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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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#51 Arcadia

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 05:04 PM

What does "played video games that involved some basic math" mean?


I agree that can be a wide range. I guess OP left it vague instead of naming games to get wider feedback. Games like Lure of the Labyrinth (https://labyrinth.th...sources/mip.php) and DragonBox algebra (http://www.dragonboxapp.com) would cover more math topics.
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#52 poppy

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 05:07 PM

I agree that can be a wide range. I guess OP left it vague instead of naming games to get wider feedback. Games like Lure of the Labyrinth (https://labyrinth.th...sources/mip.php) and DragonBox algebra (http://www.dragonboxapp.com) would cover more math topics.

 

She said "basic math and / or coding".  So I'm going to guess early elementary level stuff.


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#53 OneStepAtATime

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 05:09 PM

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. 

If you are seeking speedy math computations then no, I cannot do math quickly and neither can DD. :laugh:  Would computations be faster if we had math facts memorized?  You bet.  I would love that.  Goodness knows I would.  But that doesn't mean we are incapable of moving forward or that it would be to our benefit to never move forward until all facts are memorized.  

 

It also doesn't mean that DD and I are math savants.  Truly we aren't.  :) Math was the hardest subject for me in school.  It is also DD's hardest subject.  If I had followed the path that I should not be allowed to move forward until all my facts are memorized I would still be in elementary school as a middle aged woman.   I would never have graduated High School, would never have graduated college, and would never have gone into my chosen career.  DD and I just don't memorize math facts well.  Our brains don't process that way.  It certainly hasn't been for lack of trying.  We can still do a lot of math at a higher level (though we will never be great at higher level math either).  We  just need more time to process through it. :)

 

I agree that math fact memorization makes math infinitely easier.  It really, really does.  My brother is super fast at calculations.  I envy him.  I will never be that person.  Neither will DD.  But I absolutely agree that if a child is capable of memorizing math facts then please do so.  I absolutely agree that this is a helpful skill.  I just disagree that it is a mandatory skill to have to have before any child is capable of/allowed to move forward, especially a child that is older.

 

FWIW, I love CLE because it keeps working on math fact acquisition alongside aids for math such as a math chart for several years since some kids can take years to master math facts.  They are worked on daily but a child is not left in a holding pattern, unable to move forward in math while they work on memorization (which is abhorrently nails on a chalkboard boring and even painful or impossible for some  children and if that is the bulk of what they are exposed to then they may never see the joy that math can be or ever get out of elementary level math).

 

Another component mentioned up thread is that some people who are very visual in the way they think struggle with rote memorization.  Their brain does not process data that way.  Rote memorization gives them nothing to hang their brain on, so to speak.  They could work on this skill for hours a day, weeks on end, through months and months and months and it still wouldn't stick.  They may waste tremendous time and energy trying and net very little.  Working through more in depth math concepts gives them something to anchor those math facts to.  

 

DD is like that.  Without higher math concepts to work through she has nothing for those math facts to anchor to.  They don't stick.  If I had held her back and forced her to continue to do only elementary level math until she had memorized math facts she would still be in 3rd grade math as a High Schooler.  And would have hated math forever.  Hated it.  She has discovered she loves Geometry.  And is good at it.  Doing skip counting and math charts is slower but it lets her function and she has found areas of math that really speak to her.  It has increased her motivation 10 fold.  And is helping some math facts to stick a lot better now.

 

Again, I agree that memorization of math facts is very helpful.  Absolutely when possible strive to do so.  I would not encourage people to never teach math facts and I am so sorry that your daughter's school did so.  I applaud you for trying to step in and turn the tide when you realized how she was struggling.  But besides my own family I have exchanged info with many times many people here and in real life that were not able to memorize all their math facts but still did well in higher level math given the chance.  Respectfully, I think it is not as uncommon as you may think.  

 

Does that mean all kids can do well in higher level math if they don't have their facts memorized?  No, probably not.  As you found out with your daughter she needed needed those math facts memorized.  I'm glad you were able to help her.  That doesn't mean that all children should be held back until they have all facts memorized.  For some that is an impossible position to be placed in.

 

For a parent with an older child just starting a formal math program I would work on math facts more heavily than with a younger child and hope they could pick them up pretty quickly.  Absolutely I would be working on math facts.  I would also, though, be introducing other math concepts and helping them work through those to give them something to anchor those facts to and to see the more interesting side of math.

 

Best wishes to all.


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#54 Sadie

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 05:12 PM

Took us a school year - so maybe around 10 months or so ? Child had been unschooled till then - lots of strewing, games, math activities though. 

 

Child was on grade level when she went to school the next year.

 

However....child lost ground quickly once at school. Do I blame that on unschooling ? Maybe. Or on school ? Could be - I was a very strong maths student till 8th grade, and then completely lost my way till an older adult, due to social pressure, inadequate teaching, and immaturity.

 

Ironically, by 10th grade, there was virtually no difference in dd's maths grades and mine at the same age. And I'd had 12 years of formal instruction by then, while she had had only 5. 

 

Given that I rediscovered my love and ability for maths as an adult, it's hard for me to think that a ten year old couldn't do the same, unless they had LD's and additionally, had been in a deprived environment all that time. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Edited by Sadie, 19 April 2017 - 05:15 PM.


