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Math beyond the drill of Numbers

 

My youngest son, 9.5yo, is not ready for the drill of a workbook programme, even one that I like such as Math-U-See.  So we are using a variety of other approaches with him.

 

This is made up of:

* Lentil Science/Math(TOPS Science) – this is hands on discovery based

* Living Books – stories that explain or introduce math concepts

* Computer/Online activities

 

Using the computer has been our latest addition to his programme.  I have come to realize that he works well after screen time.  It has been a hard adjustment to make – we all read stories of how too much computer/TV/Video time deadens the brain and we want to do all that we can to avoid that.  So in our family we have a general rule of limited screen time for recreational purposes.  And yet, when I observe Daniel his fine motor skills, his attention skills work better after a short time (and I say short time) at the computer.  I have had to think outside the box and wonder if this won’t be a positive thing for his learning.

 

Some months ago I found Internet4Classrooms, an online collection of computer/online lessons for primary school kids.  They are organized in much the same format as the Curriculum Framework which means you can see the growth in one subject from year to year.

 

This week we have used Internet4Classrooms for Daniels Math lessons.  In continuation of some work we did with shapes using a living book (The Hungry Triangle) we are working on geometry issues.  

 

  • patterns
  • defining 3 dimensional shapes
  • Nets – making a 3 dimensional shape from a piece of paper
  • Symmetry

 

One of the things Daniel likes about the idea of having a math workbook (especially one as big as Math-U-See) is the record of learning that happens as you work through the book.  I can appreciate that.  So we are making a math scrapbook.  Using an old fashioned large format recycled paper project book (or scrapbook), we glue in something of his work everyday.  I have been able to print off aspects of his online activity, or a photo of any hands on work, photocopy of the covers of living books we read,  and we make minibook folds (like in lapbooking) for him to record the principles he is working on.  

 

I am excited to find a method that suits Daniel.  His brain is thinking in terms of math concepts all the time, even though he struggles with articulation of the relevant words, and sometimes even the counting sequence (though thanks to Math-U-See’s method of counting he is getting there).  When there is a language difficulty it is easy for the parent (Me) to delay all learning but I have seen in Daniel his head churning over and figuring out mathematical things – he just can’t use words clearly to tell you what he is thinking.  I need to up the instruction in the areas where he is showing signs of excelling as we work diligently in the areas where he is weaker.

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