A Post A Day: Math at Our House

I have discovered since I began teaching our children 2 years ago that I actually *like* math.

I always thought I *strongly disliked* math.

I may have used the *H a _ _* word in place of strongly dislike above. On more than one occasion. Maybe.

But as we’ve taken an approach to math that to some might be a bit too relaxed, I have discovered math is actually fun!

Fun?! Yes.

I bought this curriculum at the homeschool expo two years ago. We shelved it mostly last year after using it exclusively the first year of homeschooling. It can be a bit intimidating to a former math hater like me.

But. Big but. It is an amazing resource. And the more I use it, the more I love it.

Besides, I now know what a prime number is. And a composite number for that matter.
And after a lesson one night with Daddy, the big boys all have a solid grasp of this as well.

For Curly, it was total review which was great because he sometimes struggles with retaining math concepts. Larry had a really hard time with it, but I had to wonder if language was not a big factor in that.

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I spent quite a bit of time the past few weeks figuring out exactly where everyone is in terms of math mastery … or not.

Our three oldest are all at different places, thus they all have notebooks with our teaching goals typed out separately: what concepts to review, which ones they have mastered, etc.
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Mo and Larry can be taught a lot of concepts together, but Mo has more experience in some concepts while Larry in others.
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Curly needs more than either of them can handle at this point. I do keep all of the teaching times for new concepts to 30 minutes tops, and 15 minutes being the goal.

After that, eyes begin to glaze over anyway.

One of the neatest components to Math on the Level is the 5-A-Day papers. I have created my own template, which was inspired by several other ladies’ templates they shared on a MOTL yahoo group.
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It is working out quite well. Instead of 10,000 multi-digit multiplication problems, I can give them a few a day or one a week or whatever I feel is warranted. If they are consistently answering a type of problem correctly, I can be assured they have mastered that concept. No need for 10,000 multiplication problems.

I also gleaned another idea from the ladies at the MOTL yahoo group: a math notebook which travels with the student from year to year. The beauty behind it is it becomes a sort of reference tool. Not only that, as I teach a new concept, I encourage the older boys to take notes. This helps them not only hear the message, but they are writing it out as well. They can also refer back if they forget or get confused.

Of course my kindergartners wanted their own math notebooks, so I obliged. I decided to give them a lesson in math the other day using the unifix cubes.

We were counting and comparing and talking about more than and less than.
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Li’l Miss compares two towers and says, “These are the same!”
And I thought to myself, yes they are, and in math we call that equal. I wrote the word on the board and then showed them the = symbol.
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They both wrote that in their notebooks.
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It got better though. Li’l Miss picks up a stack of 3 cubes and 7 cubes and clicks them together. Then she stands the stack next to a stack of 10 cubes.  And says, “Look, Mom, these are EQUAL!”

I was very proud of her! I asked her to count them and she did. 1-2-3. 1-2-3-4-5-6-7. Then I showed her how to use the = sign to say this.

3+7=10

She was so excited. She then started making towers from 1 cube to 10 cubes and putting them in order.

Li’l Dude was quite happy to be done with math after the = sign and begin building airplanes from the unifix cubes, which was cool too!

Another day we used our Education Cubes with the 1–20 inserts and rolled the dice.
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I asked them to say the number and then put the 4 dice in order from least to greatest.
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They both had fun with this, but I’m not sure why Li’l Dude isn’t in the photos. I think he really didn’t want me to take his picture that day.
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I was pleasantly surprised to see how well they did with this, and they wanted to write out the numbers they put in order in their math notebooks!

Like I said, math is more fun than I thought!

I’m linking up with Mama Jenn’s Education Cubes Show & Tell and Love2Learn2Day’s Monday Math blog hop as well!

Education Cubes Show & Tell

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3 thoughts on “A Post A Day: Math at Our House

  1. I am also a new user of MOTL — well, we actually haven’t started yet, I am still getting things organized on my end. We just received our books about a month ago. I have been gleaning much from the Yahoo group, too. I have learners that are (by age) 5th, 3rd, 2nd and K (and 2 younger siblings who try to do everything the olders do). With their varying abilities I am hoping to at least start with most of them together for many concepts. Thanks for sharing–especially the pictures of your beautiful children.

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