Accidental Homeschooling: Week 15
I’ve always kind of known and joked about the fact that it must be nearly impossible to educate children during the entire month of December. They’re busy thinking about their large and ever-shifting holiday wish lists, they’re constantly hopped up on sugar, and they just generally are in the mood for anything but math.
Which is unfortunate, because I think we’re behind in math.
The first-grader’s math is coming right along; let’s hear it for addition and subtraction from 0–20 and different shapes — that’s math I understand. The fourth-grader’s math, though? I’m a bit at a loss as to where to start. I’m also not sure what to do in the middle, and I’m really not certain how we’re going to end up.
Part of the problem is that I feel we can’t fully commit to one method or another. I am trying to keep him up with the math curriculum used in our public schools, because the hope is that next year, fall 2021, classes will be held in person and he can go back to school. However, the curriculum used in our school is only sold TO schools, and the entire annual program can be found in eight binders that cost about $1500.
Yeah, I’m not paying that.
So I am trying to fudge my way through. We have some student workbooks that are similar to what he used last year, and thank goodness for Saint YouTube, where other teachers are posting some of the virtual math lessons they’re offering in this curriculum. This would be fine, but sometimes I am not quite able to reverse-engineer the strategies they want to teach. But we do the best we can.
I’m torn. I want him to stay familiar with the curriculum and the vocabulary in use in our school system, but I also want him to learn some parts of math that I think are useful. Like, you know, the times tables. I have no problem thinking about multiplication in different ways and different “arrays,” but let’s face it, sometimes it’s just nice to KNOW that 7 x 5 equals 35 and 9 x 8 equals 72 (and so on and so forth). So then I start trying to show the fourth-grader a few of those strategies, and a few that we’re learning at Math Antics, and meanwhile I’m trying to help this easily frustrated kid realize that it doesn’t mean he’s STUPID (as he berates himself, loudly) every time he gets a math problem wrong.
It’s kind of a lot to do, especially when we’re all hopped up on sugar.
But, we’ll get there. And it is the holidays. Time to relax.
So this week we hosted some Zoom parties with friends, and we all ate too many chocolate Santas in our respective homes while we showed each other what we’d been building with Legos. I largely left them to their parties, but every now and then I did listen in, and enjoyed the perennial allure of talking about “what I want for Christmas.”
My wish for you this week is that all your numbers for the year add up, no matter which curriculum you use, and also that all your holiday wishes come true. Now kick back and eat a chocolate Santa.