Education

How to Keep Up With Math in the Summer on the Cheap

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math-basics-2nd-gradeMy two older kids are going into second and third grade.

They were both in accelerated math last year so when they were in first grade and second grade they were doing second and third grade math. Now that they’re going into second and third grade, they will be doing third and fourth grade math.

I could calculate statistical data to six sigma without breaking a sweat, but saying that sentence up there out loud breaks my brain.

I pretty much took an hour figuring out what kind of workbooks the kids needed. First I had to figure out what grade level was “review” – was it the actual grades they were in, or would it be the grades they were working on? Last year, they both had a pull-out math class twice a week for an hour. This year both of them will have the advanced math class instead of the current math class.

So I decided I needed to make sure their skills were solid in what they were working on last year because they’re working on the next level of math next year and I don’t want them to fall behind or struggle with previous concepts they may not have encountered yet considering they only did it twice a week last year.

I don’t know, maybe it’s just me but this all seems a bit complicated. I do have a tendency to over-complicate things, though, so there’s that.

More than anything I just don’t want them dropped from the track they’re on. Public school kids are tracked from very early on, and I’ve been very aware – and completely paranoid – about this since before any of the kids stepped foot in a school. I kind of just assumed the kids would be in that middle track where they didn’t go into advanced classes or remedial classes. I pictured them skating through and getting by. It was kind of my dream, because anything else comes with drama that y’all know I’m not a fan of.

So the first place I started when looking for workbooks were a couple of the homeschooler’s favorites: Saxon Math and Singapore Math. Well, let me tell you, those are all well out of my price range. I get angry when I see a 40 page workbook at Target for $8. I huff, and I puff and I exclaim, “I could do it cheaper!”

Of course I never do, but just the fact that I could do it keeps me from spending that kind of money on a slim workbook.

Then I had (thank goodness, I was getting desperate) an epiphany about how to search for workbooks. Instead of searching for a brand of workbook that was applauded and praised by all the big thinkers and the homeschoolers and the academics and the people with wicked-high standards, I just searched for “2nd grade workbook” and “3rd grade workbook” and found a bunch of results.

My 8yo has been having a sketchy time with math and both girls could use a refresher with money, so I got all fancy and searched Amazon for a time workbook. I got this 352 page bad boy that covered both time and money for ten bucks. I was like, “This is my workbook Nirvana.” and kept on adding things to my cart.

I have a workbook for the preschooler (because she hates being left out) a printing/handwriting practice book for my 7yo, a cursive book for my 8yo, math books for both girls and a bonus word problems for grades 3-4 workbook because at these prices why not.

A total of 8 workbooks for $40 and of course free Amazon Prime shipping. I’ll have them in two days and will be happily passing out daywork to my girls so they can earn their screen/electronics time instead of just going between playing with ponies and playing with electronics.

Of course the ultimate bonus for me isn’t something for them to do, it’s knowing they will be prepared when school starts. My deepest fear is they will hit the Math Wall of Deathâ„¢ where they think their smarts have run out and they just give up on math. One way to keep them from hitting that wall is keeping them prepared and well-schooled in the basics they need to know.

You know, giving them a foundation to build on and whatnot.

Oh, another thing about tracking of public school students….supposedly the Common Core standards coming into play in public schools are supposed to raise the bar for all the kids and, thus, there will be no more tracking. This is not what I am referring to. When I’m talking about the “track” my kids are on, I’m talking about what will eventually be the High School Honors track. I am loathe to call them gifted because it’s just the next grade level of math, they’re not Doogie Howser or anything.

But I am kind of a fanatic about math, because I didn’t discover I had a natural affinity for math until I was about 36 years old. I had always been told our family was not good at math, and I believed them. Obviously I want something different for my girls.

Any suggestions on how to keep kids engaged and learning during the summer? How do you do it?