#55 OneStepAtATime

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 05:14 PM

 

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 really like the three track idea and think it could be implemented without killing the child's potential enjoyment of and motivation to learn math IF the parent/instructor was able to work through the 3 tracks in a positive and effective manner and IF there were no underlying LDs and IF they honestly had the time to devote to this while still giving the student down time and the ability to pursue areas of interest.   :)

 

(Actually, I'm wishing someone had implemented a 3 track plan with me when I was in school.  :) )


Edited by OneStepAtATime, 19 April 2017 - 05:21 PM.

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#56 Where's Toto?

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 05:30 PM

I think it depends on the kid and where they are starting from.

 

My son could probably do it pretty quickly.  He taught himself a LOT of math when he was younger, from playing various games and trying to figure things out on the computer.  He was very quick to memorize all his math facts - the type of kid who sees (literally, he has to see it written down or on a poster or something) something a couple times and knows it.   He's currently doing pre-algebra and factoring is the first time he ever had to take extra time to understand anything mathematical.

 

My daughter, on the other hand, took forever to learn any of her math facts (we are still working hard on multiplication after over a year, although it was a crazy year).  She needs a lot of explanation to understand something, very explicit instruction, and lots of practice.  She would take a lot longer to "catch-up" than my son would.

 

They were the same way with reading.  I was constantly trying to figure out where my son was because he kept teaching himself, my daughter needed explicit phonics instruction.  Very different learners.



#57 foxbridgeacademy

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 05:47 PM

I would think more than a year (I don't unschool but do consider it a valid choice). I think if you used something like Math Mammoth and spent the entire hour sitting with the student working one on one then less than a year to see a improvement.  Sorry, but I don't think Khan academy is a good option for main curriculum. 


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#58 Arcadia

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 05:50 PM

But that doesn't mean we are incapable of moving forward or that it would be to our benefit to never move forward until all facts are memorized.
...
But besides my own family I have exchanged info with many times many people here and in real life that were not able to memorize all their math facts but still did well in higher level math given the chance. Respectfully, I think it is not as uncommon as you may think.

I agree.

Actually if you go to math contests like the AMC math which has much less emphasis on computation speed, kids who can't remember their math facts still do very well. My older is fast at math facts but it is his problem solving skills that is being put to use for higher level math.

It would be demoralizing to my DS11 if I had held him back until he could remember his multiplication tables. Even his ACT and SAT scores were not horribly affected by his lack of math facts fluency.

Honestly those public schools timed math drills in lower elementary are a great demoralizer for kids who are not fast at computation. Great for developing math phobia *rant*
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#59 luuknam

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 06:07 PM

Not a clue. Most 12yos in school take 9 months of an hour a day of 7th grade math to get 80% of 7th grade math, but, I do think they're less motivated on average, so, a motivated average 7th grader who has some math exposure (so not starting from scratch) should be able to be caught up in 12 months, I'd imagine. 

 

In reality, if I had a 12yo I wanted to catch up on math, I'd probably spend more than an hour a day, and imagine I'd be able to catch them up a lot faster than a year, but that would involve more hours a day, and a tutor rather than just Khan Academy, which would be more efficient.


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#60 SparklyUnicorn

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 06:14 PM

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

 

 

I agree, I'd probably bump that up to 2 hours.  Maybe half that on weekends or something.


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#61 Ausmumof3

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 06:26 PM

I'm surprised at the number of people who think unschooling is neglectful.

The term unschooling can be used as a cover for neglect of course.

I worked harder the year we went the unschooling road than any other time in my life.
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#62 Jean in Newcastle

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 06:36 PM

I'm surprised at the number of people who think unschooling is neglectful.

The term unschooling can be used as a cover for neglect of course.

I worked harder the year we went the unschooling road than any other time in my life.

 

Did your kids "do" all the core subjects in some form?  If you worked hard, then I suspect that they did.  I know that much of what I've done could be under the unschooling umbrella in the sense that it was not tied to a curriculum but I did guide it even if the kids weren't all that aware of that fact.  Which some would say is not unschooling at all . . . .


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#63 SparklyUnicorn

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 06:40 PM

I'm surprised at the number of people who think unschooling is neglectful.

The term unschooling can be used as a cover for neglect of course.

I worked harder the year we went the unschooling road than any other time in my life.

 

I don't even bother giving my opinion because unschooling is too vague of a term!  I've met various people who called themselves unschoolers and they were all so different! 


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#64 OneStepAtATime

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 06:40 PM

I'm surprised at the number of people who think unschooling is neglectful.

The term unschooling can be used as a cover for neglect of course.

I worked harder the year we went the unschooling road than any other time in my life.

 I think part of the problem is that we each maybe have a different picture of unschooling?  I think most would probably agree, though, that if unschooling means raising a child in a learning rich environment with very engaged kids and an engaged parent it can be successful and often a better option for many kids.  In fact, it can be wonderful.

 

I also think, though, that some worry with a truly unschooling environment that there might be learning challenges that are not noticed or helped for years (making it much harder to remediate), there may be gaps in areas like math or science or even writing skills that might be hard to fill in later when a child hits middle school or high school and may have a hard time changing gears and staying motivated. Not all kids.  But a lot might struggle at that point.

 

Honestly, DD would probably have done well as an unschooler.  I think if I had been that kind of parent she would have thrived..up to a point.  Without being in a structured environment I might not have realized how badly she was struggling with reading and math, despite significant instruction.  She needed very systematic and targeted daily, slow, structured instruction designed specifically for her brain for her to overcome the weak sides of dyslexia and dyscalculia.  Without that instruction she might never have learned to read or even do basic math.  The rest?  We should have unschooled.  :)


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#65 ananemone

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 06:47 PM

As an educational philosophy I have no problem with unschooling, and have done it myself for some periods of time; I voted for it as valid.

