Mathematics is important for us. Probably it is not our favourite subject – at least not for all of us – but it is with us every week in the studies and preparations, plans and ideas. We rarely write about it, because it is a difficult and tricky field, where questions and problems arise constantly and where answers often create new chains of dilemmas. Still, we love this latter feature very much,because this helps us in improving, changing and getting deeper; this helps us in building.
One of our oldest dilemma is the mechanical practice of sample exercises and their deeper understanding.We know that in the long term deeper understanding of concepts, diverse analogies and counter-examples; understanding of more complex and further examples become the base on which we can build. In the meantime, we cannot only think in years because improving grades or keeping kids in the school system often cannot wait. Not to mention these present happenings havea huge impact on the kids’ motivation.
Therefore, we would like to follow the school material, answer the relevant questions and find connecting points and strengths; herewith support kids to have more success in the classes, too. We prepare worksheets for the different classes and different topics, then we shape them according to the individual needs. These worksheets provide the parallelism and help not only in practising new topics but also in revising difficult ones.
Other focuses in mathematics are the concrete, but sometimes in the meantime very general problems, includingdifficulties in widening and deepening of number concept, multification and division, fractions, negative numbers and their understanding. Our aim is to define the problems accurately and find a way to solve them. This semester we would like to try out our ideas more often and intensively to see how they work, where they need changes or shaping. We would like to keep building and putting in more and more missing LEGO pieces.
While we often think about the focuses in theory, this week we seemed to find the right way in practice – and not only in mathematics. Studying and playing board games –which helps us warm up before studying and cool down afterwards – changed in a good rhythm. We played many reading Dobble and Gyümi parties and some games for two: Quoridor and Rosenkönig. Besides the old ones, we added a new game to our repertoire: Luxid, which is basically PIG with Roman numbers.
In the weekly planning of studies, it is very important for us to have an occasion with everyone.Due to the fact that they often get home from school the same time, sometimes we have to say no to some of the children. Especially, if he/she would like to come for the second or third time the week, because it does not fit in our time. However, in the last three days we had many extra occasions because luckily most of them could come home from school with the earlier bus. This not only meant more occasions, but also longer ones. We are glad that a boy who was very enthusiastic in September but so far only joined us once this yearcame to study twice.
In the evening board game time, besides the popular Gyümi and Age of War the almost forgotten No Merci showed up again. We learned new games as well: we tried our new handmade Dixit Jinx and from the cooperative game line: Hanabi.
Today our enthusiastic first graders came to study. Although just the two boys took part in the occasion, still it turned out very fun. Today’s focus was on letters, many exercises included LEGOs and the boys solved them very diligently. We syllabized, read and even wrote a little bit. It was a very important step for us as a group because we decided to get deeper in studying and be more serious about it. In our opinion, due to the previous occasions we have already managed to improve many basic skills. These are very good bases for the kids to acquire writing and reading in the future. Therefore, we are reshaping the group, we have already found new aims and we are looking for new ways. We would like to keep on supporting the kids’ development with creative and fun exercises in the future as well.
Petra and Tami
(translated by Sári)