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.

I discovered K didn’t like repetitive workbook pages so we cut that out. Instead we added more Life of Fred and living math books. After taking a long break from Singapore Math and when we came back to it, she was able to do them easily and quickly. There is no more resistance and math is enjoyable again. I find changing this up regularly makes it more interesting.

We found taking long breaks from “regular” math was not a good thing for Bear! Glad it works for K though. We do change things around too. I agree that it keeps things interesting. Right now our good fit is Saxon 5/4 and Beast Academy 3. Saxon to keep on top of everything at once (spiraling) and BA for the puzzle/fun aspect. We’re done with Fred elementary and I won’t be buying the next set.

Yes, we do that as well (increasing the time as they get older) and it has worked really well for us. People can’t believe it when I tell them this because their kids are working for HOURS on their math. No wonder they hate it.

Yes. Hours. It was depressing:) Glad to know we’re not the only ones on a timer, lol.

So I am wondering how you do Saxon in 15 minutes. My son is starting 5/4 and there is no way it would only take him 15 minutes. Do you take 3 years to go through one book, or just skip a lot of questions. That is one thing I am finding hard with Mason’s method, it is hard to find good math curriculum that doesn’t take so long, but my kids get so worn out of math too. When I think of switching, there doesn’t seem to be anything as good and comprehensive as Saxon. I would love some advice on this and your method for getting through the book.

Both 🙂 Maybe not three years, but it will take us maybe 18 months. I let her test out of lessons and we skip questions in the review sections. She tested out of nearly the first 1/4 or 1/3 of the book to start with, so that helps. We also use Beast Academy and Life of Fred Elementary (we have three books to go in LOF before we move on from it), so I never had the expectation to finish Saxon 5/4 this year. I use Saxon more as a way to keep things fresh in her head because of the spiral. It is too repetitive for her and to sit there and do a whole lesson, her mind wanders and we would be there all day. In 15 minutes she can finish a practice section, or a lesson section, or a modified review section. That would be three days per lesson. I would like to work it to 2 days per lesson so I may have to give her 15 minutes of math, other subjects and then another 15 minutes in the afternoon. Or I may decide to pare down the mental practice or review so that combined they only took 15 minutes. My goal is by the end of this coming year, have her concentrating on math for 20 to 30 minutes, rather than 15. Hope that helps.

Yes, that does help. Thank you. I will give that a try, it overwhelms my son to sit and do his math, so moving from Math 3 to 5/4 scares me because it is so much more. 🙂 We will try this.

Thank-you. I will give this a try.