 

However, I have to say that in real life, I have not seen it function as anything but a cover for neglect.


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#66 Happy2BaMom

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 07:30 PM

Honestly, DD would probably have done well as an unschooler.  I think if I had been that kind of parent she would have thrived..up to a point.  Without being in a structured environment I might not have realized how badly she was struggling with reading and math, despite significant instruction.  She needed very systematic and targeted daily, slow, structured instruction designed specifically for her brain for her to overcome the weak sides of dyslexia and dyscalculia.  Without that instruction she might never have learned to read or even do basic math.  The rest?  We should have unschooled.   :)

 

It was only through using curriculum in my daughter's first and second grade years that I discovered that she had two rather significant LDs. She read early - very early - and fanatically, and she is extremely bright & engaged in many topics. It would have been really easy to miss the math & writing LDs if we were not doing daily exercises in a focused manner. 

 

And before anyone thinks I run a rigid homeschool, my daughter is done (usually) in under 2 hours a day with school, and I largely 'unschool' her (she pursues areas that interest her) the rest of the time. We hit just the educational basics, very briefly (~15 min each), on a 4-day-a-week basis. And that was enough for the LDs to pop. I would have hated to have missed having those diagnosed, because it has taken YEARS of professional help to keep her near grade level in math and writing. 

 

Having said that, I think wholesale unschooling can theoretically (and possibly actually) work really, really well. It's just, like some others, I've seen a lot of 'unschooling' parents who just don't seem to do anything much at all in terms of education with their children. For those who truly unschool with a lot of dedication and time given to educate your children this way, you might need to come up with a new term to differentiate yourselves!  :-)


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#67 38carrots

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 07:44 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.

 

A year or two for math facts, money math, fractions / decimals etc? Maybe we have a vastly different understanding of what needs to be achieved in those areas? I can't imagine this taking more than a couple of months, at most.


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#68 Arcadia

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 07:47 PM

I'm surprised at the number of people who think unschooling is neglectful.

  

I think part of the problem is that we each maybe have a different picture of unschooling?

I think it is a definition issue just like arguing about homeschooling on these boards is a definition issue.

My idea/perception of unschooling would be much closer to child led. So it can still be structured but on an individual child's timeline. For example my older kid wants to learn more number theory so I paid up for the aops class he wants to take. My younger kid wants more labs so I gave him a budget and websites that I trust to buy from. We end up using labpaq kits but I would have paid up if he had wanted a lab kit from HST, QSL or other reputable sites.

There are late bloomers in my extended family but I think my relatives would have panicked if we didn't have our number sense, tolerable spelling and handwriting, and being able to read simple instruction manuals by 3rd grade. None of my relatives are 2E though, so 2E children may compensate well enough to "escape notice".

Also books like The Number Devil (https://www.amazon.c...e/dp/0805062998), Number Freak (https://www.amazon.c...d/dp/0399534598), Sink or Float? Thought Problems in Math & Physics (https://www.amazon.c...s/dp/0883853396), Math Geek: From Klein bottles to Chaos Theory (https://www.amazon.c...s/dp/1440583811) teach quite a bit of maths.
The new way things works book (https://www.amazon.c...k/dp/0395938473) teach quite a bit of simple physics while The way we work book (https://www.amazon.c...g/dp/0618233784) teach quite a bit of human biology.
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#69 Bluegoat

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 07:48 PM

If you are seeking speedy math computations then no, I cannot do math quickly and neither can DD. :laugh:  Would computations be faster if we had math facts memorized?  You bet.  I would love that.  Goodness knows I would.  But that doesn't mean we are incapable of moving forward or that it would be to our benefit to never move forward until all facts are memorized.  

 

It also doesn't mean that DD and I are math savants.  Truly we aren't.   :) Math was the hardest subject for me in school.  It is also DD's hardest subject.  If I had followed the path that I should not be allowed to move forward until all my facts are memorized I would still be in elementary school as a middle aged woman.   I would never have graduated High School, would never have graduated college, and would never have gone into my chosen career.  DD and I just don't memorize math facts well.  Our brains don't process that way.  It certainly hasn't been for lack of trying.  We can still do a lot of math at a higher level (though we will never be great at higher level math either).  We  just need more time to process through it. :)

 

I agree that math fact memorization makes math infinitely easier.  It really, really does.  My brother is super fast at calculations.  I envy him.  I will never be that person.  Neither will DD.  But I absolutely agree that if a child is capable of memorizing math facts then please do so.  I absolutely agree that this is a helpful skill.  I just disagree that it is a mandatory skill to have to have before any child is capable of/allowed to move forward, especially a child that is older.

 

FWIW, I love CLE because it keeps working on math fact acquisition alongside aids for math such as a math chart for several years since some kids can take years to master math facts.  They are worked on daily but a child is not left in a holding pattern, unable to move forward in math while they work on memorization (which is abhorrently nails on a chalkboard boring and even painful or impossible for some  children and if that is the bulk of what they are exposed to then they may never see the joy that math can be or ever get out of elementary level math).

 

Another component mentioned up thread is that some people who are very visual in the way they think struggle with rote memorization.  Their brain does not process data that way.  Rote memorization gives them nothing to hang their brain on, so to speak.  They could work on this skill for hours a day, weeks on end, through months and months and months and it still wouldn't stick.  They may waste tremendous time and energy trying and net very little.  Working through more in depth math concepts gives them something to anchor those math facts to.  

