Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sometimes Our Best Laid Plans.......

I suppose many could finish this the way I am about to finish this sentence~ do not exactly turn out the way we planned.... We had been working for several weeks on a specific unit from the Key To Series, it had been going very well so I had ended up purchasing several other booklets in the series.  

However, today we realized something that both my teen and I thought might happen but wasn't exactly sure, so we had forged ahead with this basal approach to his math. In hopes of trying to clear up some areas in fractions that were giving him some trouble. It did and he did very well as I mentioned, all up until it was time to take a test that encompassed all the other booklets ( 4 in all) from that series. 

It didn't go as well as we thought it would go. Upon correcting the problems I could see that he just did not retain or was able to remember the concepts. He even mentioned to me he felt the reason why he did so poorly is because he had been working so long on a particular concept that he forgot how to do the other ones he learned. Sigh. 

After getting over my initial surprise I quickly explained that this was really good to see and that it teaches us two things; one that a more spiral approach and continued repetition is needed for learning his math skills/concepts and two, that if he was to consider taking a class at our local highschool, co-op or Technical College that this would have to be considered.  

For me this brings home the reason why I am homeschooling these two boys. Knowing that our local school does not provide a spiral model for math and in other areas really helps me and my teen in deciding which learning may be best for him. ~ 

I really love the Key To Series and will definitely plan to use these as a supplement for perhaps new skills/concepts but this approach will not work for us and so I will look toward Horizons ( they now have a new Pre-Algebra workbook series out now) and possibly Abeka for this spiral approach once we move out of the concepts that are covered in MOTL.   MOTL allows me to continue to work on concepts he has already learned so this is very helpful.  As I look ahead toward Algebra and using Paul Foerester's Book I will need to incorporate MOTL methods with this as well for continued practice and our continuance with a spiral method for math if the books does not do so. 

A friend  (Cindy over at Desert Ramblings ) recently had written about her own math experiences and her writing had gotten me very interested in MEP math as well so I will be dabbling into this program as well to see how it may work for us~ but that will take some time and it is best not to jump around and rush into something as I have learned in the past.  Many worry about changing math programs and leaving gaps in their learning. MOTL helps take care of that for me and by us allowing the programs to be used as a guide and using them more as a tool for learning concepts really helps because we can pick up any math book or resource and start out where the boys are at, not where the programs says we need to start at. :) 

It just goes to show we can plan and think everything is all set and neat and tidy and then something like today can turn things completely around.  I think we both ( my teen and I ) feel very blessed to be able to work as we need to and are able to tweak things so that it makes it work for him. 

Math has always been a tougher subject for all my boys. I am not exactly sure why, it could be due to their disabilities ~in some ways they can zoom ahead so quickly I can't even catch my breathe and with other things it is just the opposite.  I often thought it was more just the teachers and how it was taught, but I am learning it is a combination of how it is presented ( the information that is) and how the program runs ( spiral or basal approach) and then also how the boys feel about a particular program and concept. 

As we move ahead we are incorporating new math journals/learning logs.  Both boys journals/logs will be a bit different since they are at different developmental areas in learning their math and at different ages. 

I feel that using this math notebook/journal/log will really help in the processing if used as a tool the way I plan on having the boys use it.  Here are some pictures their notebooks.
nothing fancy but very helpful



Each section is tabbed so they can flip through it quickly to find what they might be looking for. Any new skills/concepts will be written down and examples given for each new concept introduced. I plan to have the boys use these faithfully each day ~ and also when ever they need to refresh their memories about a certain skill.  

you can see the sticky tabs I used to separate out the concepts





Writing down the new information while quietly explaining in to yourself really brings forward the information in a more multi-sensory fashion. It allows the information to be filed and stored into the longer term memory instead of just leaving it in the working and short term memory.







 Older son's Notebook~ ( above) He has a five subject notebook since he will have much more information to add to this as he moves into harder more involved concepts/skills. I explained that this can be a wonderful tool he can bring with him even to college as a reference. I have known other homeschoolers to do the same. I think having something like this can be quite comforting to a student.


I also plan to encourage them to use their mini-offices more as well. Each suited for each boy's individual needs and abilities. These are tucked in back of their math notebooks.


older son's mini office


younger son's mini office 







Onward and upward~ ! 






4 comments:

desertramblings said...

Thanks for posting the pictures! I love the idea of the math notebook - I always wondered how I would get them to "take math notes" when learning new stuff, so this view of creating your own reference book is awesome! I can really see how this would be especially great reinforcement and help for my remedial son! And actually, this might be the PERFECT time for the pre-algebra son to start his own notebook as well since much of pre-algebra is review. As he does each review unit, he can add in the methods and procedures for that topic! And he will be learning some new things with the MEP curriculum he is doing now like ratios, probability, geometry, and even set theory (and, of course, algebra.)

I LOVE the tabs! I even have some of those and can see how this would be a great reference for each of them! In fact, pre-algebra boy JUST STARTED a new sprial notebook for math TODAY! He will need 2 now - one for his "math journal" and one for his daily work. Great idea!

I assume by "5-subject notebook" for your teen, you mean a spiral notebook with 5 divisions instead of the sewn-binding composition books that it looks like your youngest is using? I guess I will have to dig something like that up for pre-algebra boy in order for him to put all of his upper-level math in it. :) Thanks!

desertramblings said...

Thanks for posting the pictures! I love the idea of the math notebook - I always wondered how I would get them to "take math notes" when learning new stuff, so this view of creating your own reference book is awesome! I can really see how this would be especially great reinforcement and help for my remedial son! And actually, this might be the PERFECT time for the pre-algebra son to start his own notebook as well since much of pre-algebra is review. As he does each review unit, he can add in the methods and procedures for that topic! And he will be learning some new things with the MEP curriculum he is doing now like ratios, probability, geometry, and even set theory (and, of course, algebra.)

I LOVE the tabs! I even have some of those and can see how this would be a great reference for each of them! In fact, pre-algebra boy JUST STARTED a new sprial notebook for math TODAY! He will need 2 now - one for his "math journal" and one for his daily work. Great idea!

I assume by "5-subject notebook" for your teen, you mean a spiral notebook with 5 divisions instead of the sewn-binding composition books that it looks like your youngest is using? I guess I will have to dig something like that up for pre-algebra boy in order for him to put all of his upper-level math in it. :) Thanks!

Learners at Home said...

Yes, that is exactly what you can do as he reviews the concepts. That is what I am doing also! :) Glad you found it helpful. Eventually they do learn to use it more as a tool my youngest loves it and when he is "stuck" he runs over "OH wait, hold on, I need to look up"......
Uh hem.. my teen never caught on although I did not introduce as formal as I did with my youngest, BUT I AM now, lol :)
Yes it is a five subject with a spiral binding and dividers. We just needed more pages. lol His math can get lengthy...lol
One other thing I did not mention and is to even use things to cut out so they perhaps don't have to actually write or draw all the pics. Even though the writing is "key" the pictures can be cut out like for geometry and such... I did this as well. :)
Warmly,

tracey

Mary said...

Awesome! I love the Math Notebook- thanks for the great pictures. I have several of these composition notebooks and now one will be put to great use. Love it!

Mary

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