Tuesday, March 27, 2012

New Math Approach

I will try to put into words what is inside of my head. I have gathered lots of ideas from mothers and regular education teachers about Grace's particular block in math. So I have devised a plan:

Step on is to use a calculator that will permit her to immediately check her work/guess. The one I am using is not a cheapo as it will retain the equation in the upper left while showing the answer in the lower right.  The rationale to this is simple. At the age of almost eight Grace is able to recall only a small portion of addition facts without using number lines, dots, or adding on. I think adding on is fine as long as you can do it fast but she is not always fast as she stares at the problem trying to decide where to begin 3+9. 
So today she faced a small number of equations at one time and was encouraged to think only for a moment try to tell me what it is then enter it into the calculator and guess what.........she was correct each time and all were sums of 11-15.  No fingers, no abacus, no number lines or adding on..(well she may have added on but if so she did it with lightening fast speed).  The calculator gave her immediate reinforcement and lets face it, the current young adult generation X is all about the NOW movement so should I expect it to be different from a modern tech student. 

Honestly it was great to see her accomplish it and check her answer. Not a single one incorrect which means she is recalling more than she or I ever imagined.

Step two: sandwich several problems between other stuff like constant reinforcement of time or measure. So after two times and two measurement toss in two more simple addition facts followed by complementing subtraction facts so that she can keep moving toward the more complicated issue of borrowing. For instance 11-7   followed by 21-7.  She will have just experienced the first equation then not be so stress about borrowing and the ability to recall the subtraction fact.  It lets the focus be on the operation more than the fact. 

It is my belief that this will enable to to reinforce the facts she knows and learn the ones she does not know. It will promote success in the operation by easing the ability to find the solution.

I do not know if this is making any sense to anybody but in my mind it is perfectly clear. Sadly, I will now have to work harder to make math a coordinated subject while still using the curriculum that we have.

She is also going to spend five minutes each day with her flash cards again. Not to tell me the right answer or her mother but to know for herself. It will require her saying it out loud and turning the card or if she wants check it on the calculator. 

It also means a bit of page hopping back and forth so no telling when we will actually finish the book.

OTHER big plans include a creation of a new one room school house for them. The house is there and measures about 30x20 so now we get to make it all we want. The computer will move out there and we will get in some new floors, furniture and revitalize some old furniture. New doors and air conditioner to be installed. Not so worry about the heat as our Eden Pure does a great job and it will be all I need out there. Will have to maintain climate as there will be so much stored school things as well. I do not intend to put this all together again. I pray that Owen will do well with what the girls have used so far. No new lessons plans as I am essentially a lazy school teacher.