Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Meandering Through Math

This switch to using the curriculum instead of letting it use me has been working really well. On Friday we did the art project thing with the 2 times table and ever since then Catherine has had that table memorized! Granted, I've also been quizing her at unexpected times but I think the art approach really cemented some of it in her head. I'll be taking a similar approach with the other tables and other ways (other than memorization) of learning them.

Today I started by passing Catherine the math binder and asking what she'd like to work on. The answer was an enthusiastic, "Math Mammoth!" but I forgot I'd stuck the JUMP Math Fractions Unit in her binder as well and she stopped when she came to that. She'd done quite a few pages several weeks ago but we'd stopped when it got to addressing adding fractions with different denominators so she could shore up her multiplication skills. So that's where she started today.

JUMP Math, in this unit so far at least, is very much focused on building skills and not on explanations. Catherine was doing the worksheets that would prepare her to come up with common denomiators to add but not understanding why she had to do that. Okay. Leave JUMP Math.

On to Brain Pop where the math section has a little video explaining the addition of fractions. She watched and took the quiz and was a little closer to understanding.

On to Key to Fractions and where she left off months ago. This had more fundamental worksheets that she worked on happily and seemed to help her just a little more.

And all this she did either on the couch or at a little desk in the living room rather than her desk in the kitchen. Much better.

Today also helped me see the usefulness of having a library of quality curriculum around. We jumped from one to the other finding what worked at that moment and what would help us move forward. And the 'we' was sincerely meant. Catherine made the choices in what to do today and it made the whole process infinately more pleasant. Something resembling what we had in the earlier days of our homeschooling when unschooling was the approach.

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