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Unschooling math opinion--how long to catch up--poll (don't have to be an unschooler to vote!)


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Poll: How long to catch up? (99 member(s) have cast votes)

I do not unschool, but I have nothing against unschooling / it is a valid educational option

  1. less than 1 month (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  2. 1-3 months (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  3. 3-5 months (1 votes [1.01%])

    Percentage of vote: 1.01%

  4. 5-7months (5 votes [5.05%])

    Percentage of vote: 5.05%

  5. 12 months (14 votes [14.14%])

    Percentage of vote: 14.14%

  6. more than 12 month (41 votes [41.41%])

    Percentage of vote: 41.41%

  7. N/A (38 votes [38.38%])

    Percentage of vote: 38.38%

I do not unschool and I think unschooling is neglectful / lower educational option

  1. less than 1 month (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  2. 1-3 months (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  3. 3-5 months (1 votes [1.01%])

    Percentage of vote: 1.01%

  4. 5-7 months (2 votes [2.02%])

    Percentage of vote: 2.02%

  5. 12 months (3 votes [3.03%])

    Percentage of vote: 3.03%

  6. more than 12 months (28 votes [28.28%])

    Percentage of vote: 28.28%

  7. N/A (65 votes [65.66%])

    Percentage of vote: 65.66%

I unschool (even if not math)

  1. less than 1 month (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  2. 1-3 months (1 votes [1.01%])

    Percentage of vote: 1.01%

  3. 3-5 months (1 votes [1.01%])

    Percentage of vote: 1.01%

  4. 5-7 months (1 votes [1.01%])

    Percentage of vote: 1.01%

  5. 12 months (3 votes [3.03%])

    Percentage of vote: 3.03%

  6. more than 12 months (2 votes [2.02%])

    Percentage of vote: 2.02%

  7. N/A (91 votes [91.92%])

    Percentage of vote: 91.92%

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#1 38carrots

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 10:38 AM

For a typical (not mathematically gifted but motivated) 12 year old who hasn't done any formal math, but played computer games that involved some basic math and / or coding.

 

How long do you think it will take such a child to "catch up" ("completing" grade 7 to at least 80% grade, of a typical curriculum), using Khan Academy, assuming the child does 1h of math a day, every day.

 

 


Edited by 38carrots, 19 April 2017 - 12:14 PM.


#2 Amy in NH

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 10:47 AM

Poll doesn't work properly.


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#3 38carrots

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 10:55 AM

Poll doesn't work properly.

 

Thank you! I hope it fixed it.

 

ETA: I'm not sure how to make it work well. I had to add the "other" option for each question, because the poll was insisting that each question must be answered. The poll doesn't make much sense to me now...


Edited by 38carrots, 19 April 2017 - 10:58 AM.


#4 Sassenach

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 11:23 AM

If you put N/A instead of other, that would make sense.


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#5 OneStepAtATime

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 11:24 AM

I can't really take your poll but I admire your effort.   :)

 

As for what I think, I think this absolutely 100% depends on the individual child's inherent mathematical abilities, what they may or may not have absorbed over the years, how internally motivated they are and whether the instruction/resources chosen are a good fit or not.  Also, the definition of "catching up"...what are the specific criteria?  Is this just based on the Khan Academy scope and sequence?  Would the student be working independently or with an instructor working through the material with them as they navigate Khan?  IMHO there are far too many variables  and lack of clear definitions to make an effective prediction based on the little information available.  

 

That being said, do I think it is POSSIBLE?  Yes.  Time frame?  Very, very dependent on the things listed above, especially motivation and inherent ability.  A motivated student with a mathy mind could do it in a year or two, maybe less if they are mathematically gifted.  An average student with limited motivation is going to take longer.  A student that struggles in this area and is not motivated?  Don't know how long but it will be loooooooonnnnnnngggggg.  


Edited by OneStepAtATime, 19 April 2017 - 11:43 AM.

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#6 AK_Mom4

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 11:25 AM

My estimate is that working an hour a day, catching up to grade level is going to take between 2 and 3 years.

So for a typical 7th grader, a year and a half to get the arithmetic stuff down solid plus a year for algebra concepts. That would put them in 9th grade (ish) to be on track. No summers off, though as they need to keep the skills sharp while moving forward

That's just my guess, though I did used to to teach remedial math for adults in my previous life.
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#7 shinyhappypeople

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 11:37 AM

Well, my kid with math LDs went up almost 3 grade levels in a year once we fixed some foundational gaps and found a more appropriate approach, so I think a typical learner could easily cover most of arithmetic in about a year.  I'm assuming that s/he already had intuited the concepts of the four operations.  Arithmetic really isn't that hard.  In 6-7 years we spend on it, there's a LOT of repetition, just with bigger numbers.

 


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#8 OneStepAtATime

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 11:45 AM

Well, my kid with math LDs went up almost 3 grade levels in a year once we fixed some foundational gaps and found a more appropriate approach, so I think a typical learner could easily cover most of arithmetic in about a year.  I'm assuming that s/he already had intuited the concepts of the four operations.  Arithmetic really isn't that hard.  In 6-7 years we spend on it, there's a LOT of repetition, just with bigger numbers.

Good point.  If you can shore up basics and the child really grasps those basics the rest may come very quickly, even if math was not a strong subject.

 

However, if there IS an underlying serious math LD even shoring up basics may not be enough.  They may hit a wall in certain areas that just aren't computing.  They may be able to move forward in some places but be stuck in others, no matter how hard you push.  And if they have or develop math anxiety that makes it harder to progress.


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#9 dmmetler

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 12:03 PM

I'd say 2 years at minimum for a kid who has some background, but hasn't done much formal math.


