Big Ideas for Small Mathematicians, by Ann Kajander. My essay about math in The Lifetime Learning Companion discusses the difference between arithmetic and mathematics. In case you haven’t read the book, the difference is simple. Arithmetic is the actual computation. Mathematics is the study of the concepts. If your kids aren’t enjoying arithmetic, try switching your focus to the mathematical concepts behind the computation. This book is what you need, and it’s been designed for use in schools and at home. Tackling the activities can be fun even if the kids (or you) don’t understand the math behind them. You’ll learn about Pythagoras, tessellations, and tetrahedral fractals — all without being a math genius yourself. You can take my word for this: I have a tendency to be mathphobic, and even I would have fun and learn doing these activities. Here are just a few of the chapter headings: Squares and Odd Numbers, Straw Structures, Party Fractions, Kaleidoscope, Moebius Strip, Balloons and Dice Game, 3-D Tic Tac Toe. Ages 6 to 11. $19.95. $17.00 from Brook Farm Books.
Archive for the ‘Ages 7 to 11’ Category
Collins Spanish Club, Book 1. I think this book, with the CD included, would be a lot of fun for kids who have some basic Spanish. There are songs that are very easy to learn, stickers, puzzles, games, and some tips for parents. Answers to the puzzles and games are in the back. Most of the vocabulary is illustrated or explained but not everything. Most of the words I didn’t know I could figure out from the usage, but I found it a bit frustrating and had to find my Spanish dictionary. Maybe I just need to brush up on my Spanish. There’s no English-to-Spanish or Spanish-to-English dictionary included. Recommended for ages 4 to 8, but I think your child needs some basic Spanish before using this. Here’s the deal: The price is $15.99, and if you buy it and don’t like it you can return it for a refund of all but your postage. $14.00 From Brook Farm Books.
Oxford Illustrated Children’s Dictionary. I confess that dictionaries don’t excite me. That said, this is one of the better ones for kids 9 to 12. There are some illustrations but not a lot. I think they chose to illustrate items that would interest kids in this age group. It’s well laid out and easy to navigate. Meanings are clear, parts of speech are included with each entry, and there is a pronunciation guide for each of the more difficult words. Cover price is $18.95. $17.50 from Brook Farm Books.
A HISTORY OF US, a set of 11 volumes, by Joy Hakim. You can use these books with your beginning U.S. history studies right though high school if you make use of the Study Guided and extensive reading list that comes with each book. These very readable books don’t resemble “schoolbooks.” Hakim presents history as the story of people, which is as it should be. You meet ordinary people, not just the presidents and well-known figures, and discover how they lived. These engaging books, with excellent color illustrations, will ask you to think and form opinions. Hakim makes good use of original sources, newspaper excerpts, cartoons, diaries, drawings, maps, and the original artwork of the time. You’ll find yourself spending more time thinking about the people and the issues than memorizing meaningless names, battles, and dates. While this series of books is not cheap, it will be all that you will need from about third grade through junior high. If you have younger children, I suggest that you can take your time going through the books, concentrating on one historical period at a time, or you can go through the books more quickly, returning for a more in-depth study when the children are older. Hakim’s inclusion of an extensive list of related reading material in the back of each book is a real boon to those who like to explore in depth. While the original set was 10 volumes, the newly revised set is 11 volumes. This most recent addition to the set contains a complete index for the series, a good glossary of terms, essential documents and speeches that have shaped the country, and commentary about why each is important. The price per book is $15.95 if bought individually. The current price for the whole set is $219.45, but we are setting our price a bit lower — at $150.00 — because we think everyone should have this set. We’ll also include UPS shipping. This is one of the best investments you’ll make. My only regret about these books is that they were not available when our kids were still at home.
Vol. 1, THE FIRST AMERICANS (prehistory – 1600)
Vol. 2, MAKING THIRTEEN COLONIES (1600 – 1740)
Vol. 3, FROM COLONIES TO COUNTRY (1735 – 1791)
Vol. 4, THE NEW NATION (1789 – 1850)
Vol. 5, LIBERTY FOR ALL? (1820 – 1860)
Vol. 6, WAR, TERRIBLE WAR (1855 – 1865)
Vol. 7, RECONSTRUCTION AND REFORM (1865 – 1890)
Vol. 8, AN AGE OF EXTREMES (1880 – 1917)
Vol. 9, WAR, PEACE, AND ALL THAT JAZZ (1918 – 1945)
Vol. 10, ALL THE PEOPLE (1945 to present with election of Obama)
Vol. 11, Index, commentary, documents, and glossary
TEACHING GUIDES: one for each volume. You don’t need these guides, but if you want to extract the most from these wonderful books you will find them useful. Each guide has more than 50 pages of chapter summaries, reading suggestions, vocabulary to learn, and — best of all — activities, projects, and ideas for discussion. The regular price for the guides is $9.95 each, or $99.50 for the complete set, plus $2.50 shipping. Our special price is $70 for the complete set of guides, with no shipping charged if you order these with The History of US. If you question the usefulness of the guides, send an SASE and I’ll be happy to send sample copies of a few pages.
*** This series has extensive reading lists. If you can’t find the books listed, email us for help.
Note from a happy mom: “… I love the teaching guides. … They help my son to focus in on what he will be reading, and the study guides … will prove very useful for his end-of-the-year portfolio that I have to show the school system.”
***GAMES MANUAL*** Many times when we didn’t have a birthday to celebrate and the kids wanted a party, we would have an “unbirthday party” and invite everyone’s friends. Each person brought a small gift costing less than $5 that would do for a girl or a boy. We played games and had ice cream and cake — complete with lots and lots of candles. Everyone helped to blow out the candles (picture it!). I wish we’d had this collection of games to use. This book has 170 co-op games and activities for ages 3 to 12. Little or no equipment needed; good for small or large groups. Most games can be played indoors or out. You’ll never do better than this for price or value. $4.50.
SKY TRAVELERS. You are a peaceful people who crash on an island. You must search the shore, sea, forests, and mountains for repair materials for your ship. You meet UTOC’s (ugly things out of control). You use your powers to deal with them, but you must not harm anyone. Dire consequences if you do! 2 to 4 players. $20.00. Click on image to see it enlarged.
INVESTIGATORS. Be part of a private investigating team. Solve cases of smuggling, theft, and blackmail. Move around the city avoiding guard dogs and tough guys, and try not to get tied up. Use a disguise or a special tool kit. This game moves quickly. Tricky but fun. 2 to 8 players. $20.00. Click image to see it enlarged
USBORNE CHILDREN’S ENCYCLOPEDIA. This book has pages filled with well-illustrated information, although I wish they had photos and more realistic drawings for many of the items. Great for a first reference, and has many practical hands-on experiments. Ages 7 to 11.