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Again and again and again...

Grace is finishing up Book 2 of of Key To Measurement.  I jumped back to Measurement after Fractions because much of her learning from fractions can be applied to measurement.
For example today she did a simple procedure using a Pyrex glass measuring cup and objects to determine volume by water displacement.  One object displaced 3/4 a cup and another 2/3 cup.  In order to determine which had a greater volume she needed to recall her learning about common denominators to compare these two fractions.  Life learning.  
This was a great lesson.  I should have stopped.  However she wanted to finish the book and complete the test at the end.  I should have stopped.  I know she knew how to do the problems, but the test began with visual and spacial problems, and those always throw her off.  She is very linear.  She loves calculation.  Ask her to count how many cubes are in a picture and forget it.  Give her the dimensions, even a missing dimension, and she can do it with her eyes closed.  
She made silly mistakes.  She got frustrated.  Some answers were correct but labels were missing.  Other answers were wrong.  In my heart I know she knows this.  I just saw her do a problem with measurement, drawing back on her fractions experience.  Synthesis was happening.  I should have stopped.
I told her about my college calculus class.  My professor made a deal with his students on the first day of class.  It was actually more of a contract, complete with signatures.  The professor agreed to allow a quiz or test to be taken multiple times until the student was satisfied with the grade earned.  Got a C?  Want an A?  Take it over and over and over until you achieve a level of success that you the student are satisfied with.  In return, the student must pass the final.  If the student fails the final, he or she fails the class.  I signed the contract.  I passed.  In fact, I did much better than I ever anticipated doing.  
I told Grace not to worry.  Tomorrow is another day.  If she is not satisfied with the outcome of today’s test, she can take it again and again until she is satisfied.  Given that she has earned As on all her other tests, I expect that she will improve when she is working with a mind not clogged by frustration.
I realize this is not always real life.  Sometime you get one shot.  You do your best.  You pass or you fail.  I see math as preparation for those one time deals.  If she wants to test into a private high school, it may be a one time deal.  You pass, you get in.  You fail, you don’t.  But if taking a math test multiple times can prepare her for that experience when you get just one opportunity, then I say take it.  Again and again and again.


  1. Jess, I agree totally! At this point, what's way more important is her understanding of the concepts and that she's not afraid to try, and keep trying, to succeed. If she leaves the experience feeling like she failed, then that doesn't serve her well for the future at all.

    It's amazing how clearly we can see things looking back on them, while we are in the moment it is more know now that you should have stopped, but at the time you did what seemed right. I am always really hard on myself, too, but we moms do the best we can. It's so tough to see our kids struggle!

    1. So true about being in the moment......she retook the test last night. She answered all the questions correctly but got two labels wrong (placing a 2 instead of a 3 for volume). Then we had a chat about 2 dimensional vs. 3 dimensional objects and she know "gets" the labels. If she were in school she would have most likely received a D for the first test when clearly she could have earned an A- if her mind was in the right place. It leads me back to that place where I question grades vs. portfolios and reinforces my belief that a test just measures what you are capable of in that moment on that particular day. It does not necessarily measure learning.

  2. I so agree too. I love that college professor. What a great thing he did for you all. Keilee gets frustrated with Math more than anything else. Which really makes sense. You work on this complex problem and miss one thing and it is all wrong. The more frustrated they get the less productive they become. We all do that.

    1. Yup! It can become a cycle. Lilah was caught up in that for so long. Now thankfully Life Of Fred has helped her break out of the cycle of math frustration and is helping her to understand that math can be fun and it can be like a game if you just allow yourself to enjoy it a bit.

  3. a mind clogged by frustration... that is a great description. that happens a lot with my DD9.


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