AmblesideOnline: Math

This Parents' Review article, Nursery Examples of Fractions discusses math for very young children. There are numerous additional math articles posted; see Index of Articles for more listings.

Question: How do you keep math lessons to 15 minutes and still finish the book in a year?

There is nothing sacred about having a 15 minute time period for math. Actually, even in the lower grades, the PUS school schedule allowed about half an hour for math, although that did include oral drill as well as problem solving. If you need twenty minutes or thirty minutes, then do it! You know your child's needs and attention span. If you prefer, you could break up the math period (do some math, do something else, do some more math), but I personally would find that distracting.

Finally, I'd suggest that you not worry too much about finishing the book in one year. We use an older version of Making Math Meaningful (in binders) and I find it's very packed. I try to work with each concept until I think my daughter has mastered it fairly well (or we take a break from one hard thing and work on something else for awhile). I don't have her do all the problem pages. I haven't had a good look at the revised versions so I don't know how well that would apply to them. I do have her do the evaluation exercises from the end of each section as a unit test. As well, we've been incorporating math games, math library books, some math history...and you can't do all that in 15 minutes a day and still finish the textbook!

One suggestion I read somewhere else (Catherine Levison?) was that you could use the regular scheduled math time for drill and problem solving-assign them five problems about apples or whatever; and introduce new concepts at a different time when you can work with them one on one. With a math program that's always adding a little more, you might find that difficult, but it's something to keep in mind. As an example, my dd found learning double-digit multiplication VERY difficult; it took a lot of time and a lot of work with me until she could do it, so you need to allow for that, even if there isn't time in the regular math practice session. (Phonics is another time-taker if you have a child who's right at the almost-reading stage.) I think that even if you're using a structured schedule in CM homeschooling (such as the 1908 schedules reprinted in C. Levison's books), you do need to allow for some unforeseen things that are just going to take time outside of the normal run of classes.

Anne W.