# Everything piling up, especially math!

My first 1/3 of the math album was due tonight.  I didn’t finish.  But we all got an due date extension.  But rather than working on that, I’m starting yet another post (I have 47 draft posts!).  I feel like I have so many balls I’m juggling right now in the air and they’re all in my head.  If I don’t write them down I’m going to stress out.

Math

For our math class, we’ve finished learning about numerations (Least Common Multiples, factors, etc), multiplication of various kinds taking you to 4 digit x 4 digit in abstraction.  We started last week in Division and this week finished it and started on fractions and decimal fractions.  Here’s the scary part.  ALL OF THESE you’re supposed to have covered somehow between first and second grade, mostly first except the advanced stuff.  You’re supposed to at least have given lessons on it.  Thumper is 7.5, technically she is 2.5 years into elementary.  We just started covering this at home.

I told my trainer tonight that I’m getting confused by all the different threads of topics you can seemingly cover all at once because many of the instructions are: “You should cover this at least by age 7.5” or “You start this thread in first grade and study it for 2-3 years”.  She said, just follow the child’s interest.  That made me feel better because I know she’s right.  I already hear in class about children who still need review or study what we’re covering for lower elementary in upper elementary.  So I know you just go at the pace you need to go.  But still it’s freaking me out because there is too much information.  Too much info overwhelms introverts.

That said, I’ve learned a few more thing about the math presentations.  It’s really great I discovered two bloggers who really document what they do and follow the same album I use sometimes.  I can compare their pics with what I’m learning and ask questions.

Anyways, here’s what I learned about multiplication curriculum over the last few weeks.  It’s basically a series of different materials that gradually moves toward abstraction.  My biggest takeaway was that it’s the PROCESS that’s important, not the product.  This is why there are no specified worksheets or specified problems.  Because the goal is for the child to understand the process of multiplication.  They can maybe do 3 problems associated with each presentation.  And they will repeat the process again with another material that is slightly more abstract.  So at the end they would have done quite a few multiplication problems.

This is different from learning the mechanical steps of solving multiplication or even division problems I learned in grade school.  Many other books I’ve read about math education kind of talked about this; that the way we do multiplication or division is just an agreed upon notation to help us when we solve a problem.  It’s not the point.  They talk about how we spend a lot of time teaching children how to write their numbers in a column in lower elementary when many cannot do it because they’re not developmentally there.  Instead we should be doing math problems that teach the concept rather than the mechanical process.

What a relief to know this!  I’m always confused and get anxious when I see children working on equations on blogs because I don’t know where to find them or how many to do.

Chinese

I’m mostly done with researching how to teach Chinese writing.  Apparently many other people have figured it out before me.  Why am I not surprised.  Huayuworld is your friend.  But anyways I know what to do.  I need to find time to do it.  It’s quite complicated.  There is stroke names, stroke order, character components, component placements, component names, radical names.

Learning character components is a new thing.  It’s not really taught completely in school in Taiwan.  It’s taught a bit in China I think.  It’s mentioned in research papers.  People do it kind of automatically but the system for teaching components isn’t agreed upon in Taiwan.  China apparently has made lots of progress on that front.

Home

You would not believe the state my classroom is in.  It is not befitting a Montessori classroom.  Or the state of the house.  Or my sense of loss of routine because I’ve got too many things going on.  On top of that, our water heater is leaking madly!  And now I have to do some research and get a plumber to replace it.

AND everyone got sick the last 2 weeks.

I also have a few posts I want to write but I’ve been postponing because it takes some time.

Wow, writing it down makes it seem not as bad.  I’m off to finish my album.