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#10 Quill

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 12:04 PM

It's hard to answer this as a poll, but I picked an option anyway that I think best represents my views. I am not a big fan of unschooling, if we are talking about the "radical" end of the continuum. I do not automatically assume it is educational neglect for all kids, but I think the number of families for whom this works well throughout schooling, regardless of age, is very small. However, some of this depends on what the goals are. If you never intend for the kid to function in a B&M school or college, and you never intend for them to have a standard sort of "normal" career/occupation, then doing math "on grade level" is moot no matter the age. FWIW, I'm not a supporter of limiting a child's options this way, but stop short of declaring all such options to be negligent homeschooling.

I mostly think tales of how an always-unschooled child caught up to higher-level math in a single summer are bunk, or else the child is remarkably apt for math and is very intelligent and probably also has one or two extraordinarily intelligent parents. The sequential nature of understanding standard math operations makes it most efficient to work on a bit of math every day from 5 years old (or younger). Then there is not likely to be any gapping unless there are LDs present and there will never be a need to put a 12yo into a pressure cooker due to some change in family situation or whatever that necessitates putting the kid into a B&M school.
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#11 Crimson Wife

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 12:07 PM

I couldn't vote because I believe that whether "unschooling" is valid vs. neglect depends entirely on the family. I know some "unschoolers" who work very hard to create an environment conducive to learning, "strewing" materials and finding outside resources to support the child's intellectual development, etc. Their children tend to do fine. Then there are some people who are totally neglectful but using the "unschooling" label to excuse their neglect. Their children would take quite a bit of time to "catch up", if ever.


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#12 Arcadia

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 12:14 PM

How long do you think it will take such a child to "catch up" ("completing" grade 7 to at least 80% grade, of a typical curriculum), using Khan Academy, assuming the child does 1h of math a day, every day.

Looking at Khan 7th grade math topics breakdown
https://www.khanacad...math?t=practice

The geometry section and the statistics and probability section can be completed very fast.

The rest of the sections can be completed in three months at 1hr per day everyday excluding the time required to watch all the Khan Academy videos. So the 1hr per day estimate would be based on time spent doing the exercises and the quizzes.

ETA:
Coding in games does translate to logic in math. It depends on what games we are taking about but some do cover negative numbers, fractions and dragonbox algebra indirectly teach factorization.

Edited by Arcadia, 19 April 2017 - 12:20 PM.

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#13 Anne in CA

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 12:15 PM

I don't believe that a child who did not memorize math facts EVER catches up until they do. That takes time. I have no idea how long it might take because how people memorize is widely varied, so  there is no way to say how long a child will take to memorize their math facts and THEN learn all the concepts of higher operations. That is very different from child to child. One of my children was extremely gifted at understanding big concepts but the other two were more concrete thinkers. 

 

My own oldest dd attended a very liberal public school that taught children not to memorize math facts and gave them calculators right away. This school was in the Portland West Hills area, so most of the parents were very wealthy, they worked with their kids at home. I was a dummy who believed what the teacher said. All of a sudden I had a fourth grader who was too far behind to catch up without serious home tutoring and she needed to spend six weeks of the summer with her mom (she was my step dd) and we had no choice but to home school to catch her up at that point. It took two years to get her up to grade level and that was with SERIOUS work. She was not only a slow memorizer, but teachers had been telling her not to memorize things for years and of course, they were REAL teachers in her mind... so she thought it was wrong to memorize the math facts and she felt I was crazy and controlling for making her do it...you can see where this is going... 

 

 


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#14 SummerDays

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 12:18 PM

This is so dependent on the kid's natural math ability.

 

I voted based on what I thought would be possible for an average math student, 12 months. But probably would have voted 7-12 months if it had been an option. I also voted based on what I have seen from a typical public school math class for an average track kid.


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#15 Quill

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 12:28 PM

Looking at Khan 7th grade math topics breakdown
https://www.khanacad...math?t=practice

The geometry section and the statistics and probability section can be completed very fast.

The rest of the sections can be completed in three months at 1hr per day everyday excluding the time required to watch all the Khan Academy videos. So the 1hr per day estimate would be based on time spent doing the exercises and the quizzes.

ETA:
Coding in games does translate to logic in math. It depends on what games we are taking about but some do cover negative numbers, fractions and dragonbox algebra indirectly teach factorization.


But your estimate is still assuming they can jump right in on grade level, watch the videos, do the exercises, and be fine. If they don't already have a good grasp of facts and basic operations, this will not happen.
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#16 zoobie

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 12:46 PM

Looking at Khan 7th grade math topics breakdown
https://www.khanacad...math?t=practice

The geometry section and the statistics and probability section can be completed very fast.

The rest of the sections can be completed in three months at 1hr per day everyday excluding the time required to watch all the Khan Academy videos. So the 1hr per day estimate would be based on time spent doing the exercises and the quizzes.

ETA:
Coding in games does translate to logic in math. It depends on what games we are taking about but some do cover negative numbers, fractions and dragonbox algebra indirectly teach factorization.

 

Is Khan considered a complete program? I have looked for things my 7th grader needed clarification with and they've been missing. There's an outline where the topic is listed, but there's no content. Plus she'll "get" it watching the video, then sometimes still take a few tries to make it happen on paper. (Naturally mathy, bright kid who catches on quickly but is not a math genius)

 

I don't think there's any way to answer this without knowing the kid and what the kid has been exposed to. Some completely neglected children might be super gifted and zoom through. A typical child, I'd have to guess 2-3 years with some solid effort to catch up to grade level. Algebra and geometry can be thick subjects for children who've had years of math. You could probably do 6 months of remedial math (maybe mostly fractions and decimals?) then go into pre-algebra and algebra. (Assuming the child is fully fluent on basic math functions and has no LDs)


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#17 Arcadia

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 12:59 PM

But your estimate is still assuming they can jump right in on grade level, watch the videos, do the exercises, and be fine. If they don't already have a good grasp of facts and basic operations, this will not happen.


