The other day I wrote about a timer, today I’m keeping the theme and writing about some cheat tools that us moms need to have on hand. FYI: All three of my kids do math with an abacus or something to count with with like beans or cheerios. Here’s another secret…I let my kids use calculators (and it’s ok because my mom said it was…isn’t that great?!) I’m currently teaching basic math skills, we’re not in advanced algebra yet and we’ll cross that bridge when we get there, but for now, we learn about math through daily life lessons (cooking, using a watch, telling time, etc and our math book.)
My method is this, have a child do a few math questions, if he gets them correct and is understanding what he’s doing, then switch to a calculator. The bells will go off, the concepts will connect, they WILL. I promise.
What I see a lot of times is that a child is left to do 50 questions all on his own. 30 minutes later he’s still at the table, probably completely distracted, discouraged or just plain bored. This year I even switched from a math curriculum that gave the child a full page of one type of math question to a curriculum that does a tiny bit of that question every day, spread over the entire book.
What we try to do is teach the first few questions with joy, make sure he can do them on his own, then watch him fly through the rest of the questions, all the while using his little fingers to manipulate an exciting calulator or even getting to use mommy’s iphone calculator. Our trifecta of awesome math times are a good, fun, colorful workbook, a timer and an abacus/calculator.
Like I mentioned before, Math is the only set curriculum we use. Every other subject is “beyond schooled” (more on that later.)