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{Originally published January 22, 2012}

 20100106_0679 blog
Judah (12) 

My children love drawing lessons (from our Drawing Textbook). All except Keziah,  who hates drawing lessons. In the last month or two Keziah has hit a unit on Geometry in her math book. A non-math lover myself, Geometry always seemed like short reprieve from regular math. Our house is filled with good math books ( such as the Sir Cumference Series) which I have read aloud and created units around so my children would have a real life understanding of geometry. But none of this has seemingly helped Keziah. She has struggled immensely with geometry. One thing I noticed early on in homeschooling our Liberian children is, they didn’t know most of the basic shape names. And when I went in search of a good resource to teach them, I found they were all aimed at babies or toddlers. Hmm…handing them a baby board book didn’t seem to be the best way to boost their confidence. In the end, we just went over and over and over them. While they now know the names of basic shapes, anything beyond that is still a bit baffling to them.

So- onto the amazing observation I made recently. In Keziah’s geometry unit, they often want her to divide a shape “symmetrically” or “copy a shape”. In other words draw. She has struggled like crazy with this. She finds it difficult to “copy a shape” or even recognize if similar shapes are “the same”. It suddenly dawned on me why she has so much trouble with drawing lessons. For whatever reason, it is difficult for her to “see” the shapes. And at the same time, her Thinking Skills book (mentioned yesterday) wants her to do similar things: are these shapes the same? which shapes are different? finish the pattern, put the similar figures in groups, etc. They (drawing lessons, Geometry and Thinking Skills) are all requiring her to “see” the shapes and figures.

Add to the equation the fact that she now spends an hour and a half a week with a math tutor. An hour and a half where the house is quiet and the tutor is available to just her and Boaz. The tutor has been working with her through the Geometry unit and she has the basics down.

So, last week we sit down for our first drawing lesson in months (due to holidays, busy schedules, broken bones, etc). And guess what? She has improved about 100 times since our last lesson! She was able to draw the lines and the  proper angles. She was much quicker. She is beginning to “see” what we are doing when we draw 3 dimensionally! It’s like the three subjects (Thinking Skills, math and drawing) have meshed and clicked in her brain. Not in a conscious sense, but subconsciously. Her brain has made some kind of connection…

Now, I’m not saying she has no more academic struggles. I am simply reporting the first honest, tangible improvement in over 2 years of homeschooling.

I knew our Liberian children needed the Thinking Skills, due to their lack of basic logic. And I knew I needed to arm them with enough math to be able to cash a paycheck, buy groceries and pay the bills. What I didn’t know, was that our “extra” class, that is “just for fun” and sometimes with their academic struggles might seem like a “waste of time” would prove to be one of the missing links to help her learn.

Combine that with her comment about rock wall climbing being like “Thinking Skills” and this homeschool mom is on cloud nine.

Please share your thoughts!

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