This past year has been a struggle in our math lessons. I have three very different children when it comes to math capability. At the end of the school year I needed math help. DESPERATELY.
(This post is sponsored by Knowre Math, they have saved my butt this summer, and been an AWESOME math help!)
A quick overview of why I needed math help to stop the fighting
Superman’s math problems: he skips steps, and his handwriting is atrocious. He doesn’t want to take the time to get it right. He’s smart and fast and can figure it out. Oh, and he doesn’t want help.
Batman’s math problems: his handwriting.
Princess’ math problems: lack of confidence. She can do every single bit of what her brothers do, but she lacks confidence. She is also slower at math, and this is frustrating to her because she can do everything else quickly.
Mom’s math problem: I lost the teacher manual last year at the beginning of the year. I suspect because of where it was found in May, that the kids put it away in the wrong place, but I cannot be sure.
How we got math help
Problem 1: handwriting
Both of my boys’ have terrible handwriting, and this is a constant issue.
Long term solution: working on their handwriting. I have seen improvement, but this will be a constant struggle for them.
Short term solution: online math help. I suspect this is going to be a long term solution because I’m loving how I don’t have to grade their math.
But, it is also forcing their handwriting to get better because the iPad version of Knowre math is based on handwriting, and if they are not precise in how they “write” their numbers and symbols, it does not interpret the information correctly.
Problem 2: skipping steps
Long term solution: remove Mom from the math equation.
I can do this two ways: take a math class at the local one day academy or similar place, or use an online math class. I opted this year for an online math class because the schedules didn’t work for us otherwise.
Removing me from the equation means I am not having to talk to my son about showing steps, or having him wonder why he has to. Instead, if he gets the problem wrong on his Knowre math, he just has to immediately redo it for less credit. This is perfect because it is forcing him to redo those steps he skipped.
Taking a live class elsewhere would also fix this problem, but going back to that schedule thing.
Problem 3: lack of confidence
Long term solution: increase confidence
My short term solution is aimed towards this as well. I wanted to switch math curriculum after this past year because of struggles with explanations of material.
1. I sit in the same room with Princess as she completes the material.
There’s something about me being there, and slowly she is becoming more confident. Usually she comes to me, and I say one sentence, and she says, “Oh yeah, that’s how to do it.”
2. Watch the video again.
There’s something magic about watching the video again. Especially if I’m sitting next to her as she watches it.
And that video up above cracks me up every time I watch it.
3. Take a break.
We tried another online math program, and that was a horrible failure. It had timed math problems. Not time for the entire assignment, per problem. This gave her panic attacks, and she would always figure out the answer as it timed out, and then her problem was wrong. No chance to fix it, no going back after.
This goes back to the big deal about homeschooling. You know your child, and you know how they learn best. My daughter, cannot take a timed test right now. It shakes her up too much. The first day she used Knowre math, she turned to me and said, “Mom I like this math, it’s easy.” Now there have been some days later on, where she doesn’t like it as much, but that happened once her brothers were involved and she saw the time it took them.
Problem 4: the gradebook
I’ll totally admit I should have solved the gradebook problem sooner, but I didn’t want to order a new copy, because I knew as soon as I did, it would appear. So, as a bit of self-punishment I would solve all of their math, and then grade it.
I love that my Knowre online math is self-grading. I also love that they have several tries to get their math right. Princess gets a better grade on her math because she sits there and makes SURE her problem is right before she hits solve. Her brothers hurry. Having an online math program is solving all of my math woes.
Let’s talk details about Knowre math
This is my third math program I looked at for the coming school year. The first is highly praised and might well have worked. The second was another online math school, and had my daughter in tears. Tears, and declaring herself stupid.
Tears, and declaring herself stupid.
My daughter is fully two years ahead of her age in math right now.
Let that sink in.
I cancelled that math before the trial was over.
Knowre math is one user per license bought. Each license is $29.95 until August 31, 2017. That means math for all 3 of my kids is about $90. I was paying roughly the same for our math curriculum last year. The first math I was looking at is roughly the same amount. The second that caused tears, was significantly more.