## Help! I'm Being Sucked into a Negative Black Hole… Throw Me a Number Line!

A Negative Number Black Hole Consuming the Universe (Especially M&Ms)

I suppose as a kid, it’s tough to focus on learning something new when your dad tells you that the entire universe might be erased by a minus sign.

We’d pretty much exhausted the positive integer subtraction worksheets, but had a high-motivation goal on the table involving another iPod download here, so something had to fill the gap in the space-time continuum… I figured it wouldn’t be a big deal to toss out one of the introductory subtraction pages on negative numbers because I had the time to introduce the concept and work through a few examples.

Unfortunately, as far as my young charge was concerned, negative numbers might as well have come from Mars. Or worse. Much, much worse.

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## Rocket Math Strategies

Many grade schools now using various types of timed tests for basic arithmetic. This web site was originally created to provide practice worksheets for a time testing program used at a local school district. If your child’s school is using a similar program, these worksheets will provide several variations on the single practice sheet that typically comes home for each lesson.

The Rocket Math programs are typically divided into multiple levels usually identified by letter, where each level introduces a small number of basic facts. The problems on each level are built on the The tests are usually given daily, with each test lasting one minute. Practice on the problems is pretty critical to success, especially if your child isn’t one that works well under the pressure of the clock.

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## Raising the Bar: How Parents Can Fix Education

Dan Akst penned an inspired article for last Friday’s edition of the Wall Street Journal. I don’t know that we’re ready to give up Hannah Montana and Guitar Hero just yet, but the advice here resonated strongly. Straight to the point…

More than budgets or bureaucrats, more than textbooks or teachers, parents are the reason that kids perform as they do in school.

That’s not to take anything away from the support our teachers and schools are providing, and our teachers here are the first ones to raise the same flags Mr. Akst is waving. Nay-sayers not withstanding, this article hits the nail on the head. There’s only so much a teacher in a classroom with 20 kids can get accomplished, and these days a one-on-one homework hour with your child is more than just an opportunity… It’s a necessity.