Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Math, how it's going, and Heather's helpful math post

Heather at To Sow a Seed has a good homeschool math post this week.  That might not sound like enough to get you to click over there, but trust me, she has some important things to say both about math and about homeschooling.

Right now Dollygirl is doing a mixture of Saxon Algebra 1/2 (2nd edition), Key to Geometry, and Balance Benders; also Money Matters by Larry Burkett, but that is more consumer education and citizenship than math.

I know how you're supposed to do Saxon.  That's not how we're doing it.  That would be exactly how to make Dollygirl never want to do math again.  The closest comparison I can make is that I'm teaching it much like I did Miquon, minus the Cuisenaire rods.  There are topics that Dollygirl is already very good at; there are new things she needs practice with.  During a math lesson (which doesn't mean One Saxon Lesson), I try to go over something new or to expand on a concept we've been working on (right now it's rate problems and unit multipliers); we might do some sample problems together on that, or do a few other questions on more familiar topics, such as finding the lowest common multiple or changing improper fractions to mixed numbers.  She might do those orally (if they're that sort of question), might do them on scratch paper (the same idea as working at the blackboard).  I watch while she's working those out and offer a little direction if she needs it; we check the Solutions Manual and if everything lines up, we move on; if not, we go back to the point where she got off track.

Then I usually assign either a few word problems, or, depending on what's in the Saxon lesson, a certain number of the shorter-type questions such as "solve for x."  So it might take us a few days to get through one Saxon lesson, or we might stop partway through and move on, or we might do a whole problem set and then skip the next, or we might even go back to a very early lesson for some arithmetic review.

(I always took Ruth Beechick seriously when she said "teach the child, not the book.")

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