Welcome to ShillerMath!

Welcome to ShillerMath!


Hi, I'm Larry Shiller, and I'd like to personally welcome you to ShillerMath - and the ShillerMath blog.

 

From time to time I'll share customer stories, latest thinking, upcoming sales, math learning tips, new product plans, math in the news, and random thoughts.

 

I'd love to hear from you - it's our customers and prospects and their children that keep us growing and learning.

 

Larry Shiller


Larry Shiller

Larry Shiller is President of ShillerLearning, whose mission is to help kids learn - and enjoy - math.Shiller has degrees from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Harvard Business School and is the author of Software Excellence (Prentice-Hall).

A father of three, Shiller is active in non-profits and his hobbies include working with local startups, music (Shiller is an accomplished violinist who - when not helping children learn math and language arts - performs in the NYC tri-state area), tennis (Shiller's team made it to the USTA national finals in his skill bracket), Quoridor (Shiller is a former USA Champion), backgammon (Shiller is the Voice of Backgammon, doing commentary on backgammon tournaments worldwide), table tennis, and flying (Shiller holds a private pilot's license).

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7 Tips to Incorporate Montessori Into Your Road Schooling

7 Tips to Incorporate Montessori Into Your Road Schooling


“I love the idea behind the Montessori philosophy but we spend so much of our day in the car- it’s too hard!”, “I would love to do a Montessori based homeschool but we’re full-time RVers and always on the road,” I hear these two phrases from people all the time.  

 

We live in a 200 square foot Airstream. While we’re not mobile yet, we live out in the country and spend an incredible amount of time in the car and space is incredibly valuable for us. I have over a decade teaching in Montessori Schools and knew we’d have a Montessori inspiration to our homeschooling. While a full Montessori homeschool room setup would be absolutely lovely, it’s doable to incorporate Montessori methods and ideas into your roadschooling. Be it roadschooling as a fulltime RV family, a family who spends a ton of time in the car and wants to complete school on the road, or you’re looking to get some school hours in while on trips this Spring.

Top 7 Trips to Incorporate Montessori Into Your Road Schooling:

 

1- Rethink your manipulatives. You’re obviously not going to want to be bringing along an entire moveable alphabet, golden beads, and a pink tower. Can you rethink these materials to be more car friendly though? Grab a magnetic set of letters (they make small magnetic boards specifically designed for spelling) & a set of small magnetic blocks or some Lego’s. Boom, you’ve got manipulatives that are easier to take along in the car!

 

2- Use file folders- Yes, the old fashioned file folders that we think about doctors offices storing patient data in. They are perfect to create mini-workspaces. You can attach a small pocket on the inside with a piece of paper and staple in printables of Montessori-based works.

 

3- Find an object bottles- Place several small items into a cleaned our plastic bottle, fill with rice or quinoa and you’ve got yourself a seek it bottle. A variation of this is often found in a Montessori classroom. Some families prefer to make a master list of all the objects for children to use.

 

4- Create small themed books- Small child-size books are great to bring along in the car. Create a book based on pictures of a blend your child is working on, an animal they’re interested in, or a word search book. These are great ways to bring along learning and keep kids interested in the car.

5- Create a “car school” box- Grab a plastic storage bin with a lid on it. As you find good, small, Montessori friendly items at your favorite stores you can keep them in the bin for your children to use.

 

6- Head to the hardware store before you hit the road- Color gradient matching is a great work for the road that can easily be created with free paint samples from the hardware store and adapted for all ages of kids. (If you’re not sure how to do this work, check out our most recent printable pack for the full work setup).

 

7- Rethink your rest stops- So much learning and exercise can happen at rest stops. Take a look at the informational signs, bring along your Montessori yoga cards for a quick workout and get a little bit of grace & courtesy practice picking up trash.

 

Roadschooling is a great way to keep your kids entertained in the car and fit in school time. Happy trails, we can’t wait to hear about your adventures!

 

Bonus idea - grab a couple of our CDs to listen to while you’re on the road, they help reinforce concepts and are catchy songs kids love.

 


Want more tips and tricks to improve your homeschool? Take the quiz below to find out what kind of learner your child is! Then download our FREE Montessori activity guide customized for their favorite learning style.

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Want to See Inside Our Montessori-Based Kits?

Math Kit I - PreK to 3rd Grade

Language Arts A - PreK to 1st Grade

Amanda Osenga

Amanda is a former Montessori teacher who is now homeschooling her only child, a seven-year-old boy. Her family resides in an Airstream that is parked in Colorado. She loves Colorado’s outdoor opportunities. When she’s not schooling, she also blogs at TreehouseDaily.com, works as a Virtual Assistant and loves reading and creating hand-lettering pieces.

The Treehouse Daily >

 

Why This Geography Map Is Perfect For Homeschool

Why This Geography Map is Perfect for Homeschool?


 

Hajime Narukawa has created a new map of the world that is about to turn your homeschool curriculum for Geograph upside down. It fits in excellent with a Montessori homeschool approach and will surely get kids excited about active learning about our world. For decades we have used various updated versions of this classic map:

 

 

 

While familiar, it is an inaccurate depiction of the actual size, shape, and layout of the Earth. It’s quite difficult to accurately depict something round on a flat, rectangular surface. The above map does an ok job but vastly distorts the size of the oceans (especially the Pacific), makes Africa way too small and Greenland drastically too large. Antarctica is barely represented on the maps we’re all used to when in reality it’s one of the largest contents.  

