Thursday, April 2, 2009

Math mania!

I spent the day baking bread, muffins and a pie. The kids hung out at the table doing some work for me. Izzy was practicing writing her name and cutting everything she could get her hands on with her scissors. Alex burned through 30, yes 30!, pages in his math book. About 1/3 of it. The final third. We had been talking about how he is going pretty slowly with the Singapore 1A - part one book. He knows the material. He can do the work with no effort. He just hates writing and finds the process of work sheets tedious. I showed him books from the next two levels and he saw that he was capable of the more difficult material. So he decided to get cracking. He just sailed through questions that asked him to circle the third hat from the left, or the basic addition and subtraction. He no longer has to count on his fingers. Answers come easily for problems such as, there are three marbles beside the bag of marbles and 12 marbles all together, how many are in the bag?

We agreed to work through 1A, part 2 as quickly as possible and then move on to the Miquon orange book. The goal is to start the next level up for both curriculum in September. I stole this comment of a math review website and it sums the two approaches nicely: "I have both the Singapore and Miquon math sets, so we'll alternate since they complement each other nicely. Singapore is more structured and teaches a certain thinking process to the point of mastery. The scope of content is somewhat narrow, and incorporates many word problems. Miquon is flexible and encourages independent discovery and mathematical exploration. The scope of content is broad, but does not include word problems." I find that between the two of them, we get the best of both worlds. A little redundancy might occur but that should just strengthen his foundation.

It feels good to see some real math coming out of this kid. He gets high marks (my imaginary marks) in language and literature. I know he loves math and science and shows great aptitude for those subjects, so seeing some genuine output makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I'll never worry about him falling behind the other kids at school as long as math and language skills are above board.

A side note of the writing front, I found a book that has made my personal top ten homeschooling books list. It is called Games for Writing, by Peggy Kaye, and it is ingenious. The caption under the title says it all, playful ways to help your child learn to write. Right now I am trying to move Alex from writing in all capital letters to lower case. One idea from the book is to make a menu for monsters. So I took some craft paper and made a menu for the Monster cafe, with sub-headings for Appetizers. Entrees, Beverages and Desserts. Alex gets to fill in the rest, in lower case of course, complete with prices. What could be more fun for a 6 year old boy that coming up with gems like deep fried eyeballs or smelly fart soup? I'll post a pic when its done. Since we got a little too carried away with math today, we didn't get as far on that project as we'd hoped.

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