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Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Yesterday I met with my daughters first grade teacher. I have to say..She gets it! This has been a rough start of the year for my Shelby. She loved school so much and this year has decided that it ain't much fun. Sad for a first grader.

I remember some of my time in first grade so many years ago (Nope, Alzheimer's had no settled in yet, LOL). I remember learning how to form my letters right and just learning my numbers. Oh the memories of the playground time and fun with friends.....

Well, my daughter won't have those kind of fond memories. She is really starting to learn basic algebra. No longer is it enough to learn that 1+1=2 in the first grade, you now have to know the "concept" of 1+1=2. Facts are not acceptable alone anymore. Here is a sample problem from a first grade math homework sheet. No keep in mind as you are looking at this that in kindergarten they just learned to recognize numbers and not add them (we did work on that some over the summer) and that it is just a month in.

David has some tomatoes.
He throws away 5 rotten tomatoes.
He has 4 tomatoes left.
How many tomatoes did he have at first?

_____ - 5 = 4
5 + 4 = _____ is the related addition fact.
He had _____ tomatoes at first.

Now, to a person experienced with math, this is not a rough problem. But to a first grader who has not even had basic math, this is a challenge.

I was very upset with this and Shelby has not had the easiest time with it so I met with her teacher. My question really was why the students were not prepared for this move to math? At the end of the school year last year we were given some "suggestions" for things to do over the summer to help with the transition to first grade and we did them all and then some. But, BOOM, all the prep we did did not prepare her enough.

Come to find out that the change was initiated like just 2 weeks before the start of classes! So not only were students and parents not prepared, but neither were the teachers! I was no surprised to find this out, however, because that is the way things are done in this school district.

The teacher explained the math lessons and why and how and gave me information as to how I can help Shelby succeed with this math program. It is called Focus on Math and it is based on the Singapore math process. I still think that it is too early to be pushing basic algebra on first graders, but they need to be prepared for college by the time they are 10(sarcastic). LOL.

But, the teacher got it! She understood my frustration and even shared some. She likes the math program and explained to my why and now I understand and will support it any way that I can. I am elated and happy that she took the time out with me. That is what a teacher should do and now I feel that my daughters education is truly a joint effort between me and the teacher for this year.

I have signed up Shelby for a supplemental course, however, on Time4Learning. I still feel that the basics and "rules" are important to learn for that core understanding and now I will have that supplemental support for at home.

Well, enough for now. More to come soon :-)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Wow, an introduction.

Wow! Now that is a word that says sooo much and yet only takes a second to say!

Seriously now, just stand and say Wow and see the types of response you get from others. Some will look in the direction you are looking, some will ask you what is going on and others will look at you like you just escaped from the local mental institute (I seem to get a lot of the latter).

Whenever you hear or say the word Wow, you think exciting, amazing and more often in my case what the heck??

I have had these "what the heck" Wows a lot. Watching the news, reading the digital paper as I am trying to save the environment by burning up electricity created by burning coal so I can save a tree by not using paper (yes I am being sarcastic) or dealing with the wonderful education system that is trying their darnedest to mess up my child's education (teachers are good, it is just the system of curriculum that they are forced to use by "the experts" that messed up, or at least that is what I am hoping).

I am planning on touching on these issues a little each day this week. Of course, I my have a WTF Wow moment and throw in the towel. Tune in to see!