*Here’s another post that languished without me getting around to posting it for a couple of weeks. But hey, now it gets to have a pretty picture of some geometry adorning our Christmas tree, so it’s more festive now anyway.*

BalletBoy has hit a bit of a math wall. He’s been slowly trudging his way through Math Mammoth Blue. He made it through nearly all of the parts of the various special topic books, like Clocks and Measurement, and through both the Place Value 3 and Multiplication 1 books, which are the heart of the third grade sequence, along with Division.

Then we hit a snag. He knows his facts, but memorization has never been his strong suit. He can run through the whole multiplication table with the flash cards in about six minutes. But it’s not good enough to get him through division, which is so slow it’s at frustration level for him. He’s only made it through half of the book and the second half will be even slower going. Thus the the need for some breaks.

In the meantime, while we run drills and practiced things, we’ve had more of a chance to look at some of our other resources. For one thing, we revisited geometry and make a little booklet of the polygons with cute smiley faces. Then we did a shape scavenger hunt and made a little picture of them all outlined. The tiles in the Metro are all hexagons, you know. We also found areas and perimeters and played around with graph paper. Some of the popular Sir Cumference books have been read recently here for this, though we’ve also been reading *The Number Devil* aloud as well, so math read alouds have abounded.

Also for geometry, we made the polyhedra models we’d skipped in Math Mammoth earlier. I went to Worksheet Works to print out a bunch. The kids made cubes, tetrahedrons and octahedons. I made a truncated icosahedron, otherwise known as a buckyball. When we colored them, they came out so pretty that the Husband said they should be Christmas ornaments, so we made some more for the tree. That’s an icosahedron decorating the tree there.

We played around with measuring a little more and have especially enjoyed doing a few of the measuring dot to dot puzzles found at Math Pickle.

We’ve also finally started doing Ed Zaccaro’s Primary Challenge Math. I saw Ed Zaccaro speak at a conference last year and just loved all the things he had to say about math and problem solving. I had been concerned that some of the stuff in Primary Challenge Math might be too challenging, but it has turned out to be the opposite. It’s perfect fun math for my kids. As we’ve gone back to the Singapore Challenging Word Problems a little more, I’ve found that one of Zaccaro’s strategies, to plug in easier numbers for more challenging ones, has worked really well for BalletBoy.