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So how do you teach math???


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Ok.. how do you teach math... If that is what I need to do..Sigh. I've always just handed the boys a book. (Remember, I didn't start homeschooling them until after 1st and 3rd) My K girl seems to be intuitive like my oldest. But even her...what should I be doing other than opening up the Singapore book and doing it with her. Well, I guess I do more with her but it is just life. She brings me coins and we talk about them...what they are what they are worth..etc. But I am already totollay overwhelmed with what I have to do and the thought of adding in one more thing...

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I thought it might be helpful if you knew what I do


4 am or so- get up, eat breakfast and have devotional. Then get on the computer

6am- go take shower, talk with hubby, get dressed, etc. tell hubby goodbye, start laundry

7am- Get children up to do their morning routine, work on money on computer, balance checkbook, pay bills, whatever financial stuff needs doing

8am- start school. Boys have piano practice, math, devotions and my younger one is SUPPOSEd to do vision therapy which is a daily battle during this time period (I start with his hated subjects math and vision therapy first so they can supposedly get finished. He normally does some of math and tries to barter not doing his therapy until later. Therapy takes 45 minutes or so) I do various things at this time. My dh always has an assignment. Today my daughter and I have a doctor's appointment at 8:30am (I have poison ivy that I have been batttling for over a month and prednisone did nothing.. sigh) daghter has a urinary tract infection, so I will leave the boys working. Also,,,found out last night that oldest broke both contacts...think they were too brittle from polishing. He didn't want to tell me ... so I have to call/go by to order new ones at some point.


9:30 Break - Run around outside. Physical activity of some kind


10 (Hopefully today I will be back by now, so I will grade their work and make my younger boy go back and do the math he skipped.)

TOG block.. I am currently reading them Augustus Caesar's world aloud they read their history, literature, SAP, Mapwork, whatever needs to be done. Writing and language arts are in this block as well. Typically this block is when I work with my girl. She is a late sleeper and so she is generally getting up during that 8am block, having breakfast, a bath, etc. So during this block I am working on her with phonics, math, handwriting.. probably an hour tops. Then she goes to play while I check on help brothers and make sure they are on task.


12 Play outside

12:20-1 Lunch and readaloud. I am currently working on Ides of April

1-3 2nd piano practice for boys, oldest is doing computer class, oldest does physical science..I find something for younger boy to do to count for science, vision therapy if it didn't fit in first block goes here, finish up any TOG work that didn't get done. They both work on speeches for speech class. Daughter and I will work on reading a BOB book and do a couple of other workbook things and then once again she goes to play. I normally work on church stuff if possible during this time period or whatever assignment my dh gives me. I need to work on our applications for Ethiopia mission work today and pack for my son for a surprise trip with his dad this weekend.

3-3:30 30 minute house cleanup...thougth I have really been trying to clean up as we go, but it is hard


Mondays are like that and we have tennis lessons for the boys at 4:30.


Tuesdays are like that until 1 when I have to leave to take my daughter to dance. Boys and I get a treat a Dairy Queen that 45 minutes and I continue a readalud. Then I drive boys to their piano lessons which take an hour each.During those 2 hours I take my invalid father to Walmart, get his haircut, etc. I pick up my sons and drop them at home and take my daughter to soccer practice. I return home with her at 7 or so.


Wednesday We leave at 8 am for homeschool co-op which lasts until 1:30, then go straight to church where I get ready to direct my children's choir at 3. Church activities last until 9pm for me, but dh gets the children most of the time after theirs are over at 7.


Thursdays are the regular schedule. Megan has soccer practice at 5:30.


Fridays are the regular schedule.Although it is now getting to be outside chores time. We live on 50 acres so we will start to spend time mowing, weeding, etc.


Saturday is soccer, piano competitions and outside work around here. Sometime church activites.


That is my day and week. Life needs to fit in there as well: getting tires aligned, seeing accountants, dentists, etc. I can't figure out how to do that kind of stuff without losing school. I make it in the afternoons, most of the time. (Our doctor doesn't work on Thrusday afternoons, hence the appointment for daughter and I.)



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I sit down with my student and we go over the new material together. I guess you could read what the book says together, but I use my own words and examples and we discuss it and play around with it a little bit.


Then we pull out the sample problems from the chapter and do them together. We look over the assigned problems and talk over anything s/he might have questions about and then s/he heads off to do the problems. (For a younger child s/he sits near me and asks questions or gets reassurance periodically... I read a book or visit the boards or something in between questions.)


I think students should be taught the new material rather than teaching it to themselves (unless that is their preference) and I also think that learning to talk your way through problem solving is an *essential* math skill... and my kids learn that by sitting with me and hearing me do it.


When my children were younger and used Singapore's Early Bird program, we did a few problems of each type together and then I sat at the table while they did the rest.


