Monthly Archives: January 2017


There are many basic math facts all students should memorize. Addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts are more helpful when they are automatic.  Along with the four operations, there are a few other things math students should know and be able to recite without thought.

Before I give the list of things to memorize, here are some reasons to memorize basic math facts:

  1. When students start studying algebra, geometry, and other higher math subjects, all working memory needs to be used on the algebra or geometry.  If the working memory is stuck figuring out 6 x 7 the student will have a hard time doing the higher math.
  2. Easily and immediately retrievable math facts give students confidence in their math skills.  Math anxiety is decreased.
  3.  A student’s time is used more efficiently used when math facts are immediately accessible.  A student who has to compute basic facts while working on higher math skills will work more slowly and therefore have less time to work on other learning activities. There’s nothing wrong with working slowly.  In fact, errors can be prevented by working slowly.  But slow doesn’t have to be inefficient.

All these reasons and more apply to memorizing often used fraction, decimal, percent equivalents.  Over the next few weeks, WEST math students will be working on memorizing the table of facts in this post.  Quizzes will be given on 2/14 and 2/15.  There will be prizes valued at somewhere between zero and a million dollars.

Click on this link to find all the info you need to know.

percent decimal fraction equivalents to memorize

Homework Due 1/31 and 2/1

Math for the Middle Grades –

  • lesson 55, 56, and 58
  • Homework 19
  • Lesson 57 is optional
  • Also, there is one problem in one of the lessons marked optional

Math 76 –

  • lessons 74 – 77, practice and odds
  • lesson 78 – copy the chart of quadrilaterals at the beginning of this lesson.  Nothing fancy, just a write a copy.  Think and talk about the names and definitions of the quadrilaterals.
  • Supplemental Practice for lesson 65, found on page 700.  You don’t have a key for this.  Hand it in unscored.  Finally, test 14.
  • Supplemental Practice for lesson 65, found on page 700.  You don’t have a key for this.  Hand it in unscored.
  • Test 14

Algebra 1/2 and Algebra 2 – Lessons 80-83 and if you haven’t done it yet test 16.

Algebra 1 – Lessons 76-79.  You may do the odds for a second time, or do the evens.  I emailed a key.

Personal Finance – be sure you are using a budget. is my favorite.  It’s easy to use and is similar to using the ever-dependable envelope method of budgeting.  Activities have been emailed to you.




“Debt is owing anything to anyone for any reason.”  Dave Ramsey

My children have asked me dozens of time, “Mom, would you please loan me the money to buy this amazing thing?”  There are a couple of variations.  One that has seen lots of use is,  “Mom, I left my money at home.  If you loan it to me I can pay you back as soon as we get home.” Another approach takes more creativity and has endless variety:  “Mom, do you remember [insert story of inconvenience or desire to learn something]? This [insert description of amazing object child wants] will help me with [mention inconvenience or thing to learn].  Would you please loan me the money?”

How many times will I have to say “no” before they figure out my answer will not change?

I have six children.  I don’t want to keep track of all the loans!  I don’t want any (more) reasons to argue with my children.  I don’t like details!

More important than keeping life simple, refusing to loan my children money helps me fulfill one of the goals I have for my children.  I want my children to live debt free.  I want them to never know the stress and helplessness of being in debt.  I want them to know what it feels like to not owe anyone anything for any reason.



Homework Due 1/24 and 1 25

Personal Finance students are required to use a budget for the semester.  Goodbudget is an easy to use free app that mimics a traditional envelope budget system.  I believe everyone should use a budget and Goodbudget helps make living on a budget an easy habit to maintain.  Students and parents, if you aren’t using a budget, or you the tools you’re using are serving you well, try Goodbudget. Here’s a link:

Math for the Middle Grades – Lessons 51, 53, 54 and Homework 18. For Lesson 52, complete any one problem on this lesson.  The rest of lesson 52 is optional.

