June 26, 2010


We came up with a new game that helps us to practice addition facts. I had a bunch of left over flash cards and number cards so I arranged them in such a way that the boys could compete with each other or just themsleves to practice those elusive facts. Here is how the game is set up.
The answers to the addtion problems were set up 1-18 infront of the boys along the edge of the floor couch.
 The boys were given 10-15 addtion problems on cards.
They have counters to use to help them work out the problem. Once they know the answer to the problem they run to the answer card in front of them, and place the card with the addition problem on it under the answer card.

Once they have finished all the problems on the cards they have won!
The first time we played, they competed against each other. Since Max is older he got a four card penalty. However it was too stressful for the twins, and Max even though penalized won by a long shot. So, the next time we played I put a treat in a bowl in front of each of them beyond the answer cards on the floor couch. Once they finished their cards they got to eat the treat. They were still competitive. But this is the way with boys.
 I have read, mostly from Charlotte Mason that competition is bad and I should discourage it. I understand the caution, I don't really like competion myself. However, I have found some others who think differently and who have taught boys, and they found the competiton has made learning more interesting and the facts actually stick better than without competition. Hal and Melanie Young, Authors of Raising Real men say this about teaching boys:

"Boys tend to learn better under stress. When a boy-or a man- is concentrating hard he will bite his lip, or stick out his tongue; it is a mild discomfort which seems to focus his thinking. It is another area where mothers and sons do things differently; mom's actually try to reduce stress, when it actually may be hampering progress.

Mom: Son you don't need to be timed on that worksheet. Take all the time you want.
Son: (dies of boredom)

The stress of working against a deadline introduces competition back into the equation. It makes the task more interesting, and more profitable in the boy's eyes." Pg 197

Viva la differance!

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