Well, it was not really a very productive week at all. I am not going to say it was not productive, for we did get some stuff done, but not as productive as I thought it should be. Not sure if it was the weather (we have had a lot of rain lately,) or the fact that beautiful boy #3 is spending the week with Grandpa and his cousin, or a mixture of both, or something else. Whatever the case is, it started at the beginning of the week and kept spilling out to the rest of the week. Shabbos is coming and I am so looking forward to it! Shabbos always seems to put a fresh start on things.

We did get somewhere this week in our efforts to finish up the remaining schoolwork. We have used Khan Academy for math this year, and instead of using it like one would use a normal textbook or school work, where you learn a topic, do a certain amount of questions and then move on to the next, I decided to use a different approach this year. The way Khan Academy is set up is that one can learn a topic through the videos and then do sets of exercises pertaining to what was learned. Obviously, there are many ways to use the system, but if one wanted to use it for a curriculum then they would watch the videos and do the related exercises. The exercises come in sets of 8. There is the option of looking at hints for the particular problem in question (which is nice!) if needed. If a correct answer is gotten on the first try, 3 leaves are given. Fewer leaves are awarded if the correct answer was entered in on a second (or third, or fourth) try and/or if hints were used. At the end of the set, the program looks at the speed at which the answers were entered and how many correct on the first try and gives you a green progress bar. When the computer has determined that you are proficient in the particular topic, it gives you a blue bar across the page and lets you know you are ready to move on.

Two of the boys have, for the most part, learned their multiplication facts. I would make them go over the questions without letting them look at a table. Sometimes it would take several weeks before they would be proficient, but eventually they would get their blue bars and move on. One of the older boys does not know his multiplication table very well. He has been stuck on multiplication for several months. He would get questions right, but because of his speed, he would have to do it over again, and again, and again. He was getting frustrated about having to do the same thing for so long – and when he would get the questions right the first time! Finally, he mastered the multiplication, and went on to division.

At the beginning of the week, he went and got a copy of the multiplication table and started to crank out the correct answers quite quickly. Unlike his brothers, he actually understood how to do long division so much faster than his brothers. I decided to let him be. I could work on his math facts in the summer. In the meantime, he was a little happier to sit down and do his work, not to mention that one time when I looked at his work, I was able to point out an error just by doing the entire question in my head, ie. without writing anything down. I then suggested a game – I would do the entire question in my head (ie. mental math), and he would work out the problem on paper. We would then compare answers – if the answers were right, he would enter the answer on the computer. Let’s just say that we both had fun with math! By the next day, I had forgotten the fun that we had, but luckily the boy didn’t. “Mom, let’s do that game again!” is what he said to me when I sat him down. It took me a minute to remember what he was talking about, but let’s just say that he did enough rounds to earn his blue bar (which finished math class for the day!)

A few things I learned – I have to be more creative and really think about the purposes of different learning (ie perhaps looking at the multiplication table is fine for division…..) and I learned how to overcome MY fear of mental math! Yes, me, the one who enjoys math is the same one who freezes up when someone asks me to do mental math. I feel very confident on forgoing my stage fright when doing long division in my head now when asked. I too can still learn! 🙂

We did take advantage of the dry, sunny weather earlier this week and had a nice picnic supper at the park next door. All boys earned awards at the cub scout awards night – even my boy scout! (He finally received his religious award that he earned while a cub scout! 🙂 ) The two cub scouts in the family earned their Arrow of Light as well as their religious award. One cub ready to become a boy scout in 1 week. My, oh my, they are getting big.

The missing boy has been missed by everyone, but the plane just took off from his connecting flight – Sorry Sis, thanks for being around just in case the flight did not take off, but you won’t get to see your nephew this Shabbos! Two more hours and our home will feel complete again. 😀

Wishing you all a wonderful Shabbos!