Saturday, April 14, 2012

More on math

Decimals, fractions, and percents…oh my! Yes, I can joke about these now, but not so long ago it was no laughing matter. I can not even tell you how many tears were shed over trying to get those three math subjects packed down so that we could move on.
As I mentioned before, the order of things is so important in math, because each chapter builds on the lessons learned in the previous one. My daughter wanted desperately to take things out of the prescribed order, and I let her. Decimals, fractions, and percent are so closely related that if your child doesn’t understand one of them, then the other two are very difficult.
An example of the interconnection between the three, try to explain 50% without using the fraction ½, or the decimal .50. There might be a way to do it, but I couldn’t find it. Then, try to explain a fraction without discussing division. Try describing division without using multiplication.
Ok, I suppose I have made my point, numerous times. The most important thing you can do with your sixth grader in math is make sure that he understands the basics before moving on. He may not thank you now, as you make him do yet another problem, but later, as math gets more and more complex, he will be thankful for the firm foundation you give him.

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