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    When are math facts mastered?

    My second grader has been using R&S Math from the beginning when we started with MP's classical core in kindergarten. When we began 2nd grade this fall (after having a 10 week summer break) it was very obvious to me that she had not retained a lot of her addition and subtraction facts. I decided to slow things down and only do one lesson a day instead of the review pace that is suggested in the teacher manual for the first 40 lessons. We are on our 10th week of school and although we've finished review (lesson 40) I do not feel comfortable moving on with new facts as she is still struggling to have mastered 1-10 addition/subtraction.

    I have been following the teacher manual for teaching the lessons, reviewing with flashcards every day and use the sailboat visual aids. We complete the first page in the lesson together, I have her do 2-3 lines on the second page, and complete the entire 3rd page. I'm hitting a wall at this point in knowing how else to help her memorize her facts. It takes her typically 2-3 minutes to finish a speed drill in the workbook (28 questions). I notice that she will get stumped over facts that are adding or subtracting 1 or 2 (4+1; 9-2). During flashcard drills she pauses often for a few seconds before answering. She does shut down a lot of times when she is drilled or timed on facts. Since we've finished lesson 40 but I haven't wanted to teach new facts we are just going through the workbook and completing lines from the 2nd page that were not originally completed.

    I do notice that if I say the facts out loud as she sees the flashcard she is able to answer more quickly than when I just flash a card and she just looks at it. Also, if I randomly ask her facts out of context (while out at the grocery store, driving in the ca or away from the math workbook) she can answer me correctly. Is she just not engaged during math lessons? Does anyone have any suggestions on how to proceed? At what point do I consider her facts mastered and when should I be concerned that she is just not understanding these math concepts? Do you suggest I switch her to SC math lessons? Does anyone have another math program that might suit her better?
    Last edited by Anne E; 10-21-2019, 05:54 PM.
    Anne

    2019/2020
    DD 7 - MP core 2nd grade
    DD 5 - MP core K
    DS 3 -adorable and into everything

    #2
    This happened to us as well. Prior to the summer of my eldest's 2nd grade year, I knew we had to review the R&S Arithmetic 1 1-10 facts. I got ahold of more Arithmetic 1 workbooks and did that review, slowly as she learned and assimilated them with old fact families. My personal experience tells me this is pretty normal. I've spoken with public school parents and had my own experience of taking a summer off. It's pretty common, especially if your child is on the younger side.

    My eldest is now in 3A and just now experiencing true mastery of the all the addition and subtraction facts. She finally has rapid and steady recall of all of the triplets up to 18. That takes much of the 2nd grade year. Granted, we didn't learn about the trick to spread them across the dining room table until the spring of last year. That helped enormously. At the start of this year,my eldest also struggled with her 9s again. Her older age and maturity meant that with some extra review those first 8 weeks, she had them down cold.
    Mama to 2, Married 17 years

    SY 19/20
    DD 9-3A
    DS 6-SC C

    Comment


      #3
      We use XtraMath for flashcards practice. I require my kids to continue until they have completed the regular set (1-10) @ 3seconds, then 2sec, 1.5 sec, then the expanded (1-12) set @ 3sec, 2sec, 1.5 sec. For young kids or kids who struggle, they also have a 6 second option.

      When they can do all these, I consider them mastered.
      Amanda - Mama to three crazy boys (7A, 6M, 2), classics major

      "Non nisi te, Domine. Non nisi te" - St. Thomas Aquinas

      Comment


        #4
        Anne E,

        To me, it sounds like you are doing everything fine, and that with time these will eventually sink in and stick. I would take a deep breath, realize that this hard work will pay off, and that it is ok to keep going. I would not feel the need to stop moving ahead. Just keep up with the steady practice, as you are already doing. Different kids take to the speed stuff at different times. It is still important to keep trying, but it’s not a huge need right now either. Trust that she will get it.

        My almost 8 year old was like this with reading. And all it took for all the little lightbulbs to finally be on at the same time was time, patience, and continued practice.

        AMDG,
        Sarah
        2019-2020 - 9th Year with MP
        DD, 19, Homeschool grad; Art major/philosophy minor
        DS, 16
        DD, 14
        DD, 12
        DD, 10
        DD, 8
        DD, 6
        +DS+
        DS, 2

        Comment


          #5
          For some reason I can’t edit my previous post, but I wanted to add the caution not to treat this as a reason to switch math programs. As you mention yourself, this is not about comprehension. She has shown you that she understands what is going on with addition and subtraction. That is really all the comprehension that is necessary right now. This is simply about waiting for maturity to catch up with work level - and judging from your description, it will. It doesn’t sound as though there is anything unusual going on with her cognitive abilities. It’s just a foretaste if the fact that to do the best things, it takes a lot of hard work!

          AMDG,
          Sarah
          2019-2020 - 9th Year with MP
          DD, 19, Homeschool grad; Art major/philosophy minor
          DS, 16
          DD, 14
          DD, 12
          DD, 10
          DD, 8
          DD, 6
          +DS+
          DS, 2

          Comment


            #6
            KF2000 Sarah, I just want to make sure I read you correctly, you would suggest that I introduce new math facts while keep reviewing addition/subtraction 1-10 at this point? I've only hesitated starting lesson 41 because she is inconsistent with showing me she knows her 1-10 facts but I also sense some frustration from her that we are doing the same thing everyday.
            Anne

            2019/2020
            DD 7 - MP core 2nd grade
            DD 5 - MP core K
            DS 3 -adorable and into everything

            Comment


              #7
              Some kids really need the talk about why it's so important to get math 100% right. My eldest struggles with attention to detail, so she's far more likely to miss a few problems due to rushing and inattention issues than because she doesn't grasp the concept. Find out if that could be an issue, or whether she really doesn't "get it" yet. Hemming and hawing before each problem would suggest more review is necessary. Also, some bright kids for whom other subjects come really easily can be frustrated with a subject that hangs them up. They'll say they're bored, but what they mean is that they're embarrassed and frustrated that the subject requires them any effort.

              I wouldn't move forward without seeing at least 85% of completed problems being correct. Find out which facts drive her nuts and review those like crazy (morning, noon, and night). If it's just 2-4 facts that are her nemesis, move forward with a plan to tackle those daily. If it's random and inconsistent, hang out and print off more Blacklines.
              Mama to 2, Married 17 years

              SY 19/20
              DD 9-3A
              DS 6-SC C

              Comment


                #8
                It sounds like she knows them well. Speed will come with time. Two things stood out in your post:

                “During flashcard drills she pauses often for a few seconds before answering. She does shut down a lot of times when she is drilled or timed on facts.”

                “...if I say the facts out loud as she sees the flashcard she is able to answer more quickly than when I just flash a card and she just looks at it.”

                The first sounds like an anxiety thing. Not necessarily anything “clinical” but an apprehension about having to perform or be fast. Many kids struggle with this. One option is to have her do the speed drills with a stopwatch rather than a timer. Just record her time at the end of each drill and as she starts to beat her own times you can point that progress out to her as a “Hey, look! Today’s drill was two seconds faster than last time! That’s so cool!”

                The second sounds like mental distraction. This could be playing into the “pausing before answering” thing, too. An option there is to have her read the whole problem out loud and then say the answer.

                For the 1’s and 2’s issue: I would ask her what she thinks is happening on those problems. When I ask my kids what they’re experiencing in a specific struggle, I usually discover things I never would have guessed on my own.

                I definitely agree with Sarah — your daughter knows the facts. Just keep moving forward and the speed will come with time.

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

                DS16
                MP: Lit 10, VideoText Algebra
                MPOA: High School Comp. II
                HSC: Spanish I, Conceptual Physics, Modern European History, and electives

                DS15
                MP: Biology, Lit 10, VideoText Algebra, Greek Tragedies
                MPOA: High School Comp. II, Fourth Form Latin
                HSC: Modern European History

                DS12
                7M with:
                Second Form Latin, EGR III, and HSC for US History

                DS11
                SC Level 4

                DD9
                3A, with First Form Latin (long story!)

