Wednesday, December 10, 2008

crisis averted

Yesterday we were on the verge of a total math meltdown. Alex has just started 3 digit x 2 digit multiplication in his math curriculum. He started working in his book and after several mistakes and attempts at erasing said mistakes on the first problem he was ready to quit. His page was now too messy for him to think straight when making another attempt at the problem. We were about to see tears.

Then, I had an idea... every night at dinner Alex had been asking us to give him 2 digit x 2 digit problems for him to work on for fun... he had been working these out on his white board.... so, why not let him work these new problems out on his white board?

He was receptive to this idea and started to work...
During this time, Clara was working through issues of her own...
... hair issues, that is. She was having a very bad hair day :-)

Suddenly, a hint of a smile returned...
It relaxed him so much to be working on his white board. He could write larger and mistakes completely disappeared when erased. Since his work would be gone when he moved on to the next problem, we checked each answer as he finished the problem. That way he could still look at his work and see where the mistake was before it was gone.

Once he reached the correct answer, he wrote it in his workbook...
Yesterday was another one of those days where I really appreciate the fact that we homeschool. He was so close to hating math and feeling like 3 digit x 2 digit multiplication was beyond him yesterday... but with one little change (working on a white board instead of paper) he happily breezed through the rest of his assignment.


homeschooling said...

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Brian Foley said...

I really like the effort you put into your blog. It pays off! I hope lots of other families find it and enjoy it.

It is especially impressive that you put so much good information about the Nutcracker, and Tchaikovsky. I wish my folks had introduced me to such things so well when I was a kid (many, many years ago!)

Your photography is also terrific.

Glad to see that Alex is "getting" two digit by three digit multiplication.

One of the ways you might "inspire" him with it is to show him that there really are alternative ways, which use the same principles he is learning.

I've got a page up at that explains how to do problems like that from left to right.

What's good about checking out methods like that, is that your child won't be graded on it, so there is no anxiety or pressure to perform. It's just a place to find out things and explore. And another view of multiplication may give him some insights on the method he is learning now.

All the best to you and your lucky kids!

Brian (a.k.a. Professor Homunculus at )

julesgreen said...

I am so pleased you wrote this particular home schooled boy of 9 hates making mistakes on his paper and notebooks so your idea of writing on a whiteboard first to get the answer which is then written in the note book...GENIUS!Thanks so much for filling in another piece of my kids' puzzle!