My estimate is based on the OP's "but played computer games that involved some basic math and / or coding." and that the child is motivated to learn.

So I am assuming a certain fluency of basic operations of addition and subtraction through gaming, the concept of multiplication and division through daily life. A typical 7th grader who has not done formal math would still be expose to math in daily life hopefully through things like buying snacks/drinks from vending machines with cash, cutting up pizza or birthday cakes.

I am talking about 7th grade topics according to Khan Academy's list. My younger boy did not have his math facts cold until middle of prealgebra but he did had his order of operations down before starting prealgebra. For this thread, I am assuming algebra in 9th grade and prealgebra in 8th grade since OP mentioned Khan Academy as an estimate benchmark.
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#18 Bluegoat

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 01:03 PM

I didn't vote, because I didn't feel like I could fudge my opinions on unschooling, which aren't really covered under the options.

 

But, for an average 12 year old, who isn't against the idea, I am thinking six months to a year.

 

I am assuming that even without formal instruction, a child by that age knows adding and subtracting and their symbols.



#19 Happy2BaMom

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 01:03 PM

I didn't answer the poll, because I don't think there is anyway anyone can - with any degree of accuracy - predict this. So much of it depends on where your child is right now (requires probably a fairly extensive assessment) and then how quickly s/he picks up on topics and retains them / solidifies them (to allow for building on those skills quickly). It doesn't sound like you are sure of exactly how far behind s/he is.

 

My dd has a math LD. She's had a fabulous tutor for the past two years. Fabulous tutor does not like Khan Academy, other than for very specific videos aimed at supplementing very specific concepts. I would recommend finding another curriculum (after doing an assessment), perhaps Teaching Textbooks, and going from there. 

 

 


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#20 SparklyUnicorn

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 01:06 PM

Depends on the kid.  A motivated kid, I'm thinking a year. 

 

I don't think I'd use Khan for that though.

 

 

 


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#21 Farrar

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 01:07 PM

I think probably about 18 months to two years. Part of it is that in that amount of time, the bar moves. I mean, by the time you catch up, you're still behind, if that makes sense.

 

Less for a motivated kid. Less if the parents strewed math, talked math, did projects with math, and just generally encouraged math even if they never did any formal math. Potentially a lot less then. I think a bright, motivated kid whose parents really did a lot of informal math could catch up and be ready for a pre-algebra course in less than a year. But I don't think that's typical.

 

More if it turns out there are learning disabilities involved. More if the kid is unmotivated or resistant. More if the kid really hasn't encountered math in an everyday sense hardly at all. For the wrong kid in the wrong situation, it could end up being crippling - where they're unmotivated because they're perpetually behind all the way through high school.


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#22 Arcadia

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 01:12 PM

Is Khan considered a complete program? I have looked for things my 7th grader needed clarification with and they've been missing.


I don't know and I was answering this thread based on the OP's comment on using Khan to catch up on formal math.

My school district has a different math track so a motivated child with no formal math going into my district's 8th grade in August would need to catch up a lot more and spend many more hours per day. 7th grade math would be prealgebra or algebra 1 for my district so totally different from Khan Academy's suggestion for 7th grade math.

#23 poppy

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 01:15 PM

Every single unschooling book, blog and  group I've been tells the story that all kids can pick up math quickly once they are motivated. 

 

I think that's true of some bright and motivated kids.  But as a universally accepted rule, I think it is a high risk assumption.

 

I say..... if math is that easy, why can most adults still not do it? If math is that easy, why is it the most dreaded test subject?

 

I've asked this, and the answer tends to be,well they were just taught wrong all along. To which I say, what massively different way are these kids going to learn it in 6 months?
 

I don't know. It's so temping  to think you can homeschool without math until the teen years..... but I'm really skeptical.


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#24 Jean in Newcastle

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 01:17 PM

Looking at Khan 7th grade math topics breakdown
https://www.khanacad...math?t=practice

The geometry section and the statistics and probability section can be completed very fast.

The rest of the sections can be completed in three months at 1hr per day everyday excluding the time required to watch all the Khan Academy videos. So the 1hr per day estimate would be based on time spent doing the exercises and the quizzes.

ETA:
Coding in games does translate to logic in math. It depends on what games we are taking about but some do cover negative numbers, fractions and dragonbox algebra indirectly teach factorization.

 

That's true if the student can jump in right at the 7th grade level.  But I doubt that it would be the case in the scenario outlined by the OP.  Having some math through video games does not necessarily = all the previous skills learned in K - 6.  Or at least 2 - 6 since I would expect the very earliest concepts to be there. 



#25 Jean in Newcastle

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 01:21 PM

Is Khan considered a complete program? I have looked for things my 7th grader needed clarification with and they've been missing. There's an outline where the topic is listed, but there's no content. Plus she'll "get" it watching the video, then sometimes still take a few tries to make it happen on paper. (Naturally mathy, bright kid who catches on quickly but is not a math genius)

 

I don't think there's any way to answer this without knowing the kid and what the kid has been exposed to. Some completely neglected children might be super gifted and zoom through. A typical child, I'd have to guess 2-3 years with some solid effort to catch up to grade level. Algebra and geometry can be thick subjects for children who've had years of math. You could probably do 6 months of remedial math (maybe mostly fractions and decimals?) then go into pre-algebra and algebra. (Assuming the child is fully fluent on basic math functions and has no LDs)

 

Dd did only Khan academy from 3rd to 8th grade and then did Jacobs Algebra and is getting straight A's in math.  That said, Khan expects you to know all the information leading up to the grade level.   And we had a math rich environment that was not based on gaming but on running her own business (quick breads) etc. 



#26 Hilltopmom

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 01:26 PM

Ok, my unschooled kid started "doing textbook math" in 7th grade with the key to series, & then moved to pre Algebra. Took about a year to "catch up".

