Boring Subjects

How do you stay motivated to reach those subjects you don't enjoy, aren't good at, or find boring? I am struggling with DD's math. First of all, her curriculum stinks and it isn't working for us. But I don't want to spend money to repeat 1st grade math, yet she isn't really ready for 2nd grade math. I hate math and I'm finding it excessively tedious to teach, despite knowing how important math is.
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Lilypie - (PaHE) Lilypie - (4noI)

                               Lilypie - (2q9u)

Re: Boring Subjects

  • What math are you doing?  I believe we'll be going for MUS, DH and I both enjoyed the preview CD and even had a few "ah ha" moments ourselves. 

    GSx1 - 05/13/2013
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  • Dd has been doing Ace Paces workbooks and it just isn't for us. Neither one of us is enjoying the monotony of worksheets.
                    We're Going to be a Family of 5!

    Lilypie - (PaHE) Lilypie - (4noI)

                                   Lilypie - (2q9u)

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  • Don't use Saxon.  It's extremely monotonous. 

    The only thing I've found that helps make it more fun is ditching the Teacher's Guide.  It's second grade math, so I don't need help in teaching the lessons.  I will use manipulatives and do fun games to teach stuff instead of following the scripts in the guide.  Maybe that could help you?

    For example, if we're learning about fractions, instead of using the script and printables that came with the curriculum, I'll pull DS into the kitchen and we'll do a fraction lesson while baking or we'll get out his violin and look sheet music to learn the concept.  If we're learning division, I'll get out a snack, make piles of grapes or whatever we're eating, and then practice division that way.  It gets you out of the rut of just sitting at the table and doing the same thing every day.

  • Yes, what wifeofadam said...not that I have an elementary-aged child, but my mom used to teach "math for elementary school teachers" and I got a lot of practice doing activities.  Worksheets suck.  Although you are on a budget, consider some board games with specific math components.  Perhaps they can be checked out at the library.  I also loved tangrams, and making graphs of "experimental" results.  For instance, dump a bunch of pre-counted jellybeans in the yard and see how many of each she can find in 1 minute.  Graph the percentage of each color found and talk about camouflage.   Perhaps make your own game with some fun beads or something.  Sometimes museums or maybe homeschool groups will have kits you can check out.  Math toys are lots of fun.  You do need practice to get math, so everyone has to bite the bullet and do a bunch of problems--especially when you get to math that is less intuitive.  However, the teaching part can be fun and the problems are just what you have to do to make sure you have it down.  
  • Are you looking for a mastery program or a spiral program? Do you want it to be scripted?

    Have you checked out the following programs: Miquon Math, Math Mammoth, MEP, Saxon, Singapore? 

    I am guessing a pp referred to Saxon as monotonous because it's spiral. You aren't ever allowed to forget something. That's something I like about spiral programs. 

    FWIW, my current plan to to use both Saxon and Miquon for early elementary. I won't be using the script in the TE. I don't own the student books and have no plans to get them. But I like having a "big picture" to follow. Third choice would be MEP if I still find gaps/need more practice for the kiddos.

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  • Honestly, I just want her to learn adding and subtracting.  I'm sorry it took a while to get back, I didn't get any notices that I had responses!

    I personally enjoyed Saxon Math, but only in the higher grades.  Saxon for 5th grade and under was designed for a classroom public/private school setting and isn't really focusing on homeschooling, whereas the higher grades are fantastic.  What I loved about Saxon too, was that I could teach myself.  I did Saxon growing up.  My mother was a math idiot.  I hit about 5th grade and was more advanced in math than she was.  On the flip side, my dad is a math genius who would look at physics equations and ask, "What part of (insert equation) do you not understand?" To which my response was always, "If I knew what I didn't understand, I wouldn't need help."

    I kind of like spiral programs for myself-- that's how I learn.  But I'm not sure that it will work for DD yet.  She doesn't seem to enjoy the constant repetition, and I lose her attention.  Then we get frustrated and all thinking/learning shuts down.  I think that's why she isn't enjoying the worksheets.  (And they are super boring and way below her.)  When I first picked the ACE program, it was exactly what she needed.  But then over the summer, she had this explosion of growth and understanding, and suddenly, the 1st grade program was way below her needs, only I didn't know this until AFTER we had bought it.  Except for math.  :/  I'm really having a hard time getting her to FINISH the adding tables.  For instance, she'll see 5 + 3 = on the page 5 times so she'll only answer it once.  Or, she'll see  5 + 3= on the page, write 7, then go fill 7 in on the other 4 questions too.  She's not approaching each equation as a new problem.

    And like I said, the workbooks are just. SO. BORING.  I'm having a hard time maintaining her interest and motivation because I"M bored too.  We are halfway through the workbooks for 1st grade (starting the 6th out of 10 workbooks) and we have YET to work up to adding more than 1-9.  So far, we've only the +1, +2, +3 and only adding up to 9.  Nothing higher.  It's crazy.  She was doing harder work in her parochial Kindergarten!

    Thanks for the suggestions! Hopefully this baby will show up some time this week and we can get back to school.  She wants to do school, but I have about as much patience as a fly right now.  NONE.  So we're taking a temporary schooling break.  We'll pick up after baby arrives.  Soon, I hope.

    @wifeofadam You have the patience of a saint if you can let your kids help you cook or bake! LOL!

                    We're Going to be a Family of 5!

    Lilypie - (PaHE) Lilypie - (4noI)

                                   Lilypie - (2q9u)

  • Agree wholeheartedly. Subjects like math can be not-very-easy to teach, especially if both you and your kids don't enjoy it very much. However, here are some ways which I've gradually incorporated into my homeschooling curriculum which make teaching subjects like math a wee bit easier:
    • Begin teaching a new topic with an interactive activity: Instead of a simple sheet of problems, try using flashcards for the same purpose. Give them a handful of small objects and let them use those to count out the answers to basic math addition and subtraction problems. It'll keep them occupied with their hands and they'll probably not lose attention very easily.
    • Try playing games with the things around your house: Ask them to count the number of cookies in the cookie jar at the beginning of the week and then again count at the next weekend. Simple tasks like these can go a long way in making them master the basics.
    • Online educational games can help: The major benefit in using these is that kids don't feel they are learning/studying while playing such games online. For instance, I recently came across the Penguins of Madagascar: Dibble Dash game which my son plays quite frequently; though it's based on the movie by the same name, there are lots of math operations in it which my son carries out unthinkingly, learning all along the way without even realizing the fact.
    • Play games like the 'skip count': Count by 5's, 7's etc as you pass time or play games. You could count by 3's as you climb the stairs and encourage them to do the same.

    The key here is to make the subject as interesting as possible for the child so that he actually starts taking an interest in it. And the rest will automatically follow.

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