For some reason, in my home school, math is the subject that we spend the most time on everyday.
It’s not that my kids need extra work on math. For the most part, they are pretty good students. But math is the one subject that they can really waste time on.
They tend to day dream and doodle all over their math work. They start giggling and passing notes to their siblings around the table. Someone will start telling a story and they all collapse on the floor laughing.
Then I picked up a great tip at our state home school conference from David Hazell of My Father’s World Curriculum.
He suggested going over the lesson with your student, then giving them 5 minutes to answer orally any question on the lesson. Then your student only has to write out the answers to the ones that are left.
We use Saxon Math and everyday, after they’ve done a speed drill, I sit down with each child and do the mental math. Then we read over the lesson and do the practice problems.
Then I set the timer for 5 minutes, grab the answer book, a piece of paper and a pen, and let them go! They need to say the problem and the answer. If they get it correct, I write it down.
At the end of 5 minutes, whatever problems they didn’t do orally become their assignment.
It is amazing how hard they work to get those problems done in 5 minutes! Some of children can cut their written work down by half. (This doesn’t work as well as the math gets harder.)
It’s helped with their mental math abilities and keeps everybody on task, at least most of the time anyway!