 

Narukawa’s creation is, perhaps, the most accurate map you could include in your homeschool studies. Called the AuthaGraph, this map divides the world into 96 sections, is then projected onto an inflated tetrahedron which unfolded become a rectangle. It was a multi-step process that resulted in what may the most accurate world map ever created. It recently won the Grand Award from Japan’s Good Design Awards and is now featured in student’s textbooks across Japan.  

 


 

As you can see, “AuthaGraph faithfully represents all oceans [and] continents, including the neglected Antarctica,” according to the Good Design Awards, and shows “an advanced precise perspective of our planet.” This one-of-a-kind map can even be manipulated to feature any point of the world at the center and still be accurate.  

 

Still a work in progress, Narukawa states some areas are still distorted. However, this map is great for homeschoolers to provide a more accurate view of our world. It would also be an interesting launching point for your children to compare the standard map to what is more accurate. One of the creator’s goals was to accurately depict the areas near to poles so as to raise awareness to our rapidly melting ice caps. Homeschoolers could have some interesting discussion and study on climate change with this map as well.  


 

What do you think of this unique and revolutionary map? Is it a teaching tool you’d use in your homeschool classroom? Comment below if you think so!

 


Want more tips and tricks to improve your homeschool? Take the quiz below to find out what kind of learner your child is! Then download our FREE Montessori activity guide customized for their favorite learning style.

Loading...

Want to See Inside Our Montessori-Based Kits?

Math Kit I - PreK to 3rd Grade

Language Arts A - PreK to 1st Grade

Amanda Osenga

Amanda is a former Montessori teacher who is now homeschooling her only child, a seven-year-old boy. Her family resides in an Airstream that is parked in Colorado. She loves Colorado’s outdoor opportunities. When she’s not schooling, she also blogs at TreehouseDaily.com, works as a Virtual Assistant and loves reading and creating hand-lettering pieces.

The Treehouse Daily >

 

7 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Homeschool Math Curriculum

7 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Homeschool Math Curriculum


Choosing homeschool curriculum can feel like a daunting task.  

Math is a subject many homeschooling parents state they feel inadequate to teach. Throw in concerns about common core and state regulations, and choosing a math curriculum becomes even more difficult. Let’s take a look at the bigger picture, break it down into more manageable pieces, and think through choosing a curriculum together.

 

1. What is your educational approach and goals?

One of the most important things for a homeschooling family to decide is what your overall philosophy and goals for education are. Do you want school to be student-led or teacher-directed? Are you following a certain teaching approach such as Montessori, Waldorf, or Charlotte Mason? Are there state standards you need to follow? What are some of your goals for the school year? Thinking about all of these questions before researching curriculum can be helpful.

 

2. How much is your budget?

Cost can be a prohibitive factor for many families. Can you find the desired program used or get a coupon code from a blogger? How much is included in the cost of the curriculum? Will you need to purchase any other add-ons or manipulatives? Is the curriculum able to be used for many different ages or is it only for one year? Is the curriculum reusable for more than one child? How much support from the company comes along with the curriculum? The curriculum cost itself is just one factor.

 

3. How many children are you teaching?

Do you desire a curriculum that is grade-specific for each child or a curriculum that encompasses multiple ages and can be shared? Do you need to purchase new workbooks for additional children or can you make, or download, additional copies?  

 

4. How much time for teacher prep-work do you have?

Homeschooling families are busy! How much time do you have for prep before the lesson is given? Will an “open and go” math curriculum without teacher preparation help you free up time for other tasks?

 

5. How long would you like each lesson to be?

Math is an essential subject that takes time, consistency and practice to learn. Considering the length of lesson suggestions of each curriculum and your educational approach will help you narrow down your curriculum. If a curriculum is a good deal but takes too much of your time, you’re never going to use it. Your time and money are valuable.

 

6. What is your teaching style?

Are you a hands-on teacher or do you like to let your children tinker and find answers on their own? Do you prefer something concrete or do you prefer starting with abstract? Do you need the curriculum to provide lessons that incorporate review or do you like to review on your own?  

 

7. Do you desire a mastery-based or spiral-based approach?

Mastery-based curriculum requires the child to master a concept before moving on to something else. Spiral-based curriculum introduces a variety of “bite-size” concepts with increasing difficulty. With spiral-based math curriculum you will revisit topics regularly to build mastery.

 

8. Do you want a primarily visual program or one that addresses all the senses?

Most curricula are visual. Some include songs. Others include manipulatives that children play with. Others still include activities that use the major muscle groups (thighs, abs, and shoulders). Do you want a traditional, primarily visual curriculum where you make up the lessons for the other learning styles, or do you prefer a curriculum where those lessons already exist?

Hopefully, this helps you to feel more confident and empowered to choose a math curriculum. Here’s to a stress-free curriculum selection - and education!

Want to See Inside Our Montessori-Based Kits?

Math Kit I - PreK to 3rd Grade

Language Arts A - PreK to 1st Grade


Larry Shiller

Larry Shiller is President of ShillerLearning, whose mission is to help kids learn - and enjoy - math.Shiller has degrees from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Harvard Business School and is the author of Software Excellence (Prentice-Hall).

A father of three, Shiller is active in non-profits and his hobbies include working with local startups, music (Shiller is an accomplished violinist who - when not helping children learn math and language arts - performs in the NYC tri-state area), tennis (Shiller's team made it to the USTA national finals in his skill bracket), Quoridor (Shiller is a former USA Champion), backgammon (Shiller is the Voice of Backgammon, doing commentary on backgammon tournaments worldwide), table tennis, and flying (Shiller holds a private pilot's license).