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In our home, we never want “math” to be a bad word. All too often, when talking with people about math, you’ll hear “I hated math in school” or “I’m bad at math”, and there was even a big controversy a few years ago about Barbie (the doll) and how she said, “Math class is tough.”
The truth is – math doesn’t have to be the biggest struggle of the day, and we can help break the cycle of fear and negativity when it comes to math practice. Even for kids like a couple of mine who need extra time to grasp some of the concepts, there’s no reason to make ourselves miserable. In our home, we’re using a variety of resources, including lots and lots of gameschooling and CTCMath to take the stress out of math time, especially when reinforcing the basics.
Gameschooling for Painless Review
My 7 year old twins are big fans of gameschooling. We practice basic addition, one to one correlation, counting change, number sequencing, and so many more skills through our game play. It’s hands-on, low stress, collaborative, and provides ample opportunities for coaching and reinforcement.
When we play games, it’s about connection and talking out loud about what we need to know to play the game. This game – Fraction Formula – is great for this. It’s one of my favorites. In addition to the satisfying noise of the cylinders entering the graduated cylinders, my kids are naturally making connections between the sizes of various fractions, making predictions about the likelihood of a certain piece coming up, and my oldest gets into multiplying fractions and figuring out the lowest common denominator and other probability factors. When we practice math this way, it doesn’t feel like work.
CTC Math for Individual Review
Gameschooling works great for one-on-one practice or group interaction, for certain topics. There are other topics, however, that are hard to practice through games or that can benefit from more direct instruction.
CTCMath is a fantastic online resource that all three of my kids have been enjoying and finding success in. Their short video lessons, diagnostic tests, clear structure, and immediate feedback reduce frustration and allow families to customize each child’s learning plan.
We started the Homeschool Family Membership through CTCmath a couple months ago, and, since we’re screen free in the mornings at our home, we tend to take turns on the laptop in late afternoon. The lessons (which are also accessible on the CTCmath free YouTube channel) are short and well-thought-out.
My 7 year old twins have been working self-paced through the first grade curriculum. The video lessons are 2 minutes long, and then there are just a few questions. There’s immediate feedback, and every single part of the question has a “read to me” feature, which is great for those for whom reading doesn’t come easily, but since it’s optional they can skip it if they don’t need the narration.
Even though most of what they’re doing is review, it’s still reinforcing key concepts and building a solid foundation for their future math learning, as well as exposing them to additional ways of instruction and thinking through math concepts.
My 10 year old is advanced in math, so we’re using the diagnostic tests to identify areas that could use review without subjecting him to a whole curriculum. I don’t have to hover when he works, since there’s a parent portal as well as email updates to let me know what he’s been up to.
Over all, I’ve been impressed and the kids have seen CTCmath as a welcome addition to our weekly learning time.
Our Ultimate Goal
Ultimately, the more our kids see themselves as capable and engaged in meaningful learning, the more they’re going to enjoy what they’re doing, which leads to a cycle of success and further confidence. When we find ways of engaging our kids with math in a low-stress environment and an appropriate level, everyone is happier. We can break the “math is hard” and “I hate math” cycle in our families and communities. When we make math accessible and relevant, everyone wins.