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If you haven’t already, you can read the first post in my series: How Do I Teach My Visual Spatial Learner? Today, I will focus in on math. Math is my favorite subject, I love love love math. I’m comfortable teaching math. I could do math all day. It is a different story for my son. He does not love math.
It breaks my heart but it is true. I’m a math and science nerd. He is not. He’s creative and would rather spend his days building with lego and learning about history. Yes, history – “Because there are battles.” That is why he loves history.
When I first started homeschooling we used Math U See. We used the Beta book. I figured since the program is so hands-on, this would be perfect for M1. It was good at first, he did all his writing on the white board. However, after awhile he was like, we did that yesterday. I told him there were different kinds of questions but it was still adding. Vsls don’t like repetition. I didn’t know that.
We worked on some cheap workbooks but I moved onto Saxon math for grade 3. We sat and did every single lesson together. We used the MUS blocks whenever he needed manipulatives. I wrote the answers in for him. We did one side of the worksheet and he learned a lot. It was great.
The next year we did Saxon 5/4 which is a completely new format, where he would have to write all the questions down to answer them on notebook paper. He was excited when he started the school year to be in a 4th grade book. But as the math got harder, I think all the writing slowed him down as well. I also had this notion that he should be working more independently and was not right by his side helping him.
The next year we switched to Singapore math and chose the books that were a half a year behind. I loved their textbooks because of how visual they are. We worked through them but once we got into fractions, it just went too quickly for him. We used the extra books, workbook, intensive practice but I hated having to turn to so many books to find stuff. We were also doing their challenging word problems book as well. Which we still use today.
Where did we go from there? Back to Saxon. I love Saxon, but I’m a textbook girl. I want him to like it as well. But I realize that he’s just not going to be my mathy kid.
So after 5 years of homeschooling, I think I’ve nailed it down. We are using a combination of Saxon math/Math Mammoth/Life of Fred. We use Saxon for our regular program. Math Mammoth to slow down and supplement topics that he may need help on. Or to take a break from Saxon when M1 gets bogged down. We use Life of Fred as supplement, there’s a fun story line and then at the end of each chapter there are 5-10 questions to answer. The math lessons were to quick for M1 to follow when used to teach so we are using it for review. He thinks Fred is very funny and has asked to used the next set of books.
We also make flash cards of rules that he needs to know, ie. what to do to add/substract/multiply/divide fractions and decimals. I have him go over the rules before we start the lesson and then if he forgets, which he does sometimes, he can use the cards as a reference.
We notebook, my VSL needs to see things visually. If he’s having problems with a questions I have to work it our from start to finish and then let him do it himself before he “gets” it. I can’t tell him what to do, he just doesn’t learn that way and it just goes out the other ear.
This is not set in stone and considering that we are in the midst of puberty, this is what is working for us for now. I hope it doesn’t change because I love having something work for us long term. However, homeschooling is a journey and we must adapt as things change.
What tips do you have for your visual learner? What curriculum or methods have you found that helped your child? I’m all ears.
Check out what the other mamas are writing about during the How Do I Teach series and don’t forget to read my other posts in this series about visual spatial learners.