 

DD is like that.  Without higher math concepts to work through she has nothing for those math facts to anchor to.  They don't stick.  If I had held her back and forced her to continue to do only elementary level math until she had memorized math facts she would still be in 3rd grade math as a High Schooler.  And would have hated math forever.  Hated it.  She has discovered she loves Geometry.  And is good at it.  Doing skip counting and math charts is slower but it lets her function and she has found areas of math that really speak to her.  It has increased her motivation 10 fold.  And is helping some math facts to stick a lot better now.

 

Again, I agree that memorization of math facts is very helpful.  Absolutely when possible strive to do so.  I would not encourage people to never teach math facts and I am so sorry that your daughter's school did so.  I applaud you for trying to step in and turn the tide when you realized how she was struggling.  But besides my own family I have exchanged info with many times many people here and in real life that were not able to memorize all their math facts but still did well in higher level math given the chance.  Respectfully, I think it is not as uncommon as you may think.  

 

Does that mean all kids can do well in higher level math if they don't have their facts memorized?  No, probably not.  As you found out with your daughter she needed needed those math facts memorized.  I'm glad you were able to help her.  That doesn't mean that all children should be held back until they have all facts memorized.  For some that is an impossible position to be placed in.

 

For a parent with an older child just starting a formal math program I would work on math facts more heavily than with a younger child and hope they could pick them up pretty quickly.  Absolutely I would be working on math facts.  I would also, though, be introducing other math concepts and helping them work through those to give them something to anchor those facts to and to see the more interesting side of math.

 

Best wishes to all.

 

My dd12 and I are both like this. She started to remember math facts only after she began using them regularly in problems and she reached a higher level of brain complexity.  Even now she doesn't remember them all but is very quick at finding them based on the ones she does know - she sees them all as a series of relationships.  But as an 8 year old, she wasn't able to do that.


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#70 foxbridgeacademy

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 08:35 PM

 I think part of the problem is that we each maybe have a different picture of unschooling?  I think most would probably agree, though, that if unschooling means raising a child in a learning rich environment with very engaged kids and an engaged parent it can be successful and often a better option for many kids.  In fact, it can be wonderful.

 

I also think, though, that some worry with a truly unschooling environment that there might be learning challenges that are not noticed or helped for years (making it much harder to remediate), there may be gaps in areas like math or science or even writing skills that might be hard to fill in later when a child hits middle school or high school and may have a hard time changing gears and staying motivated. Not all kids.  But a lot might struggle at that point.

 

Honestly, DD would probably have done well as an unschooler.  I think if I had been that kind of parent she would have thrived..up to a point.  Without being in a structured environment I might not have realized how badly she was struggling with reading and math, despite significant instruction.  She needed very systematic and targeted daily, slow, structured instruction designed specifically for her brain for her to overcome the weak sides of dyslexia and dyscalculia.  Without that instruction she might never have learned to read or even do basic math.  The rest?  We should have unschooled.   :)

:iagree: If I could go back and start over I would have done direct instruction for math, reading, and writing only everything else would have been unschooled until high school. 


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#71 idnib

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 08:46 PM

I think 18 months-30 months, and I added a few extra months in there because while the student is catching up time marches on and they have to not just make up the old material, but catch up with the current material.

 

If I were in this situation there is no way I would stick to only one hour/day. We would do at least 2, and if the child had a particular goal in mind such as admission to a school or program, or an exam, maybe 3 hours/day, spilt morning, afternoon, and evening. The success stories I have heard about unschoolers catching up always have the student becoming motivated by a goal and then diligently spending much more time that the average student to focus and accelerate. 1 hour/day is less than the average school kid.



#72 lewelma

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 08:47 PM

Another component mentioned up thread is that some people who are very visual in the way they think struggle with rote memorization.  Their brain does not process data that way.  Rote memorization gives them nothing to hang their brain on, so to speak.  They could work on this skill for hours a day, weeks on end, through months and months and months and it still wouldn't stick.  They may waste tremendous time and energy trying and net very little.  Working through more in depth math concepts gives them something to anchor those math facts to.  

 

My older ds struggled and struggled to learn his math facts over many years.  In the end the only solution was 3 times a day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) 7 days a week for 3 months.  He was still learning his subtraction facts while working through AoPS Intro Algebra.  Today, he is nationally competitive in math.  Rote memorization does NOT equate to mathematical skill.

 

Ruth in NZ


Edited by lewelma, 19 April 2017 - 08:48 PM.

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#73 OneStepAtATime

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 08:50 PM

My older ds struggled and struggled to learn his math facts over many years.  In the end the only solution was 3 times a day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) 7 days a week for 3 months.  He was still learning his subtraction facts while working through AoPS Intro Algebra.  Today, he is nationally competitive in math.  Rote memorization does NOT equate to mathematical skill.

 

Ruth in NZ

Exactly.  I agree.  Were you quoting me because you were trying to argue with me or agreeing with me?   :)  I wasn't sure.  I think you were agreeing.  But yes, I agree with you 100%.


Edited by OneStepAtATime, 19 April 2017 - 08:50 PM.

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#74 Quill

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 09:13 PM

I'm surprised at the number of people who think unschooling is neglectful.

The term unschooling can be used as a cover for neglect of course.

I worked harder the year we went the unschooling road than any other time in my life.


