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Majoring in Math


Another old post to give you a background of our process.

Math is a subject that comes easy to me. I was intimidated as a child only in that my little brother was so incredibly brilliant in that subject that he was always ahead of me, even though I was two years older and considered a gifted student. Even though my math career only went as far as geometry (meaning that I've never taken Trig or Calc), I got a 680 in math on the SAT. I married a math major. He was teaching Junior High math when we first started dating and made it to co-chair of the Senior High Math Department before changing careers.

So given the gene pool from which our oldest child was derived, I figure, he's going to be good in math.

Well, today I finally proved to myself that the genes don't lie.

You see, I've been homeschooling him for four years now. The first two years we worked the math book, Singapore math to be exact. And we'd always get to the same point in the book, and, well, get stuck. I didn't want to go forward because I knew that he didn't get it. He didn't know what 3+7 was without counting on his fingers, and even then he looked perplexed. So we did the book again from the beginning. Same outcome, one year later. Frustrated, I decided to forget about math for now and play Monopoly.

To my surprise, the same kid who couldn't tell you what 3+7 was to save his soul, could the following in his head: "Okay, this property is $320, and you gave me $500, what's your change?" "$180." Without blinking. That's when I realized, 3+7 is just numbers. $500 minus $320 is about money, and winning the game, and beating mom. It meant something to him.
So we've been playing Monopoly, and Cashflow, and other games, and doing lots of mental math. We didn't have a formal math program at all last year.

This year, however, I have a Kindergartener who deserves time with mom to learn her 3+7's and phonics. So I wanted the 8 year old to do something a little more concrete and independent.

I was reading in Robinson Curriculum that he starts his kids on Saxon 5/4. Well, my son would just be entering 3rd grade if he were in public school, so I thought it'd be a stretch. But I tested him online, and he actually did very well.

So today we began. He worked on Lesson One for about an hour and 15 minutes and moaned about it quite a bit. Then this evening his former math teacher father and he went over his work. He got every problem right. Tricky stuff, like 10 - N = 3. Stuff he'd never seen or done before.

And before going to bed he told me, "You know, Mom, I think I actually liked math today. I mean, it was kind of fun." Yeah, that's my boy. He's really good at math.

Wish you were here!

2 comments:

Carrien said...

That is cool. I just let the boy keep counting on his fingers while he tried harder and harder things. Eventually, he didn't need the fingers anymore.

paisley said...

We did fingers, and plastic frogs, and an abacus, and unifix cubes. Didn't matter. Because at the end of the day, if you count on your fingers you don't end up with more fingers. Jor Man wanted to accomplish something - and beating Beauty Mom at Monopoly was what motivated him most. Still does. That and saving up to buy something.

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