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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Nag, nag, nag

How long have I been doing this? You'd think there'd be an end to this insecurity, eh? But, no, after homeschooling for around eight years now, I still have those nasty, niggling doubts.

Today's uncertainty, courtesy of this article: Math.

First of all, what was wrong with Saxon? It was dry, sure, but it worked for the other two, they didn't care one way or another, did they? They were just happy it was secular and that every time the number two came up they didn't have to hear about Noah and his annoying animals again. You hated the endless repetition, 'the spiral approach' they call it, 'a publishing house money-maker' you called it, and were never averse to skipping levels like you did for the other two anyway. Plus wasn't this exactly what you found so sorely lacking in Elle's Queensland Maths program? A solid foundation, some sense of building on previous concepts, and all that? Sarabelle and Grice are doing fine with their advanced maths in public school so you must have done something right there. Why rock the boat? Beacuse Ms. Smartypants, you had to go and read something somewhere that convinced you hands-on would be a better way to really learn math instead of just mindlessly memorizing formulas, and so you had to go and switch to Math-U-See. Fine. Except that Elle thinks it's stupid. She doesn't want to use the blocks. You do, because you paid for them. And now they're telling us it's the abstract thinking that's more important in the grand scheme of things. Well, you sort of knew that too, but adding that tactile quality and applying lessons to real life seemed like a better way for young ones to learn, didn't it? You always thought that if you knew what to actually use sines and co-sines for in the real world it would have made a hell of a lot more sense. Ah, but she's not learning sines and co-sines yet, is she? She's still getting all her facts down and the article does admit that hands-on is useful for younger learners. You really didn't imagine her using those plastic bits for high school algebra, did you? Oh, heh, you bought the Completer set. Sucker. Did you ever see the need to calculate when the two trains were going to pass each other? Wouldn't it only really have been relevant if they were on the same track? And though you were the kind of student who couldn't get beyond the concept of an unknown -- "Why 'x'? Why 'y? Why not 'u' for 'unknown'? Why can't they pick different letters?! -- and would have probably benefitted from some work with manipulatives, we're not talking about you anymore, are we? So now you want to throw the whole Math-U-See out the window, better you should go sell it on a board somewhere, and start all over with good ol' Saxon? Except don't forget, genius, your Saxon 5/4 is in Florida. And don't you even dare think of ordering another Saxon Homeschool Kit just to expedite things either! Calm down, finish your first levels of Math-U-See and then pick up the 5/4. It'll be alright, one of the experts said so. Oh, and L, one more thing, quit listening to the experts, will ya?

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