Catherine and I worked on a little bit of math today. We went back to Singapore math but something about the work was frustrating Catherine. It's fairly simple subtraction but with changing tens. 67-8 and the like. She seems to have a little trouble with that. Putting the workbook aside I pulled out our abacus and some paper base ten blocks glued on cardstock that I printed from this site. The abacus was mildly helpful but it was the base ten blocks that really had Catherine enjoying herself. I can see the bar modeling in SM is going to be helpful for her.
After we were done we went back to the Childcraft 'Mathemagic' book. Honestly, if you don't have a set of these they're worth scouring yard sales and thrift stores for. I had a whole set sitting on my shelf for years until I finally picked up "Mathemagic" and "Science, Science Everywhere!" a few weeks back. Since then they've become a core part of our homeschooling. The 'Mathemagic" book had a nice turtorial for using the abacus so Catherine and I went over that. Then we explored different systems of writing numbers like the Roman and Egyption systems and tried our hand at writing numbers with them. The was no place value with these so math must have been hellish. We also took a peek at the binary, base 2, system used by computers. Cool stuff.
The second part of the BBC Nile documentary went on tonight and it was better then the first one. It traced the annual flood of the Nile up the river, up the Blue Nile and into the Ethiopian highlands to the source of the flood. It was thrilling.