Thursday, May 22, 2008

Summer Math

We are done with our math curriculums for the year!  Woo hoo! I feel like a weight has been lifted!  Now I feel like summer is around the corner.  Now we can really have fun wrapping up school.

Neither the children or I enjoy math. Math is merely an endurance test, although we realize there are educational benefits as well. 15yod has learned her basic math facts well and is solid in basic math usage.  If anything throws her, it's the word problems.  I was thrown by them all the time in school too.  My son could be brilliant in math, if he gave it a chance.  He has never enjoyed memorizing things.  When he was younger I tried everything under the sun to encourage him to memorize the math facts:  audio math song tapes, math games, pc games, etc.  To this day, if he misses a complex math problem, it's probably because he made a careless mistake in a basic math fact.  He knows them, but he doesn't really own them.  Therefore, I feel a need to drill the basic math facts this summer.  

The dc and I have discussed the need for this and we were in agreement.  We could do some math games while doing long math computations. We never formally discussed how to do the games, we only discussed that we would do it.  Behind my back, they hatched the plan for how we would play. They made the announcement the other morning.  They told me what I was going to do to lead them!  They set up the white board with their chosen pen color and wrote their name at the top.  I am to go through the long math equation and it's a race to the finish.  When they figure out the final answer they write it on the board.  Whoever is first and correct gets the point.  We do this for 30 minutes or less, stopping at 9am.  We begin after our morning devotions.  So far after two mornings of this, it has been a hit.  

One thing I do like about the A Beka math program is that they have math drills like this worked into the teachers' lesson plan book.  I gave up doing them with ds through the year because for him to do it solo was sheer drudgery and set a poor tone for his math paper of the day.  When we started these the other day, I began at the front of the book and we will work our way through. They start out simple, like 6+8-2+9=?.  Now they are getting longer and throwing in multiplication and division.  Later they will throw in fractions, etc.

I like these because it takes the brain to a new level of development.  Like dictation which is highly valued for training the brain to hold chunks of information for a period of time, this goes a step further.  Doing math computations in the brain helps new synapses to grow while processing chunks of information temporarily stored in the brain.  We do so little of this type of work in our highly visual society today.  Even 150 years ago, the one room schoolhouses did a great deal of auditory work allowing for the synaptic connections to multiply.  When I read the Little House books aloud to my children, I was amazed at what a one room classroom produced.  There is something to be said about the old fashioned way of education...which many of us homeschoolers have grabbed hold of.  Doing auditory memory work develops the brain.  Since my dc invented this game, they are having fun with it and I accomplish my goal of increasing their math skills.  Yea!




  1. Awesome!

    I know what you mean about word problems. I have always disliked them, and my 7 yo is no different! I think that the game idea might help.

  2. That is one thing I really like about the Saxon math program. Lots and lots of word problems from the very begining. The way we approach it is as if there is a secret code in the sentence and we have to translate it into number language. For the most part when they approach the problem that way, knowing the code words, they have little trouble solving the problems.