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    Math again-should we repeat?

    Here I go with the math again! So ds almost 10 and in 4NU is verrrry slowly learning his math facts alongside using R & S 4. He knows how to skip count every set except the 15s like a champ, and now we are working on moving into going back over slotting the facts into those (again.) Over the summer we will be extensively drilling the facts and the facts alone. But I need some input about next year for this boy.

    The main problem is that he has issues with paying attention and works very slowly through all of his work as a result. He also cries a lot, and makes negative comments to himself about math and how he "can't do this." In spite of all my prayers, exhortations and corrections and coaching, this continues. So we just keep plugging along- this is how it goes in all things for this highly melancholic child. Nothing he doesn't want to do will ever come easily for him. But it leaves us with this ongoing problem of just not having enough time to master math concepts within a reasonable window of the "math time" I am willing to allot to our days. I firmly believe in the value of free time when school and outside activities are done, and am not willing to try to do much more once he has (rather heroically) finished his work for the day. Math is still the worst for him. He can understand a concept, but only just barely- before the text moves on to new unit. In retrospect I should have just gone back over each unit again, and slowed up on the other stuff, taking two years to do this grade. Live and learn. The time frame has been whittled down to about an hour to an hour and a half by skipping many, many problems- we do around 1/3 of the pages, leaving him with not enough practice. All this said, I'm satisfied, in a very general way, with his progress, because we are still in what I am thinking of as a "recovery period" from many years of somewhat unsuccessful homeschooling.

    I am not sure how to proceed. Should we keep on plugging along next year, moving him into 5th grade math- or should I have him repeat 4th? This would (initially) destroy the little confidence he has gained in himself, bought with long hours of angsty math. Also, I am not convinced it would really help the situation. It is not understanding per se, that is the problem but distractibility, which won't be improved by repeating, I don't think.. Or should I switch to something different than R& S, preferably something with videos, so that I am removed from the math teaching process and my own personal response of angsty-ness to his struggles? This kid has come a long way this year, from being almost unteachable, to doing many hours of learning and schoolwork every day. He feels very good about his accomplishments and doesn't want to repeat math, I truly think it would break his heart to have to do the 4th grade book over again.

    What shall I do?
    DD 12, using 6M core with 7th Grade COTR
    DS 10, using 5M core

    #2
    Re: Math again-should we repeat?

    Maria, you should also post this in the SC forum. I'm sure Cheryl would have some valuable insights for you!
    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


      #3
      Re: Math again-should we repeat?

      How about moving on to 5th but slowing down and taking two years to do 5th so you have time to do the sheets and not skip any. Perhaps by the end of 6th (finishing the 5th book) he will have matured enough to do a book a year. Then do 6th book in 7th and COTR Prealgebra in 8th. This puts algebra in 9th which is very typical and not "behind" at all.
      Debbie- mom of 7, civil engineering grad, married to mechanical engineer
      DD, 25, BFA '17 graphic design and illustration
      DS, 23, BS '18 mechanical engineering
      DS, 21, chemistry major
      DS, 18, Physics major
      DD, 15, dyslexic, 10th grade customizednMP plus co-op
      DS, 12, super squirmy, possible dysgraphia, MP 7A
      DD, 6 , K- finally one who seems to like drawing and writing- first one since my oldest!

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        #4
        Re: Math again-should we repeat?

        I had the same problem with my daughter. I did repeat the year for her, and it made a huge difference in her confidence. I would suggest repeating R&S 4 using every single extra sheet for every lesson. No sense in pressing forward when he sounds so defeated already. I have learned you can't rush maturity. Go at his pace even if it seems slow. Better mastery than frustration. No need to rush getting to Algebra. Take your time.

        Alternately, you could consider a different program. For us, moving to something with manipulatives (and videos!) helped my kids to "see" and understand better.

        For facts: which ones is he struggling with? At some point it really becomes better to just give them a reference sheet and move on. Daily untimed drills will soldify those facts in time. I have seen this with all my kids.

        Something else that mine enjoy is Prodigy Math. It is a free math game where the kids battle Pokemon-like creatures by solving math facts.
        Last edited by Enigma; 05-04-2017, 10:40 AM.
        The Homeschool Grads:
        J- 6/96
        S- 11/98

        Still Homeschooling:
        G- 4/04
        D- 5/05
        F- 7/08 (my only girl)

        Future Homeschooler:
        M- 9/16

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          #5
          Re: Math again-should we repeat?

