Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Traditional Arithmetic: Part 1

I guess I didn't look over my curriculum teaching books very well, b/c I have noticed some things that are in there that I didn't see before. For example, there is a scripture memory plan in the front of the arithmetic books. REALLY? I mean, I knew that there is a place for grades for bible memory verses, but I thought that was part of the Bible curriculum kit, which is separate from the parent and student kits. *slap my forehead*  

So we have begun to use this portion of the curriculum to learn scripture. I was already teaching the children verses on my own, but this curriculum is having the kids memorize 6-verse passages every six weeks. I didn't realize the kids were capable of learning such big passages! So we are currently memorizing Psalm 100. 

The second thing I didn't see in my curriculum lesson plans book is that the writers give reasons for choosing to teach traditional arithmetic. There are seven. I looked them over. I like what I see here. I didn't necessarily choose our curriculum based on its teaching principles. I just knew that it is Bible-based and it's pretty thorough.

So, I just wanted to take a little time here to share why we are using traditional arithmetic. There are seven reasons, but I'm going to share only three of them today. 

(Note: What you are about to read comes directly from the A beka's curriculum lesson plan book.)

1. Traditional arithmetic gives glory to God.
     Do you believe that God created the heavens and the earth? Do you believe that God had a plan for creation just as He had a plan for the salvation of man? God is never surprised by His actions. Our orderly, rational God used mathematics as He created the world and set it into motion. Traditional arithmetic promotes structure and order and shows children an aspect of the order of the real world. It helps children to know more about the character of God Who created them. Children find exactness, preciseness, and completeness in traditional arithmetic, just as is expected in God's world. 

2. Traditional arithmetic promotes absolute truth.
     Do you believe that there is a right answer and a wrong answer? Do you believe that Jesus christ died for your sins and rose from the dead? A Christian answers yes because a Christian believes that in this world of changing social standards, truth remains unchanged and unchangeable. Traditional arithmetic is the mathematics program that promotes absolute truth. In traditional arithmetic, children are not taught to manipulate sets and thus change truth. Instead, they are taught truth as created by an orderly, rational God. 

3. Traditional arithmetic encourages good work habits. 
     Do you believe that a job worth doing is worth doing well? Colossians 3:23 says, And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily as to the Lord, and not to men. More than any other subject, arithmetic requires the stretching of the brain, constant thinking and remembering and complete attention. Just as the body is tired after a physical workout, the mind is tired after a math workout using traditional math.  But also as the physical workout strengthens the body, the traditional arithmetic workout strengthens the mind. 
     C. T. Studd, missionary to Africa, understood this principle of doing a job well and used it to his work with a people who had just risen from the depths of cannibalism. Studd's reasoning is described: 
     Every pole had to be exactly the right length, placed at the right angle, etc; and he had a purpose in it, for the natives must be taught that good Christianity and lazy or bad workmanship are an utter contradiction. He believed that one of the best ways to teach a native that righteousness is the foundation of God's Throne was by making him see that absolute straightness and accuracy is the only law of success in material things.   
(C.T. Studd, Norman Grubb, 
Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, 
Christian Literature Crusade, 1972, 1974)

(Back to me)

It may take us a little longer to get through the lessons than the plans say and we may have to work harder, but in the end, my children will know absolute truth, precision and how to work hard. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

It Seems We Struggle A LOT

All 3 of us have struggled since we started this year's formal school lessons. I have struggled with juggling everything, which is one reason I haven't blogged until now. Adelle has struggled with the load of her work this year...... 

This is not the face of a happy camper. This is the look of not wanting to think and do the work. And when she's not crying and fussing about it, she's just taking her sweet time to complete tasks.

I'm not sure if it's b/c the work load is a lot more this year, if we were just too laid back last year; if it's the difference in curriculum or if it's just the move from first grade to second grade. Nonetheless, we're pressing through.

Jonathan has associated school work with the worksheets. If we haven't done a worksheet, we haven't done school, or so he thinks. That's not a bad thing, I guess. Right now his work is easy. He's sat in on Adelle's lessons and he's really between K5 and 1st grade, but I went ahead and got him a K5 curriculum. Maybe that was a mistake on my part.


So in all our struggles, I have come up with a schedule. We've never followed a strict schedule before and so it will take a little more discipline on my part, but I believe it might be beneficial for all of us. This will be a flexible schedule b/c obviously we're going to have "life" happen and there is one day in our week where we are away from the house more than we're home. School usually goes on the road with us, but it's not quite the same.

The schedule is planned as follows: (I couldn't get my picture of our poster to load)

8:30 - Together: - Devotions, prayer, memory verses
9:00 - Together: - Bible
9:30 - Adelle: Arithmetic & seat work - Jonathan: Independent activity
10:00 - Jonathan: Numbers and worksheet
10:30 - Adelle: Language Arts - Jonathan: Independent activity
10:45 - Adelle: L.A. seat work - Jonathan: Phonics
11:30 - Adelle: A.M. Reading - Jonathan: Free play
11:45 - LUNCH
12:30 - Both: Handwriting
12:50 - Together: History or Science, Music or Art
1:15 - Adelle: P.M. Reading - Jonathan: Independent activity
1:30 - Finish any incomplete work

The bottom line is, we're going to have a goal schedule set before us that we will follow as close as possible and the structure should help us out a bit.

(At least that's what I'm thinking.)