Math Tips and Links #1

Just when we think our children have conquered a concept, we realize they haven’t another!  How can we, as homeschool parents, miss one of their educational weaknesses? It seems like that would be impossible considering we are with them every day and correcting their work daily.

It happens.

Now, imagine a teacher with 20-30 students per class and how many educational weaknesses that can be missed! Public school teachers have an incredibly difficult job that could be accomplished easier if the parents help at home.

I use Adapted Mind as one tool to fill in the education gaps that all teachers miss, including me.

Each child receives their own profile on the website. I typically chose what lesson they will do. Often times we even go back one grade to make sure the foundation is stable. We can NEVER go over the basics enough. Consider it a foundation of a building. An unstable foundation can cause the entire building to crumble either quickly or over years.

Addition, subtraction, multiplication, division – not knowing those by heart, rote memory, will slow a math lesson down to snail speed which extends Math assignments to unbearable lengths.  I’ve seen my children go from two hours per Math lesson to 45 minutes after making them go back and review all their facts.
Next is penmanship!  Look at this lesson:

Now, look at the improvement within 24 hours.  

How did we do this?  I threaten haha. If they don’t write properly, neatly, and with a sharp pencil they will have to go back and re-write the entire problem.  Do my kids get irritated and even sometimes talk back a little?  Well yes.  Do I care? Well no.  This is part of their character training. Sometimes in life we must do things whether we want to or not. This is important for their education and life beyond our home. I’m not here to please them and make them happy. I am responsible to make sure they have a solid education and good enough character to match that will in turn not result in shut doors to their future.
Be OK with your children being upset with you.  Show them you love them but don’t give way to their emotions or laziness. That will set them back and teach them that tantrums at any age are rewarded.
After an intense moment with one of my children, we work hard to have restoration of our relationship. It might be a “good job” to a problem later in the lesson or a big smile and hug once they have a better attitude. Our relationship doesn’t revolve around Math, instead, it should be able to handle the ups and downs of school and life. Firmness doesn’t mean a lack of relationship, it means an abundance of love and devotion.

Another great and fun tool is Math Wars! I know we can’t just run to the local education supply store, but you can order online! It is a game to learn basic math facts. If you order today you could have them within the week! 
To order go to Christian Book Distributors here or Amazon here.
Now maybe you have a high schooler that is beyond the basics and is in a full-on war against Algebra!  Now you get to hear their comments,

“Well, when am I going to use this anyway?”
“This is stupid.”

Our response to their comments is critical. We need to allow them to vent without going overboard.

A good answer to when am I going to use this anyways would be, “Tomorrow on your next lesson”.  

Then walk away laughing. We parents need to have fun, too! We aren’t laughing at the kids; we are laughing at the fact I don’t know when they will use Algebra either!  Don’t tell them that.

In all seriousness, Algebra is critical for our children who go to college. Some people use a considerable about of Math in their jobs. I don’t want my child’s lack of education to keep them from their full potential.  We cannot tell the future so let’s not hinder the present that could change their opportunities.

Teaching Textbooks - excellent online and CD Math 
Rod N Staff Math - in-depth and very thorough Math
Adapted Mind - online supplemental Math
Ed Helper - worksheets to print
Use flashcards, flashcards, flashcards!