For those folks who wonder if I really have it all together, and whether I ever worry about teaching my kids the right thing, well I have a funny story.
Youngest does not grasp math concepts quickly, nor does he grasp a math method on the first time through or the 50th time through. He has to really work at math but thankfully I love the subject so when we spend hours on math I am almost in heaven. Oh, and if he hasn’t done a problem type for a week, let alone a month, he most likely will have forgotten how to do it.
Since he is in 9th grade and knowing his math ability and that the SAT will be coming up sooner then later Y and I have been doing SAT Math workbook problems 1x a week. Well, this past week Y struggled to do the word problems and I kept thinking—-this is simple Algebra he should know how to do these! He resorted to using Singapore bars and rods to answer the questions. Good for him but I kept thinking that he should know how to do these using Algebra, and x’s and y’s……..
I worried, searched the net for more word problems of this type, sat on the fence about buying another Algebra book, searched the web some more, worked with Y on some more of these problem types…..and worried a lot more, ….worry, worry,……How did I miss teaching Y this concept?
I went back and checked through my Mary Dolciani Algebra I book (this is THE best Algebra book, written by a mathematician not some math educator—world of difference!) OK, I’ll get off my soapbox about Mary Dolciani’s books….. only to found this topic was not covered in there. Not covered? How could this be? This had to be an Algebra I topic! I even resorted to searching through the other Algebra I books that I have on my shelf cause I am a math book collector. They didn’t have this topic either. I frantically contacted Heather who received some of my Singapore math books. Perhaps they covered this topic…….
Finally, finally, I pulled Mary Dolciani’s Algebra II with Trig book off my shelf and started paging through it. There it is! In chapter 5, this topic is covered! Yahoooo! I didn’t miss teaching Y some Algebra topic. I breathed a sigh of relief (and also was quite happy that Y picked the concept up quite quickly once I explained the algebra approach to him).
Y will be going through this textbook in 10th grade, a year before I went through it too. And then he’ll be ready for Calculus. Yes, using Mary Dolciani’s Alg II with Trig book will prepare him to go right into Calculus. I just hope I’m ready to walk him through that one.
So, that was my funny—worry for no good reason story of the week.