Tag Archives: math vocabulary

Progress or Problems?

My local newspaper ran an article last Saturday detailing Georgia’s yearly public school progress, specifically showing progress from 2010 to 2011 in regards to No Child Left Behind.

Overall the state was down. Some of the reasoning points to the fact that the stakes were raised on the percentage of high schoolers graduating. It was set at 80% graduation rate and is now at 85%. I suspect it is really a mix of several problems. Some kids are just not good test takers.  Some kids just can’t handle the abstract thinking required in some math problems or reading questions. Things like  math vocabulary terms, math procedures, or inference questions give them trouble, thus  they can’t understand the question let alone supply the correct answer. Some kids have not been taught to think or reason. Some kids have learning challenges that prevent them from excelling in testing situations (dyslexia, dysgraphia, CAPD…); they are special needs learners.  Some kids can’t think under pressure or they are distracted by the various noises around them. Sadly, some kids just don’t care. Then there are  teachers who truly consider their work as just a job, not an investment in the future. Some kids have no hope, no dreams, no support. Aren’t you glad you homeschool!!


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Can You Say Interquartile?

Logarithm, synthetic division, rational function, interquartile range, parabola,  scalar, contrapositive, apothem, postulate… Is your head spinning yet? These are only a sampling of eighth grade math vocabulary terms a student must master in order to effectively apply them to math principles. It’s also important to know these term in order to begin transitioning into high school, not to mention how crucial they are to passing TAKS, CRCT, or whatever test your state requires.

I will just be frank with you, I don’t remember learning half the terms eighth grade students are required to know and apply today. I think we expect more of students earlier and earlier these days. I don’t agree that it is always good either. Lots of kids are just not ready when schools introduce some concepts, yet they are forced to continue in what is sometimes so abstract for them. I know that is what happened to me in middle school. It wasn’t until later that I was able to handle most abstract thinking in math.

It doesn’t matter if middle school kids are a product of public school, private school, or if they are homeschool middle school kids, most of the curriculum available today will at least expose children to terms they are not familiar with. Don’t allow frustration to set in. Head it off by having them play online math vocabulary games to learn or reinforce terms for algebra, data & statistics, and geometry. The kid will thank you while they have a bit of fun, I know I sure would have back in the day!


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Fraction Action

Does your child’s math vocabulary include fractions? Fractions are easy to understand in the beginning. As fraction lessons progress into adding, subtracting, multiplying, simplifying… it can become frustrating for many children. Most textbooks have kids memorize the many rules for fractions. The problem is that kids memorize the rules, but they have no idea where the rules came from, so they really don’t have a clue if their answer is reasonable. They function like a robot as they solve problems–throwing out numbers here and there and adding or multiplying this and that until they get something they hope is the answer. The best way to help kids truly understand fractions is to have them visualize fractions in their mind. This ensures the steps used to solve equations become concrete. Use lots of hands-on activities.  Have kids draw simple pictures of each step EVERY time they work with fractions until it becomes second nature to them. Visuals help them fully understand the why of each step and ultimately decided if their solution is reasonable.


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