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My many hats February 9, 2012

Posted by mareserinitatis in computers, engineering, gifted, homeschooling, math, teaching, work, younger son.
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A couple weeks ago, my blog was promoted by a couple of sites and the hits started flowing in.  I commented to someone (most likely Gears) how it’s nice to be recognized for my blogging about engineering but frustrating for the lack of recognition for my actual engineering work.  Guess I should’ve waited a couple weeks.

Normal work has also been crazy. I’ve been given full control of the Minion and have thrown him in on a new project where he’s learning everything from scratch.  It’s similar to projects that I’ve done, but even more complicated and using a different program.  So our next couple weeks are going to be real fun as we’re going to be trying to make our way through using this new program and occasionally resorting to the old program for reality checks.

The other serious challenge I’ve been dealing with this week is long division.  It’s pretty scary stuff, especially when you have a seven-year-old who is fighting some rather strong perfectionistic tendencies.  He’s been getting to the long division portions in his computer math, and he starts to shut down.  I’ve been getting more and more frustrated with it, so I decided to put an end to it tonight.  I went back and printed out some of the older homeworks so that we could take a couple steps back.  I think the problem is that he really thinks he can do everything in his head.  I have to admit that his ability to do mental math far outweighs mine: I simply have to write everything down.  However, he’s starting to hit the limit of this particular ability, and so he freaks out whenever he has to do a problem where he can’t do it all in his head.

I told him that tonight’s homework was going to be doing some work sheets.  With the problems written out on paper, he didn’t seem to have this idea that he had to do everything in his head.  The first couple were challenges, but then he started getting the hang of things and was able to execute the last few problems very quickly.  By the time we had finished, he was doing 3-digit numbers divided by 2-digit numbers with no problem.  We’re going to do some more difficult problems tomorrow and then try heading back to the computer.

We tried a similar approach when he started to get stuck on multiplication a couple months ago.  I guess there are some things that really have to be written out to be understood.  I just hope he starts to make regular use of his notebook from here on out.



1. Josh Young - February 10, 2012

Have to admit, when I started with my maths, I used to do everything mentally, had a similar issue. Mum printed me off a few worksheets, then I kinda self-taught from there.
When you can do the stuff mentally, it can be really, really difficult to make that transition to paper, but once you’ve done it, it makes harder questions so much easier. I’m fortunate, in a way, that I can do some advanced stuff mentally, but in that same respect, be able to know my limits.

So yeah, it happens, I spose. 🙂


2. feMOMhist - March 12, 2012

OMG I ❤ you. A bunch of my readers sent me over here because I have a gifted 2nd grader too who KEEPS GETTING BUSTED for not showing his work, among many other totally annoying things in class.


mareserinitatis - March 13, 2012

Yeah, lots of fun to deal with. Hope I can provide some insight…or at least some sympathy. 🙂


3. karifur - March 15, 2012

How has it been going recently? Has he continued to use the notebook?


mareserinitatis - March 16, 2012

Sort of. It’s really strange. If I write out the problem on paper, he’ll do it on paper. He’ll even call me over to write the problem out for him. But if he has to actually write the problem down, he won’t do it. I’m very confused. 🙂


karifur - March 17, 2012

Interesting. Maybe he likes to have the original problem written in different handwriting from his own?

Maybe you should practice having him write out problems without solving them, and then go back another day and solve them. 🙂


mareserinitatis - March 17, 2012

I suspect it may have something to do with the fact that I can line up place values better, so it’s easier for him to keep track of that. Not sure, though.


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