I have to be completely honest. I don’t just rely on the Math-U-See program alone to teach my boys about math.
I think that kids in Singapore, based on my research, do better that kids elsewhere has more to do with the fact that those kids are constantly drilled on math facts. We had neighbors who were from Korea, the dad was doing research at Ohio State. The mother was surprised at how much time the kids in the neighborhood got to play. She told me that back home the kids are in school constantly, from the time they can walk, from sunup to sundown.
She even enrolled her boys in tutoring sessions three times during the school year a week even though they were doing quite well in school. During the summer she had them signed up for all kinds of educational activities. She was concerned that they would be behind once they got back. Sure enough, once they did get back they did have to have one-on-one tutoring because they had fallen behind even with her extra precautions! Remember, my school district is always in the top ten in the state. Wonderful, huh? Says a whole lot about our wonderful education system.
I do math flash cards with the boys. This is how we do them. I have written the addition facts on index cards. I will show the boys the card and they have to “show” me the fact with their MathUSee blocks. For instance, I will show them “2 + 3 = “. They have to find the 2 block and the 3 block and put those on top of the block that is the answer (5). The MathUSee blocks fit on top of each other instead of having to line them up like with Cuisinaire rods (which we also have). I think this works a lot better because I have seen the light come on in my oldest’s head when we work with the MathUSee blocks.
Then the boys have to show me the “turnaround fact” (3 + 2 =) by turning around the blocks. I write that on the chalkboard wall. pThen I write the answer (5), the minus sign, and one of the add numbers and they have to show and tell me the answer. For instance, 5 – 3 =.
They have to take the 3 cube off and that “shows” them the answer is 2. Then they put the two back on and we do the same but this time with 5 – 2 =. Each time I am writing the numbers on the chalkboard. When we are done we say out loud each fact, 2 + 3 = 5, 3 + 2 = 5, 5 – 3 = 2, and 5 – 2 = 3. Then we do the next card. For three days we do each number, like the +1’s, then the +2’s, and so on. For the first time in my oldest’s life he is learning his addition facts! Who would have thought something simple like how counting blocks are made would make such a difference?
They also both have LeapFrog Leapsters with math programs, and the LeapFrog handheld flashcard game, and the LeapFrog TurboMath game. My oldest didn’t like these things because he just couldn’t understand adding numbers. Now he has his little brother to compete with, and he loves the MathUSee program and their blocks, that they play with these things all the time.
We play “Ziggity” and other board games that require math. My hubby and I also ask them to add up what’s in the grocery cart to figure out how much money we have spent so far (they get to use calculators for that).
My point is, I don’t just rely on the workbook for math. I have used math in every single job I have ever held and can relate that to my boys just how important it is.
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