Thursday, June 6, 2013

Miss Chickie, the teacher

Well, ladies and gentlemen, our first homeschooling "year" is officially over, and the kids have promoted to their new grades!

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We're still doing a little schoolwork over the summer, but not too much. One subject Chickie is working on is math. It doesn't come naturally to her like other subjects do, and so I'm trying to make sure she has a really good foundation for second grade by continuing to work this summer.

Because math can be challenging for her, Chickie tends to get very frustrated. We recently started using a curriculum called Math-U-See, and I love it! It utilizes video lessons and manipulative blocks. I sit and work with her on each lesson.

Math-U-See suggests that once the child has learned something, it's good to ask them to teach it back to you. I tried that one day, and suddenly realized I'd found an amazing, fun way to teach Chickie. When Miss Chickie is the teacher and I'm the student, she suddenly perks up. Math becomes fun! I am still able to guide our "class time," even though I'm the student. I'll ask her things like, "Miss Chickie, can you please show me how to subtract nine minus four?"

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And Miss Chickie happily picks up her manipulative blocks and shows me, the student, how to do the problem. I've also found this works great for word problems. ("Miss Chickie, I have six pieces of chocolate and my little sister wants me to give her four of them! But I don't know how many I'll have left!")

When Miss Chickie makes mistakes, she doesn't get frustrated like Chickie does. As the student, I act confused as I point out the error, and she cheerfully figures out how to fix it.

I can't be the student all the time, and this hasn't solved all our math woes. But it's a huge discovery for me, and I want to find more ways to utilize it. Maybe the best way for Chickie to be a good student is for Miss Chickie to be a teacher!