probably be in his forties and still counting on his fingers, but whatever.  His figuring is actually pretty good, and he can do it on his own.  

Two other tactile tools we have used are the Judy Clock (telling time; elapsed time) and the Pretend Money Set (think, what you'd give your little one to play store). If you have a struggling learner, I would highly recommend any, or all, of these tools!

Other special needs posts :
Hands-On Learning
We've used both the basic Magic School Bus science kits and the Young Scientists subscription club, and I have to say that Young Scientists is a lot better.  Not only are the kits more comprehensive and tailored for learning, but your child gets a new one in the mail each month.  I think every child likes getting mail addressed to them!  Also, you can generally pick up either of these over at Educents for steep discounts!

The Young Scientists Club has thirty-six different kits - a new one arrives each month.  It's set up as a continuous learning experience, with each kit building upon the one before it.  All of the needed materials are included (except for something like 'tap water'), and they are quality materials.  At first glance, it may seem up there, but when you consider that you're getting thirty-six different sets of lessons, each with 5-10 experiments and all the needed materials, and the lesson's quite the bargain.

For our older son, we do more badgeschooling - that's what I've dubbed it when he takes his Boy Scout badges and lets them pull double duty for classwork.  (Learn more about badgeschooling.)  As an example, here is a badge our son did on Oceanography...I promise he learned more than most 6th graders living in Oklahoma would learn about the topic!!  Badgeschooling can be done for any subject, really.  Homeschool Legacy offers unit studies that provide resources and activities covering both school work and badge work.  The company offers both Boy Scout (BSA) and American Heritage Girl (AHG) options, and each unit study completes all of  the required badge work for one or more badges.

Dvds & Books
The Magic School Bus set is comprehensive, with books, movies, science kits, and a free curriculum that pulls everything together.  I like that the books are written on a few different levels, so that kids can start reading them in first grade, yet still be challenged by the same characters in fifth grade.  You do not have to have the kits to be able to benefit from this set!

Having visual and auditory learners, movies are a big part of our schooling.  When it comes to science, we tend to stick with secular approaches, and we discuss the topics covered frequently.  Some of our favorite series include include : 
We went through a Bill Nye the Science Guy phase there for a while, but Wild Kratts remains the overall favorite.They know more about science basics than either my husband or I did at their ages, solely from watching these shows.  
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