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# SCM Living Math Question

- This topic has 17 replies, 3 voices, and was last updated 8 years ago by
Erika.

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Erika ParticipantI’m working my way through the SCM Living Math book and DVD. I am wondering if the math text book (we use Rays & Strayer Upton) is always meant to be a tool only I use to give the child oral questions for the mental math portion of the math lesson, or if there is a point where the child transitions to working directly out of the book & writing those answers in their notebook. Thank you for any insight you can offer.

Richele Baburina ParticipantHi Erika,

Okay, sorry, now I see that you have everything. I’ll see if I’m able to satisfactorily answer your questions and hope to get a response to you by tomorrow morning. Thank you for your patience.

Warmly,

Richele

Erika ParticipantHi Richele,

Thank you so much for your willingness to respond to my question. I really appreciate it.

With gratitude,

Erika

Richele Baburina ParticipantHello Erika,

You ask in such a nice, straightforward way, I wish I could answer back as succinctly. I don’t want anyone reading the post to misunderstand though so I’m going to expound just a bit.

If you are asking if there is a point in arithmetic and the higher maths where the child self-teaches and the educator is not involved, then the short answer is “No, not in a Charlotte Mason education.” If anyone called Charlotte Mason math “teacher intensive” though I would argue that they would be quite wrong. Remember, “there is no subject in which the teacher has a more delightful consciousness of drawing out from day to day new power in the child…” but at the same time “it is in his own power he must go.” If one were to simply have the child go through Strayer-Upton on their own then they would be robbed of the joy of self-discovery and developing the relationship themselves under your guidance. Rather, they would read the rule through already filtered (though sometimes quite convoluted) much the same way giving them a dry history textbook differs from their reading of a living book.

If you are asking if there are days where you are able to assign problems from the book for the child or student to work in their math notebook, then the answer is “yes,” though it would be best to give a five to ten minute oral review at another point in the day both for reinforcement of the fact and reinforcement of good habits. Just remember, “busy work” was never given in a CM math lesson and, when using a textbook, all lengthy exercises that didn’t have a point were omitted. In Geometry and Algebra, students still are led to discover for themselves but are then given problems to work in order to solidify and make habit each particular truth. Since the math lessons are never more than thirty minutes of concentrated attention, even in high school, there are days when written work begun the previous day would be continued the following day.

We have an appointment so I have to run. Please let me know if this answers your question. If you want me to tell you more how a mother who may not have excelled in the higher maths (me) in public school teaches those in a CM-way then I am happy to 🙂

Joyfully,

Richele

Erika ParticipantHi Richele! Thank you so much for your thoughtful response and also for the encouragement that this can be done successfully by moms who have not excelled in higher math. That would clearly describe me too! What gracious & timely words.

I was relieved to see the Ray’s Arithmetic and Strayer-Upton on the DVD since we had already been using them, however, we had been using them mostly as written, aside from skipping some of the questions when there were too many and working within CM’s time limits. Do you recommend using only the word problems in these text books or a variety of what’s included (aside from the rules, lengthy explanations, & exams)?

My school-aged children are 6, 8 and 10. I think I’m understanding from your resources how to structure the lessons for the 6 year old. Would my 8 year old’s lessons be following the same pattern (oral lessons working from concrete to imaginary to pure number and ending each lesson with mental math) aside from writing in a few more equations into her gridded notebook? Regarding my 10 year old student, I understand that she will be doing arithmetic Monday-Thursday, with geometry on Fridays. She’s toward the end of Strayer-Upton Book 1 and have Book 2 as well. Would you be able to give me an idea of what the structure/sequence of a typical math lesson would be like for a Form2-A student? Lastly, I’m wondering how my 8 and 10 year old would do handling the questions with larger numbers orally since they’re used to working these out in writing, or is it expected that these questions with larger numbers would be worked out in writing instead of orally?

Thank you very much for your time & your patience with me as I try to grasp and implement these principles.

With gratitude,

Erika

Richele Baburina ParticipantHi Erika,

I hope to attend to your questions tomorrow and am sorry for the delay. We have to grasp our fleeting summer with both hands here in New England ?.

Best,

Richele

Erika ParticipantHi Richele,

Thank you very much for your response. As a former New England resident, I completely understand and am glad you’re enjoying lovely summer weather. I appreciate you keeping my question in mind & hope you enjoy the day :).

