You don’t even know how happy I am to see this child smiling and playing around while working on her math lesson. You see, she has really struggled in math and we have tried many different methods to get her to understand but so many of her lessons ended in tears for her and yelling for me…yes, people, I actually blow my top and yell! I have explained to her that I am not mad at her for not getting it, I am mad at myself for not understanding how to help her.
What has changed this year?
Well…2 things actually. The first thing is really something that I feel totally stupid about. It involves that pink thing in her hand. Yes…a calculator! I was with a bunch of my Junior Auxiliary friends one day sorting out school supplies from our Stuff the Bus program to help needy children in our area and we started talking about calculators in the classroom. Many of my JA sisters are teachers and they told me that they use calculators as early as elementary school in their math classes. I was seriously in shock and when I got home, I apologized to my children for not teaching them how to use a calculator. Now, before you get all crazy on me and start telling me that they need to do their math without one, let me explain. I am allowing them to use the calculator to check themselves. They still have to write out the problems and do each step but now with them having a calculator, they can check each step before they move on.
So what is the second thing that has given this math hating teenager a reason to smile? It is the Chalk Dust Math curriculum. I learned about it at one of the homeschool support group meetings in my area. When I got home that night, I immediately went online and did a search. I wanted reviews and samples and I found what I was looking for. She is really doing well with this and I am excited! Hopefully the rest of the year will be free from tears and frustration.
Now, if I can just get her to be happy about keeping the litter boxes clean…