Math…ugh..I have so much angst towards math sometimes. The thing is, when I was little, I was a math whiz. I say that not to brag, but to give some necessary background. I took to math like a fish takes to water, and I never struggled with it, ever. I don’t understand people when they say they just don’t get it, and I can’t understand for the life of me why it is so hard for some people to memorize their math facts. The truth is I have little patience when it comes to others who do not understand math.
Now this never mattered in my life at all. But these days I homeschool my kids, and my twins do not take to math like I did. In fact, for my daughter, math is the worst thing ever. She is the kid who always asks me “when exactly in life will I need to know this?”. When I come up with the standard answer that she will need math skills throughout her life, she rolls her eyes at me. Tru enjoys math more than his sister. He likes thinking about math, and he likes the big ideas in math, but he hates the day to day work. He, like his sister, cannot seem to memorize his math facts. He also hates long division (his current enemy).
So where does that leave us? I am constantly trying to find different ways to teach math to them. For the last three years we have used math-u-see, some singapore, and other random workbooks I find. This year, after trying to get the facts down again, I decided to change everything. We do math differently now, and it seems to be going better so far. First I decided that the twins learn differently, and I had to create a plan for each of them. Tru does much better with Singapore, so that is now his main program. Autry wants to stay with Math-U-See, which she seems to dislike the least. I let her stick with it because I feel that she should have a program she likes.
After deciding on their programs I decided I would start adding other resources. They work in their math program everyday, but they do other things too, and I think this is helping them. I signed them up with Timez Attack, and they are doing better with their math facts. My kids love video games, and this is a good one actually. It feels enough like a game that they want to play it everyday. It also does a really good job of getting the facts memorized. They have been doing it for a month now, and the results are great. The facts are getting memorized, and the kids are having an easier time in their day to day math.
I have also added numerous books to our math studies. I think sometimes it is easy to forget how much can be learned from books. Especially with a subject like math, it seems some people think that a student can only learn math from a textbook. This is not true at all, and my children have enjoyed the addition of living books into our math studies. Right now we are going through Times Tables Made Easy. This book has been a great addition to learning their facts. There are numerous patterns and tricks that the kids enjoy learning, and this seems to especially help Tru.
I have also added movies to our studies. We watch anything math related on TOTLOL, Brainpop, and Discovery Education. Today we discovered a new math series called Math Challenge. The kids thought these were good, and they did the math problems from the show.
Hopefully all of this effort I am putting into our math studies will be worth it in the long run. One day I hope to hear from my daughter that she loves math! Maybe love is too strong of a word, but hopefully she will come to tolerate it and see the importance of it.