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mastery vs perfection

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    Well, actually, what our kids learn now in math is not that different from what they do in higher levels of math, too. You are simply manipulating the concept of number according to various uses and purposes. Each use is governed by its own procedures, but it’s not as though there is a radical point where math suddenly changes. There are a few milestones that take adjustment, but overall, the progression of mathematical concepts is a logical, continuous path.

    The classical approach to learning math respects this logical progression, and allows this regularity to be seen well. It gives students the chance to master each step before moving on to the next. Modern math misses the boat by trying to teach concepts too soon, before kids are ready, and out of order, thereby creating more confusion than is necessary.

    2019-2020 - 9th Year with MP
    DD, 18, Homeschool grad; Art major/philosophy minor
    DS, 16
    DD, 14
    DD, 12
    DD, 10
    DD, 7.5
    DD, 5.5
    DS, 18 months


      This sounds REALLY dumb, but I have an intelligent and emotionally intense second grader who also still has tantrums, and I have found food really helps avoid tantrums. I think you have received great advice from others on how to deal with the school issue. I wanted to mention something completely different. My daughter's tantrums are (thankfully!) becoming much fewer and far between, but I have noticed that one absolute trigger for her is hunger. She is super intense and just uses a ton of energy to do normal stuff. She gets hungry quickly, even after a full meal but doesn't always communicate that because she is so intensely focused on what she is doing. I find that keeping some healthy snacks on hand and making sure that she has a little something mid morning AND mid afternoon (hummus and carrots, apples and peanut butter, cheese and crackers with berries- something with a fat or protein) really helps her keep it together better and keeps her blood sugar stable. If she didn't finish breakfast or lunch I would at that time give her the opportunity to finish it, but that rarely happens. A few hours after a tantrum we calmly talk about it and discuss things we can do when we notice her getting worked up so we can avoid. We talk about what she can do, and what I can do. She is really starting to get that she can control herself in those emotionally intense moments. So, figure out what works for you both in the moment, but revisit in a totally calm and almost clinical way to analyze what happened and give her some awareness of what she can do otherwise. Find some keywords that help her visualize, as hokey as they may sound. We talk about keeping our thinking brain turned on to manage our feelings volcano!


        I'm storing all of the tantrum advice away for my 2 year old baby girl. I've never seen tantrum before in one of the other kids (all boys) - literally, the boys hardly ever through one. Hers are nearly impressive.

        The outburst I deal with is obsessive silliness and showmanship. I created a "signal" when this starts to get out of control. It's kind of a hokey baseball pitcher move, but I say their name, get eye contact, and tug on my right ear lobe. They know they absolutely must stop what they are doing and say "yes ma'am". That pause has made a huge difference in the amount of correction I've had to use over the past year. It's been just enough time to allow for a bit of stop and self-reflect and allows me to keep control of the school day without having to escalate discipline.

        I don't know what to say about someone wanting to be a perfectionist as my struggles were usually the opposite. One quote I read recently has really helped me fix my close-is-good-enough approach to things that really need more attention. "Don't practice until you get it right - practice until you can't get it wrong." Granted, that's probably the opposite approach to what someone with perfectionist issues should read, but you did mention that she struggles when something isn't new and interesting and she already knows something, when you realize she doesn't know it enough to master it. Maybe that phrase could help her, like others have mentioned above - put the perfectionist tendencies into positive uses that can be called on at any time, not just when things look fun or neat or new. So when things get boring, and there's pushback because the practice isn't fun, maybe try out that phrase and see if it resonates with the other parts of her personality that loves to have things mastered.

        Good Luck Mama.

        DS (MP3) - 9
        DS (MP2) - 7/8
        DS (K) - 6
        DD (Adorable distraction) 2 1/2