Not everybody defines unschooling the same way. I have no problem with what I would call the "Colefax Unschooling." Like the Colefax family, an early "pioneer" of the concept. Those parents worked their butts off. They built farm outbuildings to teach geometry. That kind of unschooling - I admire it, but I would not do that, no way! It doesn't mesh with my logical, step-by-step preferences and I don't want to have the kids re-wire the house so they can learn about electricity. (i know someone who did this!) i do think that can be effective, if the parents want to do this and are committed.

It's the "Sandra Dodd" unschooling that I am frankly opposed to. I think it's a terrible idea, risks something that isn't the parent's to gamble (their child's future options), and makes a lot of excuses for its shortcomings.
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#75 Shellydon

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 10:08 PM

At least 2 years and most likely 3.   So, age 14-15 to be functioning at a 7th grade level. 


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#76 Seasider

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 10:42 PM

But you have to do more than catch up, you have to plan time to also move forward, because time won't stand still while catching up. Your question really should be how long will it take to catch up AND get through pre/algebra.

ETA reading through, I see others mentioned this upthread.

Edited by Seasider, 19 April 2017 - 11:00 PM.

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#77 luuknam

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 10:46 PM

Is Khan considered a complete program? 

 

 

I've been on Khan for just over 4.5 years now. I hadn't touched it in about 2.5 years though until I started doing it again a little over a month ago. I'd completed everything 4 years ago, and completely everything 2.5 years ago, and completed K-8 about a month ago, and I just spent 45 min or so this evening doing 4th-8th grade math again because they added more within the past month (I don't do the videos - I'm just talking about the exercises).

 

I feel like at this point, K-8 is pretty complete - I suspect they'll add some more over time, but I don't think there are big gaping holes (that said, I haven't sat down and compared it to a regular math program or anything, and Khan's K-8 math is not on an advanced track or anything). One of the things that's driving me nuts is that for some reason, Khan these days has 3 tracks - one by subject (early math, arithmetic, prealgebra, etc), one by grade level, and another by grade level of EngageNY-aligned classes (w/e EngageNY is), and they're not exactly the same. And if you click on the missions it won't assign all the exercises to you - I think they might eventually assign them to you, but at least when they first add new exercises they're not actually part of the mission (which is good in a way, as they're more likely to have mistakes in them, so you wouldn't want your DIY 12yo math learner to get confused over problems that haven't been proofread - I submitted 2 or 3 bug reports this evening because of issues with problems, one of which was just a typo that wouldn't be an issue, but another one where the problem stated the volume was 108 and the answer used a volume of 36, causing it to be wrong - and that's hardly the first time I've submitted a bug report for a recently added problem). 

 

Wrt my previous answer on how long it'd take to catch up - in the past I've played games where you have to answer arithmetic problems to defend the earth against alien invaders, so that's what I was thinking of when OP mentioned playing games involving basic math. So, I assumed the person would have the arithmetic facts down. I also assumed maybe games like Dragonbox. In other words, I assumed somebody who could start with learning multi-digit multiplication and long-division, but with possibly some more general math intuition. But, I'm pretty bad at knowing what the average person is like, so, who knows. 


Edited by luuknam, 19 April 2017 - 10:48 PM.

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#78 lewelma

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 10:51 PM

Exactly.  I agree.  Were you quoting me because you were trying to argue with me or agreeing with me?   :)  I wasn't sure.  I think you were agreeing.  But yes, I agree with you 100%.

 

Haha. Totally agreeing with you. The boy whose math I brought up 5 years in a year could not memorize his times tables as a younger student because of his dyslexia.  But I read that sometimes dyslexics can learn them later in life, so I made him old fashioned paper flashcards and got him to drill every day.  He got them down in about 3 months and it made a huge difference to his algebra, because now he could recognize factors and such.  So even if it is a no go at a younger age, it might be a lot easier when a kid is older.


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#79 OneStepAtATime

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 10:56 PM

Haha. Totally agreeing with you. The boy whose math I brought up 5 years in a year could not memorize his times tables as a younger student because of his dyslexia. But I read that sometimes dyslexics can learn them later in life, so I made him old fashioned paper flashcards and got him to drill every day. He got them down in about 3 months and it made a huge difference to his algebra, because now he could recognize factors and such. So even if it is a no go at a younger age, it might be a lot easier when a kid is older.


Yep. I finally learned my 6 times tables. (And you may not be aware of this but I'm a bit older 🤣).

Seriously though I do think for some people later actually works better. Of course there are those that do better with a really early approach too. Silly humans. We are such a diverse bunch.
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#80 Seasider

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 11:03 PM

Just wanted to echo that I think more than one hour per day would be required.

Also, this student would need access to a parent/tutor when the khan explanations aren't enough. Meaning, I wouldn't park my 12yo in front of the computer and expect all this "catch-up" to happen via independent self-study. It's going to be challenging because it will require discipline that perhaps wasn't fostered via the unschooling approach.

Edited by Seasider, 19 April 2017 - 11:05 PM.

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#81 luuknam

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 11:05 PM

Seriously though I do think for some people later actually works better. Of course there are those that do better with a really early approach too. Silly humans. We are such a diverse bunch.

 

 

It's almost as if we didn't evolve to do math, but for some reason decided to do it anyway. :)


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#82 luuknam

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 11:07 PM

Also, this student would need access to a parent/tutor when the khan explanations aren't enough.

 

 

Khan does have an area where you can ask questions, and the community can answer (and you can also look through old questions and answers, iirc). I haven't looked at that in forever though, but it might be good enough for the 12+ crowd.


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#83 Mergath

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 11:27 PM

I'm surprised at the number of people who think unschooling is neglectful.