          My oldest had a very difficult time in math due to math programs that taught what to do instead of how to understand math. Slowing down wouldn't have helped him. Once I found a program that taught math conceptually (Math U See, though it's certainly not the only one), we started over at the beginning (in 5th grade) because he had no foundation for understanding math. I started his younger brother over at the beginning too when it became obvious that even though he got 100% on everything, he didn't understand it any better than his brother (he had just memorized what to do). From that moment on, I did math at my children's pace instead of a schedule. They both "caught up" in math, the younger making it through Calculus. While the older never loved math, he understands it and can use it in the real world. When he was taking a driving course, he even spotted a formula in their text that was wrong. The teacher didn't believe him, so during a break he worked it out on paper showing him why it was wrong. He was right :-) The teacher said that in the 10 years they had been using it, there had been one other student who saw the error, but he couldn't show why it was wrong. He was also the only student who didn't have to use a calculator :-) My second son is in college as a math major with a 4.0 gpa. He still loves math ;-) With my younger children, I never schedule math but go at their own pace. Some are "ahead", one is not...but they area all A students because they fully understand math. Even if my child who is "behind" never "catches up", I'd much rather have him fully comprehend math up to the point he reaches than to make it farther but understand little.

          That's my experience, and I hope it's helpful in some small way :-)
          Cheryl, mom to:

          ds 24, graduated
          ds 23, graduated
          dd 15, 9th Grade
          dd 12, 6th Grade
          ds 10, 4nd Grade

          Comment


            #6
            Re: Math again-should we repeat?

            If you do decide to repeat the 4th grade book with all the extra sheets, how about phrasing it to him along the lines of *you* made mistakes in how your taught him, that you didn't realize *you* should have had him do extra practice, etc. I've found with my special learner that changing the responsibility from him (it's his fault he isn't learning fast enough) to me (I wasn't teaching the right way, etc) really helps him emotionally.
            Susan

            2018-2019
            A (10) - Barton, R&S math 3, SC 3
            C (9) - Barton, R&S math 2, SC 3
            G (5) - Simply Classical C

            Comment


              #7
              Re: Math again-should we repeat?

              This has been my son this year. I decided to change up the order we do stuff. So we do all of the quick stuff first. This gives him a sense of, look at how much school I just blasted through! We do the 2 most challenging subjects for him last, language arts and math.

              Before, we started with those two difficult subjects and it was drama filled. It dragged the whole day out.

              By putting math and language arts last, I point out, as quick as you do those subjects you're done for the day. He is uber focused because he can see the light at the end of tunnel. Drama has been dramatically reduced.
              Married to DH for 14 years. Living the rural life in the Colorado mountains

              DS11- Simply Classical 5/6
              DD9- Simply Classical 5/6 (neurotypical, but schooling with big brother to save mom's sanity)
              DD 6- Classic Core First Grade

              We've completed:
              Classic Core Jr. kindergarten, kindergarten, first grade, and second grade.
              Simply Classical levels B, C, 1, 2, 3, and 4.

              Comment


                #8
                Re: Math again-should we repeat?

                Originally posted by momgineer View Post
                How about moving on to 5th but slowing down and taking two years to do 5th so you have time to do the sheets and not skip any. Perhaps by the end of 6th (finishing the 5th book) he will have matured enough to do a book a year. Then do 6th book in 7th and COTR Prealgebra in 8th. This puts algebra in 9th which is very typical and not "behind" at all.
                I agree with Momgineer. Just go slow and steady through 5th grade. Express a calm confidence that he can do this; practice patience (channel your inner Cheryl Swope - she is a great role model for calm and confident approach).

                I also like Colomama's advice to do the "quick" stuff first in the day, then he can focus on finishing challenging work with light at the end of the tunnel.

                To remind us to move at his pace and not some pre-determined "this is 5th grade" pace, Sal Khan (from khanacademy.org) uses an analogy of building a building: You would never say: "We are going to pour the foundation next week. The forms arrived late and were hastily set up, the surveyor missed the inspection, the temperature dropped, so the concrete did not properly cure. Oh well, we are on schedule. On to build the first floor!!" This happens year after year and by the 2nd or 3rd floor, the whole building collapses. Much better to move at his pace, establish the proper foundation (it may take 2 years, that doesn't matter!), and eventually he will be prepared to build the first floor. Build it carefully, then on to the 2nd floor.

                As he puts forth steady effort, he will make steady progress. That is the key.
                Cindy Davis
                Science and Math teacher at Highlands Latin School - Indianapolis
                ds-25 college graduate: autodidact, working to pay the bills
                ds-23 college graduate: 1st year med school
                dd-21 college senior: Nursing

                Comment


                  #9
                  Re: Math again-should we repeat?

