Mommy diary: Of math, my daughter, and me
Upon coming home from work last night, I immediately checked my daughter’s homework notebook to check if she needed something done for tomorrow.
Reading her handwriting (which still needs some improvement), I learned that her class was going to have a quiz in Math today, about expanded notation.
(My kid’s in Kinder 2 and they’re studying about expanded notation? WHUT. Even my sister was surprised that they were having a quiz about it, much so that Kinder students have quizzes now.)
So I took her book out and we studied the examples written there. The weird thing is that I got stuck on how to explain how to do expanded notation. Between me and my daughter, it was I who got frustrated about it.
See, Math wasn’t my strongest suit when I was still a student. I mean, I didn’t flunk it, but my grade fluttered around 85 at best. Heck, even in college, Algebra and Business Math were the subjects that I got an average (if not below average) grade.
Good thing my sister, who’s a tutor and a guidance counselor in a Chinese school, was at home. Since she’s the genius of the house (and I’m not kidding, she’s always excelled in academics when we were still studying), I asked for her help in explaining expanded notation to my daughter.
Since everything was done in scratch paper, I didn’t get to take a pic of what she did, but I’ll explain it here:
For example, the equation was: 53 = ____ + 3. We had to know what the number in the blank was.
My sister did this Singaporean Math style, wherein she drew 5 rows of 10 squares and another row with 3. She made my daughter count and label all the boxes.
“53,” she said.
Then my sister pointed at the number 3 and said, “Let’s color 3 squares,” which they did, and she said, “So how many squares don’t have any color?”
My daughter said, “50!”
“Correct, so the number on the blank is…?
“Correct, 53 = 50 + 3.”
Heck, I didn’t know that’s how it’s done. My sister then told me that their method of teaching was using manipulatives and visuals so that kids can understand the concepts even at a young age.
Well, I think I, too, learned a lot from last night’s tutorial, especially with regards to teaching methods that I can use with my daughter when we review Math lessons. Last night made me realize that moms have to have some educational skills and tricks up their sleeves, too.
And I need to learn that, pronto. Good luck to me.