I have discovered that teaching math to a boy is very different then teaching math to a girl, or at least helping teach it to your little sisters!
Because we lean toward the "child led learning" style of education, I tend to teach Canaan what he is interested in. After learning the basics of addition and subtraction last year, he really wanted to learn some multiplication. Since counting by twos, threes, and fives helps a good bit with that, we focused on those skills. Telling time, measurement, some basic fractions - we skipped around a good bit.
This year when we started out again I realized that in all of our skipping I had never taught him to borrow. He had done some double digit subtraction, but the numbers were always neatly lined up so that the top number was larger. Convenient.
He's in second grade now. The time had come to learn how to borrow. The unfortunate question was - how to explain the concept?
(sample problem) 84-37=47
First I tried writing it out on paper, simply showing him the problem, and the process.
"Remember Canaan, the ones place, the tens place, and the hundreds place?"
I pulled out those little math blocks (although our's are not like the ones in the link) and tried to show how one side could borrow from the other, moving those blocks around everywhere.
I almost confused myself with that one.
Finally, I had an epiphany.
"Canaan, see that 4? He is trying to win in battle against the seven, but he isn't strong enough. He has to call up his neighbor the 8 and ask him to send over some help. Since the 8 is in the tens place, that makes the 4 a 14 now, and a 14 can totally beat a 7, right?"
And that worked.
I had to remind him a few times while we practiced that the troop "loaner" had to remember to cross out the original number and cut back one, but overall, war as a tactic in math worked well.
Every day the teacher learns something new.
In other news:
Andy finally talked me into learning to drive the motorcycle this afternoon. The neighbors came out and watched the free entertainment, then their children joined me on their bicycles.
Andy has been trying to talk me into it for weeks now, and I have put him off every time. I think my pride has balked - what if I couldn't do it? What if I stalled out repeatedly and looked like an idiot? Also, I must admit a small fear. I don't mind being a cycle chick, sitting up there behind my man, but driving the thing? That is an entirely different story. It is a lot bigger then me!
But, once I actually got on it I fell in love. I never left the subdivision, or second gear for that matter, but at least I know the basics. And I did get slightly faster then the neighbor kids on their bikes! (but just barely!)