Sincerely,

Erika

Richele Baburina ParticipantOh, Erika, I’m so thankful for your understanding. Although we’ve been here about ten years, as a Midwest transplant I still am not used to the brevity of the New England summer. We’ve spent the last week on top of a little mountain gathering low bush blueberries, which lost its romance after the first day, but I kept reminding myself and the kids that it had to be done if we wanted a freezer full for winter.

Back to arithmetic and geometry. You are completely correct, your 8-year-old’s lessons follow the same structure that you describe. In fact, you will see many similarities in practical geometry lessons for your 10-year-old as well with exploration, proof, and discoveries made in the concrete before rules are set down on paper.

For example, as my children were discovering the properties of lines I asked if they thought two straight lines could enclose a space and was surprised to hear that they thought they could. They set out to illustrate their belief with drawings and –after determining themselves that it

*could not*, in fact, be done– they were able to add to their Geometry Notebook what they’d already discovered about Straight Lines:*Two straight lines cannot enclose a space.*Imagine how this idea will stick with them as they proved it themselves rather than merely being told a rule.One day during their tae kwon do lesson the instructor asked the class why he insisted their punches be so exact and my then 10-year-old replied, “Because the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.” This they had learned by taking our geometry lesson outside using two trees in the yard. They then came in and drew the trees as points labeled A and B. Anyhow, I recommend a book Charlotte used (referenced below) as it gives you, the teacher, lots of opportunity to guide them in this type of enjoyable work. If you were good at geometry, it will give you a clear picture of what it was you were learning in high school. If you didn’t excel at geometry, I think you might be surprised at how extremely accessible (and, yes,

*fun*) its study can be (my case).The book lists the instruments needed and you will want a set of solid figures as well (cube, sphere, cylinder, pyramid, cone, and prism).

I really do like “Lessons in Experimental and Practical Geometry” by Hall & Stevens. Just be careful if you get a newly printed edition as it will be worthless if the images are not in the book. Also, my children are two years apart and I was able to have them both in Practical Geometry at the same time. You will need to see for yourself as it will depend on each child in the home school classroom. Your middle and youngest may end up taking it together if not your middle and eldest.

Addressing your other questions:

Yes, use a variety of the problems. Just as variety is the spice of life, it will give flavor to your lessons.

Structure/Sequence for 2A. Go ahead and use the sequence laid out in Strayer-Upton in the way we’ve discussed if you are happy with it. One question from each section in an Improvement Test each day should provide a nice little review while leaving time to progress in each new concept being taken. These are given orally and written by the student. just as the problems with larger numbers you will give orally (it helps to keep their attention from flagging) but they will write either on a slate/whiteboard/boogie board/jot board or what have you. The mental math portion of the book has many examples to show which kind of questions are used. Specifically, see points 15 and 16.

I hope you are as heartened as I was in learning and using these methods. We know from Charlotte’s correspondence that her joy in the children’s work was equaled by admiration for the teachers who so faithfully worked out her principles and method. I echo that admiration, Erika.

Joyfully,

Richele

Stacie ParticipantI’m so curious to see the answers to these questions! I have a 7 and 9 year old and while I’m confident in teaching the 7 year old, I feel a little overwhelmed with the 9 year old! I keep panicking, thinking I need to order a set math curriculum, but I really want to use CM’s methods! I finished reading the SCM Mathematics book yesterday and I’d love a little more guidance in the ideas of Outdoor Geography and Geometry. Are there any specific books anyone can recommend for grades 1 -3 for geometry, specifically books that work on paper folding/paper modeling? Is there a specific book that addresses Practical Geometry? I only have Ray’s Arithmetic books…is it worth investing in the Strayer-Upton books, as well?

Stacie ParticipantSorry, one more question…I did see the side note that says that CM’s Geographical Readers for Elementary Schools are available…does anyone know where I can get a printed copy (I like having a book to hold in my hands!)? Do her books cover the Outdoor Geography as described in Richelle’s book?

Richele Baburina ParticipantHi Stacie,

No need to panic. And, truly, once you’ve mastered CM’s methods I believe you will find that it is a whole lot teacher-intensive as we may have been led to believe. Yes, you are guiding the child but you aren’t learning new games, new manipulatives, new methods throughout as in other curriculum.

