Free Learning Tools, Games, and More


[Photo by ♥Sage (resting… finally!).]

Browsing the Internet, I came across a slideshow called 101 Free Learning Tools, which explores “the idea that there is at least one excellent free learning tool (or site) for every learning problem, need or issue.”

Of course, many of these sites I already knew, at least by reputation. But there are plenty of interesting places that were new to me.

Continue reading Free Learning Tools, Games, and More

Quotations XXII: Six Months in the Dark


[Photo by frozenchipmunk.]

School is in session, which means I am once again searching out pithy, inspirational quotations for my chalkboard. Some recent tidbits…

The more I work and practice, the luckier I seem to get.

Gary Player
Quoted in Precalculus Mathematics in a Nutshell

Continue reading Quotations XXII: Six Months in the Dark

Hooray for (Math) History

Photo by Benimoto.

John Napier foiled a thief with the aid of logic and a black rooster. For this and other acts of creative problem solving, his servants and neighbors suspected him of witchcraft.

What does this have to do with mathematics?

Math was Napier’s favorite hobby. He invented logarithms to help people handle large numbers easily, and he even created a calculator out of a chessboard. [See how it works: addition, subtraction, multiplication.]

Continue reading Hooray for (Math) History

Free Shakespeare for Fun and Copywork


Photo by Arbron.

This week only, [When I checked the link in April 2011, this was still free!] CurrClick (which carries the Math Mammoth workbook series) is offering Quotations from Shakespeare’s Plays as a free download. This ebook offers copywork tips from Charlotte Mason and about 30 pages of passages from Macbeth, King Lear, Much Ado About Nothing, etc.

And if you are planning a study of the Bard, you won’t want to miss the following always-free Internet resources.

Continue reading Free Shakespeare for Fun and Copywork

Quotations XVII: If People Don’t Believe That Mathematics Is Simple…

Quotes from my blackboard during October:

Experience is the hardest kind of teacher. It gives you the test first, and the lesson afterward.

Vernon Law

What, after all, is mathematics but the poetry of the mind, and what is poetry but the mathematics of the heart?

David Eugene Smith

Continue reading Quotations XVII: If People Don’t Believe That Mathematics Is Simple…

While I Was Distracted…

After a hectic couple of weeks, I finally found a little time to sit at the computer and browse — and boy, was I amazed to see what I had missed! If you have not yet read Dave‘s interview with Prof. Lynn Arthur Steen about the state of math education reform, click over and check it out: Part I here, and Part II here.

According to the intro, Prof. Steen “has been a driving force for the reform of school mathematics for many years and was on the development team that produced NCTM’s Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics. For the last few years, he has been involved in Achieve’s commitment to developing world-class mathematics standards for K-8 and ADP’s similar commitment to secondary mathematics.” He has some interesting things to say, although many of his statements are open to various interpretations, and at times he seems determined to provoke a hot-headed response. For instance:

Continue reading While I Was Distracted…

How To Harness Metacognitive Decision-Making

To organize a homeschool co-op requires an awesome team of innovative planners. The e-mails keep flying as we attempt to generate dynamic problem-solving strategies. Our goal for the fall semester is to orchestrate learning intensive experiences that will encourage real-world critical thinking in our upper-level students, while at the same time maximizing developmentally- appropriate enrichment for our preschool and elementary communities.

Now you, too, can talk just like a school system bureaucrat with this handy-dandy Educational Jargon Generator. Have fun!

[Hat tip: Matthew Tabor.]


howtosolveproblemsWant to help your kids learn math? Claim your free 24-page problem-solving booklet, and sign up to hear about new books, revisions, and sales or other promotions.

Quotations VIII: The Essence of Mathematics

Our homeschool co-op classes are done for the semester, so this will be my last compilation of blackboard quotes for awhile. I love collecting quotations, however, so I will be treating you to some of my favorites “just for teachers” over the summer. Stay tuned!

It is better to solve one problem five different ways, than to solve five problems one way.

George Polya

Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom.

George Washington Carver

Continue reading Quotations VIII: The Essence of Mathematics

In Honor of the Standardized Testing Season…

[Feature photo above by Alberto G. (CC-BY-SA-2.0) via flickr.]

The school experience makes a tremendous difference in a child’s learning. Which of the following students would you rather be?

I continued to do arithmetic with my father, passing proudly through fractions to decimals. I eventually arrived at the point where so many cows ate so much grass, and tanks filled with water in so many hours. I found it quite enthralling.

— Agatha Christie
An Autobiography

…or…

“Can you do Addition?” the White Queen asked. “What’s one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one?”

“I don’t know,” said Alice. “I lost count.”

“She can’t do Addition,” the Red Queen interrupted. “Can you do Subtraction? Take nine from eight.”

“Nine from eight I can’t, you know,” Alice replied very readily: “but—”

“She can’t do Subtraction,” said the White Queen. “Can you do Division? Divide a loaf by a knife — what’s the answer to that?”

“I suppose—” Alice was beginning, but the Red Queen answered for her. “Bread-and-butter, of course.”

“She can’t do sums a bit!” the Queens said together, with great emphasis.

— Lewis Carroll
Through the Looking Glass

…in other words…

If you could lead through testing, the U.S. would lead the world in all education categories. When are people going to understand you don’t fatten your lambs by weighing them?

Jonathan Kozol
at Westfield State College’s 157th Commencement

Continue reading In Honor of the Standardized Testing Season…