Sunday, June 16, 2019

3rd Grade: Math

We have a nontraditional way of doing math in our homeschool.

First, we use Life of Fred as our primary curriculum. I rarely come across homeschoolers who do this. The criticism I hear about Fred is that there isn’t enough practice. I disagree. Gemma grasps concepts quickly, and I don’t see it necessary to have her work through a couple of pages of problems in order to prove she can do something. I have this attitude because of my experience in a classroom setting. In a classroom, “independent practice” is used to keep the majority of students busy while the teacher pulls the handful of students who had trouble with yesterday’s math lesson and need reteaching.

Second, we don’t do math every day. Some weeks we get in three math lessons. Sometimes we do math only once a week. This works for us, but if my child were working at grade level or below grade level, we would do math daily.

Third, I’m ignoring all of the homeschool moms out there who advise other moms that later is better for algebra. All children are not the same. Some children are ready for algebraic concepts before middle school, and I live with one.

Fourth, we don’t complete a lesson in one sitting. While Gemma is capable of doing algebra, she doesn’t have the endurance of a child four to six years older than her. She can complete one-third to one-half a lesson per sitting. This is not a reason to give her math at her grade level. She craves a challenge, and needs to explore new concepts that force her to ask questions.

Homeschool moms are opinionated. We are quick to offer our advice. But you know your child, and you don’t need to ask for someone else’s approval for every educational decision you make. You don’t bring a dozen women into the dressing room with you when you try on a pair of jeans, and you don’t need to bring them into the decision-making when you “try on” a curriculum. Draw the curtain. Let yourself be alone with that curriculum. Does it fit? Because, ultimately, it’s your family that’s going to “wear” it.

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