My inspiration

These are my girls.  Aren’t they beautiful?  My daughter is growing so quickly that even though this photo was taken this past summer, she’s already changed and is taller and leaner — even her face is looking more grown up.  My Canine daughter, however, looks just the same as always.  Too cute to ignore.  When she turns those puppy dog eyes on me, I give her anything she wants.  Bacon.  Kix.  Bacon.  A belly rub.  But no puppy kisses.  Bleh.  I can’t stand those.

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter or read me frequently on this blog, you know the daily angst we live through with math.  Math has been my daughter’s nemesis ever since I can remember.  This year has been particularly brutal.  We’ve been using Saxon 8/7 math. Over our homeschooling career, we’ve always turned to Saxon, and almost every year we’ve abandoned it for something else, only to go back later. Saxon’s strengths lie in the constant review of previously taught concepts.  Saxon’s weakness lies in not going into the “whys” that my daughter needs.  For example, in studying negative numbers, she had a Chernobyl-worthy meltdown because the book did not explain why a negative times a negative equaled a positive.  Some people (like me!) are content to learn the math rules and then follow them.  But this child of mine needs to know the reasons behind and for every new concept.

So today we started Teaching Textbook’s Pre-Algebra course.  The curriculum is a modern-day approach to mathematics.  Students watch a lesson, complete practice problems, and input their answers directly into the computer.  This means they get instant feedback on whether their answer was right or wrong, complete with a variety of sound effects cheering them on. If they make a mistake, they have a chance to correct it and also to view the solution.  Parents have a password-protected grade book that details their attempts on each problem.  This will come in handy when I have surgery and am in recovery for a few weeks.

But the BEST part of this curriculum is the smile on my daughter’s face as she made 100% on Lesson 1 and then asked me — asked me! — if she could go on to Lesson 2.  So today instead of dragging her to the table to get the math done, she not only finished one lesson but jumped at the chance to do another.  She worked her problems out on a white board.  This is a major crack in the wall she’s built around math, and I am cautiously optimistic that this new love affair isn’t a crush based on newness but will last through the year!

Anybody who can push their body to the limits like she does in ice skating can conquer Mount Mathematics.  There are many scientific and mathematical properties to ice skating.  A little over a year ago, she didn’t know how to skate forwards, much less spin.  And now this salchow:

There’s a reason she’s out there instead of me.  My video– if I ever dared to skate more than just slow-forward, would look quite a bit different, with visions of rear ends hitting the ice, bloody noses, bruises, and broken bones.  I’m one proud mamma!  Her determination in ice skating — and in math — are inspiring to me as I face this uphill journey of my own.  (T minus 28 days, but who’s counting?)

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