This year, we are putting the math curriculum on the shelf, and focusing on memorizing our math facts; all of them: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Yes, even the 6 year olds! My daughter is entering the fourth grade anyway, which is the typical grade in which the facts are solidified and memorized. I have never had my 11 year old actually memorize the facts, because of his learning challenges, but I do believe that he is now ready to do so. I am also amazed at how well the 6 year olds understand the math concepts already, just by using Khan Academy and Right Start. The kids are always drilling each other using their multiplication place mats, so even the twins already know quite a few of those facts.
Honestly, I am just tired of the kids relying on their abacuses to calculate a simple addition problem.
After they get these facts down, we can focus more on other math concepts using our beloved Right Start program. The less they have to calculate, the more they can focus on the why and how of the concept.
The plan is to focus on one operation per quarter.
- Fall: Addition
- Winter: Subtraction
- Spring: Multiplication
- Summer: Division
This is a very rough plan, we will mostly move at the pace of our fourth grader. I am not concerned if the twins totally memorize all of them, since they are so young and have a lot more time to do so, but I am willing to bet, they will be able to keep up. Since subtraction and division are just a matter of undoing addition and multiplication, they shouldn’t take as long, so we may even be finished at the end of spring.
Here are a couple of sites that I am using for reference and help:
My overall objectives are as follows:
- Teach the pattern or concept
- Practice with worksheets
- Use games for reinforcement
- Drill using flash cards
- Master time tests
- Orally assess each student for mastery
Teaching the pattern or concept will be quick. They already know what addition and subtraction are, so this will just be for review and should only take about 5 or 10 minutes. The concepts of multiplication and division are a bit newer, especially for the twins, but again, it is not the goal that they completely understand what to do. I just want them to know the fact. They have lots of time to understand the why.
Practice will come in the form of worksheets, games and flash cards. Mastery will be assessed using timed tests from the math aids site and by asking the math questions orally in random order.
Our first plans for addition fact mastery are as follows:
- Daily write out and say the odds and even numbers to 20 forward and backward until mastered.
- Make an addition table in their math journal.
- Add and subtract by 1s and 2s using a number line
- Relate adding and subtracting by 2s using the number line of odd and even numbers.
- Master adding and subtracting 1s using 1 minute timed drill.
- Master adding and subtracting 2s using 1 minute timed drill.
- Master adding and subtracting 1s and 2s using 3 minute timed drill.
- Orally assess mastery of adding and subtracting 1s and 2s.
This really shouldn’t take longer than a week or 2, but I’ll let you know just how long it actually does take. While they all understand the concept already, it’s the fluency that will take the longest to develop.
The kids will keep track of their progress by highlighting the facts memorized on their addition table.
After they have mastered the 1s and 2s, we will move on to the following:
- Memorizing doubles
- Memorizing doubles + 1
- Memorizing doubles + 2
- Adding 4
And that’s as far as I have planned. The trick will be to keep reviewing them so they don’t forget. I will probably rely on Khan Academy to do that.
I know all of this is very controversial. You are either thinking, “Why don’t her kids already know this, especially the 12 year old?” or “Why is she going through all this trouble? They will eventually get it.” Well, I am not going to further explain my reasoning, other than to say that all of our school plans are held up to our heavenly Father in prayer beforehand. This is what the Lord has convicted me to do this year. If you have the same conviction, or are just curious to see how it will all go down, feel free to follow my blog. I will be updating on our successes or failures, and laying out the rest of the plans as I plan them.
Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men. Proverbs 22:29