08 August 2006

RightStart Geometry

The continuing saga of our adventures using RightStart Geometry and RightStart B. I have a 10yo and a 6yo who have average math ability.The 10yo has done Miquon, Singapore, RightStart Transitions, Level D and Level E; RightStart has saved her from a life a math phobia.

On Tuesdays I upload an update of what we did in math for the week.

RightStart Geometry:

Lesson 29, Area of Consecutive Squares. Attention please: this is a very bad place to take a break of several months! Really! Lesson 28 goes with lesson 29! If you take a couple of months off, it can get really weird, particularly if your student has issues with the concept presented anyway.

In our house tears soon welled up. She moaned, “I don’t understand this equation!” Pointing to w squared plus 2w plus 1, she read, “width squared plus 2 width plus 1.” I suggested that she read the w as “whatever number you want” instead of “width” -- does that help? Yes, for some reason it does. Or maybe it’s just getting a grip and realizing that yes, she will do this math and survive.

The question at the end of worksheet 29-2, “on what worksheet did you work with that relationship?” is tough, considering it has been several weeks since she did ANY worksheets. I give prompts.

Lesson 30 Perimeter Formula for Rectangles. In this case w is width. She likes perimeter, and would rather do it than area.

Lesson 31 Area of a Parallelogram. While working on the worksheet she calls out to me, “what are factors?” I walk in and glance at her paper, discussing that factors are the things that are multiplied to make a number. The question says that the preceding problems should’ve reminded her of factors. Hmm, that’s odd -- how would the perimeters that’s she’s been doing remind her of factors? But I have something else on my mind, and wander off. She complains that she got the next question wrong. I look at the sheet and, AHA! This was all about area, not perimeter! Egads! I brood because my child can’t remember the difference between perimeter vs. area. Overall, this lesson took an hour and a half, including discussion about whether to erase incorrectly drawn rectangles (based on perimeter) or throw the whole thing out and start over.

Lesson 32 Comparing Calculated Areas of Parallelograms.. Piece of cake. It’s amazing -- days in the depths of despair over math are followed by days of absolute confidence.

Lesson 33 Area of a Triangle. Yes, we did these lessons back in Level E, but still, this lack of interaction is scary. She gets out math, does it, puts it away. Is she learning anything?

I can't resist discussing the sidebar comment, just so I can feel involved. "Remember, formulas should not be rote memorized. Thik them through so they make sense."

"Did you notice that comment? Eh? Eh?"

"Yes, Mom." Heavy sigh, eye roll.

Lesson 34 Comparing Calculated Areas of Triangles. One great feature of RightStart Geometry is that if the hypothetical homeschooling parent decides to join the Self-Inflicted Injury of the Week Club, the parent can sit with her hypothetically bandaged ankle propped up, writing in her hypothetical homeschooling log that they just had an impromptu First Aid lesson while at the same time the student can do math! Cool!

When I hobbled in to see what Kid1 was up to I discovered she was jotting down a list of mistakes she had found so far in the book -- the time the book didn’t list one of the worksheets to be done, the time the materials list didn’t mention a calculator, and today’s snafu -- part of the worksheet was left off. She suspected that there should be another problem on the worksheet; when she checked the answer sheet the answer was there, but no corresponding problem had been on the worksheet.

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