Ah! Math. The subject of much frustration and many tears for both teacher and student. Is it even worth it? How many times have you heard people comment that they never use that fancy math they learned in school?
Well, I think math saves us from being stupid. It’s a quick way to learn logic which is the science of correct reasoning. Math also helps us learn patterns in problem solving that can help in many aspects of life.
I wasn’t a great math student growing up, but after getting through my first college algebra class (because it was required) I literally felt my other classes getting easier. I was learning to focus and pay attention to detail. If you miss a step in a math problem the solution will be wrong. Math forces our brains to be more efficient.
With that said, let me share what I call our “bare bones” math routine. It’s based on the Robinson Curriculum which we do not follow to a tee, but aspire to. Dr. Robinson stresses only BASIC subjects during the elementary years of school- two hours of reading, two hours of writing, and two hours of math. His curriculum is based on the classical education model. The curriculum consists of rote memorization of all math facts (up to number 12) then the student is to begin Saxon Math 5/4 (which in public schools would be 5th grade math).
My oldest son (8 yrs) and daughter (6 yrs) are both working on memorizing their math facts. This is our set up:
Purchase math fact flash cards for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. I purchased the sets with all facts This means the set will have one card with 1+2=3 and another with 2+1=3. This allows for more repetition and adds confidence in variety.
Mix them all up. I did this by distributing them all into eight separate piles so each pile has an equal amount of the four operations. Then I color coded each pile to differentiate them. Here are three of the eight piles:
Take each color coded pile and separate it into six sub-piles. The first 5 sub-piles will have 15 cards and the sixth will have less than ten. Assign a number from 1-6 to each sub-pile and mark each card with it’s assigned number in the lower right hand corner of the “solution” side of the card (because this is the side of the card that will absorb the pen ink, if you have the same type of flash cards I do). This is the back of the “blue” pile showing the sub-pile number assignments: