DreamBox Learning’s Lesson Map with Pirate Rewards, originally uploaded by DreamBox Learning.
I don’t endorse many things. I try to try and be one of those people who will tell you what worked for me, but also remind anyone listening that my advice should be taken only as an example and not as a recommendation.
I remember asking other mothers around me what to do in certain circumstances – what kind of stuff to buy, what was the hardest, how to deal with certain ailments… At first, I just wanted direction. I wanted someone to give me instruction that I could follow and then I could go about my day.
Breastfeeding, for example. Not the easiest task. I was frustrated that no one could tell me what was wrong. It wasn’t until I spoke with my father and realized that breastfeeding wasn’t what needed to be corrected but my outlook on breastfeeding that I finally had relief and I was able to navigate the problems and solve them myself.
Another question I had was about cloth diapers. I needed an alternative to what my mother used (folds and pins) because I knew that wouldn’t fly with Dickson. I got a billion different solutions from many people but in the end, I needed to find out what worked for Franklin (and later, Eliza).
About 6 months into the business of new motherhood, I started to appreciate the wisdom of a few of my friends who would resist giving me any advice. From these few, I got quite a bit of “it’s different for everyone” and “every child reacts differently”.
It was frustrating at times because there seemed to be very little middle ground. There were those with nothing to recommend and then those with everything – recommendations that had to be followed to a tee and “This is the only way it will work and you have to try it for AT LEAST FIVE MONTHS”.
I just wanted a few suggestions and a little bit of discovered rational.
Cue my friend, Joelle.
Back in the day of new parenting, Joelle was a year ahead. Her son was born almost exactly a year before Franklin and if anyone had an opinion, it was this woman. If I wanted research and history and informed decision making, it would be her.
She knew that while all new mothers are going through the trenches like everyone else; every single individual needs to find her own path. This is not to say that she didn’t do research and had ideas and stories about what worked for her. She was/is/will hopefully always be an abundant source of information. However, she was also good at telling me why it worked in her case and she always had other options.
In other words, Joelle is a gold mine.
A wonderful mother and a true friend. There are only a few people I would want to survive the apocalypse with and she is in the top five. I swear, if the water was contaminated and zombies were beating down the door, she’d have about 7 different solutions on how to deal with the present situation as well as a few options on what we will do once we get out and will need to find shelter, food and water for the coming winter.
So when other parents ask me for advice, I try to think this way. Like Joelle, I am a researcher. I need to investigate all possible options and then objectively decide where I stand on each opinion and where my issue fits considering my family’s situation. I don’t feel good about a decision without doing all of this stuff.
However, this doesn’t mean other people are the same. As a result, if I tell someone else what kind of cloth diaper system worked for me, I would hope this doesn’t result in them spending $200 on a system that wasn’t a good fit for their baby. You’d hope.
You think I’m flattering myself but seriously, I’m not. New motherhood is hard and I remember those days of “Give me the solution. I’ll make it work if it’s the last. thing. I. do. I’m wary of telling anyone desperate for a solution what worked for me. I don’t want my solution to backfire on someone else.
So, it is with this loooong introduction that I give you my endorsement of the following website: Dreambox Learning. It is really really great – for Franklin.
It is a math game site with curriculum ranging from Kindergarten to Grade 3 (The American system but that’s fine as it’s just a supplement, not a replacement for his schooling). There is a free trial but in the long run, you must pay for the service once you delve further into the program. For me, the cost is worth it.
And it’s good.
At least, it’s good for us.
Franklin is doing really well. He still gets frustrated and he still worries about not getting everything right every single time (apparently every wrong answer takes him further away from his chosen career as a Mechanical Engineer – perfection, anyone?) but he can see progress and he doesn’t hate working on it every day.
The thing with math is that to get better, you need to work on it daily – if only for 15 minutes. This is what I’ve learned, anyway. Doing math sheets or a math booklet with Franklin is torture – for all of us. This website does the same thing, but in various ways and with various incentives. It’s been amazing to see his progression.
Of course, once school gets going and math class begins, we’ll have to see how our work has paid off but I’m pretty optimistic.
Check it out.