Struggling with Addition

One of a child’s greatest needs is to memorize the addition facts. This task comes easy for many; but some struggle and fall behind in their math studies because of this one single necessity.

What can parents do when they find their child struggling in this area?

Immediate intervention is needed. More complicated math utilizing the process of addition should be delayed until this situation is remedied.

First, process why he or she may be struggling. Were foundational steps skipped or overlooked? Does the child understand what the individual numbers represent? For instance, does the child understand that the picture 8 represents a collection of 8 objects or 8 sets of objects?

When teaching numbers, sometimes this knowledge is easily overlooked. A child may be trying to memorize images of number figures without any understanding of what those images represent. For example, the picture 8 plus the picture 8 equals the picture 16 instead of 8 objects added to 8 more objects equals 16 objects total. Some children need more time to process this information.

The use of manipulatives will aid understanding. Yes, I know some teachers frown on the use of objects to help a student learn their facts. They insist on memorization. Yet, when students are struggling with a particular math problem, such teachers model the addition by the use of their fingers. This is a bad practice and greatly hinders the child. Children following this teaching model quickly learn to rely on fingers.

The use of manipulatives diverts the child away from the use of fingers. Each object is representative of 1 and when added together those 1’s become a collection of more than 1. No matter the learning style of the individual, this hands-on approach to addition greatly increases the struggling child’s ability to understand and memorize the facts.

Just what are manipulatives and what are some ways that they can be used to teach math? We’ll discuss this in a later post. Right now, since you have read this far, you may have a struggler about which you are concerned. Hopefully, the next post will be of benefit to you.

The Masculine Role in Nature, An Example

I had to separate a rooster from the rest of the flock this week. Even though he is in a separate pen, he continues to call for his hens every time he sees food bits.

A rooster will pick up food he sees and drop it, call his hens, and continue to pick up and drop the food. This is so the hens will find the food easily. He will do without to make sure his hens have what they need.

This picture of selflessness is an amazing example in nature of the masculine role.

Adding Geography to Your Bible Lessons, Part II

Introducing the geography of a particular Biblical event gives added understanding and enlightenment to the concepts being taught. Students are able to envision the scene in their minds and are able to engage in the action of the story.

What picture do you envision after reading the following statement? The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Colossians was written by the apostle Paul while he was imprisoned in Rome.

Compare that picture to what you envision after the following added elements.

Rome was the major city in the Roman Empire. The city remains to this day in the modern nation of Italy.

But what if we add more information. Let’s see if we can get the students involved in the learning process.

How many miles is the present-day city of Rome from the present-day city of Jerusalem? What route did the soldiers take as they brought Paul from Jerusalem to Rome? How did they travel? Would this have been an easy trip? What was the terrain like in and around the city?

Where was the prison located in the city? How would Paul’s prison have differed from a modern-day prison? Where would he have gotten his food and other necessities?

What route would Paul’s letter travel when being sent from Rome to Colosse? What modern-day city is near where Colosse once stood? How far did the Roman Empire extend beyond Colosse?

In what modern-day country would one find the remains of the city of Colosse? What type of roads would you travel in order to get there? In which direction would you travel in order to go from Colosse to Laodicea or to Hierapolis?

These “where” questions can be inserted alongside the other 4 W’s: who, what, when, and why.

Teaching all of the 5 W’s will make your Bible lessons come alive for your students.

Adding Geography to Your Bible Lessons, Part I

Public, Private, or Home Education?

At this time of year many parents are discussing next year’s plans for their children’s education. Private schools are advertising advanced discount rates. Home education curriculum publishers are filling e-mail boxes with sales pitches.

Before you let the advertisers decide what is best for your family, sit down and discuss what your goals are for each of your children. Is the current educational placement meeting or supporting those goals? If so, then you may continue down the current path. However, if it is not, then you need to seriously consider what needs to be changed and how that change can be attained.

Some consider private schooling to be the appropriate arrangement. These parents may be concerned about the subject matter being taught or the environment that is affecting their children in their current setting.

Others may consider home education as the proper alternative. They want control over the subject matter being taught. These parents also wish for their children to interact with all age groups, not just their peers.

