As you begin your search for a math curriculum that works for your elementary aged child, you need to remember that there are three areas of math to cover: facts, computation and concepts. If math has already become a struggle for your child, then you will especially want to break math down into these three areas. Spread math over the course of the day with short sessions covering these areas in separate sessions.
Children don’t realize what is happening. They may be staring out the window, playing in their desk, just drifting off. They don’t automatically bring themselves back to the activity at hand. They are children. They don’t even know when their system has shut down. They are usually unaware that they aren’t paying attention any longer.
You need to do your homework, be proactive, use the tools that are available to help you understand what is actually causing your child’s problems at school. There are pre-screening tools available that parents and/or teachers can easily use to determine if their child is experiencing auditory processing or visual processing problems.
Nothing is wrong with having a few conversational topics to pull out when necessary. The chances are that if you are having trouble keeping up with the discussion, so are others in the group, so watch for a chance to tactfully move on to another subject.
Next, try to look at these things from a math perspective. Take the table of contents in your RS Aggarwal Quantitative Aptitude PDF and see which topics you can find in your list of fun activities and interests. For example, if your student is really into horses, you can use the Distance/Rate/Time Equation to calculate how fast the horse must have been running in the Kentucky Derby in order to complete the race in the time stated.
Often times you are going to have to be tough at the onset. I have found that it saves time and effort (and my voice!) if I state the rules and expectations up front. I also let them know that we may do things differently than usual because I am not their teacher. I try to stick with what they are used to, but I also let them know that I am not “Ms. Baker” and if we veer a bit off course for the day, just hang on for the ride.
On September 7, 1914 the New York Post Office building was opened with the message “Neither rain nor snow nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds” carved into its side. Although this is not the official creed of the United States Postal System, we can still celebrate the day by honoring our postal workers and learning about how mail is delivered. Read “The Post Office Book: Mail and How it Moves” by Gail Gibbons and “The Jolly Postman” by Allan Ahlberg. Teach simple letter writing and envelope addressing to your elementary students. You may want to follow this up with a field trip to the post office during the week. Alternatively, create simple artwork by allowing children to design postal stamps or postcards to deliver to each other.
While these issues may affect you to varying degrees, I have one more tip to share; it’s my secret weapon. When my kids were having trouble staying on track, I created a homeschool game. I made a deck of cards for each subject with my printer and colored cardstock. On each card was three assignment options, each with a different value attached to it. The child could move ahead on the generic game board the number of spaces that corresponded to the assignment they chose. It was wildly successful and they still beg for it today. A little creativity can go a long way. We hope that these suggestions help you to keep peace in your loving homeschool family.