Thursday, January 16, 2014

Math (Competition) for Homeschooled Boys

Doing mental math *well* is a high priority for our homeschool (& I've let it slip in 2013 - "The Year of Baby Schaeffer.")  At the beginning of the week we were really struggling to meet the times in these exercises.  I've posted a picture of one below. However, in a few days we have seen great improvements. BIG GAINS. 

As a result of doing timed math drills, I have learned a few lessons that I want to document here.

1.  As a homeschooling mom (i.e. noncompetitive girl), I often fail to remember how important competition is for my son. The timer is a great competitor.  After all, as educators, we want our children to really push themselves against their own personal best, right

I put a post it note on each exercise and wrote his times down each day.  When we were starting out, sometimes I would just stop at 3 minutes because I could tell he was fatigued and frustrated then marked how far we got in that time.  We would strive for more problems in three minutes the next time.

2. Like real life competitions, cheerleaders can be game-changing element.  We've all been in those intense, tie-ballgame arenas when the fans are going crazy.  The excitement level is palatable.  Everyone is standing, shouting, clapping.  What kind of athlete could resist doing their best in that atmosphere? I must be the cheerleader when he is (we are?) discouraged. I'm sure this is true for girls too but my daughter is still in the fun stages of preschool.  

When I am the cheerleader, it helps to ensure the math-attitude stays positive… on at least half the team.  Honestly at the beginning of the week I was terribly discouraged about the status of our math facts.  But then I realized that my negativity wasn't helping anyone.  

I have to believe for him.  Believe the best in him.  Cheer him on towards the goal.  When I am cheering him on, it is a win-win for us both. PSSST:: I've also been known to "fake it till we make it."

So, Momma…get out there and cheer on your children!  You can do it!


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