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    How long on 5th grade math?

    My 5th grader takes FOREVER to do math and I don't make him do every problem. We start out by correcting mistakes from the previous day's lesson, which takes FOREVER for him to fix, then it's on to the new lesson. He works for 20 minutes at a time and then he takes a break and comes back for another 20 minutes, or he does another subject and finishes math later. He is so very slow and hates math. He makes silly mistakes all the time. This subject is driving me crazy!!! How long does it take your kids to finish math? This is our first year with R&S math and I think it's great for mastery, but I, too, hate it.
    DS, 15, 10th grade
    DS, 12, 7th grade

    #2
    This sort of scenario makes me wonder if he is placed correctly. What math had he done before? Does he have his math facts mastered in all four operations?

    My initial thought is to bump him down a bit and see if that helps. There are those kids you practically have to sit on to get them to finish (I have one too) but the first thing I would check is if he needs to scoot backward a bit and get those facts memorized, or if he needs to try the fourth grade book, where most of the concepts from 5th are first introduced.

    AMDG,
    Sarah
    2020-2021
    16th Year HSing; 10th Year with MP
    DD, 19, Homeschool grad; college sophomore
    DS, 17
    DD, 15
    DD, 13
    DD, 11
    DD, 9
    DD, 7
    +DS+
    DS, 2

    Comment


      #3
      Definitely follow Sarah's advice: if he is struggling with lower level mastery, and he is pounding his head on the table just trying to recall multiplication facts, it's time to put a stopper into the process and focus on that. By 6th grade math and higher, the student should be seeing two numbers and having instant recognition of the factors in common.

      OTOH, if you are pretty sure he's just being slow and lazy, it's time to motivate him. Put on your thinking cap: positive or negative motivation? Punishment or reward? I tend to prefer a combination of both. After you have your strategy, choose a time to make The Announcement of The New Policy. I recommend doing this on a Sunday afternoon where you pull him aside, or even a Monday morning when you are meeting to discuss expectations for the week.

      For a 5th grade boy, it might look like this. Say Boy loves something you already limit, like GameBoy playing. A simple reward is to tell him that he will be allotted 45 mins to complete his daily math assignment. For every minute he finishes before the time limit, he may add minutes that to his playing time limit. If you fear he will rush and make mistakes because of this, tell him that furthermore, he will be allowed up to (pick a number... 3?) wrong, by after that, each missed problem will subtract from his allotment. By choosing a positive motivation (something he loves, especially if there is a limit on this activity) this will encourage him and set him on the course for a challenge. Make sure to allow a generous amount of time for the completion, so that your conscience is clear: he *could* have accomplished his task. Now the consequences are in his own hands. [BTW, you will need a TIMER running for this strategy: Boy should be able to see the timer throughout the period, so he can adjust as needed.]

      Also, he will cry when he blows it. He will test to see if you honestly meant what you said. But, you are up for this, right? You are training him in the virtue of doing a job well, and doing it in a timely manner.

      Another strategy might be to set a timer for 10 mins, and ask him to work problems in bursts. This is beneficial for some students, especially those with concentration problems. IF that is true for your son, then the above strategy might frustrate him. But, unless he does have a genuine attention disorder, I fell like the above suggestion is more in line with "virtue training". Yep, it really is hard to grow up, Son. I feel ya.

      A final strategy I have used to great success in elementary school was this: Allow the student to cross off a few problems, HIS CHOICE, each day. Of course, you will now resume giving him MORE than you have, knowing that he will be crossing off Student's Choice problems. I used to vary the amount by the day.... it feels like a game this way... one to five, depending on how I feel the day is going. If my 4th grader was really grumpy and I wanted to encourage him, I might say, "OK, today's cross of number is... 4," then delighted shrieks would commence. If I could see that there was actually very little to do, or that the concept was very easy, I'd only choose 1. I tended to fall into 2-4 most often. The only other "rule" for this strategy was that no more than 2 problems could fall in the same section. That eliminated the issue of skipping an entire concept for the day. I am certain that it was THE FEELING OF CONTROL that was so welcomed by my kids. I feel like that was the magic of this strategy. Of course, every problem crossed off contained 8's or 9's.


      Hope that helps a little bit!



      Jen
      DS, 28 yrs, graduated from MIT (Aerospace)

      DS, 26 yrs, graduated from SIU's School of Business, ENGAGED!

      DD, 23 yrs, graduated from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC; 2nd grade teacher.

      DS, 13 yrs, 9th grade; attends a private classical school, 7th - 12th.

      All homeschooled for some/all of their K-12 education.

      Me: retired after 16 years of continuous homeschooling, now a high school chemistry teacher at a large Catholic high school

      Comment


        #4
        Thank you for the suggestions! He does not have trouble with math facts, so I know that isn't the problem. He started in Singapore math, then CLE, which moved too fast. When I teach the lesson he understands it, and I sit with him while he does problems from each new section, which he always gets right. It's when I send him off to finish on his own that he makes mistakes and says he can't remember what to do. It really takes him forever to learn a concept, which is why I moved him to R & S. Mistakes are made in the new section and general review. He doesn't have any attention problems, either. Am I expecting too much? He makes about 10 mistakes each day.

