Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"New Math?"

We're about midway through our second year of homeschooling. Its gone well, overall. Then it happened. Math. Now don't get me wrong, we've been doing math all along; counting, telling time, handling money all with grins and giggles. We ventured into the world of addition facts, more grins, more giggles. Olivia my oldest (she's 5 currently) has a memory like an elephant. She committed all of those blessed little facts to memory in no time...and as long as we go in order (1+1=2, 2+1=3, 3+1=4) we still have grins and giggles.

However, IF by chance, out of the blue I ask for 7+1= I'm met with a blank look, and numbers start flying around like fruit flies on a feeding frenzy. So I decided that this week we'd work strictly on getting the understanding to go with the math facts. Yeah, good plan there pal. Yesterday we spent our entire math time reviewing, going in sequence....going out of sequence...back to in sequence. At the end of the day 7+1=3. Who knew?

Today, my lightening quick mind said "we need to use manipulatives". So we gathered up our little plastic counting circles. I explained what we were going to do, why we were going to do it and then we started. Olivia looked at me like I'd suddenly sprouted a new head. We spent the entire math time working on our addition facts, in sequence, out of sequence (bang head on table here)...back to in sequence.

At the end of the day, I'm not really sure what 7+1= anymore. I'm pretty certain, if I used the manipulatives correctly that 7+1 does NOT =3. Olivia is not as convinced of this as I am. Maybe my 3 year old can explain it to us both tomorrow.
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