Any setting for a child’s education must be taken seriously. The pros and cons of each must be weighed carefully. Whatever direction parents decide to take will greatly influence the future attitudes, work ethics,  and actions of their children.

Any authority that you place over your children will lead them in a certain direction. Is that the direction you prefer? You must decide.


Think! Part II

As a teacher I realized that my students needed more than just an assignment. They needed direction in completing that assignment to my satisfaction. I gave them a handout with the information in Part I Think! (previous post) along with the continuation below.

However, I just didn’t hand them the paper. I discussed each point thoroughly, giving them examples and encouraging them to keep the paper in their folders.

When my students felt they could go no further, we would discuss the items on the handout to get them thinking about what they could do to move forward in their assignments.

There are many types of assignments students will encounter. My goal was to help them discover how to process an assignment of any type and plan a method to complete it properly. Hopefully, these bullet points will be helpful to you and your students.

  • Look for the information you need to solve the problem, to help you understand the information, to help you complete a project, etc. Look at problems as a challenge that you can conquer, one step at a time.
  • Organize your thoughts.
    • Where are you going?
    • What do you want to end up with?
    • How much time do you have to solve the problem, read the book, write the report, etc.
    • Make a plan, schedule, list, etc.
    • How will you implement your plan?
    • What do you need to implement your plan?
  • Redeem the time.
  • Do the work, step by step.
  • Check your work after each step.
  • Do the best you can. If you truly did your best, you can be proud of your accomplishments.

Think! Part I

When I taught at a local private school, I would give my students a handout. The purpose of the handout was to help them with their assignment schedules.

It wasn’t that my students couldn’t think for themselves. They were just immature in their thinking abilities.

Let’s face it. Sometimes we all get stuck. When we are headed toward a deadline, we may get confused and panic which reduces our ability to think clearly. That happens with our students also.

So, to help with this, I would like to share some of the ideas I passed on to my students. Maybe they will help you in your schooling activities.

  • Make a mental picture of the information. Create a mental picture in your mind. If necessary, draw a picture on paper.
  • How does this relate to what I already know? Relate the problem to something you are already familiar with or to something you have already experienced.
  • Think out loud. Sometimes it helps to talk out loud to yourself or to someone else. Saying your thoughts out loud helps you to think things through, make wise decisions, plans, etc. Plans will come together. Ask yourself if this answer makes sense. Is this a good idea or not?
  • Make a chart or a graph. Make diagrams, lists, etc.
  • Brainstorm. On projects, seek out as many possibilities as you can before you make a decision. Then follow through with your decision.
  • Ask a lot of questions. Ask yourself questions. Ask others questions. Do you still think your plan will work? Is it a good idea? Can it be implemented? Do you have enough information? Your first idea may not work. Don’t give up. Keep at it.

I’ll continue this on the next post. Hope the thought processes discussed thus far will give you direction when you face that next difficult assignment.


The Book I Really Want to Finish

As I was working on my Goodread’s page I began thinking about the books I was reading or attempting to read. It seems I always have several by my bedstead waiting to be picked up again. I guess they get lonely and start calling out my name. I feel compelled to pick one up and read a few pages.

One book (set of two actually) that I have wanted to finish is The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn. A writing of over twenty years collected and translated for us (thankfully in English) to read and discover the day to day treatment of those who lived under the Soviet Union’s regime.

It describes in vivid detail the false imprisonments, labor camps, inhumane treatment of citizens, and propaganda that terrorized and help captive those under the icy fingers of Communism.

This book is a must-read for all educated citizens, no college student should leave school without it.  You might want to add it to your teenager’s reading list.


Did You Hear the Latest Message?

Did you hear the latest message? Have you ever been asked that question and suddenly realized that you couldn’t recall what  the message was about? It happens to all of us.

Sometimes life’s difficulties commandeer our focus and derail us from the track where our minds are suppose to be traveling. The bumps shake us up and suddenly our focus returns to the important.

Be thankful for the ‘bumps’ that turn our focus to the important things in life. Sometimes those bumps keep us from becoming a wreck in the ditches of life.