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You should never take a math test on Monday

March 8, 2011

and other truths I’ve learned today.  It wasn’t the greatest day.  First of all, it was Monday–and we were having school.  It seemed like a simple thing to rearrange our work and have school today instead of on Saturday so we could accommodate DH’s upside down schedule this week.  But it was Monday and we have fully embraced Monday as a day off around here.  My house is a disaster from the weekend (ok, not just from the weekend), I didn’t have things laid out and ready, and it was just really hard to get going this morning.

And then there was math.  I was so excited last week that A was to the end of Singapore Math 4A.  Just two more reviews, I said.  Well, they didn’t go well.  I generally treat the reviews as tests, but if I’d left A to finish them (really just half of one today) on his own, his score would have been terrible.  It was like he’d never seen some of that math before.  I don’t know if it was because it was Monday (never a good day for a test) and his brain wasn’t warmed up, or if I shouldn’t have waited until after lunch to do math (I thought having the other boys go downstairs to play so it would be quieter would help), or if it was the weather (cold, gray, and rainy), or what!  It was not a good math day.  And it brought up some nagging thoughts about math that I’ve had lately.

I really like Singapore math and it’s mastery approach, in that it concentrates on one topic at a time and works towards mastery (without overkill) before moving on.  We began with Saxon math which constantly reviewed every single concept you’d learned up to that point and the spiral method drove both of us batty.  We’d learn something new and then have two problems to practice it and then fifteen other problems on previously learned concepts.  There was too much review.  Now I’m wondering if we need more review in Singapore.  Review pages come up rather frequently though and he’s done fairly well on most of the recent ones.  Maybe it was just an off day.  He did nail every double digit multiplication problem on this particular page.  All of that math fact drill we spent weeks on last fall has paid off, but he couldn’t remember exactly how to do long division, and we won’t even mention some of the answers he came up with on the fractions section.

I really thought he was getting fractions when we were focusing on them, but maybe 10-year-old boys just need more time to let it all sink in. I forget what it’s like to not be able to do 4th grade math and just how much repetition it takes to get things to stick when it’s all new.  Math also works best as one of our first subjects in the morning when brains are fresh, but usually we’re tackling it before E has gone down for a nap, and my attention is divided.  Math is just one of those subjects that needs a teacher, I think, and I haven’t been “teaching” one on one as much lately and I have a feeling it’s really starting to show.  Poor A, he’s my guinea pig child.  One day I’ll figure all of this out.

Speaking of E, he’s toying with only taking one nap a day now anyway.  I can’t wait to see what the next few months could bring when he’s up all morning!  I think I need a new schedule with specific “Play with baby” times for each of the other three.

So…we’ll see how tomorrow goes.  Hopefully it will go better, but if not, I have pages of math review problems from  Maybe a line a day will do wonders to keep concepts fresh in his brain.

And a mouse just ran across my kitchen floor.  Lovely, just lovely.

On a happier note, E made up for no morning nap and slept for 2 1/2 hours this afternoon.  It was wonderful.  I let the others watch a movie and I got some good practicing in on Shostakovich before DH got home from work.

And DH gave a wonderful family home evening tonight about gratitude.  Everyone had to think of something they were appreciative of or thankful for about everyone else in the family.  It was really wonderful to hear the expressions of love and appreciation shared.  My boys really are best friends and enjoy being brothers.  It’s wonderful for a mother to see.  I was grateful that DH works hard to support us and enables me to stay at home where I love to be.  He and A also thanked me for taking the time to teach the boys every day.

So even if math didn’t go well, it still ended up a good day.

Except for that mouse…

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 8, 2011 7:05 pm

    I happened upon your blog through MMB. I liked your link. It made me feel a bit better because it sounds like you have days like we do. I’ve got three boys and a girl and some days of homeschooling are definitely better than others. And some, I try to not remember. We do a similar thing at FHE where each person gets to stand on the piano bench and the rest of the family says something nice about them. Thank you for sharing!

  2. March 8, 2011 10:41 pm

    Ugh. That sounds like a tough day. Hopefully today was better!

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