Friday, January 19, 2007

A pause for math

Sometimes I really need to be reigned in. Yesterday we had a rough go at school. Jack has taken a liking to pitching toys down the stairs, and was just generally clingy and whiny. Maria was just *not* getting the math. I was getting really frustrated. We are quite behind on our syllabus and I was anxious to check off another day's worth of boxes. I sure didn't want to get any more behind. Not a great attitude to have, for sure. We had been working up to this since Christmas break. Maria was just not getting the concept of borrowing in subtraction. I had been plowing ahead anyway, and she was getting more and more problems wrong with each assignment. And I was getting more and more impatient with her for causing us to fall "behind". I finally realized what I was doing to us all, and that trying to do anything that required concentration with Jack in the mood he was in was futile anyway. I closed the books and we all went downstairs. I fed everyone an early lunch and put Jack to sleep, then sent Maria to lay down in her room with Charlotte's Web for 30 minutes. Then we both sat down with her math book in the quiet house. I printed another set of answer sheets off for myself, and we slowly worked through each problem together. She seemed to make some progress and by the end of the lesson she was solving borrowing problems correctly on her own. Afterwards, we hung up school for the day. What's another half day lost in the grand scheme of things?


Debi from MODGFamilies loop said...

Hi Melanie,
I thought I would mention what worked for my dd when she had trouble with borrowing in subtraction: I took a box of toothpicks and bundled some up as groups of ten with a rubber band and left others out as the ones. Having dd work the math problems with the toothpicks really helped her see why borrowing was necessary. And, it is a cheap math manipulative! I enjoy reading your blog.

mel said...

Thank you!

Toothpicks...good idea! We had been doing it play money, laying out tens and worked pretty well, but took up a lot of room on our school table!! :)