(He did do 4th grade in public school & had no problem jumping right in at grade level.. Although we never did textbook math, he played a ton of mathy games in younger years)

But, he's pretty bright & motivated.

Eta- I do NOT recommend this approach though. Our next kiddo turned out to have severe learning disabilities that we didn't catch with this approach & should've been remediating much earlier.
My next set of kids will do math daily starting in K

Edited by Hilltopmom, 19 April 2017 - 01:42 PM.

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#27 Quill

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 01:36 PM

Every single unschooling book, blog and group I've been tells the story that all kids can pick up math quickly once they are motivated.

I think that's true of some bright and motivated kids. But as a universally accepted rule, I think it is a high risk assumption.

I say..... if math is that easy, why can most adults still not do it? If math is that easy, why is it the most dreaded test subject?

I've asked this, and the answer tends to be,well they were just taught wrong all along. To which I say, what massively different way are these kids going to learn it in 6 months?

I don't know. It's so temping to think you can homeschool without math until the teen years..... but I'm really skeptical.


I agree . For your last line, the big deal to me is that a lot hangs on this if you turn out to be wrong. Teen years are a bad time to realize this was not a good plan. Also, if you have made math instruction a fact of life, like brushing one's teeth, then it seems to me there's less threat of a resistant teen who wonders why now we suddenly have to bang out an hour and a half of math everyday, including through holidays and summer, when you've been blasé about it for 12 years. My 12yo son knows math lessons are happening come hell or high water, and even on days when diddly squat gets done, we still do math (today, for example ;))

I was much more unschoolish in my first few years of homeschooling, but I always had a set math curriculum and didactic math instruction. My own math abilities are not at all intuitive and I was basically math phobic throughout high school and for several years after. I had poor instruction in math from about 6-8 grade, failed to fully grasp fractions or pre-algebra, and bumbled along always thinking there was something simply inadequate about me. I didn't really learn these things until I started teaching my kids with MUS, and then took classes at college (remedial) at age 38. In college, I had an awesome math teacher. My experiences were largely why I did not trust the unschool math concept and I never regretted that decision.
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#28 Jean in Newcastle

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 01:38 PM

I want to add that I strongly believe that the only reason Khan academy was so successful for us was because I was there teaching the material every step of the way.  Khan was not used as a math babysitter.  Some motivated people might be able to utilize Khan with no help but I think that most kids need more than that. 


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#29 Quill

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 01:39 PM

I think probably about 18 months to two years. Part of it is that in that amount of time, the bar moves. I mean, by the time you catch up, you're still behind, if that makes sense.

Less for a motivated kid. Less if the parents strewed math, talked math, did projects with math, and just generally encouraged math even if they never did any formal math. Potentially a lot less then. I think a bright, motivated kid whose parents really did a lot of informal math could catch up and be ready for a pre-algebra course in less than a year. But I don't think that's typical.

More if it turns out there are learning disabilities involved. More if the kid is unmotivated or resistant. More if the kid really hasn't encountered math in an everyday sense hardly at all. For the wrong kid in the wrong situation, it could end up being crippling - where they're unmotivated because they're perpetually behind all the way through high school.


Yes, the bolded is part of what I see as the problem. Other 7th graders are learning 7th grade math while your kid is just trying to understand *up to* 7th grade math.
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#30 Mergath

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 01:40 PM

I don't believe that a child who did not memorize math facts EVER catches up until they do. That takes time. I have no idea how long it might take because how people memorize is widely varied, so  there is no way to say how long a child will take to memorize their math facts and THEN learn all the concepts of higher operations. That is very different from child to child. One of my children was extremely gifted at understanding big concepts but the other two were more concrete thinkers.

 

:iagree:  My dd is of average mathiness when it comes to grasping the concepts, but it took her three years just to memorize her addition and subtraction facts. The multiplication facts are going more quickly, thankfully, but it's still not exactly a fast process. And trying to do higher level math if you have to punch things like 5 + 6 into a calculator every time is ridiculous.
 


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#31 OneStepAtATime

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 01:50 PM

I don't believe that a child who did not memorize math facts EVER catches up until they do. That takes time. I have no idea how long it might take because how people memorize is widely varied, so  there is no way to say how long a child will take to memorize their math facts and THEN learn all the concepts of higher operations. That is very different from child to child. One of my children was extremely gifted at understanding big concepts but the other two were more concrete thinkers. 

 

My own oldest dd attended a very liberal public school that taught children not to memorize math facts and gave them calculators right away. This school was in the Portland West Hills area, so most of the parents were very wealthy, they worked with their kids at home. I was a dummy who believed what the teacher said. All of a sudden I had a fourth grader who was too far behind to catch up without serious home tutoring and she needed to spend six weeks of the summer with her mom (she was my step dd) and we had no choice but to home school to catch her up at that point. It took two years to get her up to grade level and that was with SERIOUS work. She was not only a slow memorizer, but teachers had been telling her not to memorize things for years and of course, they were REAL teachers in her mind... so she thought it was wrong to memorize the math facts and she felt I was crazy and controlling for making her do it...you can see where this is going... 

While memorizing math facts can make math infinitely easier to navigate, and I do encourage the memorization of math facts to anyone who can, I don't agree that people who don't or can't will never be able to "catch up" as in do higher level math.  Memorized math facts is a different process then other areas of math.  One can do well with concepts and application while still struggling with memorization.  There are ways to get around that for those that cannot memorize (and there are those of us out there that really can't memorize effectively at all).

 

DH has never fully memorized his math facts and does brilliantly with higher level math.  He is a successful engineer.  He understands the concepts and can work through the problems even without all math facts having been memorized.

 

I have been trying to memorize my math facts off and on for decades.  Limited success.  Teaching the kids and working through the CLE system has helped me tremendously.  I still don't have them all memorized, though, and probably never will.  I still run the family personal and business finances and was commended by my dad's CPA and lawyer for handling the finances when he died.

 

DD has never been able to completely memorize her math facts but she has gotten extremely good at skip counting and can create her own math charts very quickly to refer to while doing math.  The chart frees up her resources to focus on the math concepts and application.  Do I wish she could memorize all of her facts, not just some?  Sure.  But not being able to does not mean she is incapable of grasping math concepts or should be put in a holding pattern in elementary math until she does.  She does have a math LD.  She is still capable of learning well in certain areas of math, with or without math facts being memorized.  Holding her back while she continues trying to memorize math facts would not actually help her at all.  She needs to work with the numbers at a deeper level for things to stick in her head.


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#32 Farrar

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 01:53 PM

Every single unschooling book, blog and  group I've been tells the story that all kids can pick up math quickly once they are motivated. 

 

I think that's true of some bright and motivated kids.  But as a universally accepted rule, I think it is a high risk assumption.

 

I say..... if math is that easy, why can most adults still not do it? If math is that easy, why is it the most dreaded test subject?

 

I've asked this, and the answer tends to be,well they were just taught wrong all along. To which I say, what massively different way are these kids going to learn it in 6 months?
 

I don't know. It's so temping  to think you can homeschool without math until the teen years..... but I'm really skeptical.

 

The bolded is how I see it. It's a very high risk assumption because you're gambling on a number of things...

 

1. That the child will have no learning disabilities.2

2. That you'll have provided a good foundation through games and everyday life.

3. That the child will be motivated and the late preteen or early teen years will be smooth sailing for making this happen.

4. That your circumstances won't change and you won't need to send the child to school before making this transition.

 

That's a lot of contingencies. Like, a LOT.

 

I think #2 is especially iffy... every unschooler I've met thinks they're great at learning through life. And most of the ones I've known actually *are* great at introducing science, nature, history, music, arts, current events, literature, sometimes even writing. But... math? I don't know. I'm a little dubious. This is why I think so many families who otherwise unschool do a formal math program starting at some age or other. Because while you can do it, it's *hard* to make sequential learning of math and everyday life mesh the way that it can holistically come together for other topics.


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#33 Ali in OR

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 02:03 PM

For most kids, I would plan to spend the rest of 7th and 8th grade intentionally schooling math at a pretty aggressive pace to try to catch up to a point where Algebra 1 could be taken in 9th grade. And an hour a day wouldn't be sufficient--my typical-learner, on-grade-level kids probably spent more like 1.5 hours on math a day in 7th and 8th grade. We did about 45 minutes together going over the previous homework and then going over the new material together, and then dds spent about 45 minutes on the next homework assignment on their own. I would say 1.5 hrs/day is typical for PS kids too counting time in class and homework time--and those are kids who are already at grade level. There is a huge jump in difficulty level and ability to think abstractly when you move from elementary math to pre-algebra. I'm guessing the child is still at an elementary math level; at some point they will hit this jump in expectations and there really needs to be a concerted effort on his part to be ready for high school math. I would not leave him to figure it out on his own with a video. If Mom or Dad aren't up for this level of math, he should have a tutor. This is all based on my experience as a high school math teacher and tutor.


Edited by Ali in OR, 19 April 2017 - 02:04 PM.

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#34 Hilltopmom

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 02:04 PM

As for math facts, yeah, I never memorized them either. Still made it through Calculus in college.
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#35 slackermom

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 02:06 PM

I didn't vote, since I can't predict how someone else would do. I felt like sharing my own story though:

I attended an experimental school for junior high, where students were allowed to set their own academic goals, and specific classes were optional. I spent almost all of 7th grade skipping math, choosing to read novels and do jigsaw puzzles instead of going to math. In the last few weeks of the school year, I did all of the math homework and got the highest score on the year end exam, much to the annoyance of the math teacher.

Note that I had a strong grounding in basic math prior to attending the school, so a normal paced math class was boring to me. My motivation for doing the work at the end was that I needed the math credit to sign up for Pre-algebra the following year.
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#36 Arcadia

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 02:42 PM

I am thinking of unschooling as like this KQED article. So an unschooled child may not cover a typical school curriculum but the child is not uneducated.

My kids pick what classes they want and I just pay up and get them there in the case of brick and mortar classes. So my kids didn't do any English or literature curriculum since 4th grade but I am sure they would be okay when they go back to brick and mortar school for high school, not top of the class but okay. Like my oldest did a Romeo and Juliet class this year because he likes it but he didn't do any poetry or novel study.

"In 2011, he and colleague Gina Riley surveyed 232 parents who unschool their children, which they defined as not following any curriculum, instead letting the children take charge of their own education"

"Overall, 83 percent of the respondents had gone on to pursue some form of higher education. Almost half of those had either completed a bachelor’s degree or higher, or were currently enrolled in such a program; they attended (or had graduated from) a wide range of colleges, from Ivy League universities to state universities and smaller liberal-arts colleges."
"Similarly, a high number of respondents (half of the men and about 20 percent of the women) went on to science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) careers. "
https://ww2.kqed.org...olers-turn-out/

#37 Arctic Mama

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 02:45 PM

I expect you could get math facts, basic money math, manipulating fractions and decimals, estimating, etc, down in a year or two. Bridging to beginning algebra would be another year. Two, minimum, with a bright and motivated student who didn't have any significant obstructions to comprehension.
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#38 FaithManor

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 02:54 PM

I didn't answer because I do think it can be a valid option, just personally have not met a family who actually did it. Unschooling was the excuse for neglect, extreme neglect, as in 13 year olds that had no calendar skills and lived like feral cats! So I have a very negative experience with it, but yet have heard around the grapevine of people who did it successfully.

