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    math curriculum

    I am interested in hearing what math curricula are good for kids who struggle with math fluency (no diagnosed math disability). I am trying to select an appropriate curriculum for my 13-year-old who I am homeschooling classically but am having difficulty with the selection. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance for your help.

    Dorothy

    #2
    Hi, Dorothy.
    We have the same trouble with our son. As a teen, he benefits from continued work in math fluency, but the curriculum presumes proficiency in this area.

    Specifically, we have been using Saxon. When Michael was in 5/4, 6/5, 7/6, and 8/7, the program included timed math drills to help with math fluency (speed) & mental math exercises to improve mental calculation & working memory. When he began Algebra 1/2, the curriculum no longer included the drills or mental math.

    You may simply need to supplement his regular math program with math drills, such as flash cards for oral drill or timed written tests. You can obtain the drills from lower levels of the curriculum you use, or simply make your own. If he feels frustrated, you can encourage him with a chart to mark his progress. Such a supplement could take less than 5 minutes a day. For example, 35 math cards at a rate of 2 seconds per card (a good goal) might take 3 or 4 minutes initially. Chart his time each day on a line or bar graph or simple table, so he can see his progress.

    Another tip would be to modify the actual lessons, if his slow speed interferes significantly with his ability to complete all of the assigned problems in a reasonable amount of time. We have divided Michael's lessons for several years, just for this reason. He is assigned only half lessons every day, but he works year-round; otherwise, the daily discouragement made him dread mathematics. Now he knows he can accomplish every assignment for the day.

    Does that help?
    Cheryl

    Comment


      #3
      math curricula

      Cheryl,

      Thanks for your input regarding the math curriculum you have been using and tips to help a student struggling with fluency. Would you recommend that a student start at a lower level to improve fluency (and go through that level quickly) and give self-confidence rather than starting at a higher level? Do you think that the Saxon tests are a good indicator of where to start for those who haven't used that curriculum previously? Thanks so much for your input!

      Dorothy

      Comment


        #4
        I agree with Cheryl but wanted to add I have 3 of mine using Christian Light Education Math. My 16 and 13 yr olds have used levels 300-500 and the 13 yr old just started 600 a few weeks ago. My 8 and 7 yr olds are using 100.

        We came to CLE from Saxon many moons ago. It saved mine from math burnout and frustration. It is similar to Saxon but the fluency/basic fact drills are part of every lesson so far. I credit it for finally teaching my older two their math facts. It is spiral and self teaching from the 300 level on. There are 10 LightUnits per level with the first being a review of the previous level. These are little workbooks so no copying. Each has 16 lessons including 2 quizzes and a test. It is not overtly religious though it is published by a Mennonite company.

        It is important to have your child take the placement test and start where they place. This is an advanced curriculum so many children place lower than grade at first.

        www.clp.org
        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

        Comment


          #5
          Hi, Dorothy.

          First, I should say that I'm not advocating Saxon over other curricula; it's simply the program we began many years ago, so we stayed with it for the sake of sequenced learning and predictability for my children.

          You write, "Would you recommend that a student start at a lower level to improve fluency (and go through that level quickly) and give self-confidence rather than starting at a higher level?"

          Yes! I think this is the key in many areas for many of our struggling students, regardless of the chosen curriculum.

          When my own son finished Saxon 6/5, he had such a difficult time we repeated the entire level. When he received his annual testing, I warned the examiner that he would most certainly be "behind" this year, but that I had simply wanted him to be more solid in both fluency and understanding. Oddly, he tested higher than ever. This confirmed to me the wisdom of teaching the material as needed -- without regard to the number on the book's cover.

          I believe that our desire to push our children through programs works against them and us. When we remember the "delight" in "teach, delight, and move," we help our children love to learn and find enjoyment in studying, even into their teen years and beyond. The flexibility in homeschooling allows for adaptation even more than in the classroom.

          You also ask, "Do you think that the Saxon tests are a good indicator of where to start for those who haven't used that curriculum previously?" Yes, from my limited experience, they seem to be. This is how we assessed both of our children when we started, and they were placed exactly where they needed to be.

          Maybe others here will have different math curricula to suggest. As mentioned before, I think that with any upper-level program, you'll need to supplement to boost his fluency and simultaneously modify to accommodate his limitations.
          Cheryl

          Comment


            #6
            Drills & R & S

            Hey Dorothy,

            It may be early for me to post, but I just switched my son to Rod & Staff Math as well as hammering hard on the math drills. When we went onto xtramath.org he scored a 71 in addition though he should have been in 6th grade and had those facts mastered. Anyway, after researching what's out there I decided to go with R&S for its (1) continual review of concepts (2) Drill, drill, drill and (3) I could easily order the curriculum packages (because I am simply weary from all of the research). I started him on the 4th grade text, giving him a chapter test a day until he fell below 80% (based on a R&S curriculum adviser's recommendation). It appears that, for him, his real problem with math was simply not knowing his math facts.

            Best wishes!

            Comment


              #7
              thanks for math curriculum input

              Thanks to each of you who has commented about the math curriculum you are using. I will look at these options and pray for guidance as to what will be best for my son. I look forward to staying connected with you all as we continue on this educational journey with our children. (I'm a lifelong learner and hope to instill that in my children.)

              Dorothy

              Comment


                #8
                I just wanted to thank you for recommending this in another thread. We've been using it for 1 1/2 months now, and it is working out wonderfully for ds. It has just the right amount of drill and review without being overkill. The pages aren't overly distracting with too many problems, colors, and graphics. The explanations are concise and clear. Best of all, being able to write in the workbook and not copy problems out is a major help for ds.




                Originally posted by Enigma View Post
                I agree with Cheryl but wanted to add I have 3 of mine using Christian Light Education Math. My 16 and 13 yr olds have used levels 300-500 and the 13 yr old just started 600 a few weeks ago. My 8 and 7 yr olds are using 100.

                We came to CLE from Saxon many moons ago. It saved mine from math burnout and frustration. It is similar to Saxon but the fluency/basic fact drills are part of every lesson so far. I credit it for finally teaching my older two their math facts. It is spiral and self teaching from the 300 level on. There are 10 LightUnits per level with the first being a review of the previous level. These are little workbooks so no copying. Each has 16 lessons including 2 quizzes and a test. It is not overtly religious though it is published by a Mennonite company.

                It is important to have your child take the placement test and start where they place. This is an advanced curriculum so many children place lower than grade at first.

                www.clp.org

                Comment


                  #9
                  You are welcome. I am glad to hear it is working out so well for him.
                  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

                  Comment

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