We currently use a spiral math program that is self-teaching, but I still have them read and explain the new material to me, and then watch while they do the new problems. Then the do the rest of the lesson independently.



Now we

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Until this year, I always sat at the table with Storm during math, this year I don't sit with her after explaining the lesson:


I give about 3 mental math problems, 2 word problems & a sheet consisting of 100 mixed math facts in the 4 operations to keep these skills sharp & to get her time down to under 5 minutes (this is for mandatory testing prep). This takes about 10 minutes at the most.


I then would open up the math book to the assignment & read over the explanation with Storm. We then complete as many of the classroom problems until she understands the concept, if introducing unfamiliar material.


Then I assign all the problems in sets A & B up to 30 max. If there's more than 30 problems, I pick & choose. If there's less than 30, I assign set C or additional classroom problems.


It never takes Storm more than an hour to complete her assignment.


Last year with my youngest, Blaze, I literally had to sit on top of him to get his assignments done:


I gave 2 mental math problems & a drill sheet of 40 same operation problems to complete. This took about 10-15 minutes.


I then went over the SM textbook problems orally for about 10 minutes.


Next, we begain the actual pages from the workbook together, with me writing the problem on the board and Blaze working through the problems orally as I wrote down what he told me. I then gave him about 5 problems to complete by hand in the workbook.


2 dc, and two different methods of teaching math

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I split the math lesson into 3 parts that may or may not happen at the same time:


1. Rhythmic Drill--we roll a small ball back and forth and do 2 sets of math facts. You can jump on a trampoline, jump rope, skip, ride a bike, whatever.


2. Story/instruction/explore--I tell a story about math and/or teach a new concept. This is also a time where we bring out the manipulatives if needed and work on problems in the Singapore Text to make sure we have the concept down. If she has it then we stop. If she has trouble we slow down and do a few textbook problems a day until the concept sticks.


3. Workbook--I give her the workbook and she does the pages I have assigned. We do between 1-3 pages per day.


We also check out videos from the library like Schoolhouse Rock and Rock n Learn that do math to songs. And I love the Stuart J. Murphy Mathstart books--these are great for introducing new topics.

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The first thing I have my kids do is their flashcards. Then we practice counting or skip counting depending on their grade level.


After this drill, my kids take a speed drill.


Once the speed drill is finished, I introduce (teach) the new concept. We discuss and go over the content and do a few problems.


Then I assign the problems that go over the new concept. When my child has finished these, we correct them immediately before they move on. I have found that this helps to catch problems right away. If my child has missed any of these, we review the concept concentrating on the problem area.


Then we go over some review work (we briefly review a few concepts and do some sample problems). After that, I assign the rest of the math page.

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The details of if we do a drill sheet, if I explain it or let the book explain it, etc, varies with each child. However, one thing that we do with all three kids is try to teach them "the bigger picture" and we do that in an informal and conversational way.


With the older child who is in algebra we ask questions that we know in advance will be answered by a proof later on. For example, "Why is it that some numbers repeat as decimals and other numbers just end when you divide them?" "How can someone know that there isn't going to be a whole number between 7 and 8?


With the younger ones we give them interesting problems to think about that they haven't been given the skills yet to solve but we think they might have a chance at solving if they just think about it hard enough, or they surely will understand the solution if explained. We've asked the second grader, "What's 3 x 3 x 3 x 3? "How many odd numbers are there between zero and ten? How many odd numbers are there between zero and a hundred? What fraction is in between 1/2 and 1? What fraction is in between that new fraction and 1? And that fraction and one? Can this go on forever or will it stop? How do you know that there aren't any numbers that evenly divide 31? And his younger sister in the first grade gets, "What's 7 + 7 + 7 + 7? Can you skip count by 11? If you skip count by 5 will you ever make it to 93? What if you tried skip counting by fives in a different way? Maybe you just haven't thought of just the right way yet." They are sent on goose chases like this from time to time. Dad can ask better questions than I can. We don't tell them the answer if they don't know. Like a magician's trick, if you can't figure it out you'll just have to be tormented by wondering.


While the "let's do this lesson in your book" approach takes care of technical skills for us, the math guys in the family seem to think that it's much more important in the long run to use foreshadowing of upcoming topics, instill wonderment, accustom the student to be comfortable spending a long time thinking about a single problem, and in general to approach math top down.

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I haven't tried them yet, but I hear great reviews about Teaching Textbooks. The program teaches and corrects the child in an interactive way on the computer. You don't have to dedicate any time on math with your child. There are sample lessons on the website you can look at.


Right now I'm using Miquon with my oldest boys. It's a discovery approach to math, so I let them figure things out first and if they get stuck, I go over the individual problem with them. If they don't understand the general concept well, I also explain it to them.

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