Jan 13, 2014

Math We Love

It's time for the next installment of the Virtual Curriculum Fair! This week, we are talking about Discovering Patterns: math, science and logic. 

I'm not good at math. I strongly dislike it. I have a mind that's great for language, stories, relationships, but not so great with numbers. Seriously, I can tell you the names of people I met once, twenty years ago, but we have lived at our current address for almost two years and I can not remember the four numbers it contains at all. I have to look it up. Or ask my kids. As a child, I memorized tons of poems that I can (and do) regularly quote, but I still have to count on my fingers to figure out what 9 plus 7 equals. I only learned the multiplication tables because I gave the numbers all personalities and made up stories to help me remember.

So when we started homeschooling, I expected math to be a difficult subject for us and we did indeed struggle for a couple of years. But then we found Math U See. A curriculum I selected primarily because when I watched the video explaining square roots I thought, "OH! That makes sense!" and I decided that anyone who could explain square roots to ME had to be the right math teacher for us. :) My three youngest fly through this program with little difficulty. It can sometimes be a struggle for Kaytie, whose mind works like mine, but even she is more at ease with math than I ever will be.

There are a lot of blog posts out there describing Math U See and how it works, but everyone does it a little bit differently. It took us a year or so, but we found the method that works best for us. First, even though it is suggested not to, the kids watch the DVD lessons. I watch them with the younger two, but Kaytie and Nate, who are working through Delta, watch them on their own. They watch them individually and they like being able to pause and/or rewind as they need to in order to grasp the concepts. The little kids love trying to figure out the answers before the kids on the DVD can.

After they watch the lesson, they pull out the first worksheet for that lesson (there are six for each lesson: the first three are completely focused on the new concept taught in that lesson and the other three mix in review questions) and answer the questions. I can usually tell by how they do on that worksheet if they understand the concept or not. If they do, then the next few days they will do a worksheet a day. I just make them do the first one and then the last three for each lesson. After they complete their sheet each day, I grade it. I mark wrong answers and they go back and do them again until they get them right. We pull the sheets out of the books they come in and keep them in a binder so they will lie flat.

Once they have done all four sheets for each lesson, they take a test. I consider an 80 to be passing. If they score below that, they redo the lesson. This has happened once or twice with Kaytie and Nate. Abbie and Daniel score 100 the majority of the time and neither have ever missed more than a couple of answers, which was usually the result of silly mistakes... not paying attention to plus and minus signs for example.

 If they obviously do not understand the new concept well enough to finish the first worksheet, then I sit down with them and we go over it until they do. We use the manipulative blocks, we re-watch the video, we discuss, we draw diagrams, I ask questions... in short, whatever we need to do to help them grasp it. Only then do we move on.

 The blocks are also always available because I do not allow "counting" to solve problems. (see the first paragraph to find out why)

 In addition to Math U See, (which takes about 15 to 20 minutes of our day when everyone is doing well and not staring blankly out the window or building castles with the blocks) we also use Xtra Math, which I talk about here, and Life with Fred. Fred is used very informally in our house. We have the first book and the kids read it more for fun than anything. The kids do Xtra Math every school day.

We have a lot of math manipulatives in our home: a cash register, cuisenaire blocks, cubes that link together, pattern blocks, tangrams, geoboards, geometric solids and more that I can't think of right off the top of my head, and these are always free for the children's use.

We also play a lot of math oriented games. Rat a Tat Cat is a favorite of us all. The kids play Monopoly, War, Battleship, dominoes and chess. They play Suduku: this online version, or with paper and pencil, and we have a board game. Abbie still loves Chutes and Ladders. Kaytie bought Nate Yatzee for Christmas and they have all enjoyed learning to play it.

And finally, there are lots of practical, living-life ways to learn math. The kids have learned measurements, easy fractions, and conversions through cooking, following recipes and (vital in a bigger than average family) doubling recipes. Nate learned how to tell time on a regular clock this month when his Granny gave him an analogue wrist-watch for Christmas. Daniel practices spatial reasoning daily with his Lego building and paper airplane folding. Abbie is learning about money by saving and spending allowance, Tooth Fairy money and birthday money.

I've talked about math a lot over the years, you can find those posts here and here.

You can read what the other participants in the Virtual Curriculum Fair had to say about Discovering Patterns by choosing from the list below. And you can join us by linking up your own post to the linky at the bottom of the list. If the linky doesn't work (or even appear) and you want to join in, just leave a comment.

Our {almost} FREE 2nd and 4th Grade Math Program by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds
Supercharged Science's Mathemagic  by Kristi K. @ The Potter’s Hand Academy
Math & Logic Resources by Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses
How We Tackle Middle School Math, Logic & Science by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool
 A Peek into our Homeschool: Math & Logic by Brittney @ Mom's Heart
Math and Logic: Patterns and Reasoning by Leah@As We Walk Along the Road
Discovering Science & Math w/ Apologia & Saxon  by LynnP @ Ladybug Chronicles
Make Math Fun: Your Kids Will Thank You by Tauna @ Proverbial Homemaker
Our Curriculum Choices 2014 ~ Mathematics by Renata @ Sunnyside Farm Fun
My Favorite Math For Boys by Monique @ Living Life and Learning
Math--Our Four Letter Word by Nicole @ Schooling in the Sun
If I Knew Then What I Know Now by Kristen @ Sunrise to Sunset
Math and Science anyone? by Michele@ Family, Faith and Fridays
My 7 Favourite Math Resources by Kim @ Homestead Acres
Basic Instincts by Chelli @ The Planted Trees
Getting My Teens Ready for Algebra by Debra @Footprints in the Butter
Math We Love by Laura @ Four Little Penguins
2014 Virtual Curriculum Fair ~ Math & Science by Jennifer @ Glimpse of Our Life
Our Take on Math, the Elementary Years - Charlotte Mason-style by HillaryM @ Our Homeschool Studio</ p>
Tackling Math and Science from Multiple Angles by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World

1 comment:

Michele said...

Glad you found something that works for you all. I hear such great things about Math U see! Math is not my strong point either! ;)


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