School after breakfast: Math

Math was always my least favorite subject in school. Ugh. That and Science. I was much happier working on an English or History paper or even an art project. I think I'll safely be able to get our children through Geometry, but when it comes to Algebra or anything beyond that: we're doomed.

That's exactly when Mark will take over the math in this house.

So far, though? We're handling it quite well.

A couple of years ago we started with Math-U-See, and Ella just never "took" to it. I'm not exactly sure why- I still think it's a great curriculum- but I could tell she dreaded doing it whenever I pulled it out. Based on my own experience, I so did not want to start her down that road.

One of the many reasons I love homeschooling is that I have the privilege of figuring out how my children learn best, and then with that knowledge, I can tailor our learning to best teach them.

So when Math-U-See wasn't panning out, I shelved it (in the hopes that my boys will use it at some later date) and began all over again. I purchased workbooks from Rod and Staff (she's currently working through the Grade 2 set), and ta-da: all of a sudden she loves Math.

It's a very straightforward book, and she is able to do most of it on her own with little help from me. She has to do three pages in her workbook every day, and she can do it on her own time. Most of the time, she is anxious to finish up with school and play with her brothers and sisters, so she often asks: "Mommy, can I do math on my quiet time?" So she does.

This right here is my favorite part of math-at-our-house:

Ella leaves me notes in the margins because she knows I'll be by later to check her work. So we leave little notes to each other throughout the pages of her math book.

What else? Oh. On Saturdays (and usually one other time during the week), she goes through her flashcards.

And that's math at our house.

Next up: Read-alouds


  1. Can I sent my kids to Mark when they hit Algebra. We are similar expcet I love science, History and Lang.

    Art is great to look at but I am hopeless in any attempt to make art but I love making volcanoes :o)

    Isn't it great to be able to just do what works for your kids.

  2. You won't be doomed. You'll be fine. But I'll be happy to help out.

    I think that is so sweet of our Ella to leave little notes for you. I'd like to see those when you come across them. Just another way she is like her encouraging, loving mama.

    Thank you for being the funnest, bestest, (yes, I know those aren't words) teacher ever.

    - Mark

  3. Thanks so much for these posts! I am in the process of researching curriculums. I have been praying for weeks on the right Math curriculum and felt like a few days ago the Lord confirmed that Rod and Staff was the right choice. You can't beat the price either.

    My question is how long does the entire set take to work through? Is it easily done in a year of school? I've never been able to get my hands on it. I am looking at the Grade 1 Math.

    Thank you so much!

  4. I love the notes to each other!

  5. My Kiddo has a tough time getting math - but when he does get it it's AMAZING! Stuff just STICKS! :) We just got Math-U-See to see if this helps, but we haven't started it yet...hopefully next week. I love having the flexibility to find what WORKS for my child when homeschooling, as opposed to learning the same way all the other kids learn in P.S. It has made the world of difference in my son. We use Learning Language Arts Through Literature and my son has reatined nearly EVERY THING we have learned this year. It's an amazing curriculum for him,and I cannot be happier that he enjoys it and KNOWS it. :)

    God bless!

  6. [Pretend I have a red pen and I'm writing *I like this!* on your post]


    I really do. I wrote little notes to Micah underneath his 'specially good numbers today, and he proudly carried it around the room to show his siblings. And then I noticed a certain 10-year-old striving to print slowly and carefully... he got little notes, too.

    Thank you. I love you!!!

  7. Stacy! Of course you would think to exchange notes with Ella on her math page! You are so fun and clever. This boring momma needs you as a friend and is so thankful you share this stuff!

    I have been remiss in commenting, but you are doing such a great job. At schooling and posting about it! Thank you!

  8. I LOVE my kids' self portraits too! It's always sweet to see how they "see" themselves. I know a mom who actually has her children draw SPs, frames them, and hangs them in her kitchen each year.
    My son usually draws a Cincy Reds cap on his head, I think I even have a few of my own "web shirts".
    I love your K ideas, simple and fun. Leap Frog is awesome!
    I'm glad I found your blog. Enjoy your week !
    - Kathi

  9. Sandi~
    You can send your kids to Mark for Algebra if I can send our kids to you for SCIENCE! :)

    I'll take you up on it, since NO, I will not be fine

    You haven't seen the notes? I'll show you!

    I love you!

    YAY! I hope you like Rod and Staff. And great job praying it over, first!

    Your question is a good one. I'll tell you what I did: We started Rod and Staff Grade 1 Math partway through the year last year so I just had Ella begin this year still doing Grade 1 (even though she's in Grade 2). Her Grade 2 books were waiting when she was done with Grade 1. That said, I think it's VERY doable to complete both books (Part 1 and Part 2 of a grade) in one year. I think we're pretty easy on Ella to only have her do 3 pages, too.

    Hope that helps, Crystal!

    Aw... thanks!

    That's wonderful that you're having such great results with your son!

    Thank you for the [imaginary] handwritten note. I love those. :)

    And, oh.. GOOD! I'm so glad you tried it on the boys and that it made a difference to them.

    Ella will now point out when she finds no notes-- if I've gone a few days without correcting I'll pick up her book to find the words: "Where are your notes?" And yes, I do think it gives them more pride in their work because they know someone is paying attention and pointing out their neat work. (Isaac wants stickers for his work, so I happily oblige: a sticker next to the best number written on each page!)

    Thanks, friend. (And happy vacation to you today!)

  10. Thanks so much for sharing!! I have been looking for a new math curriculum- can't wait to check out Rod and Staff!!


  11. Stacey, you are such a great mom, and I love reading about the little ways that you love your children. Those notes are so sweet!

  12. My children had the same issue. They couldn't get Math U See. But they just thrived on math when we switched to Rod & Staff. I also like that once my dd is through with her 3rd grade textbook that my ds can use it. Big money saver. :) Chloe may have to share her textbook though because Isaiah is flying through 2nd grade math. lol.

  13. Kathi~
    Welcome! I love the idea of framing the self portraits every year, but sheesh! that would require some extra time that I don't have at the moment. :) [Filing it away, though...]

    A good place to check out reviews is The Old Schoolhouse-
    It's a great way to see what other homeschooling parents have reviewed of all sorts of curriculum.

    Thank you, sweet friend! You're a great mom to your precious girls, too!

    So do you erase every thing in the workbook?

  14. I'm SO going to make little notes on school work a part of our schooling!

    With many little voices and many little needs in our home, I'm finding that I need to purposefully seek out more ways to remind my kids that I'm thinking of them and that they are special to me.

    Thanks for the cute little picture of your notes to each other!


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