                DD7/8
                Still in SC Level 2

                DD 4/5
                SC Level C

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Anne E View Post
                  KF2000 Sarah, I just want to make sure I read you correctly, you would suggest that I introduce new math facts while keep reviewing addition/subtraction 1-10 at this point? I've only hesitated starting lesson 41 because she is inconsistent with showing me she knows her 1-10 facts but I also sense some frustration from her that we are doing the same thing everyday.
                  This. Yes, when a child understands what's going on, it can get tedious to keep doing the same thing while waiting for speed to improve. I am saying I think you are fine to keep moving ahead with a couple of caveats/suggestions.

                  It's funny that she likes to hear the whole problem stated in addition to just looking at it. I have kids like that, and the biggest reason I have had for it is that their brains are going kinda fast and they need that additional pathway to keep their attention centered on what we are doing - much like what Jen described. Again, another sign that she is probably having difficulties that are not just about mastering the facts - which is a really, really important thing to remember in any part of their school day. There are so many skills wrapped up in simple things. We see them struggle, and immediately jump to the most obvious reason for the struggle, but very often, there are more layers to it. Take composing a sentence in response to a question. It can be incredibly frustrating for moms to be patient through this learning process, especially when their child is a strong reader. We think that reading well naturally means everything else will come easily too. But there are so many steps to writing out an answer: comprehending what was read, holding it in memory while being asked a question about it, fully understanding the question being asked, thinking of an answer to the question, being able to put that answer into precise enough words, making those words come together into a sentence, and then holding that sentence in memory long enough to write it down (or copy it off the board correctly). When a child is good at this, it all happens in a matter of seconds. But children can potentially struggle with any part or parts of this process, creating delays in how long it all takes. We have to keep working at it until it all clicks and becomes easy for them.

                  Keep the same thing in mind with math. Understanding what is going on in addition and subtraction is like being able to read easily. The understanding can be there even when the actual processes of retrieving that knowledge and communicating it to someone else take a bit more time. There is no reason not to keep reading, just as there is no reason not to keep moving ahead in math. But the important thing is to keep practicing that retrieval process - starting with the very beginning, and working all the way through the facts.

                  Therefore the ideas I have for you are first, to keep doing the lessons as written in the TM, not skipping anything, but adjusting the expectation on the speed drills. The idea of using a stopwatch instead of a timer and then trying to increase their own time is great and is often helpful for kids who struggle with speed and perfectionism/anxiety.

                  Then for flashcard duty, I would keep it separate from the lessons and start by making some separate stacks. See if there are any that she does get quickly - like maybe the 0's, 1's, 2's. Make a pile of ones that she DOES do quickly so that she can start to get confidence that there are some she is REALLY good at. Drill those quickly and give her a lot of feedback of things such as "Wow, you are really doing so great at those. Doesn't it feel good to know something so well?" Then make a second stack of ones that are a bit slower. These are ones that are about the same level of "pause" - but still not TOO many. Drill these second, reinforcing that these are ones she is working on, so you fully expect her to go slower at them - and then make a really big deal when she starts to pick up speed on them. Gradually add them to the "fast" pile as she makes progress. Finally, have a third set of ones you are not expecting her to be any kind of fast at yet. These are ones that you say, "These are ones we will practice once we learn them, but we are still learning them right now. So I am going to help you with them." These are ones you can keep stating aloud with her. Hold them up, say the whole fact with her, including the answer. Keep them in the daily rotation, but don't put all the pressure on her to do them herself yet. Let her master the others first. Then everything shifts down as she gets better at each set. Does that make sense? That's how I would handle it.

                  I always do more flashcards than what is suggested in the lesson. I want them to have more practice than just what is listed there. Because eventually, in later grades, the TM's stop listing flashcards but we keep doing them.

                  AMDG,
                  Sarah
                  2019-2020 - 9th Year with MP
                  DD, 19, Homeschool grad; Art major/philosophy minor
                  DS, 16
                  DD, 14
                  DD, 12
                  DD, 10
                  DD, 8
                  DD, 6
                  +DS+
                  DS, 2

                  Comment


                    #10
                    One other thing I would mention is her age and that you took a 10 week summer break. The time between first and second grade seems to be a critical time to not take a long break unless you really enjoy reteaching things. For my second child it wasn't math facts as much as spelling and phonics rules. Everything is very new and a long summer break is a very large percentage of their total schooling time. I don't school year round, but in those early years I have tried to keep all the basic subjects going in maintenance mode to avoid that blank stare in the fall.

