Monday, January 31, 2011

Math, Homeschool Style

Were you one of those kids who dreaded word problems in elementary school?  Well, you will be happy to know, that they have changed things.  No longer do children freeze up, freak out, or go into a cold sweat at the sight of a word problem.  They're called story problems now.  The name has been changed to protect the weary.  The problem is, the weary graduated like thirty years ago.  Now there are generations of young people quaking in fear of the story problem.  Education can be funny like that.

I was not one of those students, and neither is my son Jonah.  He rather likes story problems.  In his current math class, he gets to write him own.  The book gives him two numbers and asks him to write an addition problem.  For example (an actual example):  "Jonah has three cars.  Sam has two cars.  How many cars do they have all together?"  I suspect the Jonah/Sam/car dynamic will get a lot more play when we get to subtraction.

Last week, his numbers were 3 and 17.  And I quote, "Jonah has three video games to play.  And, Mommy has seventeen dishes to wash.  How many do they have all together?"

Now, if you will excuse me, I have some dishes to wash.  Oh, if it were only seventeen.


  1. I never had a problem with "word problems" - the ones that bothered me as a teacher are the ones with extraneous information. When do you use that? "Oh, the bank just paid me $1.29 interest and is offering me a loan of $50,000. What is my bank balance?" They re an exercise in reading comprehension IMO.

  2. so cute! it almost makes me want to do math...almost.

  3. I stopped reading after I read "word problem."


  4. When I taught my boys math, using a great program called Saxon Math, I learned so much! I used to joke, when confronted with some difficult real-life equation, 'Wait a second, I'm only in Grade 2 Math!'