 

So that said, the issue with catching up is that if math has not been worked on to this point, whether or not an LD is present is an unknown. With an LD, catching up could be a very long, and difficult process. Also, the student has to be VERY motivated to learn. I have attempted to tutor kids who were educationally neglected, and at 16, 17, 18 years of age, they were motivated because adult life was looming, and they were beginning to see that their situation was pretty bad and wanted to do the work. The middle school 12-13 year old stage is not always quite so motivated. They figure they've got some years yet, and well, it is simply more fun to keep playing endless video games than crack the books.

 

My guess is that WITH proper motivation, and no LD, and significant support in the form of boundaries and expectations plus tutoring because not everyone learns everything the first time off Khan Academy, then maybe 2 years possibly 3.


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#39 Katy

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 03:05 PM

I'm not voting, my feelings about unschooling are too complex.

 

I think two hours a day would be best.  It is not out of line with what most kids in public schools do here, between class and an hour of homework.  And then I think 6 months for bright, motivated kids, down to 2 years for less motivated or learning disabled kids.  Longer if the goal isn't grade level but competitive college.

 

Though I'm a fan of Khan, I would start with a set of math facts flashcards, all facts 1-12.  I'd assume an unschooler doesn't know how to use flashcards and walk them through it: Divide the cards into sets of facts by the first number. Start with a set, drill until you think you can answer them without thinking or counting on your fingers, when you can, put those facts that are easy into one pile, the facts that are not easy in another. Redo the non-easy pile.  Keep it up until all the cards are in the easy pile, and do that whole pile again.  You might forget different facts that time.  Drill until you know the pile without thinking.  When you know all of that set, start with another set.  A bright kid could probably memorize 4 sets of numbers the first day, reviewing them daily until they had all the facts down.  If they add two sets each day it would take 23 days to memorize the math facts.  Or a whole month if they are skipping weekends.

 

Then do Khan.  Start with kindergarten and have them progress grade by grade.  Two hours a day minimum.  Have an adult nearby to explain what is confusing and make sure they don't get lost in YouTube. Have blank index cards nearby for them to make flashcards for new definitions.  Once a week (or more if needed) go through ALL the flashcards again - new and old.

 

That should get them to a typical grade level quickly.  But if you are doing this because they are interested in a career that requires math (Actuarial Science, other Science, Medicine, Engineering, Advance Programming, etc), you do not want to stop there.  You then want to add a VERY CHALLENGING curriculum that will teach them to solve hard problems. The reason for this is that you can ace AP Calculus and still fail your first University level Calc class when you don't have the perseverance to work through problems that seem impossible.  Problems that take more than an hour to solve each.   Something like Art of Problem Solving.   I haven't looked at other math curriculum recently so I don't know if there are others, but I'd do that, and start over with 6th grade once you've finished 7th grade Khan. It will take more teacher involvement.



#40 Bluegoat

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 03:46 PM

I think part of my thinking is that a child that age would not be starting or even moving along in the same way as a younger child.  With a child at or around grade level, you are often pushing the edges of their comprehension.  But I suspect a 12 year old would fly through most of elementary school math from a conceptual perspective, and you could do a lot of that and the more memory based work that just takes practice, concurrently.

 

Based on the math used in schools here, I think grades through grade 5 wouold go very quickly, and even grade 6 is pretty straight-forward.


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#41 Anne in CA

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 03:59 PM

While memorizing math facts can make math infinitely easier to navigate, and I do encourage the memorization of math facts to anyone who can, I don't agree that people who don't or can't will never be able to "catch up" as in do higher level math.  Memorized math facts is a different process then other areas of math.  One can do well with concepts and application while still struggling with memorization.  There are ways to get around that for those that cannot memorize (and there are those of us out there that really can't memorize effectively at all).

 

DH has never fully memorized his math facts and does brilliantly with higher level math.  He is a successful engineer.  He understands the concepts and can work through the problems even without all math facts having been memorized.

 

I have been trying to memorize my math facts off and on for decades.  Limited success.  Teaching the kids and working through the CLE system has helped me tremendously.  I still don't have them all memorized, though, and probably never will.  I still run the family personal and business finances and was commended by my dad's CPA and lawyer for handling the finances when he died.

 

DD has never been able to completely memorize her math facts but she has gotten extremely good at skip counting and can create her own math charts very quickly to refer to while doing math.  The chart frees up her resources to focus on the math concepts and application.  Do I wish she could memorize all of her facts, not just some?  Sure.  But not being able to does not mean she is incapable of grasping math concepts or should be put in a holding pattern in elementary math until she does.  She does have a math LD.  She is still capable of learning well in certain areas of math, with or without math facts being memorized.  Holding her back while she continues trying to memorize math facts would not actually help her at all.  She needs to work with the numbers at a deeper level for things to stick in her head.

I am not disbelieving you, but this does defy my imagination because I had a 11yo who could not do a simple long division problem in less than five minutes with skip counting. Also, she made a lot of mistakes with skip counting and so often she put a ton of time into a problem just to get it wrong. We had to break her of skip counting completely with Draconian methods because she had been taught it by teachers who were well meaning, but used to kids who were really home schooled, they just attended school several hours a day. She really wanted to skip count and it just wasn't doing her any favors. 

 

I think your family is math savants, lol. I am glad you know math, but I really would not want a young mom to think math facts are not super important, because I think your family is a big group of outliers. 


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#42 poppy

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 04:06 PM

I am thinking of unschooling as like this KQED article. So an unschooled child may not cover a typical school curriculum but the child is not uneducated.

My kids pick what classes they want and I just pay up and get them there in the case of brick and mortar classes. So my kids didn't do any English or literature curriculum since 4th grade but I am sure they would be okay when they go back to brick and mortar school for high school, not top of the class but okay. Like my oldest did a Romeo and Juliet class this year because he likes it but he didn't do any poetry or novel study.

