Hopefully that got your attention.
And maybe it was a bit strong, but I’ve learned something.
I’ve always been a big believer in choosing math curricula that focus on understanding rather than rote learning.
Here’s my post from last year’s Virtual Curriculum Fair:
And while I don’t have big regrets about teaching my older 2 children in this way, I have gained a greater appreciation for the spiral approach to teaching mathematics.
After banging my head against the wall for several years, I have finally found a math program that is working for William, my middle son.
It’s Christian Light.
Every day there are an oral skip counting exercise, 2 sets of flashcards to review, and a speed drill. These are followed by the introduction of new material. Then the bulk of every lesson is the “We remember” section. So every single day William has to remember how to do addition with carrying and subtraction with borrowing. He frequently is asked to convert between inches and feet or gallons to quarts. There are word problems, and multiplication fact practice. Every single day.
I think he is finally going to remember how to do subtraction.
Is it fun?
No. But it doesn’t have to be. I firmly believe that everyone needs basic math skills. While I’ve heard many preach that making learning fun makes it easier, there comes a point where things have to be done. I need to make sure that he works up to his potential. That is not going to be calculus in his case and that’s fine. And learning to be diligent is a valuable trait.
Is it quick?
No. Due to his extremely distractible nature, it can take an hour or more for William to complete his daily math lesson.
But is my almost 11 year old finally remembering the mechanics of doing math?
YES! (Most of the time anyway.)
Here’s what I’ve learned so far in this journey.
1. Don’t assume that what works for one child will work for another (or that the way you learn is how your children do).
2. Don’t be afraid to try different things.
3. Don’t worry too much about grade level.