Teaching My Baby To Read

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Third Grade Math — Transferring Answers

Bruce(6) came home from school yesterday super excited about his first day of third grade math.  It’s the first time he has said “School was great!” so far.  Mathematically, the Houghton Mifflin Math Expressions Volume 1 book is in the slightly easy to perfect level range for him.  But oh no!  It is a textbook and so he has to transfer his answers into a spiral notebook.

Uhg!  I am feeling like such an idiot right now.  Bruce has been doing all sorts of math up the wazoo this summer, but it never occurred to me to teach him about transferring his answers.  He did this a little bit with Life of Fred Fractions, but that was many months ago.  Since LOF was for fun, I didn’t push him to make things neat and tidy either.  I really should have known better and foreseen that transferring answers was coming down the pipeline because I use to teach third grade for four years.  Two of those years were with textbooks, but the other two we used math menus, with no transferring required.  Teaching Bruce to transfer answers just didn’t occur to me.

Bruce was really confused by having to transfer his answers, and had actually written in the book at school before he realized he wasn’t supposed to.  Eraser to the rescue!  I hope he gets the hang of this spiral notebook thing quickly without being discouraged, because the third grade math is so perfect for him.  I don’t want his six-year-old fine motor skills to drag down his mathematical progress either.  There is a huge dichotomy there in what his brain can do and what his hand can write.  I need to teach him how to grid out his answers on the page, and neatly write page numbers at the top ASAP.

For any of you homeschooling families who might be reading this, take note!  If your kid can cruise through a Singapore or Miquon book without any problem that’s great.  But could that same child transfer all of those answers in an organized way to a spiral notebook?


  1. Claire H. says:

    One of the things I look to avoid in our homeschool are textbooks where DD will have to copy down her answer onto notebook paper. It’s getting harder and harder now that she’s working at a middle school level in nearly all of her subjects.

    • jenbrdsly says:

      Maybe you should have her try transferring her answers once or twice a month just for practice? That way she has the experience. Bruce is catching on to it quickly, but it was quite a shock to his little system.

      • Claire H. says:

        She knows how to do it as there isn’t always room in her Singapore textbook to work the answer in the book. I just get a lot of grumbling about it and requests for me to transcribe it for her. If we’ve got a time crunch, I will transcribe it just to speed up the process.

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