Tuesday, June 15, 2010

progress report week: math

This wasn't such a big year for math for us. It was pretty much all review and expansion of their understanding of the four processes (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division). We did start working (very gently) towards rote understanding of the "fact families" (number facts to 20), but I can't say we were 100% successful with that.

The good news, they have both become very comfortable with math problems featuring the 4 functions, both in equations and in word problems. I feel like they have an excellent understanding about the relationship of the numbers when they look at an equation, and they feel very confident about being able to figure out the answer on their own.

However, they do tend to scramble for the counting stones (or figuring on fingers in Zoo Boy's chance), which tells me that while they understand the processes, they haven't internalized the math facts yet. For J, it's more a day-to-day thing -- sometimes he'll whip through a list of equations in no time, sort of on auto-pilot. But some days he figures out the answers rather than counting on his memorization of them. Zoo Boy almost always has to figure the math, although his skip-counting skills are coming along really well, so he's definitely on his way.

That's OK -- knowing the addition and subtraction facts up to 20 is an end-of-2nd-grade type skill, and we've still got another half year of 2nd grade to go. (And honestly, it doesn't matter to me if they learn these things now or in another 6 years -- they'll learn it when they feel that they need it -- but this is a progress report, so I'm comparing skills to my targets for when I expect they'll come about.)

Then again, even though we're working within the 2nd grade structure in regards to curriculum content, I do expect to see J at a bit of a higher level than Zoo Boy given that he's 2 yrs older. And sure enough, this is as true for math as it is for writing (as shown in yesterday's post). J is just starting work on memorizing multiplication charts, which is a 3rd grade skill and right where I expect him to be working.
As for other, non-arithmetic math, J has a really good handle on money, time, geometry, and measurement. Zoo Boy's time and measurement skills are decent, but he's still not confident about money (although he knows more than he's willing to admit). I'm going to be working on him with that this summer.

Measurement will be a big part of our 3rd grade math work, so we'll get plenty of that type of work eventually.

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