Friday, July 16, 2010

day 193: building math skills in the summer

If you want to help your child increase in skills in a certain subject area, I do not recommend the “summer” type of workbooks. Those workbooks are just that—workbooks. They are not TEACHING books.

In other words, they are great for practicing already learned skills, but they are not so good for learning new ones. (The exception to this is if you are planning to sit down and “teach” the concepts on each page before your child does the workbook page.) They might have a sentence or two explaining the concept, but they expect, for the most part, that your child is using the book for review or for practice. So what do you do to increase your child’s skills?

Today we will focus on keeping and/or increasing your child’s math skills:

1. If it’s math drill you are after, consider getting our personal favorite daily drill—Calculadders. These drill sheets have the same exact problems for ten days, then move onto another set of ten, etc. (If you are trying to keep skills in math, you might want your student to just do each set two or three days in a row, then go to the next set. You can always use the extra pages for school breaks, extra help during the academic year, a younger sibling, or next summer.)

2. If you know the specific math skills that your child needs extra help in, consider subscribing to a worksheet provider that has a good search engine and easily-maneuvering site. The subscription to the one that follows is a good price—and you can use the worksheets for multiple children, choosing what each child needs to practice, creating tailor-made worksheets. Here is what Timberdoodle says about this site:

“The Math Worksheet Site is an online math worksheet generator located at . The Math Worksheet Site‘s subscription area currently has over 190 different types of worksheets with more added regularly. Each worksheet is unique and randomly generated within parameters that you select. Your child could work the same type of problems every day and each time have different problems, or have the same problems in a different order so he wouldn't simply memorize the placement. Topics currently covered include the basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. However, you get much more than just that: counting, fractions, sequencing, place value, percents, money, geometry, , exponents, Roman numerals, graphing, telling time, area, volume, and much, much more. Not only that, but each worksheet is very easy to customize. For instance, are you adding decimal numbers? Select how many digits you want to the left of the decimal, how many digits to the right, how many addends and print. Answer keys are readily available and even show the problems worked out.”

Amazing, huh? Follow this link for more info:

3. If your child knows his facts but has application problems, consider these simple workbooks that do nothing but build word problem solving skills. These books are amazing for helping kids who do not seem to know which operation to use when faced with a word/story problem:

4. If a workbook sounds too “schoolish” for you for the summer, consider a cd rom math drill program. Timberdoodle has one that they rave about and others seem to like it too:

5. If you have multiple ages of children and you want to purchase one cd for all of them grades three through nine, consider this cd drill, also available from Timberdoodle:

Tomorrow—content area helps for your student this summer….

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