The term unschooling can be used as a cover for neglect of course.

I worked harder the year we went the unschooling road than any other time in my life.

 

I think that, in theory, it could work well with the right kid and the right family and a lot of work. Like others, I've just never seen it actually turn out that way in real life. The situations I've seen irl were that mom was either mentally ill or, tbh, too lazy to put any effort into homeschooling. The kids always seem to turn out angry and ashamed at how poorly educated they are compared to their peers. That, of course, makes both the parents and the kids hesitant to try public school instead, so they just keep on unschooling, and it's a vicious cycle that ends with kids who don't know enough to handle even the remedial classes at the local community college.

 

We even tried it ourselves for a month when dd was burned out and needed a break from our regular routine. It didn't take me long to realize that neither of us is cut out for hardcore unschooling. ;) We ended up incorporating more child-led learning into our regular homeschooling routine but abandoning the full-blown unschooling.


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#84 Arcadia

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 11:48 PM

Yep. I finally learned my 6 times tables.

My exercise book as a student from 1st to 10th grade had the multiplication tables up to 12x12 printed on the back cover. My parents version had the multiplication tables printed up to 16x16. Also calculators (for math) and dictionaries (for languages) are allowed in the high stakes national exams in 6th grade in my home country.

I can't find the exact thing but my exercise books look like this link to the Russian one. https://en.m.wikiped...graph_paper.jpg

Also there is a multiplication tables song in Chinese, Japanese and Korean so some kids know how to sing the multiplication tables before they learn multiplication in school.

Timed color the bubble kind of Math tests might have contributed to the feeling of needing to drill math facts/multiplication tables. I am used to short response questions for national level math tests starting from elementary school level. You (general) can't get an A or a distinction from computation speed alone. It requires word problem level of proficiency at 4th grade (school level exam) and 6th grade (national level exam) and not slacking in writing out all the steps.

Knowing the math facts makes factorization easier and sometimes solving simultaneous equations easier. What affected my younger boy's math scores for sat and act was his reading speed of the math questions and not his computation speed.
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#85 ifIonlyhadabrain

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 12:50 AM

:iagree: If I could go back and start over I would have done direct instruction for math, reading, and writing only everything else would have been unschooled until high school. 

 

Well you just made me feel a whole lot better about our year. Okay, it's been the last *several* years that we've just been getting the basics done. ;)  I *have* made multiple attempts and have shelves full of content curricula. So good intentions? 


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#86 Sadie

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 02:18 AM

I'm surprised at the number of people who think unschooling is neglectful.

The term unschooling can be used as a cover for neglect of course.

I worked harder the year we went the unschooling road than any other time in my life.

 

Unschooling well is really hard work. Btdt. 

 

These forums are not unschooling friendly. As you might expect on a classical education board.


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#87 LMD

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 02:25 AM

Unschooling well is really hard work.


this has always been my impression and the main reason I'm not an unschooler. Mother, know thyself...
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#88 Sadie

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 02:28 AM

this has always been my impression and the main reason I'm not an unschooler. Mother, know thyself...

 

When I stopped unschooling all the kids, and started CM style schooling, it was so much less work. So much less!

 

I'm always puzzled at the automatic association of unschooling with neglect. Not my experience at all. 


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#89 LucyStoner

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 02:34 AM

A year or two for math facts, money math, fractions / decimals etc? Maybe we have a vastly different understanding of what needs to be achieved in those areas? I can't imagine this taking more than a couple of months, at most.


As an experienced math tutor in a previous life, I never saw anyone go from multiple major arithmetic deficits to algebra in less than a school year. And that included motivated adults who didn't have learning disabilities.

I think it's a rare bird who can get all of that pinned down with minimal prior knowledge in just a few months. Do you have experience tutoring math to a wide variety of students?
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#90 ananemone

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 02:56 AM

When I stopped unschooling all the kids, and started CM style schooling, it was so much less work. So much less!

 

I'm always puzzled at the automatic association of unschooling with neglect. Not my experience at all. 

 unschooling is a massive amount of work.  Mostly it is the reason I switched to formal curricula in everything except history, which we still mostly unschool (or at least child-lead, which is similar if not the wholesale program)

 

maybe it is a regional thing?  I'd imagine that in Australia, since you have a lot more oversight, fewer people are able to slip through the cracks so if they are unschooling they're really unschooling.  In a lot of states in the US, you just have to tell the state you're a homeschooler and they leave you alone to do as you like.


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#91 Carrie12345

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 03:30 AM

I voted 12 months based on my experiences with my own kids.  Not that they fit the example, but I'm trying to project.

 

My oldest is very math minded, and was always ahead (in ps) without direct instruction. I think he would have been able to flourish with Khan at his fingertips.

 

My next two teenagers are not as strong in math, despite always using formal curriculum.  Before the pre-Alg stage, I feel like they could have possibly (emphasis on possibly) reached the same place with little instruction and a year or two of Khan.  Note that I said "same place", which is a struggling C+ to B- area, at best.

 

The next one is turning 10, finishing 4th grade.  His education has leaned more unschooly than the others, though actual unschoolers would (and have) argue that's not a thing.  Regardless, his direct instruction has been limited.  We periodically work through new concepts, and I run him through placement and/or assessments once or twice a year.  He comes out at grade/age level each time, otherwise we would have changed things up already.  He does spend some time on Khan now and then.  He often gets thrown off by the phrasing of questions at first, then works his brain around it and does fine.  While my plan is to begin regular, formal instruction in the fall, I could imagine him easily catching up at 12 with enough self-motivation.

