I’m back… Yep you are getting two posts today. Why? Because I’ve been having a productive day. I got a ton of cleaning done, drank two tumblers of water, and even have a batch of chocolate chip cookie dough in the freezer.
I’m trying a new cookie recipe. Last year, Richard gave me Duff Goldman’s book Duff Bakes. I’ve made a few recipes out of this book already and enjoyed them all. Today I’m testing out his recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies the thin and crispy version. I don’t think I’ve even had a thin and crispy chocolate chip cookie. To me, a good chocolate chip cookie is chewy and best served straight out of the oven. I swear that is my thing with baking is the ability to eat the cookies when they come out of the oven and are hot and ooey gooey. Who doesn’t love a hot cookie?
The boys will be walking home from the bus soon enough, so I decide to pop on here one more time to share something that has been bopping around in my brain.
Being a teacher turned mommy there are times when different parts of me have different thoughts about things that deal with school. Colby is so much like me and there is one way I wish he wasn’t like me… the ability to memorize math facts. I remember how much I HATED third grade for so many reasons, but one reason was the fact that we had to take timed tests on our multiplication tables. Colby has been dealing with this same thing for the last two years.
Colby has a natural ability to understand math. He does complex math in his head. He can explain how to solve math problems in multiple modes. He loves to solve math problems, but he struggles to pass timed multiplication tests. At this time, his teacher is testing them on a mixture of multiplication facts. He needs to complete 80 math problems in 2 minutes. He can do it. He knows the facts, for the most part, but he can’t do them that fast. Colby understand multiplication and uses this knowledge to solve the multiplication problems. He may not know 8×7 quick, but can solve 7×9 then subtract 7. It works for him.
As a teacher, I understand what the teacher is trying to do. When children have automaticity of facts it takes that factor away when trying to understand more complex math problems. I even gave my students timed practice on their addition and subtraction facts. I tried to make these fun challenges for my kindergarten and first grade students. They would earn a prize each time they “leveled up” to the next set of facts. I get it. I understand why teachers use this strategy to help the children move faster on their facts.
But… as a mom it is driving me crazy. I hate seeing him come home and have to practice these facts over and over. He has to practice 4 times between home and school before he gets tested again. It is a matter of drilling the facts in his head. But, as a mom who also struggled with this concept I know that to some degree I can hit him over the head with these facts over and over and they may not stick.
When I was in 4th grade I was tested for learning disorders, but never got diagnosed since my IQ was too high… don’t get me started. But, having done enough research into learning problems I have self diagnosed myself with dyscalculia, (Dyscalculia /ˌdɪskælˈkjuːliə/ is difficulty in learning or comprehending arithmetic, such as difficulty in understanding numbers, learning how to manipulate numbers, and learning facts in mathematics. It is generally seen as a specific developmental disorder.) I have a huge understanding of math. I love math. I love to teach math, but I can’t calculate in my head. I need a calculator. Once I could use a calculator in math people realized how strong my math skills were. When I was in high school and college my teachers/professors tried to tell me to go into engineering, or at least if I was going to teach that I should teach math. I didn’t want to because I wanted to get the kids who would possibly struggle young and help them get help before they started to struggle. I wanted to teach children to love to learn before they realized that learning isn’t simple.
While I don’t think Colby has Dyscalculia as he can add, subtract, multiply and divide in his head. He does struggle to memorize those facts. It could be he doesn’t want to learn them. I could be his brain doesn’t let them stick because there is so many other things going on in his head. Who knows. But I do know that I hate seeing him frustrated over something that isn’t even used towards his math grade. See him getting mad and thinking that he isn’t good in math because he can’t pass these “tests” as easily as his peers. I also know I can’t and won’t fix it for him. I’ll help him. I’ll work with him on it. I’ll remind him that this doesn’t effect his grades. That this doesn’t prove if he can or can’t do math.
The mom in me is at war with the teacher in me over this whole concept. I won’t ever solve it.. but I can be there for my guy.
Have you ever had a crispy chocolate chip cookie? Do you like cookies hot out of the oven? Do you remember taking times table tests? Hope your day is productive… have a wonderful Wednesday. Drop me a comment, I love hearing from you!