But that's a frustration we can deal with at a later time.
So, last week book two introduced the concept of like and unlike terms.
3xy and 2yx are like
3x and 2xy are unlike
He answered every one of those problems correctly.
Next lesson- Combine like terms.
8a + a = 9a
No problem! He got all of those right.
This week- Simplify the expressions, just add like terms.
3x + 6y +2y + 8x = 11x + 8y
But that's not what JT did. He answered it like this.
So, I asked him how he came up with that answer. He had NO memory of learning about like and unlike terms. We reviewed. I did lovely sample problems on the white board showing how his answer and the correct answer would not result in the same number if we gave values to the variables. He stared at me blankly and said, "I don't get it." I explained again. I had him write out the problems on the board as I talked him through it. I thought he was starting to understand.
I gave him more problems to do. ALL WRONG. I banged my head on the desk a bit and questioned my ability to ever get through to this kid.
Then I turned to the best tool any homeschooling mom has...homeschooling mom friends. The first friend suggested substituting tangible things, like silverware, for the variables. So we did.
|2forks + 3forks +knife/fork + 3knives +knife/fork|
2a + 3a + ab + 3b + ab
|5forks + 3knives + 2knife/forks|
5a + 3b + 2ab
This visualization seemed to help him a bit. So I sent him back to work on another set of problems. A little better, but still a great deal of confusion, especially when negative numbers were in the problems. So I asked another mom friend for suggestions. She recommended highlighters to make it easier to see the different components in the expression.
|Free highlighter from a conference pays off!|
This idea, combined with the cutlery computation, finally made the difference. He only had one mistake on this set of problems.
I know this is not the last difficult week I will have on our homeschooling journey. But I also know I am not in this alone. There is such a wealth of been-there-done-that knowledge in the homeschooling community. I need to remember to draw on it when I am struggling.
And maybe someday I'll have opportunity to give back to those who have so graciously shared their ideas with me.