Back into school

Jessica and Namine got back into school this week. It’s been rough on Namine, but I think she’s starting to find her rhythm again.

If Namine has one difficulty in school, it’s math. As a general statement, though, that makes no sense. She’s good at word problems, and if you ask her what her favorite subject is, she’ll say “Math!” So how can this be?

Word problems were the bane of my elementary school existence, but Namine loves them. She’s very much a visual learner, and being able to picture concrete analogies allows her to calculate addition and subtraction in her head with little problem.

Pure calculations, on the other hand, continue to be difficult. She can do them, but it takes her longer. Abstract problems — mere numbers on paper — fail to carry with them the context Namine seems to require before solving them.

The program Namine’s school, Rural Virtual Academy, follows the Little Lincoln curriculum. One drawback to the program is the worksheets. Worksheets, worksheets, worksheets. So many worksheets. Most lessons don’t require much time for Namine to internalize, but still she’s left with a dozen worksheets and a test or two. (With as behind as Namine has been, her teacher — by that I mean the woman working for RVA to whom Jessica sends Namine’s work — has often accepted a fraction of the total worksheets. We’re grateful for that.) For math, though, the repetition is a good thing.

Speaking of math: were it up to her, Jessica would have taught math differently. The curriculum actually started out with word problems instead of pure calculation, and we suspect that’s why Namine has such trouble with it now. If Namine truly could not do math in her head, any math, like the neuropsychologist at the hospital believes, then she would have equal trouble with word problems; but she doesn’t.

Math games are not much help, so it’s just down to flash cards, repetition, and rote learning.

Namine was getting frustrated, especially with math. And while we do have quite a bit to catch up on, it’s also important to recognize when to push and when to relax a bit. So, knowing how much Namine loves to do arts and crafts, Jessica turned a lesson about learning to tell time into a fun craft, too.

Namine had some paper left over after she decorated the clock with its time-telling helper tabs, so she made bunny ears for Jessica and for herself.

I think the clock looks nice with its new helper tabs. Jessica and Namine turned it into a flower.

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