Archive for the ‘Math’ Category

Don’t Get Behind on Grading Math

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

grading-mathOne time back when I was still using Saxon math, I got behind on my grading. I’m usually grading math the same day it is completed, or the next day. Well, this time I had forgotten to grade my kid’s math for two weeks. Come to find out that he had been doing a certain kind of problem wrong. Not only had he gotten that kind of problem wrong for two weeks, but he had now established a habit of doing that type of problem in a certain way. I had to re-teach that type of problem, and it took two hours just to correct those problems that he had gotten wrong over those two weeks. I felt so bad, because he felt punished to have to work an extra two hours because of my failure to catch his error earlier. He didn’t blame me; he was just sad and frustrated. But I blamed myself, and I determined that I would always stay on top of my math grading from here on out.

Learn Value of Money at Chuck-E-Cheese?

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

chuck-e-cheeseWhen my children were young and I had no money whatsoever, I would feed the kids a full lunch at home. Then I would go to Chuck-E-Cheese. When the children walked through the door, each child was given one free coin. (I’m not sure if they do this any more.) I had my children come to a table, where we pooled all our coins. Then I would give one coin to the children. I said, “Choose a ride that you all want to go on, and get on. Then put the coin in.” I sat with my baby while the other three children walked around and weighed the pros and cons of each ride. They discussed with each other which ride they wanted to go on, and then they enjoyed the ride.

When the first ride was over, they would come back for the second coin, and on it went. Believe it or not, my children went on more than four rides. It was more like ten rides. How, you ask? I huddled the children together and showed them how other children would put coins into the rides, then walk away, not valuing the coin because they had so many. I told them to keep an eye out for empty rides that were still going. “Hop on and enjoy it!” I said. So my children rode on those free rides in between the four rides which we bought with our four free coins. When we were out of coins, the children played on the play structures. They had a fabulous time. It cost us absolutely nothing.

Other times, my husband found coupons for $20 worth of coins for $10. So we would get the coins, divide them in half, and use half the coins one evening. A couple of weeks later, we would come back as a family, and we would use the other half of the coins.

Now that our family is slightly better off, we go ahead and get the overpriced pizza and hot wings, because we want to reward Chuck-E-Cheese for all the times we played without buying anything. But even the $10 we spent for two nights was still a $10 profit to them. (Whenever I wasn’t buying anything, I would go during the off-hours so that other people would not see an empty Chuck-E-Cheese, because that looks bad for business.) We now use Chuck-E-Cheese as a reward whenever our kid swims across the swimming pool for the first time, or when they pull out a loose tooth that hurts.

Most children are too bratty to go without coins. They would just throw fits. But my young children expected nothing, so they were grateful for whatever coins they were given, and they were always careful with their coins. Later when they were older and had lots of coins, they still consulted their siblings and would ride rides together to maximize their money.

Ramblings About Math

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

mathI promised the people who bought my “Overcoming Math Frustration” audio that I would observe to see if my children finished their Teaching Textbooks faster when they did their workbook first, then afterwards turned on the computer to type in their answers. After using this program for nearly a year, I can now answer that question with a resounding yes. It cuts the time down considerably. Just this morning my second son said that he had done two lessons in one hour.

Maybe I need to skip him to a higher level. That’s odd, because he’s already 3 years ahead, and my oldest son is 2 years ahead. I don’t want both of them in the same grade level because my oldest son has a mathematical mind, and there’s no reason to make him feel stupid, like his little brother is smarter than he is; because he’s not. My oldest son is definitely more brainy. Maybe this makes me a bad mother, to not let my second son progress to catch up with his brother, but I refuse to do so…

I asked my second son what his grades were (on the two lessons he just did), and he said 95% and 100%. I am so much enjoying not having to grade the math of my two oldest sons. I totally love that it’s self-grading.

My oldest son takes an hour to do his Teaching Textbooks math, as opposed to the two hours he used to take on Saxon math. By the way, Saxon has the highest SAT scores, so don’t ditch Saxon unless you’ve prayed about it. I get no money from any of these companies, and I’m only giving you my blunt opinion, as always. Teaching Textbooks is extremely expensive; the cost alone is prohibitive for most homeschoolers unless you plan ahead and use your tax refund money or Christmas bonus for it.

My younger two children are still doing Horizon, with a little bit of Math U See thrown in to jazz things up and help them see the math concepts visually. Well, one night while setting out my children’s math, I accidentally switched math pages. My 5-year-old daughter was doing a page on multiplication the next day. When I walked in, I was flabbergasted that a first grade math program would have multiplication. (Yes, she’s one year ahead.) She was so proud of herself, and her brothers were impressed by her mathematical prowess.

I grabbed the page off the table and asked my third son where his math page was. He showed it to me. He said he had finished it already because it was so easy. “Didn’t you notice it was your sister’s math? Why would you be doing addition when you’ve been doing multiplication? And can’t you see the numbers are way bigger?”

My third son started laughing. “No wonder it was so easy,” he said. His poor bleary-eyed mother needs to pay closer attention next time…

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(By the way, if you click on the picture above, you will see that my daughter likes to turn her numbers into smiley faces on her math.)

Rearranging a Room on Graph Paper

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

rearranging-a-room-on-graph-paperWhen rearranging a room on graph paper, you want to measure the room. Each foot will convert to one square on your graph paper. Then measure each piece of furniture that you want to have in the room. Cut those out of construction paper so that you can move them around on the paper, seeing which configuration works best. You will want to label the pieces of furniture so that they are easier to picture on your page. Make sure to place the doors and any feature that is built-in, like a fireplace or bookshelves. The things that you can’t move should be drawn in pen or permanent marker, because they are fixed.

You might decide that based on your needs, you do not need a specific piece of furniture, but that you would rather have a different piece of furniture. You can replace a large stuffed chair with a desk, for example. Decide what you want to do in that specific room, and then make sure you have space to do each of those things.

Rearranging a room on graph paper before you move the furniture will help you save time. You also avoid hurting your back by repeatedly moving the bulky furniture back and forth. Seeing the configuration of furniture on paper will help you to optimize your space and come up with ideas you might not have thought of. We rearranged our family room and came up with a much bettter-looking room than before. It was a fun transformation that didn’t cost any money!