LABWay Math Review – our story
What do you do when the homeschool journey is a little more challenging than usual? When it’s not completely broken, but also not working as well as you know it could be?
You know, those times when an overhaul feels like too much, but a day off just isn’t enough. How do you shake things up a bit while staying the course?
I was in a place like this with my 10 year old about six months ago. It’s been a bitter winter and trying to keep myself busy, let alone my little boy. (And you have to join to count.)
On a side note, this is our first “normal” year after a series of big changes, the smallest of which moved across the country. The school year was particularly long for both of us, and neither of us thrived; my son’s progress slowed and so did my creative ideas.
We were both just going through the motions. Despite field trips, special projects, and extracurricular activities, I was unable to revive our homeschool days. We needed a boost, so I was thrilled when we had the opportunity to try the new coaching program from LABWay Math, and I’m sharing our LABWAY Math review here.
LABWay Math: A unique approach
Building on several years of success overseas, helping more than 10,000 students in Southeast Asia, LABWay has just begun offering its unique math coaching approach to students in the United States.
LABWay Math, a blend of philosophies that borrow from the Socratic Method and Singapore Math, has developed a unique approach to math coaching called the “Logic b4 Procedure”. This approach is built on the assumption that children must understand the “why” of mathematics before they can master the steps and process of mathematics.
The goal of LABWay coaches is to increase mathematical thinking. They are not intended to replace any curriculum; rather, their coaching sessions are meant to take place alongside the students in a complementary way.
LABWay Coaching vs Tutoring
Rather than the more standard sit-and-get tutoring method, where the student receives one-on-one tutoring on a specific topic, LABWay coaching is discussion-based. The folks at LABWay found out children really build and demonstrate an understanding of the “why” behind math when they talk about it with a coach among a small group of peers.
Since we are in a rather unique time zone (Alaska), no other kids my son’s age were ready for small group, so my son worked one-on-one with his coach, Chester, on the fundamentals of fractions. We continued to practice daily according to the curriculum we were using and he had a maths meeting with Chester twice a week.
They explored fractions through conversations about Legos, dogs, pizza and tangerines. Making this connection with things my son already loves helped him engage with Chester and bit by bit he was able to explain and then own the processes around adding and subtracting fractions. I have seen my son rely less on just memorizing steps or rules and actually engage more in thinking about fractions.
These meetings were just what my son needed to beat the math slump we had settled into! He even said, “They don’t feel like math meetings because we’re not just talking about rules and steps and problem solving; we’re just talking about how fractions work.’
I’ll take it! He really enjoyed meeting Chester and after sharing these LABWay Math sessions with the family over dinner. I was beyond excited to see my son’s progress each week moving towards mastery of a certain concept.
Not just another online meeting
Working with a coach and a small group in a virtual environment also builds critical discourse skills in a world where distance learning and digital interactions are becoming more common.
My kids, like many others, are not particularly interested in online classes where the teacher simply lectures the lesson. I can’t say I blame them, I had to take a few graduate courses during the pandemic and I well remember the struggle to get into the “sit and get” courses.
However, LABWay’s method of working with a community of practice—the mutual exchange of information and questions in the common pursuit of deeper understanding—is an excellent way to explore a subject as prone to frustration as mathematics. This approach honors the idea that each participant has something to share as well as something to learn.
My son loved that LABWay Math lessons weren’t “just a teacher on a screen” (his words), but rather someone who knew him and addressed his interests week after week.
“Let us examine the question together, my friend, and if you can contradict anything I say, do so and I will be convinced.” – Socrates
For me, this academic lecture was just as beneficial as what my son achieved specifically in his math skills. Since then, I have observed that my son is much more confident in engaging other adults in conversations.
Plus, it was a useful opportunity for me to simply watch and learn.
As these conversations unfolded, I discovered a renewed creativity for my own math lessons with my son, which even spilled over into our other subjects. While homeschooling my son, I began to ask:
- What do you mean?
- How do you know?
- can you tell me more
I found that such questions allowed my son to guide our conversations and demonstrate his understanding and mastery of the topic. Just injecting a few new questions into our conversations was the infusion I needed as a homeschool teacher and mom.
Ripple Effects of LABWay Math
While I initially thought that LABWay Math would simply offer us some relief from the monotony (which it did), I discovered that it can do much more. My son has seen significant gains in his understanding of fractions as well as his ability, confidence and even enthusiasm to engage in conversation about something that is still relatively new.
We both found renewal by adding LABWay conversations to my son’s math classes; this new energy carried over from math to language arts and geography as we both practiced the art of discourse. My son’s increased confidence in academic conversations has also translated into his interactions with other adults.
If you find that your homeschool days are dragging and your well as a mom is running a little dry, consider adding a new approach to learning! LABWay Math may be right for you.
During July and August, LABWAY Math is offering an amazing promotion. Get started with math coaching today for just $49/month and help your child understand the WHY, not just the HOW of math. Solve math battles for good!