I mentioned previously that my son is a whole to part learner. He learns better by understanding the whole picture. We take a multi-pronged approach to math. We approach higher level concepts through things like living books and videos. We are working our way through Singapore Primary Math Standards Edition. In addition, we are following up with math facts practice at a level lower than Singapore.
I just wanted to share an example of how my whole to part learner responded to math instruction. Yesterday, I introduced new material by showing my son problems that he didn’t know how to do. He was enthralled. He wanted to do problems like that. But his skills were not at a level where he could solve those problems independently. I gave him a couple sample problems that I know he could do with his current skills and then gave him one that I knew he would struggle doing. I explained the importance of working through Singapore so his skills would be at a level where he could do those problems easily. When he found that out he readily completed a couple days worth of lessons in Singapore. And this morning after asking to do some more sample problems within his skills set he came to me with his Singapore math books and said “I want to do math now.”
This was a bit of an eye-opener for me. Our multi-pronged approach to math has worked very well for his learning style, but I realized that I need to introduce new concepts by presenting what type of problems he will be able to do later on. I need to remember to emphasize the end result of math studies on a topic rather than focus on the steps along the way. The steps are important, but I need to keep my son’s eyes on the goal.