 

The last one is 6 and I perceive him as my perfect baby, so I can't use him.  :tongue_smilie:

 

Given the right kid, the right circumstances, etc., I say 12 months, on average, could bring a 12yo up to functional, age-expected math skills.  It's not quite the path I would take, and I definitely wouldn't want to take it into high school, but I think it could be done.



#92 Carrie12345

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 03:53 AM

A year or two for math facts, money math, fractions / decimals etc? Maybe we have a vastly different understanding of what needs to be achieved in those areas? I can't imagine this taking more than a couple of months, at most.

 

My daughters and I have been talking about math a lot lately.  "Knowing" something is easy.  Being able to comfortably and easily utilize and manipulate knowledge is something else entirely.  Both girls know how to convert units and use decimals.  Both are interested in (different) emergency services.  Just because they know, factually, how to manipulate numbers does not mean they're fluent enough to assess chemical spills or calculate medications on the fly.  It takes practice.

 

My son solidly knows his money facts.  At 10, it's still cute (imo) to see him work out his total at a bake sale if there isn't a long line.  (And it's adorable with my 6yo!) At 12, I wouldn't want to see him painstakingly working it out in a busy grocery store line.  If he continues practicing, that won't happen.  If he doesn't, it will.

 

I don't think it's any different from a foreign language.  My girls have memorized a ton of French vocabulary, including all parts of speech.  They know what the words mean and (mostly) how to pronounce them. But they can't actually communicate much in French.


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#93 Bluegoat

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 06:55 AM

For a long time unschooling was the dominant type of homeschooling here.  Most of the unschoolers even now are of the view that parents shouldn't direct learning - interest has to come from the kid.  That's the basis of their choice of that method rather than anything else.  They also typically feel that there is no basic kinds of knowledge that anyone needs to be a functioning member of society, and cultural literacy really isn't on the radar at all.  And that kids themselves are primarily responsible for their own learning, in the sense of getting projects together and such.

 

The results of this don't seem overwhelmingly great to me.


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#94 OneStepAtATime

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 07:15 AM

A year or two for math facts, money math, fractions / decimals etc? Maybe we have a vastly different understanding of what needs to be achieved in those areas? I can't imagine this taking more than a couple of months, at most.

How in depth and to what level of exposure are you talking about?  Brief introduction?  Or in depth mastery at higher levels?  I could briefly introduce all of those subjects to a student who has never had any formal exposure in a couple of months or so.  Unless they are really, really, really good at mastering math concepts quickly or have had significant exposure prior they will not have MASTERED these concepts or internalized them to the point of complete automaticity.

 

I am looking at the Math on the Level list of concepts needing to be mastered by the end of 8th grade and it is 140 items long.  Many of these things build on each other so it isn't 140 separate unrelated concepts but it is a lot of concepts and each one of those 140 items may take days or weeks to really understand and master.  Even after mastery it may take additional review for the knowledge to stick long term so besides learning and mastering the concept older concepts need to be reviewed as you move forward.  For some kids they can learn with minimal on-going review.  For others they will need daily or at least weekly review of anything that has already been introduced.  Add in any deficits (such as low working memory, low processing speed, ADHD, dyscalculia, dyslexia, etc) and it will probably take longer, maybe much much longer to master these concepts.

 

For instance, fractions can be exceedingly difficult for a child to master.  Doesn't mean they can't grasp the concept pretty quickly.  But it may take quite a while to be able to convert between fractions with different denominators or to multiply fractions or change mixed numbers to improper fractions and vice a versa, or reduce fractions to their simplest form, etc.  And then to be able to apply that knowledge in multiple settings in real life and in word problems and on tests will take time.  They need exposure, then mastery, then automaticity.  That usually does not happen overnight at all.  That takes time.

 

When I was in school concepts were introduced and then we moved on.  There was very little review.  The assumption, I guess, was that once a concept was introduced and a student showed they understood it then it was not only mastered but internalized and no further review was necessary since there would be additional exposure the next year.  For many students this approach left them with a very weak foundation in math and struggling mightily in later classes.  They not only hadn't mastered the material it had not been internalized.  There was no automaticity.  They were using all their brain resources trying to remember these processes instead of learning the new material being introduced the next year.  

 

I hit High School with a very weak foundation in fractions, decimals, percents, etc.  even though I had exposure every year.  There is a difference between exposure and mastery.  There is a difference between master as in showing you fully understand a concept and automaticity as in internalizing the material to the point you no longer need much or any review to be able to do the math cold after having been away from it for weeks/months/years.

 

Most students can grasp fractions, decimals, money, etc. at an exposure level pretty quickly, especially as an older student (barring potential complications from LDs).  Those same students will probably need a LOT more than just exposure to master and internalize those concepts at a more in depth level and to be able to perform those tasks smoothly without help in different scenarios in real life and on different types of tests.

 

Just ask all the math teachers and tutors out there trying to help High School and College students get through higher level math classes.  As far as I can tell the bulk of the issue usually centers on a weak foundation in fractions, decimals and percents.  These are kids that were exposed repeatedly to those concepts over the years.  What they weren't able to do with just exposure was master and internalize these concepts at a deeper level.


Edited by OneStepAtATime, 20 April 2017 - 07:17 AM.

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#95 soror

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 07:18 AM

I'm not against unschooling if done well.

 

I voted over a year, that assumes that---

 

- they are of average intelligence and have no learning challenges

 

I think it could take less time if the child is gifted or works more than an hour a day.



