Welcome to my Weblog!
Welcome to 1 Mother 2 Another! To read my most recent weblog entries, scroll down. To read entries from one category, click the links at right. To read my journey from the beginning, click here. To find out more about me, click here.
Top 5s
Short on time? Click here to go to my Top 5s Page - links to my top five recommendations in every category from Breastfeeding Sites to Urban Living Solutions.

Keep It Simple, Smarty Pants

Second grade is the first year Maddie’s had “real” homework every night, and in the beginning it took some getting used to. Every night she has twenty minutes of reading, twenty minutes of some kind of math, and something “extra” – a website assignment, or a worksheet, or a long-term project or something of that ilk. I think it’s partly to get the parents and kids trained and ready when everything gets kicked up a notch in third grade.

Reading every night has been easy: the teacher says “do whatever” and I just let Maddie pick and am responsible for simply logging in her hours. And hours. And hours. For math, I’ve spent most of the year thinking it’s the same thing – “Do whatever, lady! Just get your kid used to thinking in a ‘math-y’ way for twenty minutes each night!” So we’d gone all over the map with math.

You see, Maddie enjoys math, but doesn’t like the tedium of memorization or practice – she likes the figuring-out-new-concepts thing. So we’ve covered long division and multiplication and percentages and fractions and negative numbers and . . . you get the picture.

In what I thought was an unrelated topic, Maddie has had a timed math quiz every week in school: some sort of addition or subtraction with a note at the top like “stay in the fives” or “move up to sixes” written at the top. She’s always scored well on them so I never thought anything of it.

Until a few weeks ago, when Maddie said in frustration, “A couple of kids in our class are REALLY good at math! They’re already on multiplication for the tests!”

“Wait –what?” I said, puzzled. “You aren’t all taking the same test?”

Maddie stared at me. “No, of course not – you test on the same family until you get a certain amount right in the time allowed, then you move up to the next one, then so on. First addition facts, then subtraction, then multiplication.”

Maddie is on subtraction right now.

“So you mean,” I said slowly as I figured this out, “You take the same test every week until you’ve got it right?”

She nodded.

And then I realized – I was supposed to spend this whole year teaching my kid her math tables. She needs to memorize basic math facts – to get down entire addition or subtraction tables COLD.

Oops. Here I was treating math as fun, when we needed to be doing the drudgery all along.

So the next time a test came home I paid careful attention to what was written at the top – “move on to sixes!” and spent the whole next week drilling Maddie. Much to her chagrin.

But you know what? She’s now moving up a level every single week.

I feel like I owe her teacher a note of apology.

"Dear Maddie's Teacher: Please forgive her mother for taking 27 out of the 36 weeks to figure out how to do homework . . . "


Post a Comment

House Rules

Here are the rules for posting comments on 1mother2another.com. Posting a comment that violates these rules will result in the comment’s deletion, and you’ll probably be banned from commenting in the future.

1) Register first. If you would like to post a comment, you must create an account with us. Check out the home page to do so.

2) Constructive comments only. If you cannot maintain a respectful tone in your posting, even in disagreement, your comment will be deleted. We’re all trying to find our way in this thing and are struggling to be the best moms we can. If you disagree with something I say, feel free to politely email me. If you disagree with another reader’s posting, you’re welcome to kindly post in reply. Vitriolic diatribes will be deleted. This site is about encouraging and supporting, not tearing down and chastising.

3) Questions welcomed. If an entry raises a question, you’re welcome to email me directly or post it. Keep in mind that postings will result in public replies by strangers and not just me.

4) Don’t steal. All original writings contained within this website are under copyright protection. If you link to us, please credit us as your source and provide a link back to our website. If you're interested in using an excerpt in published material, please contact us.

5) Share your photos! We'd love to have photos from our registered readers to show on our home page under "Maddie's friends". Email us a jpeg of your little one's best photo to photos@1mother2another.com. Please, no photos from professional photographers which fall under copyright protection.