Wednesday, January 11, 2012

On Schedules and Math

This is the work of my number two son.  His big sister has been playing school again!

I've noticed something through the years.  When it comes to math, the earlier in the morning it's scheduled, the better.  Have you also found this to be true? 

Our number one son, now 12 and finishing up Algebra II, is very good at math.  In the early grades his school consisted of math and reading, about an hour and a half of each per day.  Last week I wanted us to start easing back into our school schedule after 3 weeks off.  In other words, I wanted the kids to be busy, but I didn't want to have to get up at 6!  For three days last week, my bright son spent most of the day doing math.  He also helped his sister on the computer, practiced piano, ate meals, went to swim team, etc.  But it seemed like it took him all day to finish his math.

Monday I got him up a few minutes after 6 and he got dressed, ate breakfast, read his Bible, worked on his memory passage, had morning devotions with his family, and finished math during his scheduled time- all before 9 am!  How can the same amount of work take 4 hours one day, and less than one hour the next?  My husband says it's all about the distractions.  That may be a big part of it.  (I remember the day when sharpening a pencil seemed to wipe out half the morning for Mr. Monk.)  I think there's also something almost magical about being on a schedule.  What do you think?  Do you schedule math early in the morning, later, or leave your school unscheduled?  I will say that this has not seemed quite as important for my girls, although I have resorted to using the kitchen timer to help Measle stay focused during math.

Student and teacher.
I think Measle might have picked something a little beyond Kindergarten level, but her student rose to the occasion!
It looks like we have another math pro on our hands!  I'm thinking Prince will skip first grade and go right into second next year.  My goodness he's one sharp 5 year old!

My husband had the great idea a while back to make Monk stop doing his math at a particular time (according to our schedule) and any unfinished work would become homework for him to come back to after finishing the rest of his school.  Knowing that his free time, aka computer time, would be cut short later in the day has probably served as a powerful motivator for Monk to stay focused during his morning math time.

How have you encouraged your kids to finish their math in a timely manner without lightening the workload?  (I'm always looking for new tricks!)


  1. Can you send some math knowledge my way? Pretty please?

  2. I have no tricks up my sleeve. I learn from you!! lol But I do agree on the early AM thing. I think almost ALL schoolwork is better and quicker early. Now if I could just get myself up early and start it.......that's the challenge. :-)

  3. We have a basic lesson plan for the kids, but we give them the freedom to decide what order they do their subjects in. Three of the four that are in school now - choose to do Math first. I do occasionally set the timer to keep my first grader motivated to keep plugging works wonders because he is always trying to beat his own time.

  4. We do what you do...set a reasonable amount of time for the assignment and if what isn't completed on schedule it becomes homework or Saturday school.
    One of my kiddos is special needs, though, so I have to schedule him differently. He can work for about 20 mins then has to have a 10-15 min break- accomdations for vision probs. So he gets 2 blocks of time for math each day.



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I'm an on-the-run mom to 6 kids who studied and taught exercise science in a previous life. I love all things running, nutrition, and health-related. I usually run at zero dark thirty in the morning and am often quite hungry before, during, and after my run, but I live a rich, full, blessed life with my children, family, and friends. My faith in God is my anchor, and looking to Him and His promises allows me to live fully even when life circumstances are difficult. While running gives me an appetite, my desire is to hunger and thirst for righteousness more than for physical food.