My post may have crossed with yours so please see above. I would start with Charlotte’s own “Elementary Geography” if you haven’t yet as it will give structure to your Geography lesson. Noticing where the sun is positioned at different times of the day and reading the compass are really going to make an abstract concept like “time” make sense. See the section titled “Outdoor Geography” in Charlotte’s Volume 1 Home Education for more. It’s only about six pages long but full of ideas.

I’ve listed the Practical Geometry book above but you won’t need to start that until about 5th grade. I suggest Ednah Riches “Paper Sloyd: A handbook for primary grades” for your sloyd lessons. If you purchase a newer reprint, be sure the images are included as some reprints are very poor quality. Don’t take these lessons in sloyd out of order as they build upon each other. Also, if you have the dvd, be sure to watch Sonya and I as we work our way through a lesson in sloyd and then try it yourself with us. It isn’t as easy as one might think and it is helpful to see before you set your child with the task.

Strayer-Upton Book I is my recommendation for ease in using CM’s methods rather than the books. In some cases, you may want to use the books explanation of a concept as your guide, but be sure that they are doing the work with the chosen manipulative while you are doing the guiding and let them discover the rule themselves that way. You will probably see most math books beginning with a statement of the rule or concept and Charlotte would always skip that and, when the child had discovered it themselves, worked with it, then wrote their own definition in their math notebook, then she would go back to those pages for reiteration.

I hope that helps. Stay heartened!

Best,

Richele

Richele Baburina ParticipantHi Stacie,

I believe numerous places on-line have that first one for free available to print. Queen’s sells a printed version of the first book. It contains much she talks about in the pages I mentioned. After studying a county in England (the image was poor in the book so I used our Atlas) I then added in a study of our own county. Your children will be able to relate to that much easier. Don’t be consumed if your older child hasn’t done this yet as it will be so enjoyable to do together with both of them. If you have nature walks in your schedule just be intentional to use some of them for the discovery of geography.

Best,

Richele

Richele Baburina ParticipantAnd the post above the last should read “a whole lot

*less*teacher intensive.”I will also add that if you have “Ray’s Intellectual Arithmetic” those can make great questions for the mental arithmetic at the end of lessons when you’ve reached fractions so don’t get rid of it if you have it. This also means that, including the SCM book and DVD, you are looking at less $ all the way through sixth grade than what most places are charging for 1st grade alone.

Best,

Richele

Stacie ParticipantThank you, Richele! I think our posts did cross each other…by the time mine posted, I already had an answer 😉 I just realized I had printed out a copy of CM’s Elementary Geography book a few years ago but didn’t use it…now we can! It says Book 1…are there more books in her series?

Erika ParticipantHi Richele!

Thank you so much for your thorough & thoughtful response. I appreciate & love the experience you shared about your children discovering the math concepts/rules for themselves. I can imagine how much more meaningful & memorable it would be to learn in this way, and how much more appreciation, respect, wonder, care & curiosity this way of learning would cultivate.

I am thoroughly convinced & encouraged by the soundness of this philosophy & seeing the thread of these principles woven through the practices across all areas of knowledge in CM’s broad feast. The more I learn, the more I am renewed & strengthened to keep pressing on in this.

Am I understanding rightly that there’s not a difference in the flow of the lesson time from Form 1 to Form 2? In Form 2, am I still using the first part of the math lesson to explore & practice concepts with my child concretely and orally, with the book being used my me to dictate the questions a single time for my child to solve & then explain the “why” behind her answer, then conclude with the mental math session? Or would I do this just a few days a week & give the child other days to work directly out of the text book on concepts we’ve already worked on concretely & abstractly? I scheduled the day in a way that would allow me to work individually with each student for math just in case.

Thank you very much for the recommendation to select 1 question a day from the Stayer-Upton Improvement Test pages. Do you recommend that as part of the main lesson time or for the mental math at the end? I’m also curious to know if students should give a narration at the end of their math lesson, like they’d do in other lessons.

I downloaded & printed the Sloyd book you recommended (with the images included). I scheduled it 4 times per week & am wondering if this would “count” as their scheduled handicraft on those days or not.

I also downloaded & printed the Practical Geometry book you recommended for my Form 2 student as well. I gathered the supplies you mentioned & am excited to learn this along with her & see the joy of her making these discoveries & connections for herself.

Thank you so much for your generosity in sharing the knowledge you’ve researched & the practical wisdom of applying this in your own family. I am especially grateful for your patience coming alongside me as I continue growing in this philosophy.

For His glory,

Erika

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