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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Living Math - part one

This is the first post in my Living Math series.

In part one, I'll start out with our math history :) This will give you a little insight to our struggles and why we are turning to more living math methods! Then, I'll list some living math ideas that are working for us, and where we're headed. And last, I have a bunch of links I've found in my research of the topic, that I'd like to have handy and hopefully they'll help someone else out too. And then someday, I'm going to post again on the books that have really helped my boys - this is spoken in true faith :) ...they WILL be helped!

...this is my oldest (several years ago) doing math the painful way!

Our story:
One of my boys is seriously coming to deeply despise math. I have come to terms with the fact that math will never be his strong area. But I will not settle with the excuse that he has to hate it! Now, I didn't care much for math either growing up... too time consuming. So, I know that not everyone will like math, though if you're like me, maybe you will like it more later on when you see the practical use for it. The real problem is the effect it is having on his outlook on learning in general. I've heard him or his brother say things like, 'Oh, he's just not that smart...' And that simply cannot be! We have tried a few things over the years. I'm not in a position to try every curriculum out there, but we've seen some stuff. Everything I buy I have to mail or bring down in a suitcase which about triples its price. SO... for the last 3 years, we have been using MUS (which I actually really like). But the fact is, I don't want to try everything, I just want one thing that will work. Now, that should be easy, right?
--We used Miquon and it was from what I could see similar to Singapore... yikes. Teacher intensive. That was tearful for both of us (I might add though, the lady at the homeschool convention who recommended it to me really liked it! ;). We tried MEP for approximately 3 weeks... WAY too much work for me! I have too many kids for that! I did like that math, had it not been so intensive, I probably would've kept with it. I have experience with Saxon as well, too many problems! I knew that wouldn't go over well in our house!--
I have two boys, the younger of which is really quick to catch on, he is good at memorizing facts... you might say he's naturally mathematical. On the other hand his alter ego is represented in my oldest boy (older by 12mos). The main thing my struggler has a problem with, is simply memorization of facts. I thought it was a problem with curriculum. Matter of fact, I even had them both redo a year (this wasn't totally fair for the one boy who was doing fine, but since he didn't really seem to care, it worked). But for my oldest, math has always been a struggle. Since day one. ALL the math facts have been hard for my boy. Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication and now Division have all been the same. He knows it one day, and then I am not kidding, forgets it the very next day. It IS astounding. However, we are realizing that it IS there... somewhere... deep. way deep, deep down in there. He has this mindset problem. He thinks he can't do it, and by golly, when he's thinking that way, no matter the consequence, no matter how long he tries, he can't do it!

So. In the last year we have begun to incorporate some Living Math into our studies. This means fun math, really. Real life math. I'm doing this to try to remedy the fact that my boy HATES math and seriously is beginning to think poorly of himself because of this problem area. I want him to see the other side of math, that math can be enjoyable... and that mathematicians are people too... even if he isn't ever one of them!! ;)

We will get into that in the next post :)

Stay tuned :)

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