#96 OneStepAtATime

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 07:44 AM

I'm not against unschooling if done well.

 

I voted over a year, that assumes that---

 

- they are of average intelligence and have no learning challenges

 

I think it could take less time if the child is gifted or works more than an hour a day.

This is me.  Well done unschooling I think can be a great fit for some kids/families.  I think it is hard to do it well.  As Sadie and others have mentioned, doing true unschooling seems like a lot of work and for some parents it may be exceedingly difficult to pull off effectively.  I am absolutely not against unschooling.  I wish I could effectively unschool.  I'm lousy at it.

 

As for time frame, if a child is of average intelligence and has been truly unschooled, not neglected, then they could probably cover everything needed in a year and POSSIBLY master and internalize to the point of automaticity.  I suspect most would still need some review for a longer period of time for it to truly be internalized, though.  I certainly would have.



#97 EKS

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 08:06 AM

I'm not sure why you split the responses into those sympathetic to unschoolers and those who aren't.  My response has nothing to do with how I feel about unschooling. 

 

I said 12 months--but that would be with having a teacher who is on top of the kid every day making sure things are understood and that time is used efficiently.  With a kid who is left to his own devices and the Khan Academy materials--well, it really depends on the kid.

 

If I were in this situation, I'd run through the basics of arithmetic the first year--addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, decimals, and percents.  Assuming that went well, the next year I'd do a good prealgebra program that has review of arithmetic built in (Derek Owens is an example, but there are tons of others).  That delayed review will be important to see how much was retained and to reinforce whatever has been or is about to be lost.  I would also do an arithmetic review (3-5 problems each day) for the next two years (so during Algebra I and geometry) to ensure that things are completely retained.

 

I would use a program that is easy to accelerate and that teaches math conceptually.  The stronger a person's conceptual understanding of something is, the less practice he will need to retain it (though he will need to practice to achieve fluency).  I have no idea how conceptual Khan Academy is.  The two programs that I know about that would work well for this sort of remediation are Singapore math and Math U See.


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#98 luuknam

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 08:19 AM

Edit of part of prior post because I figured it was unclear:

 

 

I've been on Khan for just over 4.5 years now. I hadn't touched it in about 2.5 years though until I started doing it again a little over a month ago. I'd completed everything 4 years ago, and then again completed everything 2.5 years ago because they'd added a couple hundred more exercises, and completed K-8 again about a month ago because they'd added hundreds more exercises, and I just spent 45 min or so this evening doing 4th-8th grade math again because they added more within the past month (I don't do the videos - I'm just talking about the exercises).

 

 

IOW, it used to be quite incomplete when I first joined (I've got a Linear Algebra badge from when they had only a handful Lin Alg exercises for example), but they keep adding more, so if you looked at Khan a while back and thought it was lacking, I'd suggest you check back periodically - that said, it's never going to be as efficient as a good tutor.


Edited by luuknam, 20 April 2017 - 08:24 AM.

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#99 luuknam

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 08:48 AM

How in depth and to what level of exposure are you talking about?  Brief introduction?  Or in depth mastery at higher levels?  

 

 

OP asked for 80%, which to me implies a B- kind of student, which means a student who has not completely mastered everything, especially not in depth mastery at higher levels. So, I'm thinking B- for 7th grade in a track to take Algebra I in 9th grade isn't that hard to accomplish. It's also not all that desirable, but, it's no worse than the average PS student (of course, the average PS student is less than stellar at math).



#100 OneStepAtATime

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 08:59 AM

OP asked for 80%, which to me implies a B- kind of student, which means a student who has not completely mastered everything, especially not in depth mastery at higher levels. So, I'm thinking B- for 7th grade in a track to take Algebra I in 9th grade isn't that hard to accomplish. It's also not all that desirable, but, it's no worse than the average PS student (of course, the average PS student is less than stellar at math).

I see what you are saying.

 

Here's the thing, I managed Bs and even As in High School Algebra and Geometry but I still had a VERY shaky background in basic math concepts such as Fractions and Decimals and Percents and even order of operations, etc.  That B or A was not actually reflecting my true understanding of the material.  I was struggling.  It hurt me.  By Algebra II I was completely floundering.  And in the real world I also struggled with not fully grasping those concepts.  I had to work really, really hard to get past those deficits to handle the finances for my dad's business when he passed on.  Honestly, I resent the huge gaps in understanding that the public school crippled me with.  I had enough exposure to the material and was bright enough I could sort of fake true understanding and pass with decent grades.  I did not actually understand critical basic math concepts at a deep enough level to properly "get" what I was doing.  Yes, I did actually end up enjoying higher level math classes in Algebra I and Geometry and certainly being able to do higher level math helped with understanding and anchoring to some of the more basic processes but a lot was never mastered and it did affect my functionality as an adult.

 

If all the parent is going to do is help a child to sort of limp along to get to a point where they can kind of fake understanding well enough to pass with Bs that seems really wasteful and neglectful to me.  They are hurting their kid.  When I think about this type of scenario, even if the child is getting Bs on math tests I would want the student to actually truly understand the basics, even if there are areas they still struggle as they move into higher level math.  There are Bs and there are Bs.  A very bright student can sort of fake their way through.  That B may not actually reflect 80% mastery/understanding.   If the B is showing true understanding/mastery of 80% of the material, o.k. fine.  But I would not want to gamble that it does.


Edited by OneStepAtATime, 20 April 2017 - 09:01 AM.

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