        Word problems are very difficult for him and always have been. My husband works with him on those because I don't explain them very well. This boy is very artistic and would rather be doodling and acting than concentrating on math.
        DS, 15, 10th grade
        DS, 12, 7th grade

        Comment


          #5
          Seconding the suggestion to move math to the first subject of the day. We did this beginning with 4th grade core, and it made a huge difference. Now, 5th grade math takes her 40 minutes/day on average to do the entire lesson (easy lessons are probably 30 minutes, harder/time consuming concept lessons are probably a little over 60 minutes). I just have her do the entire lesson, nothing more and nothing less, and we will do speed drills and other stuff during the summer. Also, it is good to consider the difference between knowing fairly well and mastery--if a child doesn't have instant recall of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts, 5th grade math will be very time consuming for certain lessons. My daughter knew her facts well but not with instant recall in fourth grade and was annoyed at the additional practice and required her to do, but now she has them mastered and is reaping the benefits.
          Michaela
          Daughter: Age 11 MP 6A (MPOA for TFL, 6th grade math, and composition)
          Son: Age 6 1st Grade MP Traditional Spelling, Literature, Math, and Handwriting
          for 2019/2020 school year

          Comment


            #6
            That totally rings of not having the facts down. When the foundation is laid appropriately, the connections are made quickly and with relative ease. When I was in 4th grade, my math scores began to tank. In 3rd grade, my father had deployed for a year, was home 6 months, and left for another year. My mother just couldn't sit and do flashcards with me and run a household single-handedly, so even though I could figure them out if given long enough to add doubles or skip count, I was bogged down by speed and basic calculation issues. And it hurt me when I got to fractions and long division because I would literally be writing multiplication tables with addition in the margins of my paper to figure out factors of 81 (was it 8x8=64? No. 9x8=? Well, 9x5=45, then 9 more is 54, then 9 more is 63, then 9 more is 72, then 9 more is 81. Okay, so 5 plus 4 is 9, so 9x9 is 81.) It was a disaster.

            If you see your child counting on his fingers or skip counting or writing tables or addition in the margins, then you know where the problem lies.

            If it's an order of operations or procedures issue, reteach each lesson, do more examples from the text, and pick a few more problems to do together. You can never have too much review.
            Mama of 2, teacher of 3

            SY 21/22
            5A w/ SFL & CC Narrative class
            MP1

            Completed MPK, MP1 Math & Enrichment, MP2, 3A, 4A
            SC B, SC C, SC1 (Phonics/Math), SC2's Writing Book 1

            Comment


              #7
              These items raise BIG red flags for me:

              Originally posted by Sugarbelle View Post

              ...When I teach the lesson he understands it, and I sit with him while he does problems from each new section, which he always gets right.
              ...It's when I send him off to finish on his own that he makes mistakes and says he can't remember what to do.
              ...It really takes him forever to learn a concept, which is why I moved him to R & S.
              ...Word problems are very difficult for him and always have been.
              This is my oldest son. Word for word. He has executive function challenges (EF isn't a diagnosis or label; it just means that there are critical organizational/planning/memory skills, based in the frontal cortex of the brain, that are developing more slowly than expected for a child's given age).

              It sounds like he needs a couple of things (some of which
              makinmemories
              Member
              makinmemories already mentioned):

              1. Graph paper to ensure that he's not only lining things up correctly, but ALSO that he's processing/remembering the meaning of those places in relation to the steps of the problem

              2. Keep him with you for now. He'll need you to be his coach for a bit ("Good. But before you move on, where does that decimal need to be?"). As he begins catching these errors himself on a regular basis, you'll be able to gradually fade this support. Gradual is key; if he starts floundering again, return to the most recent level of support that worked for him. Be sure to start this now — when he hits 6th or 7th grade the infamous middle-school-itis will appear and he won't want to work with you on anything.

              3. If multi-step problems are an issue, try using a mnemonic to help remember each step.

              4. Have a chart that shows sample completed problems, with each step color-coded, so he can check that he hasn't forgotten something; but you'll probably have to remind him to "Check your chart."

              5. Be sure to use the TM for the additional teaching/drill; kids who take a long time to grasp concepts often need to be over-taught. The increase in repetition can lead to a decrease in the time it takes to learn the concept.