"In 2011, he and colleague Gina Riley surveyed 232 parents who unschool their children, which they defined as not following any curriculum, instead letting the children take charge of their own education"

"Overall, 83 percent of the respondents had gone on to pursue some form of higher education. Almost half of those had either completed a bachelor’s degree or higher, or were currently enrolled in such a program; they attended (or had graduated from) a wide range of colleges, from Ivy League universities to state universities and smaller liberal-arts colleges."
"Similarly, a high number of respondents (half of the men and about 20 percent of the women) went on to science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) careers. "
https://ww2.kqed.org...olers-turn-out/

 

Says it is based on a survey of 232 unschoolers who responded to his emailed questionaire: "the respondents were overwhelmingly positive about their unschooling experience, saying it improved their children’s general well-being as well as their learning, and also enhanced family harmony. Their challenges primarily stemmed from feeling a need to defend their practices to family and friends, and overcoming their own deeply ingrained ways of thinking about education."  I don't know if that's a really good sampling.  Not to be anti-unschooling...... I am also really skeptical of people who say homeschoolers do better than public schoolers on standardized test.  Families of kids who DO  do better  are far more likely to answer surveys about it, know what I mean?


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#43 WoolySocks

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 04:07 PM

I don't believe that a child who did not memorize math facts EVER catches up until they do. That takes time. I have no idea how long it might take because how people memorize is widely varied, so  there is no way to say how long a child will take to memorize their math facts and THEN learn all the concepts of higher operations. That is very different from child to child. One of my children was extremely gifted at understanding big concepts but the other two were more concrete thinkers.

 

I don't totally agree with this and I have a BS in math (and a comp sci degree too).  My kids, husband, and I are all big picture learners and more visual-spatial types.  I muddled through my very rote, memorization based elementary math curriculum taught by crabby people who hated math just memorizing enough to keep plodding along.  Then immediately forgetting.  I didn't really memorize until I hit higher level math and I was using those facts all the time with math I found engaging and fun.  And really, I might just have gotten faster at generating answers.

 

I never really required my kids to memorize.  I treated fact learning separately than conceptual math.  Just chipped at a little drill each day.  Mostly with computer games.  I allowed a multiplication table (never a calculator) to be out while they did their conceptual math. They still knew their facts pretty well by pre-alg.  Some kids just do better with a slightly different approach.

 

Anyway - to the original question.  WAY too many variables.  I think some kids could breeze through this very quickly and some kids who were not naturally using math and curious about it all the time much longer.  My kids were very naturally doing multipication and fractions before the concept was ever formally introduced.


Edited by WoolySocks, 19 April 2017 - 04:10 PM.

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#44 Jean in Newcastle

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 04:07 PM

What does "played video games that involved some basic math" mean?  Does it mean that you counted how many monsters you killed?  (grade 1 level math) or figuring out if you have enough "money" to make a game transaction (still around first or second grade math)  or does it mean doing some of the ClueFinders type educational computer games that use math up to a sixth grade level depending on the game? 


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#45 Carol in Cal.

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 04:17 PM

Some of the unschoolers that I've seen just kind of decided to rule out math and science as focus areas, and did so brilliantly in the humanities that they were able to pursue awesome levels of higher education--one who I know personally is currently attending Reed, for instance.  C. S. Lewis was no unschooler, but he did not ever learn math, according to his autobiographical writings.

 

Some did a lot of math early on despite lack of interest, via math games with Mom at her insistence.  Is that really unschooling?  Not all would agree that it is.

 

And some were passionately interested in it, and so they went after it on their own, with various curricula and activities.

 

If someone were really starting from scratch, and not interested previously, I think that I would start a three parallel track program.  Track 1 would be math facts, skip counting memorization, and experience of the organic relationships between fractions, decimals, and percents.  Track 2 would be logic puzzles and strategy game training to teach that KIND of thinking.  And Track 3 would be some specific math curriculum, probably Saxon, starting with level 65, after about two months of the other tracks being pursued daily, using both mom instruction and the DIVE CD's, 6 days per week, year round.  I'd continue into 76 immediately rather than taking a break, and encourage the child to test out of the review lessons in 76 to speed things up.  Then 87, similarly.  That would take, I believe, about 2 1/2 years, and for a former unschooler it would be pure hell because it would be so laden with relentless requirements.  I can't imagine a parent who was used to be hands off actually making this happen. 

 

I mean, I have seen unschooling parents agonize over their 8th grader's not knowing cursive, and how it bothers him so much but they don't want to push him but he's decided he can't possibly learn this but it's not right for them to intervene.  That is SUCH a different way of thinking than mine.  Because basically the reason I didn't unschool is that DD was starting to decide that she was stupid because she didn't know how to read, so even though she didn't want to, I insisted on teaching her.  So in the cursive case, I'd be all, look, you can't let this beat you, here, I'll do up a worksheet for you every day and soon you will be a pro.  And that would be that.  But for someone who has been unschooling to 7th grade, there is a deep resistance to assigning things to kids at all, and it would be a rare 7th grade hater of math who would have the drive and the grit to push through a program like I've outlined on his own.

 

 


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#46 SparklyUnicorn

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 04:19 PM

I didn't vote in the poll.

 

Dab nabbit my cat just ate one of my pork rinds!!! :huh:

 

 


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#47 eternalsummer

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 04:29 PM

I didn't vote in the poll.

 

Dab nabbit my cat just ate one of my pork rinds!!! :huh:

 

lol



#48 Garga

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 04:42 PM

One hour isn't enough.  Two hours a day, with a break in between.  