Math 76 – Test 13, Investigation 2, Lessons 70, 72, 73 practice and odds.  Lesson 71 practice only.  For Lesson 71 practice a., students are making a chart or other representation of the chart in this lesson which gives procedures for adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing fractions and mixed numbers.  High levels of neatness, creativity, and color will gain extra credit.  Minimum size: 8 1/2 x 11″.

Algebra 1/2, Algebra 1, Algebra 2 – Test 16, and Lessons 76-79 practice and odds. Starting this week, for the rest of the year there will be four lessons per week.

Personal Finance – Your activities will be emailed to you.  Be sure to read the three handouts you got in class and follow instructions on those.  Also, go to or download the Goodbudget app on your device.  Set up a budget and start tracking your spending.  If you don’t want to set up a budget, set up envelopes for your categories of spending and record your expenses without funding each envelope.  This will help you understand where your money is going.


When my children were very young, I gave them an allowance.  I wanted them to have some experience handling money.  When allowance was given out, it went into three containers:  giving, saving, spending.  Ten percent, or more, of a child’s allowance went into the giving container.  Another ten to twenty percent went into the saving container.  The rest was for spending.

Some of my children saved without effort.  Most of their spending money ended up in savings.  Others seemed to be driven to spend every dollar as soon as they had it.  As they have gotten older, their spending styles haven’t changed, and without forced saving, some have no savings.  They were following my example.

For years I believed I didn’t have enough money to save any.  As long as I believed it, it was true.  A few years ago I remembered the forced saving my children did and concluded I could that too.  A few dollars a month, not enough to miss, is now automatically moved into a savings account.

Now quarterly bills can be paid painlessly because I’ve saved for them.  And despite my usual desire to overthink buying decisions for days, I sometimes make purchases without the usual three-day waiting period, and without having to walk away saying, “I’ll have to save up for that.”  I’ve already saved up!  I’m still far from impulsive in spending money and the same-day purchases I’m talking about are relatively small.

My next goal is to save enough to cover three months of expenses.  It seems like a crazy goal, but my success with small-scale saving makes it seem possible.



Homework Due 1/17 and 1/18

Welcome to Spring Semester!

Math for the Middle Grades – Lessons 49 and 50 and Homework 17. In class, we removed fall semester’s chapters and put in spring semester’s chapters.  We aren’t done with lesson 49, so we kept it. I also handed out the key for the new chapters.

Math 76 – Lesson 65, practice only.   Lessons 66-69, practice and odds.

Algebra 1/2, Algebra 1, Algebra 2 – Lesson 71 practice only.  Lessons 72-75 practice and odd numbered problems in the problem set.

Personal Finance – Your activities will be emailed to you.  Be sure to read the three handouts you got in class and follow instructions on those.

Risk Taker?

My Grama Raye gave each of her grandchildren the same Christmas gift each year.  We knew she would hand each of us an envelope containing a card and five dollars.   The ritual became a highlight of our family’s Christmas celebration.

One year Raye had a surprise for us.  We each had to choose between an envelope and an animal sculpted from aluminum foil.  The choice had to be made without the benefit of handling a foil animal.  I couldn’t imagine choosing one of the animals as my gift.  Some of my cousins, however, each gleefully received one of the lovely silver creatures.  I took an envelope, which I promptly opened.  Inside I found the expected card and five dollars.  My more adventurous cousins disassembled their foil sculptures and discovered each held five dollars in coins.

Looking back, this event showed me something about how I prefer to handle life, and specifically money.  I chose the sure thing, the low-risk option, the known.  Some of my cousins chose adventure and the fun of the moment.  Each of us felt comfortable with our choices.

As an adult, I have embraced my lack of comfort with risk. Knowing I prefer more security and certainty makes financial decisions easier. Debt?  No, that’s risky.  Six months no interest?  No, something might change.  Potentially high-yield investments?  No, they are generally higher risk.  And the older I get, the less risk I’m willing to take.

In Personal Finance class, we’ll be discussing how being aware of our risk tolerance can help us make financial decisions.  We’ll also learn ways to eliminate unnecessary risk by living without debt, saving, and investing wisely.