Living Math Dropout

by Jimmie Lanley on September 10, 2010

I feel like something of a “living math dropout” to admit that Sprite is using Teaching Textbooks now. It’s a computer based program, and she really likes it. Better yet, it’s developing some basic skills that we missed along the way and filling in some of those gaps that we always fear as homeschooling moms.

teaching textbooks

I’m not too terribly afraid of gaps in general, but with math a gap can really affect a lot of conceptual learning later on. So I’m working to fill in the chinks before we move on towards more algebraic thinking.

A second factor for using this approach is because of a big mistake I made. I had Sprite tested (standardized test — Iowa) early this year. Although her math scores were not bad, she translated the results into, “I am not good at math.” (She tested at low average for her grade level.) It’s been a huge problem for her confidence to be shattered with that test. I regret it terribly.

I guess that my own confidence was shaken a bit as well.

When I met with the consultant to discuss the results, she asked me what curriculum we use for math. I don’t think she’d ever heard of a living math approach. No matter how I tried to explain, she just looked at with confusion and not a small amount of concern.  I started feeling very unsure of myself in that moment.  Was I messing up with math? I admit that after the consultation, I bought some math test prep books at the Scholastic display. I wouldn’t have even considered a need for that before.

So back to Teaching Textbooks. I bought a level based on the TT placement tests, and Sprite is whizzing through it, doing two lessons a day and scoring well. This is working well to build up her confidence, but sometimes I still hear her express that anything less than 100% is “not good.” (What?! I can only  guess that her contact with local kids who are intensely competitive for perfect test scores is creating this delusion.)

So we haven’t done any math games in a long time. No hands-on activities for math. Like I said, I feel like a living math dropout. For now it’s just TT lessons on the computer and in the spiral bound textbook.

We are still doing math history lessons from’s curriculum, though. That’s the one bright side. And we both really enjoy those lessons.

Of course, I actually am not a living math dropout. I have every intention to get back into my preferred style of hands-on living math exploration. But for a season, TT is working. And in the big picture, TT can be part of our overall living math approach.

My plan is for Sprite to complete Life of Fred Fractions after working through TT. From there I’m not too sure. But I have lots of resources on  my shelf to choose from at that point.

[I bought TT from CBD (affiliate link).]

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