Thursday, August 23, 2012

Happiness and Math

We have changed math curriculum for M2.  We started this year using Math Mammoth, because I honestly and truly thought that she would enjoy it.  She likes worksheets.  She likes colors.  She even liked a spiral approach (she'd been using Saxon at her old school and loved it).


Reality was very different.  It generally is, isn't it?  The first few days went well.  I took her back a few lessons compared to where she was so that she could get used to a new format.  The idea was that I could start working with her and we'd both be comfortable by the time she got to new material.  But within a few days, I would print off the pages and within minutes she would be crying because she couldn't understand it or got frustrated with the way it wanted to do things or... anything.  At first I thought that the problem was just that it wasn't Saxon and that she'd do better once she got used to the way that Math Mammoth did things.  I kept working with her and waited for everything to settle down, but it just didn't.

After a week or two of daily fussing, we had a breakthrough.  The colors were 'wrong,' according to my wee girl.  Synesthesia?  Possibly.  I won't lie; it'd be cool to have a synesthetic daughter.  But regardless of whether there's a neurological component or not, she was miserable working with Math Mammoth.  So I started hunting again.

I went through a long list of possibilities.  Singapore?  Doubtful; there's a lot of pictures involved and she didn't seem to like that in Math Mammoth.  Miquon?  Possibly.  It had more potential but still just didn't seem to be like a great fit.  Besides anything else, if there are colors involved in her head and Miquon has grid patterns, shaded squares, etc., she could easily get confused.  So I ruled it out.  RightStart?  Lots of potential, but it's also very teacher-intensive.  If I had been using it with M1, that would have been one thing.  But I'm not.  Teaching Textbooks?  Nope.  Saxon?  Nope.  Spectrum?  It had potential, too, lots of it... black and white, workbook, very straightforward... I thought long and hard about that one.  But in the end I decided not to because...

I went with Math-U-See.  I know.  But M2 also really enjoys having some 'independence' with her math work and likes feeling like the 'teacher.'  I learned that when she told me she liked working with her school friends who were struggling with math.  Part of the Math-U-See process is making sure that the child can teach the concept back to the teacher, and M2 has seen her brother talk *me* through several lessons (on purpose).  Plus, I'm somewhat lazy and already know how MUS works.

Am I going to pick up a Spectrum workbook anyway?  Probably.  MUS isn't particularly good at covering charts, graphs, etc., and sometimes a little escape from the 'regular' work is in order.  I'll probably find one for M1 as well.  But M2 sat down and did the first lesson in Math-U-See Beta today, and it was the first day in weeks she didn't cry during math.  In fact, she finished the page in less than five minutes and can't wait to do another tomorrow.

THAT is the math lover that I brought home.  So glad I didn't kill that love!


Beth said...

you know what? Who cares what you end up using as long as it works for HER! It's great that she's finally not frustrated at even the thought of doing it, we've been there - and it's miserable. (For them and you!)

farmwifetwo said...

I know another woman online who's daughter had to get coloured glasses so she could read. Without them, the words were blurred and unfocused especially on white paper.

Even printing the other math onto a different background colour may help.