Thursday, April 28, 2011

Lets talk about Math

Since I still don't have the option of posting photos. My computer is still not speaking to my camera and the card reader I bought doesn't work on our operating system (I guess our computer is just too old. It is seven years old.  I can't even upgrade to the correct operating system because it requires more megahertz. than what our computer has. I guess we are doomed to buy a new computer... eventually?!) So I will talk about something really exciting like Math.

The other day Henry asked me, "Why do you love math?".  I hadn't ever really thought that I loved math. Perhaps he just asked this because it is one of the subjects I require my kids to do every day.  He followed up his question by asking, "How do you know how to do all of this?". I guess he was amazed how I bounced from Ian's geometry to Sophie's fractions and then back to his addition. They were all doing their math at the same time and I was helping each one as they needed it.  I explained to him that I had been doing Math for years and years in school but also that Math is one of the things my mind just understands easily. He said "that is why you like to do Suduko". He knows I love to work those puzzles and thinks math is somehow involved.  I didn't go into the fact that Suduko really doesn't have anything to do with math. I guess logic is math but without the numbers but there isn't any adding or subtracting. And my mind certainly works very logically! I guess Henry was right. I do love Math!

We have been a very loyal Singapore Math family for years. Sophie has made it through 4 years of their workbooks. She finished 4B earlier this year. I admit we used to have a lot of trouble getting Sophie to do Math the first year or so but it has been quite some time since she really fought it. She knows we do Math everyday.  Singapore seems to move through topics in a logical way and explains them well. Nothing seems like a big jump. And there is quite a bit of practice so my kids have done well getting the concepts. Ian is finishing up 2B right now and Henry is still working on the 1A workbook.

Once Sophie finished the 4B workbook I gave her the option to start 5A or to give Life of Fred a try.
She had such a good time working through the first bit of this book. At about half way through the chapters and bridge sections she started to get very frustrated. She could never remember the concept that was taught in the last chapter. She loved reading the chapters but had such a hard time getting through the problems. I found myself having to remind her of the steps from before. I think the problem was that each chapter ended with a few problems, usually story problems, but there was usually only one that covered the topic learned in that chapter and then a few review ones. I think she got a little frustrated because she hadn't really gotten the method down with only one problem to solve. I think it takes a few problems to work through before you really have the topic or concept down.
Sophie didn't finish the book. She was in tears one day and I hadn't had to deal with tears about math for some time. So I decided to do something different.

I turned to Math Mammoth for practice. I have been visiting this ladies blog for a year or so but hadn't actually given any of the workbooks a try until Sophie got so frustrated with Life of Fred. I figured we needed to do something else.  These downloadable workbooks have been a good way to review some of the topics we have already covered. Sophie worked her way through the Division 1 workbook and is now finishing the Fractions. Ian didn't want to be left out so he is doing the Geometry workbook along with his Singapore. He doesn't seem to mind doing double math. The Geometry is fun because he gets to use rulers, triangles and such. Then he turns to his Singapore and does fractions or money or time. He is really good at math and flies through his two lessons each day.

Henry fights all school work and Math isn't any different, even though he is able to do it once he stops complaining. He was working through Singapore and doing well but once it got to double digit subtraction he just got too frustrated. So I downloaded the Addition 1 Math Mammoth workbook and started him on that in order to review the math facts for a bit. He just finished it today and is so excited to do the Subtraction 1 workbook next. We will see how he reacts tomorrow when he actually has to do it.  For today he is thrilled to punch holes in the pages and put them in the binder so he can have them ready for math tomorrow.

We will be going back to Singapore and I am sure we will eventually work through the Life of Fred books as well but at the moment they are all happily working through some of the Math Mammoth workbooks.

I am just happy my kids enjoy doing Math. (I am sure Henry will one day stop fighting it. He enjoys it once he gets over the fact that he is required to do something.)

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