I’ve been working my way through our Saxon 8/7 math textbook, which is roughly equivalent to pre-algebra mathematics taught during the final year of middle school. I placed myself in this book because I was unable to pass its final test. It was all familiar to me, but about half of it was simply beyond my ability to recall well enough to complete.
I am glad I started here! While I’m zipping through the first few lessons (completing an average of two per day so far), they are establishing a good foundation for what is to come. It has been a long time since I worked with a protractor or reduced improper fractions. I’ve been able to skim over a few chapters, but overall I am holding myself to the same standard I require of the boys, and I keep a graph of my performance each day the same as they do.
Engaging in this exercise has given me helpful insight into some of the challenges the boys face in their own math work. For example, I now know for certain what I have long expected, that their single greatest difficulty is merely one of concentration. They struggle with remaining attentive to their lesson for the full amount of time it takes to complete. They are bright, but they lack discipline. (I imagine the same is true for nearly all school-age children.) And the only way to learn stick-to-itiveness is simply to stick to it! — day in and day out for many days in a row. So this is what we do.
I’m looking forward to getting on to more advanced material that provides me with a greater challenge. I had a problem today that required me to fill in the missing three-digit dividend and quotient, given only the divisor and a couple digits in the working out of the problem. It took me a while to get it right. As it turned out, I came up with a different answer than what the book had, but mine was a valid alternate given the constraints of the original problem. I really enjoyed this challenge!