If my child’s math seems to be too easy for him, should I skip to the next grade level?
Heart to Heart

      Math is a subject that builds one concept upon another, and although the next grade level will probably spend several lessons reviewing concepts from the previous year, it will not give a child an adequate amount of practice for concepts that they may have missed by skipping a grade level. For instance, if your child has skipped a grade that introduces fractions, your child will not be able to understand the operations requiring fraction skills. Just missing a few lessons on factoring will keep them from knowing how to reduce fractions. Therefore, it would be best to pare down the child’s math lessons to meet their particular needs.

      Josiah grasps most mathematical concepts quickly with little need for incessant review; therefore, instead of requiring that he complete every math problem of each day’s lesson, I require only those problems that I consider necessary. For instance, a lesson in A Beka’s math consists of two pages. The first three sections usually cover the new concept introduced that day, while the rest of the lesson contains review of previously covered concepts.

      Now, being a former public school teacher myself, I realize that the majority of math workbooks are designed for a classroom teacher with 20-30 students. Therefore, much of the lesson is busywork so that the teacher has an adequate amount of time to help the individual students who require assistance. With this in mind, coupled with my son’s ability in view, I check the sections that cover newly introduced concepts, thus indicating to Josiah that he must complete every problem in those sections. Then I go through all the other sections, checking only one or two problems in each, just to give Josiah further practice to keep his skills sharpened. For instance, in factoring, I checked all three sections that included the entire group of factoring problems. But throughout the rest of the lesson, I only checked one division problem, one multiplication problem, one measurement problem, and two word problems. Depending on how Josiah does on the newly introduced concept, which in this case happens to be factoring, will determine how much of the review I will require him to complete over the next several days.

      One of the many blessings of homeschooling is that we are able to tailor our children’s lessons to benefit their learning. If the child knows how to divide, why make him do five or more division problems each day? If the child knows how to multiply, why give him eight problems every day? The purpose of review is to keep skills sharpened, not to overburden and bore.

      Most mothers fear that if their children do not complete every problem on every page, they will never get into a college, or worse yet, be successful in life. Relax! Don’t overburden your children with busywork. Instead tailor your children’s lessons to their needs. It is much better to give fewer problems and have them done correctly than to give a multitude of problems and have the child mindlessly go through the motions just to get it done.