                    I also second the stop watch rather than a timer. The speed will come with time, but I don't see a need to not move on in the book or switch to SC based on what you have described.
                    Dorinda

                    For 2019-2020
                    DD 16 - 11th with MPOA(AP Latin), Lukeion (Greek4 & Adv. NT Greek), Thinkwell (Economics and Chemistry), plus Pre-Calculus, American G’ment, Early Church History set, and British Lit
                    DS 14 - 8th with MPOA(Fourth Form), CLRC(Intro Lit and Comp), plus Algebra, Field Biology, Classical Studies 1
                    DS 11 - 6th with Right Start Level G online class
                    DS 6 - 1st with Prima Latina

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Thank you for all the suggestions and encouragement. We've begun new lessons and reviewing 1-10 facts every day as usual this week. She has been calling the new lessons
                      (the bees and clover for 11, 9, 2) "fun math" which just cracks me up.
                      Anne

                      2019/2020
                      DD 7 - MP core 2nd grade
                      DD 5 - MP core K
                      DS 3 -adorable and into everything

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Also, don't forget about those fact forms (they are in the box). There are several. You can slip them in one of those dry/wet erase pockets or make a million copies. My kids, beginning in 2nd grade do 1, every.single day. So for your daughter, find the one that is called "number facts #1 - it's page 80 in the backlines. It is only the addition facts 4-6. Then the next one number facts 2 is 5-7, addition only. Number 3 is 4-6 subtraction, number 4 is 5-7 subtraction. It keeps building and adding additional facts. 5-8, etc. I started with the 4-6. Once the page was completed in 5 minutes, I moved to number 2, etc. Once the number 1 AND 2 are mastered in 5 minutes, I go back and forth for a few days, then add in the number fact 3, etc.
                        Christine

                        (2019/2020)
                        DD1 8/23/09 - SC5/6
                        DS2 9/1/11 - SC3,4, 5/6 combo
                        DD3 2/9/13 -SC2 to start, MP1 second semester

                        Previous Years
                        DD 1 (MPK, SC2 (with AAR), SC3, SC4’
                        DS2 (SCB, SCC, MPK, SC2)
                        DD3 (SCA, SCB, Jr. K workbooks, soaking up from the others, MPK)

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Anne E View Post
                          Thank you for all the suggestions and encouragement. We've begun new lessons and reviewing 1-10 facts every day as usual this week. She has been calling the new lessons
                          (the bees and clover for 11, 9, 2) "fun math" which just cracks me up.
                          hahaha! That’s so great!

                          AMDG,
                          Sarah

                          2019-2020 - 9th Year with MP
                          DD, 19, Homeschool grad; Art major/philosophy minor
                          DS, 16
                          DD, 14
                          DD, 12
                          DD, 10
                          DD, 8
                          DD, 6
                          +DS+
                          DS, 2

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Love all the advice, especially about the stop watch! We'll be switching to that here.

                            Something my kids enjoyed doing to break the monotony of drilling was the "make 10" game. I printed the board off Pinterest and you just use regular playing cards. They lay out 4 at a time and have to combine them to make 10, flipping over new ones when others are removed. First one to the bottom of their deck wins. It was a simple way for us to apply those facts in a competitive way. My daughter STILL struggles with math so know that you're not alone.
                            ~Catherine~

                            DD 9yr (3rd)
                            DS 8yr (3rd)
                            DS 6yr (1st)
                            DS 4yr
                            DD 2yr

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Snap it up is another good math fact card game. My littler ones like Sum Swamp, which is a board game.
                              DD1: Third grade: reading, spelling, piano, and art along with MP Mammals, Lit Guides, LC yr 1, and R&S 3 so we are ready for 4NU next year
                              DD2: MP Kindergarten
                              DS 1: MP Preschool package
                              Me: Autoimmune Protocol athlete who loves chai tea with coconut milk, a good book, and the mountains

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