Back to Writing a Journal, Page 17

January 12, 2017

One month has passed since my last post on this blog. We are still learning. We do a lot of ,so-called, “maintenance” by going over the same old topics that Robert encountered in the past. We review them through new worksheets or through the same ones we did years ago.  Meantime, Robert and I completed all the lessons from Saxon Math 4 and from Horizon Reading to Learn C-D Fast Track. I won’t claim that Robert mastered those curricula, but he grasped a lot and became familiar with the rest.

We started with Saxon Math 5, but after a few lessons and multiple exercises I decided to review fourth grade topics by using Singapore Math 4B.  US Edition which is a little simpler that the original one.  Many topics in Singapore Math are presented in a clear format allowing for better grasp pf concepts.  For instance rounding of decimals was introduced by drawing  appropriate number lines.  For instance to round 4.28 to the whole number Robert had in front of himself a segment with 4 and 5 at the end and 4.5 (or 4.50 ) in the middle.  Number 4.28 was clearly between 4 and 4.5 so the choice was easy to make.

To round the same number to the tenth decimal place, Robert could use a segment with 4.2 and 4.3 at the ends which he improved by adding zeros at the end and thus having 4.20 and 4.30.  He had already placed by the authors 4.25 in the middle and 4.28 on the right side of it, closer to 4.30.

That was exactly as we practiced before when Robert had to  round large whole numbers.  Except, it was Robert’s job to draw a line segment, write numbers at the ends and in the middle of a segment, and place the given number in the correct half.  This process was never easy.  For Robert the exercises which clearly placed all important number cues on the line segments seemed not just easy but also helpful in understanding better the concept behind rounding.

I am not sure, however, if the fact that we started with more difficult, but “hands on” approach  that forced Robert to do all the steps by himself was not beneficial to his learning even if it wasn’t completely understood.

We continue doing speech and language  exercises using worksheets from  Speech Improvement Reproducible Master and the  Fun Deck 4. They are easy because what is easy helps with fluency and reduces the stress Robert feels every time he has to speak.

While I was cleaning drawers I found old worksheets related to time telling and we did many exercises on finding elapsed time. That is a topic that is still difficult.  However, I also found many exercises that seemed to be easy enough for Robert to do on his own.  Some of them required doing math operations, some matching synonyms or antonyms.  Leaving Robert alone for 15-20 minutes to do that work independently was very gratifying.