Thursday, September 14, 2006

Math workbooks have PROBLEMS!

I don’t know if any of you knew that Kelsey was very “behind” in Math. You might ask, “Behind what?” To which I would answer, “You know, like if a comet fell on me and she had to go to public school NOW, she would be considered behind – grade-wise.” (Grades are for eggs?) Anyway, we had been so relaxed here and I just didn’t make her do the tedious work found in her math workbooks. She was always drawing, playing with the cat, or pretending that she was a cat. She was happy and free. But, she was 10 and still hadn’t finished, and maybe I should admit, hadn’t really started her 3rd grade math workbook! More confessions: We never bought the kindergarten, first, or second grade math books! This was starting to make me very stressed out.

I got nervous and decided to just get out the game “Math-It” and NUKE the basics within her. I wanted to make sure that she at least knew her basic math facts. I created a plan that would guarantee proficiency in all her facts in just three weeks. I learned that “Math-It” could be just as boring as workbooks! I guess anything can become boring when forced on a child. We also played around with “Multi-flyer” on-line so that she could get extra practice with her multiplication facts.

I decided to buy a “Basic Math” course from the Teaching Company. The course was geared towards high school students who needed remediation in Math. It was taught by a college professor but for some reason I thought it could help. Looking at the workbook that came with the program I feared it would be worthless to us. We had just learned our basics and here was a book with big problems. All math books have problems. Well, for example, the division section started out with long division! That’s the only concept that gave Matthan a problem in Math – which meant dividing monomials and polynomials would be our next stumbling block….

Kelsey loved watching the lectures. She had no problem doing the big problems in the work book. I only made her do five a day. This was not tedious! She now loves Math! And guess what? Long division came easier for her than it did for Matthan!

I’m not saying it’s this particular program that helped. I think it was the waiting until she was more mature to begin formal math coupled with avoiding the tedious work.

Now WHEN Kelsey does math I only require that she work just five problems; five challenging problems. She works each out on a dry erase board so that I can watch her every mathematical move.

Now if a comet falls on me she will be right on track like a good little train.

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