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Dyslexic Math Help

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    Dyslexic Math Help

    Hello, friends. I have been scouring the message boards and soaking up all I can and also been in contact with Cheryl (she has been so awesome) about my son, but I want to gather some feedback on what others might have done in similar situations. I have a 13 yo son with severe dyslexia. He is in the 8th grade this year. Per Cheryl's suggestions and assessments, we will be starting our Simply Classical journey in January....we will be starting with some things to acclimate him in the fall when he will hopefully be starting a full core for his freshman year. My concern is his math. When I did a Rod and Staff assessment for him, it showed he should start at Grade 4. I just KNOW he will feel incredibly defeated if that is the route I choose to go. He's great with mental math and understands concepts, but as is the nature of dyslexia, he hasn't mastered much of anything and some days it's like we are starting all over again. His working memory is a huge struggle. SO, I guess my question is, what should I do? I actually ordered Ray's Arithmetic (the first 2 books and the manual) because it was recommended in the back of Cheryl's book and it doesn't have grade levels. I have heard great things about it. ALSO, I know I shouldn't be concerned, but I worry because he's so far behind (or what they say is behind) going into his freshman year. It just worries me. He's brilliant in so many ways and exceptionally gifted musically, but there are just things he NEEDS TO KNOW and I worry about that. We are starting First Form Latin in January and I am really hopeful that he will do well and gain some confidence in his abilities. The other side to this coin is that he just doesn't care or have the drive to push himself, which is crucial in any learning, I believe.

    I know this is kind of a scattered post, but I hope you get the gist of my concerns!!!!! Thank you ahead of time for any insights!

    #2
    Hi Andrea!

    My 13yo has always struggled in math. For us, it was due to curriculum switching, lack of focus on it, and my not understanding the importance of mastering math facts (my older guys were still using tally marks at this age *facepalm*). My younger kids are doing much better. Live and learn, right? Anyway...

    Last year (12yo, 6th grade), I put together a "math camp," based on advice I received here. If you would like, I can send you the plans I wrote for it. During those weeks, he worked on all the triplets from R&S 2. Once he had those down, we moved into R&S 3. He's been doing one lesson a day and, now that he feels confident, he asked if he could start doing more lessons each day. His math has gone from miserable to almost 100% correct on every lesson. We plan to skip the review lessons in Math 4, complete that book, and then do the same with Math 5. At that point, I was advised that he could start Video Text. At his current pace, that would place him in pre-algebra in either 8th or 9th grade. (My older two are sophomores and are using the VT pre-algebra/algebra program. It has been a HUGE help. My oldest has always struggled with math but he came to me a few weeks ago and said, "I FINALLY understand [equivalent] fractions!" He's 16. The program is awesome and focuses on mastery. You don't move on until you know it.)

    Back to R&S: I'm not familiar with Ray's Arithmetic, but the thing that has been so helpful with R&S -- and makes me wish we had used it for my oldest -- is that there is so. much. repetition. It's exactly what kids with memory struggles need.

    A couple of tips if you decide to use R&S:
    • Be sure to use the TM, not just the workbook; the TM has all the mental math, flashcard work, and number sense practice laid out and scripted for you. It only takes about 15-20 minutes.
    • Let him write in the book; this will prevent copywork errors and help build confidence. For problems that don't have enough space in the book, you can overlay grid paper so he can trace the problem and then work it out on the grid paper. This will eliminate copywork and keep everything lined up as he works the problem.
    • You don't have to make all the various charts; I just show my kids the example ones in the TM when it says to go over the math terms, etc.
    • Feel free to put the lesson scripts in your own words; they can feel a little forced in a homeschool setting. Just watch for key terms/phrases (like in 2nd grade: this is the whole number, these are the parts).

    ALSO, I know I shouldn't be concerned, but I worry because he's so far behind (or what they say is behind) going into his freshman year. It just worries me. He's brilliant in so many ways and exceptionally gifted musically, but there are just things he NEEDS TO KNOW and I worry about that. We are starting First Form Latin in January and I am really hopeful that he will do well and gain some confidence in his abilities. The other side to this coin is that he just doesn't care or have the drive to push himself, which is crucial in any learning, I believe.
    That age is notorious for lack of motivation in school. Especially for boys. I've seen it multiple times now in our own family. BUT it's more intense for struggling learners, because everything has been so hard for them all along. He likely won't be internally motivated until he sees that his hard work is paying off. You want to be sure that he's at his independent/instructional levels, not his frustration level, and then give it time. Cheryl speaks about these as diving boards — perhaps she's already shared that with you...

    He'll eventually see that he really can do this, but it might not be for several years. In the meantime, our job is to make sure they're correctly placed based on where they are now, and then hold them accountable for the work at hand. The love of study will come later, or it may never come, but he'll know things that are worthy of knowing and he'll be a stronger person for it.


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

    DS16: MP, MPOA, HSC, Breaking the Barrier French
    DS15: MP, MPOA, HSC
    DS12: Mash-up of 6/7M
    DS11: SC 4
    DD9: 3A with First Form Latin (long story!)
    DD8: Mash-up of SC 1/2
    DD5: January birthday, using SC B and C as a two-year JrK

    Comment


      #3
      My 11 year old dyslexic son hated math. Stared at a page for hours and did little to nothing. Tears, meltdowns, etc. We had already dropped him down 2 grade levels, but to no avail. We were looking at Kumon or Mathnasium or tutoring, because we needed help.

