math woes solved by a timer

More and more I am subscribing to Charlotte Mason’s ideals of short lessons and I am finding such truth in this gem of hers, especially with regards to math for Bear.  Bear has resisted math from the start.  She’d rather read.  The irony is that she is good at math. She can hold numbers in her head and do mental calculations while I’m scrambling for the pen and paper to scratch it out. Definitely proficient.  However, she never wants to do her math.  We battle over this constantly and it wore me out this year. She became so passive resistant over this – refusing to do her math regardless of nagging and consequences – that I desperately wanted to send her to school over this one subject.  I reread some Charlotte Mason and wondered if it might work to give her a timer and time her math for 15 minutes, allowing her to walk away when the timer went off (only if she had used her time well).

Our summer routine now involves 15 minutes of math per day.  You see, we figured out our math issues.  She felt that math was endless.  She would dawdle and never finish.  The math wasn’t hard for her!  Why wouldn’t she do it?   Now she knows that if she uses her time efficiently, I will let her stop after 15 minutes.   It doesn’t seem like a lot, but because she is ahead and she grasps things easily, it is actually plenty.  Plus, I am finding that since she is now using that time wisely, she gets so much more of it done in that time and has on a few occasions just chosen to finish an entire lesson to surprise me.