If I Knew Then What I Know Now about Math

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How I would teach math differentlyIt’s time for the next topic in the Virtual Curriculum Fair. This week’s topic is Discovering Patterns: Mathematics, Logic, and Science. Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Mathematical Understanding or Memorization?

I think I have pretty thoroughly shared my thoughts on teaching math. Here’s How I choose Math Curriculum. Basically, I value mathematical understanding over memorization. Except sometimes. I’ve found that one of my sons, William, has to learn math by rote and practice, practice, practice. The understanding is coming slowly with the practice.

Last year I shared The post where I admit I was wrong. In it I share a little more about why mastery math programs were not working with one of my sons.

Where we are now

Here we are a year later and I am still very happy with Christian Light Math for William (5th grade). It drives me crazy that the lessons often take him FOREVER, but he is learning math. With the spiral approach of Christian Light, he gets to practice concepts almost every day. Finally, he’s not forgetting them. He still makes mistakes, but I see definite improvement, and he has shown tremendous improvement with his speed in recalling math facts.

One of the things that is built into Christian Light is a daily speed drill. Each day there are 32 problems to be attempted in 1 minute.  They are either addition, subtraction, mixture of addition and subtraction, multiplication, division, or unit conversions. William has progressed from completing 8-10 of the addition and subtraction facts in 1 minute to being able to complete all 32 problems in the same amount of time! He’s not there with multiplication and division yet, and the mixture of addition and subtraction are slower as well, but I have confidence that he will build his speed with those too.

What I would do differently (and will do differently with my younger children)

And that is what I would do differently with my older children if I were starting over again. I didn’t drill them on their facts because they could do the problems with relative ease. I tried some drill, but I was met with resistance from David. So I gave up backed off. In some ways, I don’t regret it. We really had a lot of trouble getting along, and we were always fighting. So I decided that I wasn’t going to fight over everything. But his lack of speed is evident when doing calculations. Actually he rarely does any calculations on paper anymore. David does math in his head or on a calculator. And he has trouble showing his work. Which is another thing I wish I had done better at requiring.

What I think I should have done instead of drilling with flash cards or plain worksheets is tried simple speed drills like in Christian Light. I don’t know for sure that it would have been more acceptable, but I suspect it would have been because David is very competitive.

Lizzie (2nd grade) is doing very well in Singapore and Miquon like my 2 oldest, but she also sees William doing speed drills. Lately she has started asking for speed drills too. So I’m going to do them with her while I have a willing participant. I think the combination of mathematical understanding and speed will be helpful to her as she goes on to more advanced math.

Visit these blogs to read more about teaching math.

Our {almost} FREE 2nd and 4th Grade Math Program by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

Supercharged Science’s Mathemagic by Kristi K. @ The Potter’s Hand Academy

Math & Logic Resources by Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses

How We Tackle Middle School Math, Logic & Science by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool

 A Peek into our Homeschool: Math & Logic by Brittney @ Mom’s Heart

Math and Logic: Patterns and Reasoning by Leah@As We Walk Along the Road

2014 Virtual Curriculum Fair: Discovering Patterns: Mathematics, Logic, and Science by Stacie @Super Mommy To The Rescue

Virtual Curriculum Fair: The World of Patterns and Logic by Joelle

Discovering Science & Math w/ Apologia & Saxon  by LynnP @ Ladybug Chronicles

Make Math Fun: Your Kids Will Thank You by Tauna @ Proverbial Homemaker

Our Curriculum Choices 2014 ~ Mathematics by Renata @ Sunnyside Farm Fun

My Favorite Math For Boys by Monique @ Living Life and Learning

Discovering Patterns: Mathematics, Logic, and Science in our Classical Homeschool by Sharra @ The Homeschool Marm

Homeschool Math Choices for a Future Scientist or Computer Programmer by Amy @ Eclectic Homeschooling

Math–Our Four Letter Word by Nicole @ Schooling in the Sun

If I Knew Then What I Know Now by Kristen @ Sunrise to Sunset

Godly Patterns in Homeschooling by LisaN @ Golden-Grasses

Math and Science anyone? by Michele@ Family, Faith and Fridays

My 7 Favourite Math Resources by Kim @ Homestead Acres

Basic Instincts by Chelli @ The Planted Trees

Getting My Teens Ready for Algebra by Debra @Footprints in the Butter

Math We Love by Laura @ Four Little Penguins

2014 Virtual Curriculum Fair ~ Math & Science by Jennifer @ a glimpse of our life

Our Take on Math, the Elementary Years – Charlotte Mason-style by HillaryM @ Our Homeschool Studio

Tackling Math and Science from Multiple Angles by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World

By Kristen H.
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Comments & Responses

7 Responsesso far.

  1. […] If I Knew Then What I Know Now by Kristen @ Sunrise to Sunset […]

  2. […] If I Knew Then What I Know Now by Kristen @ Sunrise to Sunset […]

  3. […] If I KnewThen What I Know Now by Kristen @ Sunrise to Sunset […]

  4. It’s always easy to go back and see what I should have done. I’ve done some crazy things in changing our math program multiple times through the years, and I would definitely like to be able to go back and change things.

  5. […] by Amy @ Eclectic Homeschooling Math–Our Four Letter Word by Nicole @ Schooling in the Sun If I Knew Then What I Know Now by Kristen @ Sunrise to Sunset Godly Patterns in Homeschooling by LisaN@Golden- Grasses Math and […]

  6. Debbie says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on virtual curriculum fair.

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