Saturday, June 01, 2013

Summer Lessons

If you've read my previous posts, you may have figured out that my favorite subjects to teach are Language Arts, grammar and reading.  But have you guessed that my least favorite is math?  Years ago I made the mistake of saying out loud, with small ears listening, that I don't like math.  I think that affected my children because they say the same thing.  And in retrospect, it's not that I don't like math, but that I've lost my practice in math.  I actually remember having a good math teacher in high school who made math interesting.
With my older kids, I switched math curricula too many times.  We started with Miquon Math, changed to Abeka, changed to Saxon, changed to MathUSee, and then changed back to Saxon in high school with my son because that's what his co-op class is using. My highest recommendation for math is to stick to one math curricula, especially around 6th grade and beyond. 
The hardest thing for me has always been fractions. Yet a few weeks ago, as I watched my youngest daughter doing her math fraction lessons on her Time4Learning, it was like I was learning it all over again and it was clicking in my brain so easily.  Please don't laugh at me.  I know fractions should be simple for most adults. Maybe it's just me!  Also, I'm pretty visual, so seeing the pictures was helpful for me.  Oh, wait, we're talking about curriculum for kids.  Yes, it was very helpful for my daughter, too.  One of the things I love about her math lessons is if she answers a question wrong, the program is prompted to explain the concepts to her in different ways until she understands it.  
As I've mentioned before, we usually do light school work through the summer, especially in elementary.  Most importantly for math.  I cannot imagine not doing any math for two or three months.  But I also cannot imagine not reading or writing for two or three months.  Math is a subject that should be practiced every day, even if only for 20 to 30 minutes. 
What are you doing this summer?  Do you do some school through the summer? I think most of us are, even if we think we're taking time off.  Every day can have a learning experience in it.  For example, Spring is a time when most of us do some planting and working on our gardens, Summer can be a good time to do a short plant lesson with the kids.  Even if all you do is plant the seeds in the ground and watch them grow, isn't that a learning experience?  Our neighbor has an avocado tree, and she's always giving us avocados. One year we took the seed, placed toothpicks all around it, and placed it on a cup filled with water. Weeks later it had roots!  We planted it in a pot, and my son used it for his 4-H project a few months later.
There are so many things we can include in our Summer that can add to our learning experiences.  Don't forget to take pictures!

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