Tuesday, November 29, 2011

More on Math

Today I went through some of the skills charts to evaluate where the boys are in terms of their math learning. I decided to leave off the higher math learning that they have out of sequence, such as multiplying in other number bases or solving algebra word problems and to simply find out where they are in terms of the their solid (rather than Swiss cheese) math knowledge.

I'd put them squarely in grade 5; they have grade 4 down and are working on some grade 5 and grade 6 skills. It helps to know where they are; I suppose this is why teachers and schools assess students. It feels a little unfair to leave out their higher math skills/knowledge, but I need to focus on the basics.

So my goal is to get them completely solid in all Waldorf math through grade 6 by the end of our homeschool year.

I've written before about the boys' love of Life of Fred and how they seem to be gaining skills but can't demonstrate them when it comes time to do the bridge problems. I'm thinking now that moving away from Waldorf math main lessons took away their opportunity to really connect with the math and take it to a deeper level of understanding. They get the Life of Fred math when we do it, but it isn't grounded and so they've mostly forgotten it by the time we get to the bridge.

I'm kind of bummed; I really thought that Life of Fred was a great program and had planned to use it with them through high school. Maybe it will be something that we can return to when the boys have more skills. In the meantime, I am going to suggest that they continue with it on their own during independent lesson time and we'll see how that goes.

We're moving directly into a math block using A Little Garden Flower; we're going to do the a grade 5 main lesson block from Melisa's book, A Journey Through Waldorf Math. That's right, we are going back and doing a grade 5 fractions block. I actually find that it is material that we have previously covered with Life of Fred, but it needs grounding.

We'll have two more Waldorf math main lesson blocks this homeschool year: Geometrical Drawing (Using Nature, Number, and Geometry from Live Education) and Business Math/Decimals and Percents using Making Math Meaningful. We'll also have daily math practice as well as a weekly math lesson using Making Math Meaningful to review math concepts from grades 4 and 5 and to bring in a lot of the other grade 6 math concepts such as casting out nines, ratios, statistics, graphing, etc.

I am reminded of how simple my goals were for Enki grade 2: reading at a Frog and Toad level and understanding place value. Whenever we got off track I simply reminded myself that those were the big goals for the year. This year it will be catching up to grade level in Waldorf math and learning the steps to write a basic research paper (research, outlining, summarizing, introductory sentences, sentence structure, conclusions, paragraph structure). Everything else is just along for the ride ...

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