Thursday, January 8, 2009

Math for a 1st Grader

We chose to use Saxon Math for both of the girls this year. It isn't a bad program but it moves very slow. Both the girls seem to really "get" math (their Aunt Jennifer would be proud!!) and this program beats a concept to death. The nice thing is that our math lessons seem to get shorter and shorter because I don't expect the girls to do ALL the problems in a particular day. If they already have demonstrated they understand the concept we just move past that problem onto another.

One thing I do like about our program is that it does have some hands on activities for the girls to do when a new concept is introduced. Today Peanut was measuring different items around the house (of her choosing) with linking cubes. The idea of course is for her to understand the concept of measurement. We have measured things in pennies as well, she is learning that things can be measured in different ways and even though the object never changes, the measurement will change based on the what we use to measure the object.

In this photo she had just measured our kitchen chairs and was amazed at how many linking cubes high our chairs were.

And here, she decided to measure "Princess Sweet Baby" (notice they both had already dug into the dress up clothes for the day!).

I have to say that this was a great exercise for me as well. I struggle with really KNOWING if I am doing a decent job with the girls education. I worry most about math since it is my weakest area. Peanut is only in 1st grade so of course her math concepts are super simple. We are doing VERY simple addition and very simple subtraction right now. She is working on her +2 facts right now. But to see if she fully understood the concept of adding I asked her how many cubes tall our chairs were (50) and then how many cubes we had to add to the stack to reach the top of Brooke's head (4). So, how many cubes did we have in all? I wanted to see if she needed to set the row of cubes down and count them, but she didn't. It took her a minute but she hesitantly said, "54?" She got it! I nearly jumped out of my chair with excitement!!

So all in all, Saxon is a fine program, it would be PERFECT for a child who really needed practice on a given concept. (It would have been just what I needed as a kid. ) But for our girls, I think we'll be looking for something that moves a bit quicker next year.

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