Friday, February 24, 2012

The Big Scary X

Homeschooling is full of surprises. Nolan is full of surprises. The combination of the two makes for some very interesting, and occasionally frustrating days in this house.

Today Nolan was working on math. We use Miquon. One of my favorite things about Miquon is that it uses all four math operations throughout the curriculum. Multiplication is introduced early on. It is introduced as natural  extension of addition. This makes it less intimidating. Well, unless of course you have older siblings. 

Nolan normally flies through his math. Today he flew through the first page, and then I heard him exclaim, "I'm done. I don't do those." Having no idea what he was talking about, I had him bring the book to me. He pointed to the X on the page.

Now, apparently, having older siblings around has introduced him to the idea that X in math is something big and scary. It could be the X in Kellen's algebra or the X in Lydia's multiplication. Nolan didn't have a clue what the X in his math meant. He just knew that X was something hard. Something that only his older siblings did, and something that he wanted no part of.

I tried to remain calm. I showed him that 3 X 2 simply meant 3 twos. I showed him how the previous page had him write out the addition problems, and the multiplication was simply a short cut. I showed him where to find the first answer, and sent him on his way.

A few minutes later he breaks down in tears exclaiming, "I don't do X. I don't know what X means.  X is hard. I don't know how." Glancing down at his workbook, I see he has filled in the first answer I showed him, and the second answer, which also is correct. The remaining blank questions are simply more of the same.

I tried, unsuccessfully, to hold onto my patience. X is not scary. X is easy. I showed you how to do it. You did it. You get it. Can we please just finish this without all the drama?!

Once he finally got back to work, it took him less than five minutes to finish, and they were all correct. "Of course. That was easy." he says.

Just goes to prove that even the best curriculum, even combined with loving instructions does not compare to the words of the older siblings. Ah, homeschooling.

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