The Golden Circlet

All the good things in life

Homeschooling: Challenging Math

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We’ve been working hard on learning division of fractions in our family. We use a  wonderful math textbook my aunt wrote, Mathematics Revealed, which I am tickled to discover will set you back $500 bucks on Amazon.

Betsy has always focused, in her efforts at better math education, on making math relevant to daily life, and the text (I think) was aimed at adults with poor math literacy. It’s been fun to work through as a family. Yesterday, for example, the text had us cutting, say, a 3 inch rectangle into 3/4 inch pieces, then counting how many we got, to illustrate the real-world outcome of 3 ÷ 3/4. The boy got a kick out of the cutting and pasting and counting and readily grasped the concepts and how they translated to equations on the page.

Math with the boy can be challenging, though. He works very fast, and doesn’t like to be watched. But because he works fast he makes mistakes, which he doesn’t like pointed out. The more you do point out these mistakes, in fact, the faster he goes and the more mistakes he makes. We’ve tried to focus on good study skills: sitting right, going slowly, thinking out loud — all of which he hates! But if he doesn’t do these things, he doesn’t work as well at home or at school. Helping him enjoy the work is challenging.

We’ve noticed that it goes better if we do it regularly and with saintly patience — a challenge for the grownups in our household, with our own busyness and distractability! What homeschool subjects give you challenges in your family?

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