 

As others have said, it depends on a lot of things.  There are a LOT of topics to cover in 1-7th grade math.  And just because you explain it once, doesn't mean it's firmly in a child's mind.  There has to be review--lots and lots of review.  Does Khan do that?   I can't tell you the number of times I've had one of my kids learn something and it seems like he has it...but then if he's asked to do that particular kind of problem two weeks later, he's really shaky on it.  So, getting through Khan wouldn't mean much to me, unless the student is doing lots of review weeks and months after originally learning the topic. 

 

My 6th grader has been learning in CLE how to figure out a discount on a price or tax on a price and he keeps getting stumped.  The first day, he seemed to have it, but toss in a tax problem in the middle of a bunch of other problems a week later, and you realize he needs the review.  Which is fine for us, because CLE has all that review there for this very reason.  By the time he's done the 15 random days of review that CLE has in their program, he will have it down.  But it takes all that random review, weeks after being taught the lesson, for it to stick.

 

But, maybe the student in the OPs post can learn something one time and never see it again and remember it.  Or maybe Khan has all sorts of review on every topic they teach (but I don't think they do).  But if those two things aren't true, then I think a child could do Khan, think they know math, but when faced with something they learned 6 months ago, realize they don't remember it At All.

 

I'd say 2 hours a day for 2-3 years, not with Khan.  Closer to 2 years if it's every day of the year, taking off for Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, and his/her birthday.  


Edited by Garga, 19 April 2017 - 04:44 PM.

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#49 lewelma

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 04:49 PM

I am a math tutor and have helped two 14 year olds catch up.  The boy had been in school but had fallen so far behind sometime many years in the past that he did not have a clue what was going on.  He did not know that 1/10=0.1, he did not know that 1/4+1/2 = 3/4.  He had not memorized his multiplication tables.  He could use a calculator.  But was failing badly (obviously).  It took me 1 year to catch him up so that he could pass his 10th grade algebra, geometry, and statistics exams.  We worked for 2 months the summer after 9th grade to get through all primary school math.  Then I ran a separate program with him including separate homework to shore up 8th and 9th grade integrated math, while he did 10th grade math at school. He passed with a C.  The following year, I did ran an additional program again, shoring up the low mark in 10th grade, while he worked through 11th grade math in school, he got a B.  This year, I'm shoring up 11th grade while he does 12th grade math (precalculus and Calculus integrated math) and I think he will get a B again.  This has been an outstanding outcome, due to his diligence, innate intelligence, and my skill in creating a program that could most efficiently remediate his situation.

 

In contrast, the girl who I started with at 14 had used MUS and finished through half of delta. Her mom could not do *any* math and the girl hated the videos so quit watching them. She was just sitting with the book trying to figure out what to do on her own, and clearly this was not a good strategy. She had memorized her times tables and that was it.  We stayed with MUS, and I tried to work at double speed to help her catch up.  This has not been possible.  She can only go at about 1.25 of a MUS level each year even working year round.  She just doesn't have the capability.  My goal is to have her get a C on our NZ exams in Algebra and Geometry by the end of 12th grade. If she had been working diligently all the way along, she would have been at a proper level. Her brain just can only absorb a certain quantity of material in a given time.  She can do the work, she just can't do it in a compacted way.

 

My point is that you don't know which kind of kid you have when you choose to delay math instruction.  You hear the success stories on the internet, and clearly they are kids like the boy I taught.  But kids like the girl exist, but no one is writing about them and their failure to catch up.  Basically, the stories are self selected, and you only hear the good ones.

 

If you choose to unschool math, you need to make sure that your student has a math need in everyday life, so that he/she has a reason to learn.  So if you owned a business and involved them in accounting, purchasing, inventory etc then your kid would have reason and opportunity, which is the key to a natural-learning or child-led lifestyle.  And I might add that I unschooled math for my oldest until 4th grade so I know that it can be effectively done.

 

Ruth in NZ


Edited by lewelma, 19 April 2017 - 04:58 PM.

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#50 Jean in Newcastle

Jean in Newcastle

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 04:55 PM

One hour isn't enough.  Two hours a day, with a break in between.  

 

As others have said, it depends on a lot of things.  There are a LOT of topics to cover in 1-7th grade math.  And just because you explain it once, doesn't mean it's firmly in a child's mind.  There has to be review--lots and lots of review.  Does Khan do that?   I can't tell you the number of times I've had one of my kids learn something and it seems like he has it...but then if he's asked to do that particular kind of problem two weeks later, he's really shaky on it.  So, getting through Khan wouldn't mean much to me, unless the student is doing lots of review weeks and months after originally learning the topic. 

 

My 6th grader has been learning in CLE how to figure out a discount on a price or tax on a price and he keeps getting stumped.  The first day, he seemed to have it, but toss in a tax problem in the middle of a bunch of other problems a week later, and you realize he needs the review.  Which is fine for us, because CLE has all that review there for this very reason.  By the time he's done the 15 random days of review that CLE has in their program, he will have it down.  But it takes all that random review, weeks after being taught the lesson, for it to stick.

 

But, maybe the student in the OPs post can learn something one time and never see it again and remember it.  Or maybe Khan has all sorts of review on every topic they teach (but I don't think they do).  But if those two things aren't true, then I think a child could do Khan, think they know math, but when faced with something they learned 6 months ago, realize they don't remember it At All.

 

I'd say 2 hours a day for 2-3 years, not with Khan.  Closer to 2 years if it's every day of the year, taking off for Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, and his/her birthday.  

 

Khan does have review.  You have to do it until you reach mastery and even then it will recycle the questions and will ask them periodically in a "mastery challenge" (aka review session).  If you don't get it in the mastery challenge then it will put the topic back in your queue of things to learn.  Now lots of people don't think that Khan gives enough review but it was enough for my visual-spatial learner who really had things once she understood the "why" behind it.  But then again, we had a math rich environment as well, including doing math review through the aforementioned ClueFinder's games so Khan was not her only place to practice her math skills. 

 


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