                  For my 4th grader, I let him tell me many of the answers out loud. Sometimes, we go through the book work aloud and skip over what needs to be done on paper. Then he goes back to his desk to do those problems. Its cut down on so much of the time. I don't always do this. There are other days I make him write it all down. This has been a year of him gaining a great amount of working independently, so I've been weaning him off of this assistance. I really understand the melancholic temperament. That is his older brother.
                  Christina

                  9th grader MPOA/state virtual school, 6th in private school, 4th hodgepodge homeschool (only girl), and a 4 year old pediatric cancer patient.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Re: Math again-should we repeat?

                    Some really good advice here!


                    1. Repeat the level. There is no substitute for a solid foundation, regardless of the number on the front of the math book (also note that the MP sequence jumps from math 6 to pre-algebra. Your child has time!)

                    2. Start with something motivating in the morning to build confidence. I have always begun my homeschool day with a gathered activity. This motivated my children to get the brain cells moving. Read aloud, Scripture, etc, are great choices. By doing this, math might not have to be *last*, but it will certainly help that math is not FIRST.

                    3. Cross a few off. Here's how I used to handle this when my older kids were in the homeschool: after going over the daily math lesson, I would send them forth with the math book, and the instructions that they could cross off X number of problems. The number was always between 1 and 5, with the rule that they couldn't all be in the same section. My 2nd through 6th graders LOVED the power of the cross off! Of course, your number could be higher, but I'd recommend varying the number a bit. It can lead to an "expectation", shall we say.

                    4. Drill daily. Keep a flash card set of "basically mastered" facts separate from the "mid-way mastered" set, separate from the "stretch goal" set. ALWAYS start with the mastered set, even if pushed for time. This is so motivational for the younger crowd and begins the process of the neurons firing up the math engine. And, of course, this is the perfect place to model calm, confident, encouraging comments and behavior.



                    Jen
                    DS, 26 yrs, graduated from MIT (Aerospace), recently completed the design and execution of unhackable military software... in his spare time.

                    DS, 24 yrs, graduated from SIU's School of Business, ENGAGED!

                    DD, 21 yrs, Senior in Education at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC

                    DS, 11 yrs, 6M: complete!

                    All homeschooled.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Re: Math again-should we repeat?

                      Originally posted by Maria2 View Post

                      The main problem is that he has issues with paying attention and works very slowly through all of his work as a result. He also cries a lot, and makes negative comments to himself about math and how he "can't do this." In spite of all my prayers, exhortations and corrections and coaching, this continues. So we just keep plugging along- this is how it goes in all things for this highly melancholic child. Nothing he doesn't want to do will ever come easily for him.

                      ...All this said, I'm satisfied, in a very general way, with his progress, because we are still in what I am thinking of as a "recovery period" from many years of somewhat unsuccessful homeschooling.

                      I am not sure how to proceed. Should we keep on plugging along next year, moving him into 5th grade math- or should I have him repeat 4th? This would (initially) destroy the little confidence he has gained in himself, bought with long hours of angsty math. Also, I am not convinced it would really help the situation. It is not understanding per se, that is the problem but distractibility, which won't be improved by repeating, I don't think.. Or should I switch to something different than R& S, preferably something with videos, so that I am removed from the math teaching process and my own personal response of angsty-ness to his struggles? This kid has come a long way this year, from being almost unteachable, to doing many hours of learning and schoolwork every day. He feels very good about his accomplishments and doesn't want to repeat math, I truly think it would break his heart to have to do the 4th grade book over again.

                      What shall I do?
                      Maria,
                      I saw this when you posted, and I am so glad you have gotten such good advice about how to handle math, specifically. Basically, it is your choice whether you do the fourth grade book again, or take the fifth grade book really slowly, but you can see we are not advocating a change of program. I bolded the first phrase above because I do believe the distractibility would be helped by sticking with what you are doing and using the R&S format that is finally becoming familiar. From my experience, melancholic children do not handle change well, and the adjustment period is lengthy. You have already been spending a year trying to set new expectations and help him adjust - hence the second part that I bolded. I think that if you were to change things up on him again, you would be right back to the beginning of a new year of trouble. Keep him in Rod and Staff, and let him continue gaining confidence because he is getting used to what is expected of him. And while it can be so tempting to use videos to replace you in teaching him, I would argue that you are your son's best advocate. You are going to offer him so much more by your loving attention than any video will ever do - and it sounds like he really needs that.

