Saturday, May 7, 2011

Math Manipulation

This may be not at all what you are thinking this post will be about.  It is not about those little blocks, bears, or other counting devices used for math. 

This is about my experience with my child’s “manipulation”  in my TRYING to teach him his math.  Now, I say manipulation because I know that he is VERY capable of doing his math sheets.  But, is constantly a struggle to get him to do it.  Why?

So, then, I ask myself about every other day (as I am trying not to totally lose my cool over this)  Why will he take 2 hours for ONE paper?

This comes from a child who:  has a wallet full of money, and when wanting to buy something will calculate correctly how much he can spend, how much will be left, – and do this all quickly in his head!  {he does this in everyday life on a number of occasions}

As I am standing beside him, dumbfounded, I am silently asking myself. “Is this boy playing me, or what?”  I mean “is this the same boy that takes up to 2 hours to complete a paper. 

In order to improve our school time (paper work) I have come to these conclusions:

1.  Pick your battles – we break up the way we do our math for school.  Some days Timez Attack, sometimes, sometimes we practice facts with dice.  Not to say, we do away with the papers, we don’t, they are important.

2. We now use a timer.  He actually loves this.  I let him choose the “times up sound” from the Ipod touch himself.  I give him 20 minutes for the paper.  And you know what?  He gets it done!

3.  I have cut back a little on the “daily drills”.  Personally, this one was hard for me, because I believe facts should be memorized as this was the way I learned them.  But everyone is different.  To be honest, he has never benefited from constant, repetitive review.  He seems to shut down, when it’s “review time”.    Does he still get practice everyday?  Yes.  In the form of his work papers.  If the answer is wrong he needs to redo it.  That is enough for now because:

4.  When something is important enough it gets learned.  I have seen this over and over again.  For example, his money is important to him.  So, I take that an a learning opportunity.  (I can sneak in a few multplication/division facts.)  And, really, do you learn what you are interested in?

5.  Learning should not be about a battle between you and your child.  He learned his facts this year. 

It’s all about finding what works so you and your child – hopefully I have done that. 

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