              HTH!
              Jennifer
              Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

              2021-2022
              DS18: Almost done!
              DS17: MP, MPOA
              DS15: MP, MPOA
              DS12: Mix of SC 5/6 & SC 7/8
              DD11: Mix of 5M and SC7/8
              DD9: SC3
              DD6: MPK

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by enbateau View Post

                If it's an order of operations or procedures issue, reteach each lesson, do more examples from the text, and pick a few more problems to do together. You can never have too much review.
                Yes, I do believe this is the problem. I have to make him charts so he can remember the steps.
                DS, 15, 10th grade
                DS, 12, 7th grade

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by jen1134 View Post



                  This is my oldest son. Word for word. He has executive function challenges (EF isn't a diagnosis or label; it just means that there are critical organizational/planning/memory skills, based in the frontal cortex of the brain, that are developing more slowly than expected for a child's given age).


                  HTH!
                  Memorizing is not his strength, although he does know his math facts. He has trouble remembering capitals and Bible verses, but not memorizing piano pieces or history flashcards. I really can't figure him out!
                  DS, 15, 10th grade
                  DS, 12, 7th grade

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Sugarbelle View Post

                    Memorizing is not his strength, although he does know his math facts. He has trouble remembering capitals and Bible verses, but not memorizing piano pieces or history flashcards. I really can't figure him out!
                    Yes, this is my son too. Some things he can remember well, other things he can't. He has to study twice as much as his brother to get within 10 points of him grade-wise. We just had him screened for learning disabilities because high school has really magnified his struggles. There was no sign of an LD for him so Cheryl Swope (Simply Classical) and the school system advisors all said that it's likely his executive function difficulties are causing the trouble.

                    Last year's Sodalitas videos are now free and they include a talk Cheryl and I gave on executive function. It includes her guidance on discerning independent/instructional/frustration levels. That part is worth its weight in gold. It was a game-changer for our family when we heard her speak about it a year earlier. The talk is called Organized for Life: https://www.memoriapress.com/streami...hering-videos/

                    Also, the book Smart but Scattered is extremely helpful!

                    Jennifer
                    Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

                    2021-2022
                    DS18: Almost done!
                    DS17: MP, MPOA
                    DS15: MP, MPOA
                    DS12: Mix of SC 5/6 & SC 7/8
                    DD11: Mix of 5M and SC7/8
                    DD9: SC3
                    DD6: MPK

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Personally, I would start with one thing to see if it helps: stay with him. Tell him that this math thing needs to get better, so until it does, you are teaming up. BUT your time is valuable. So if he wastes it, there will be consequences. And be clear about what those will be. Then, you sit on h and be there while he works. As Jen said, give the level of help he needs, starting with full-on attention, and gradually backing off until you reach the right “level.” But math should still be only an hour - because even this will probably be a lot for you to give to it. But if it truly is just a motivation problem, you should see a pretty good (if not surprising) difference in a very short amount of time OR what you will realize by working so closely with him is that he actually does not have his facts mastered as well as you thought and he actually does need some remediation on them. Either way, doing it together should reveal the true problem, and also get the points across that...
                      A) the current situation is not acceptable
                      and
                      B) Math is not going away
                      and
                      C) there will be stricter consequences if this is simply a motivation/time-management issue.

                      And then do your best to be patient. I had one who took until 7th grade to be able to do math independently simply because of focus issues. It does get better!

                      ETA: As I was doing a check through with my fourth grader, I pointed out to her how much faster she had gotten at making like fractions so she can add and subtract them. It was a really hard concept for her to grasp, and now she is a whiz at it. It made me think of you, and your situation, and how much slower children are when they simply don't understand something. I cannot express enough how valuable it might be to simply order a fourth grade set and see how he does with it. Confidence can be such strong motivation all on its own. I know feeling like you are going backward can be hard to swallow, but if it's going to be the best thing long-term, it might be worth it.

                      AMDG,
                      Sarah
                      KF2000
                      Senior Member
                      Last edited by KF2000; 03-27-2019, 05:27 PM.
                      2020-2021
                      16th Year HSing; 10th Year with MP
                      DD, 19, Homeschool grad; college sophomore
                      DS, 17
                      DD, 15
                      DD, 13
                      DD, 11
                      DD, 9
                      DD, 7
                      +DS+
                      DS, 2

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by jen1134 View Post

                        Yes, this is my son too. Some things he can remember well, other things he can't. He has to study twice as much as his brother to get within 10 points of him grade-wise. We just had him screened for learning disabilities because high school has really magnified his struggles. There was no sign of an LD for him so Cheryl Swope (Simply Classical) and the school system advisors all said that it's likely his executive function difficulties are causing the trouble.

                        Last year's Sodalitas videos are now free and they include a talk Cheryl and I gave on executive function. It includes her guidance on discerning independent/instructional/frustration levels. That part is worth its weight in gold. It was a game-changer for our family when we heard her speak about it a year earlier. The talk is called Organized for Life: https://www.memoriapress.com/streami...hering-videos/

                        Also, the book Smart but Scattered is extremely helpful!
                        Thanks so much! I'm going to listen to this as soon as I can.
                        DS, 15, 10th grade
                        DS, 12, 7th grade

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