I bit the bullet and went back to the math books this morning. This first semester we did math a little differently. My idea was to spend some time with all the boys working on multiplication tables. I feel like the multiplication tables were one of the most helpful and lasting things I learned in all my years of elementary school, and I’ve wanted my kids to have that same math foundation, though I haven’t necessarily known the best or most helpful way to facilitate the learning of it. Math came very easy to me. My first child is the same way and taught himself his own math. With the others it’s been an occasional challenge. For some reason I’ve been avoiding long-division for years.
Today though, we faced it. There were tears and even a crumpled up book. But after that, it wasn’t bad. I’m not interested in torturing anybody, or even insisting people do every problem in their lesson. The Christian Light Education LightUnits are thorough and assure me they’re working through the stuff they need to learn, but their thoroughness can also be frustratingly repetitive with certain types of problems. I remember some teachers when assigning math homework would have you do the odd’s one lesson and then the even’s for the next lesson. I always appreciated that. I haven’t done the even and odd thing, but I consciously try to lighten the math load.
Working all together is nice in theory, and works for a while. It simplifies things and makes sure we’re all on the same page. But especially in a subject like math, there comes a point where trying to keep everyone at the same level for the sake of simplicity starts to hold people back. I also seem to have limits as far as how long I can be consistent with things, such as printing out multiplication sheets each day to practice. So while I think the past few months working on multiplication facts was helpful, and while we all enjoyed the break from the normal math routine, ultimately the math books are a valuable parts to a wheel that is highly unnecessary for me to re-invent.