      Quite by accident, I stumbled on ST Math (ST = spatial temporal), and a TEDTalk that explains the program. It was written by dyslexic man with a phD in neuroscience. He explains the struggle of dyslexics to process the *language* we use to teach math, even though they may be quite capable of the math itself.

      I did not love that it is on the computer (we are a LOW tech family), but we decided to try ST Math, mostly because 1 year was cheaper than 1 month at Mathnasium/Kumon. We started him at 3rd grade to fill in gaps and build a strong foundation. He *loved* it. ST Math transformed this kid! He jumped 3.5 grade levels on ITBS in 6 months, after 1 year was back up to grade level, and asks to do more math in the evening. I have been blown away by his retention and new-found love of math. We had intended to use it as a supplement to R&S, but eventually dropped that because this proved more than sufficient. We do still use XtraMath for additional facts practice (we were already using that, but he makes so much more progress now).


      The TED Talk is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VLje8QRrwg
      The actual website is here: https://www.stmath.com/

      Best of luck to you in whatever you choose! Prayers for your son!
      Amanda - Mama to three crazy boys (7A, 6M, 2), classics major

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

      Comment


        #4
        jen1134 ....THIS IS GREAT!!! Thank you so much. Now I'm wondering if I should just send the Ray's back and order the Rod and Staff. Hmmmm.....

        Comment


          #5
          andreamichele13 , If you look at SC 3, 4, 5 here, you can see the R&S Arithmetic that we use for mastery.

          You can view the Scope & Sequence and take detailed placement tests here. When you know where he needs to be, you can scroll down to Special Needs and use our Simply Classical Individual Lesson Plans for that level.

          Comment


            #6
            cherylswope ....Thank you! I did the assessments in math for him and it revealed he should use Level 4. I just worry about where I would go from there next year in high school. Would Level 5 count on a high school transcript? That's really my big hang-up...that he will be in high school. I'm just kind of freaking out.

            Comment


              #7
              cherylswope ....I should clarify, he qualifies for Rod and Staff grade 4 in Math, not Level 4 in SC....

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by andreamichele13 View Post
                cherylswope ....I should clarify, he qualifies for Rod and Staff grade 4 in Math, not Level 4 in SC....
                Yes, understood. R&S Arithmetic 4.

                Regarding impending high school, I remember the feeling when my son was 13!
                Some options:
                - Teach him from high-school level material and modify (i.e., accommodate).
                - Teach him from remedial level material and move systematically for mastery (i.e., remediate). Plan to remediate as swiftly and effectively as he can manage, possibly 18 months for two levels if needed. His intellect may allow for this. You will not know until you begin.
                - Create a combined math period of a full course of accommodated high school math along with his remedial arithmetic to create a high school credit if this works in your state and for your purposes. If this is impossible, you might consider a modified high school diploma. You might check with hslda.org about high school requirements, credits, etc. related to special needs in your state.
                - Defer graduation a year or two to give yourself more time. This can allow you to wait another year before trying to "count" credits. This can also allow him to mature, solidify skills, and reclaim his education.
                - Any or all of the above.






                Comment


                  #9
                  cherylswope ...Those are great. Thank you. The "delayed" graduation has been on my mind a lot lately. I just know he won't be on board (and will fight me), but I do feel like he needs it. Sigh...

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by andreamichele13 View Post
                    cherylswope ...Those are great. Thank you. The "delayed" graduation has been on my mind a lot lately. I just know he won't be on board (and will fight me), but I do feel like he needs it. Sigh...
                    We faced that with my oldest when we switched to MP. He was "supposed" to be in 8th, but we decided to place him in MP7. I told him that, if he later decided he wanted to graduate at the "normal" time, I was open to him working at a quicker pace in high school. This year he's in 10th grade and decided to work more quickly so he can try to graduate sooner. It was his decision and he was obviously ready: he's made better grades this year than at any time previous! He still has places where he has to slow down or redo, but he's doing very well. He's still pushing for graduation in May 2021, but I think it will probably be December of that year. He doesn't have dyslexia, but has always struggled with comprehension, memory, and executive function issues. Regardless of when he graduates, graduating well will be a great achievement for him.

                    That being said, when I was first considering this option, I reached out here on the forum and mom after mom told me the same thing: she'd rather have a boy graduate at 19 rather than 18. They just seem to need that extra year to mature. My memories of 18 year old boys at college would seem to confirm this
                    Jennifer
                    Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

                    DS16: MP, MPOA, HSC, Breaking the Barrier French
                    DS15: MP, MPOA, HSC
                    DS12: Mash-up of 6/7M
                    DS11: SC 4
                    DD9: 3A with First Form Latin (long story!)
                    DD8: Mash-up of SC 1/2
                    DD5: January birthday, using SC B and C as a two-year JrK

                    Comment


                      #11
                      jen1134 .....I just have to laugh at that last statement!!! It is just SO TRUE!! My husband and I are definitely praying about this decision! 😊

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Nerdmom .....I never responded to your response, but thank you so much for your input! I’ll look into that math!!

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