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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The 3 R's

It's been a like a great weight has been lifted understanding Scott's learning style. The weight has been lifted from both of us. I am been diligently working to stay one step ahead of him in his Barton Reading curriculum so I can help him work through weak areas and stay ahead in case he surprises me by zooming through a few lessons at once.

He has asked me about starting Algebra so many times. I have looked into math curricula over the years and worksheets always was the limiting element. I finally decided to get him started with Math U See. He knows there are a few prerequisites before starting Algebra :) and knows he has to do some elementary levels first. Now I know it will be O K A Y if he skips the worksheets, but can demonstrate the lesson to me. It will also be OKAY if he uses a calculator. By the time he gets to college Algebra no one will care if he knows his times tables (but he does figure them out the slow way). Now I understand why worksheets have been such a problem. I will see how little David does with the Math U See Primer. William is set in his Virtual School plans. William is so different in that he doesn't necessarily need a long explanation. He wants to get right to the point and move on. Virtual School seems to be the right amount for him and at his pace. The DK workbooks prepared him well for FLVS with his style of learning.

I also looked into handwriting curriculum. Actually Scott prints quite artistically now that he's holding the pencil correctly. Since William could use the explicit instruction, I am going to have them both do Writing Without Tears. Obviously, emerging David will benefit from all this, too. I spoke to their Occupational Therapist before placing an order making sure I got the right stuff for my boy's skills.

Both Math U See and Writing Without Tears (and Barton Reading) have instructor manuals (or DVD) and use manipulatives. I am looking forward to using these well-thought out programs. I am thinking that even if William is not going through Math U See, I may be able to challenge his learning style with visual manipulatives in the house and help him be more adaptable and flexible.

It's always seemed that I got no where (and I got frustrated) using off-the-shelf curricula (except for DK Math) from the bookstore and warehouse stores. I am pretty excited to get started with all this. This will be quite a change from what we have been doing. Buying these store bought workbooks brings back a memory. It reminds me of how buying diapers from a baby chain store sets you up for failure (lack of quality and practical design) and you give up, but if you try high quality diapers from the start, the cloth diapering is fun. You might luck out and adapt to the lower quality diaper, but they won't work for everyone. I am appreciating the detailed features of ALL 3 programs.

Any of you using any of these programs?


fitncrafty said...

It's so great to hear how well the boys are doing.. and I am sure that you are feeling much less pressure as well!
We loved to DK workbooks when we were homeschooling too.. at least one thing was really easy!!
I am sure it feels great to be in a 'groove'.

Jennifer said...

As a former teacher and a future homeschooler, I am encouraged by how thoughtful you are with selecting and engaging your boys in the curriculum you choose.

I only have one caution with the times tables thing, and it may not be an issue for you. Last weekend I went to a Farm Day and while buying lunch, the 16ish looking teenager who rang me up needed a calculator for $20-$6 to figure my $14 change.

It isn't exactly the same thing, but reliance on calculators can be crippling when simple math is required and a calculator isn't available.

Permission to Mother said...

Jennifer, Thanks for giving me an opportunity to clarify regarding dyslexia and calculator for times tables (not simple subtraction)

See this handout on accomodations for dyslexia.

It can be crippling to have a different learning style, but it is empowering to know how to accomodate. Fortunately Scott knows simple (and not so simple subtraction).

crispy said...

Well, you picked 2 of the things we use for school. We have been doing Math U See (MUS) for almost 4 years. We love it. It works well for us and I see the results in how well the girls are doing in math. Math is not Tally's strength, but she is doing really well and we are in the 4 book.

As for Handwriting Without Tears, we use that for the purpose of letter flipping. Tally has struggled with that and has some dyslexia tendencies but has done really well with HWT. I love the idea of the starting corner and how they teach the letters.

Good choice on both of those. =)

ScienceGeek said...

Great post! Thank you for sharing your progress with us! You're a great educator!

Marie said...

My mother in law used/uses Math U See with my husband and her other two kids. It seemed to work well for them, especially the earlier levels. I really enjoy handwriting without tears for my little brother. And hopefully when I have my kids I can be as great of a mom and home educator as you and both my moms :)

Christy said...

This post makes me wish I was a student again ... I miss school and learning. Kudos to you for taking the time to search out a variety of learning tools.

Permission to Mother said...

Christy, It's interesting that this post makes you miss being a student. With some lessons, I get a fond memory of when I did THAT particular lesson. I'm enjoying having the boys focused attention and going through this kind of information with them.

Becky R said...

We use Math U See and Hand Writing Without Tears. My son has ADHD and a learning disablity. These work great.
I work at an OT, ST, & PT place for kids and theey use Handwrinting without tears in the OT classes.

anastasiadenton said...

to Jennifer's comment I know, I had to pay a buck 50 a piece for 4 drinks. I gave the cashier 6 bucks, she kept GIVING me back the CHANGE! After about 2 minutes of this (& a very amused homeschooling group waiting behind me, lol, yes really) she got "help"! she asked a guy, oh jeez. Well he just got out....the calculator!

Homeschooling leader just patted my shoulder & said is why WE were here! (yep)

As for Calculators, My oldest has autism, so his schools DISABLED the enter key. (white out, lol) He "Writes" out his problems by pushing the numbers kind of like a word processor! He likes DK books, I may have to look into these math books! Math you see? sounds like a book for my kinetic learner.

and times tables, school house rock baby! IF you can find an anniversary edition on DVD, I got 1 a few years ago, need to find it again, we miss it! Oh & politics, lol, that's in there as well! and NO watching required!

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