We have recently been hit with lots of snow. I suppose, being winter time, I should expect it. But as I sit and watch the snow fall down (quite quickly, may I add) I am amazed when I consider that no two snowflakes are the same. Here I am – watching thousands upon thousands of snowflakes fall from the sky in my backyard alone – and realize that each one of those flakes are unique.
Children are the same way. I look at my own four children and wonder how they can have the same upbringing, the same parents, and still end up being so different! Because they have different interests, we have had many types of extracurricular activities: soccer, baseball, archery, horseback riding, gymnastics, guitar, trumpet, piano and ballet. Each one has their own unique style and interests. So, to help them build their own talents, I have had to provide each child with their own set of activities.
The same thing goes with curriculum. I have had to adjust and modify and search for the curriculum that serves each child according to their needs. But, just as Debbie has mentioned in the previous blog, no curriculum is absolutely perfect. Adjustments need to be made to help each child learn at their own unique pace.
Over the years, I have spoken to many moms and dads who wonder if RightStart Math will work for the strong or gifted learner. Of course, RightStart Math will work very well for these students, but just as with anything else, adjustments might need to be made. Here are some of the thoughts that I share with these parents.
Teach to the speed of your student’s ability to learn. This may mean that you do more than one lesson a day. If your child is soaking up the information, then by all means, continue in the lessons.
Many times over the years, I have taught two or more lessons in one sitting because my child is enjoying the material and learning it quickly. This works particularly well when the lessons cover a similar math concept.
As a side note, if I know that my child completely understands the material being taught, I will skip the assessment lessons, the periodic Review and Games in Levels C, D, E, and F, to keep them from getting bored. Instead, I will push on to the lessons following the assessment. I will caution you to only do that if you know, for sure, your child knows the material well.
Dig deeper into the material by taking your child on an academic field trip. Is your child hungry for more information and asking questions? Look up a relevant video on YouTube. Recently, I spoke with a parent of a student working through Level G. The student was wanting more information about the Koch Snowflake introduced in her lesson. I directed her to an online video by a Purdue Professor sharing more in-depth information on how the Koch Snowflake works and why.
Is your child working on time problems? Have them do some research on time zones. Does your child enjoy history? Go to the library and have them read about historical mathematicians such as Pythagoras, Archimedes, Euclid, or Ptolemy.
Build your child’s problem-solving skills by adding math puzzles. In the Math Card Games manual, there are several games that are designed to do just that. Have your child try playing Magic Squares Memory (A60), Addition Puzzle I (A61) or Addition Puzzle II (A62). Activities such as these strengthen the student’s problem solving skills and logic.
Take your child into uncharted territory. If your child starts asking about multiplication (or another math concept) and has not yet worked on it in the lessons, use the Math Card Games manual and find a game that will introduce or teach the math concept. Introducing a math concept via a card game is not only fun, but provides a great opportunity to get a jump start on learn something new.
Have your child create her own math card game or puzzle. If your child is creative, encourage them to use their creativity to design a new game or puzzle based on what the child is currently learning in her math lessons. Then have your entire family play that game or puzzle later in the week. In fact, why not submit it to RightStart Math? We just might share it with other RightStart Math families!
Get ideas from other parents with strong learners. On our Pinterest page, Debbie has compiled some great enrichment suggestions, including book recommendations as well as STEM projects. You may also want to check out our Facebook page and see what other families are doing.
Keep your child challenged. As a strong learner, sometimes new material is not introduced quickly enough for the student. If you feel that the lessons are moving too slow for your student, zip through those lessons, until your child finds some new material to learn. Then you can start working through those lessons. This will keep your child learning new material and not spending time reviewing math concepts they already know.
Being a homeschool mom, I am constantly working to strengthen each child’s weakness and providing opportunities to build on each child’s strengths. If you have a strong math student, I hope these suggestions will inspire you to challenge your kids and help them fan the flame for learning math!