                      This gets to the first paragraph of yours that I included above - about the age and personality of your son. I have a very melancholic daughter as well, and she is just a bit past this age where your son currently is. I used to have to sit within touching distance of her in order to regularly tap her page to draw her attention back to her work. We used classical music on ear phones to try to help her block out the household chatter, but then she would just sit there listening to the pretty music! (she is very auditory). We have to alternate between firm discipline, and gentle acceptance, depending on the day. She knows the days where a cup of coffee is a helpful part of breakfast - or even after lunch sometimes. But all in all, I will let you know that the struggle does get better. There is no magic answer that morphs these kids into someone they are not. They will always be who they are. They challenge us the most to stick with things, to not let things slide, to remind and cajole patiently and prudently over and over and over. But it does improve as they get older. I was so surprised this year when she finally began wanting to do her school work in her room - and that she actually gets it done! She still moves slower than a sloth sometimes, but I do see improvement.

                      And these traits are not all bad either. The fact that she is so often distracted is because she has an incredible imagination, and she lives in her head a lot (kinda like me). She has deep, powerful emotions, which translates to strong attachments - especially to her loved ones. The stubborn will that makes school so challenging at times is a strength I am glad she will possess in adulthood when she is faced with unacceptable choices. I see these things and I know how hard it makes things right now, but I also see what it will do for her in adulthood.

                      Your challenge with your son is to help him develop discipline for things he does not like, accept things that he does not want to do, and work hard on the things that are not interesting to him. It is a thankless task right now, but it will be worth it. Hang in there, and keep plugging away at the good changes you have been making.

                      AMDG,
                      Sarah
                      2019-2020 - 9th Year with MP
                      DD, 18, Homeschool grad; Art major/philosophy minor
                      DS, 16
                      DD, 14
                      DD, 12
                      DD, 10
                      DD, 7.5
                      DD, 5.5
                      +DS+
                      DS, 18 months

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Re: Math again-should we repeat?

                        I will start my post with a couple of caveats:

                        One, we've never used R&S. I don't have any issues with it, it's just that we didn't switch math programs when we switched to MP.

                        Two, my husband is a math-y guy and he is always doing different types of math with the kids "for fun" from different resources. My kids have their "main" math programs, but doing math from different resources is not a big deal for us. I don't think of it as curriculum hopping as much as there is just so much to explore in math at every level that we always just have a lot of math books open around the house. Just to say that, for us, using a different resource is not a big deal because they see Dad pulling out different math books all the time.

                        So, with those things being said, I had exactly the same problem with my second son when he was a bit younger than yours. I had started him in Saxon just like his older brother...but unlike his older brother, at the end of the year we knew he was not ready to move to the next grade level in math. Math time was full of agony for both of us, and I just could not shove him through another year like that. However, this same kiddo would have been demoralized by doing the same book over again for another year. One of the reasons I homeschool is because I don't want my kids to feel dumb because they struggle with a subject. This kid already knew he struggled with math. I could have told him all day long that repeating the book didn't mean he was dumb; I guarantee he would not have believed me and would have taken it very personally. Asking him to repeat a grade, especially as he watched his older brother fly through math, was going to be more emotional devastation than I could handle at his age. So we did repeat a grade, but we went to another math program entirely so that it was all new to him. He was in Saxon One while struggling, so instead of moving to Saxon Two we started with CLE 100s the next year and, lo and behold, he realized as he did those first few workbooks that he actually knew a lot of math!

                        I think it entirely depends on your situation. For my child, I could see him getting more and more sad about his work, and he did work hard. It wasn't just petulance or lack of discipline (although there was some of that too). But only a mom would really know that, right? I have absolutely no regrets about what we did. He's more confident these days, definitely still plays space cadet while doing his work, but it isn't because he cannot figure out how to do the work in front of him. That has made a world of difference.
                        Last edited by JodiSue; 05-05-2017, 09:52 AM.
                        Jodi
                        ~~~~~~~
                        2019-20 School Year:
                        Ethan (7A)
                        Matthew (5A)
                        Silas (1st)
                        Eleanor (4yo dabbling in PK as time allows)
                        Andrew (brand new as of Oct 2019)

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                          #13
                          Re: Math again-should we repeat?

                          Thank you all for such thoughtful and helpful input. I knew that if I posted I would receive many thoughtful perspectives, helping me to get a better sense of what I should do. These posts will be read and re-read as I make this decision. You ladies are really the best. <3

                          Maria
                          DD 12, using 6M core with 7th Grade COTR
                          DS 10, using 5M core

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