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Summer - pre-6th grade and thinking ahead.


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What's with the ads?

#1 SKL

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Posted 22 April 2017 - 10:50 AM

I already have camps and sports pretty much lined up for the summer, but I thought it would be fun to have a thread about what all our kids will be doing.

 

Also, I noticed a lot of what my kids do will be unavailable once they are done with 6th grade (i.e., next year).  They already aged out of some old favorites.  So I started wondering, what do most working parents with "normal" middle-school kids (i.e. not looking for intense academic experiences) do in the summer?

 

We live kind of far from almost anything my kids would do, especially if you consider arbitrary age restrictions (13yo at the rec center, used to be 12 at the library but that may have changed).  So just hanging out all day isn't a great plan for us.

 

Hmm, maybe I could give them a job at our office ....



#2 Frances

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Posted 22 April 2017 - 08:29 PM

During the middle school years my son transitioned to leadership and volunteer positions in some of his favorite activities. For example, he had taken and enjoyed summer video camps at our local public access TV station. So in middle school he completed all of the classes to become a volunteer and then regularly worked on all different types of productions, both on and off site. He also became a volunteer instructor/leader for the summer camps. Eventually he started teaching some of the standard certification classes.

In karate, he began teaching some beginner classes under his sensei's guidance at 13 and progressed from there, so between his own classes and teaching, he was spending many hours at the dojo during his teen years.

We were also lucky to live within walking distance of all of his activities plus the library, swimming pool, both of our jobs, etc., so he could pretty much get to wherever he wanted or needed to be on his own (except friends' houses), but of course we were in frequent contact. For example, my work was on the way to the pool, so he would stop by on both his way there and the way home. We also both had some flexibility with working from home, so he could have friends over or be taken to their houses.
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#3 Bluegoat

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 12:07 PM

My 12 year old is doing sailing lessons this summer, which she would not have been allowed to do before.  ETA also she is 12 so can go to swimming lessons herself, so I am signing her up for the ones in walking distance, which also are free, woo-hoo!

 

Generally speaking there seem to be a lot of new kinds of things available for teens here just not open to younger kids.  Open gym, leadership courses, safe biking courses, library teen drop in, woods type courses, and also things like babysitting.   Also some higher level things for other stuff, like circus workshops or ballet summer intensives.


Edited by Bluegoat, 25 April 2017 - 12:08 PM.


#4 Heigh Ho

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Posted 26 April 2017 - 11:11 AM

What they do varies here. Usually when not at camp, they are unpaid helpers at a job, or doing household chores such as mowing and gardening. Or an au pair has been hired who will lead outdoor activities, supervise meal making, and provide whatever support is needed for scouts or 4h. Basically its a time to learn and practice life skills. Summer is short here ,10 weeks off school.

Edited by Heigh Ho, 26 April 2017 - 11:13 AM.


#5 dmmetler

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 05:06 PM

My DD is entering that transitory summer age-wise. This summer she will be doing the same on-campus program that she's done the last two years. This is her last year of eligibility there. She'll also be going to a herpetology conference and doing a week of cheer choreography camp. Plus lots of gym time and field time-she gets unlimited classes since she's doing a competitive team at the gym this following year, and I plan to take advantage of it :).

#6 rebbyribs

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 05:24 PM

My dd who is entering 6th grade next fall is still 10, so she hasn't aged out of anything.  Summer day camps around here go up to 14 years old.



#7 SKL

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 02:19 AM

My dd who is entering 6th grade next fall is still 10, so she hasn't aged out of anything.  Summer day camps around here go up to 14 years old.

 

Several of ours only go up to 5th or 6th grade, regardless of age.  (My kids are 10yo also.)  Particularly the camps that offer academic practice / refreshers (the brain drain prevention type camp) seem to thin out at 5th grade.  Even the ones that are mainly summer daycare end at 6th or 12yo around here.

 

There are other options that kick in - some are too old for my kids, some are fine.  I just need to do more research.
 



#8 gstharr

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Posted 03 May 2017 - 11:16 AM

It is end of year open house time at the 6th grader's school.  Here is my favorite tip.  We visit his classroom, and then drop by the new grade classrooms.  I photo the book cover, and bar code for the new soc., math, and science books (these subjects are the least likely to change books).  Then track down  old used copies of the books (Amazon). They are generally $5-10,   Around August, he starts outlining the first two chapters (or about 40 pages)  of each book.  We supplement his outlines with whatever materials we come across.  When school starts, and he is adjusting to new schedule, teachers, friends and activities, he has already covered most of his school work into November.  At the Thanksgiving break, he outlines one chapter each, and so on for x-mas break.  This system has allowed him time for his athletic/hobby activities.


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#9 winterbaby

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Posted 03 May 2017 - 11:41 AM

Wow, how interesting that they have a specific book that they follow and that they work with enough rigor that you get an advantage from anticipating it like that. What grade level?DD's elementary school deals mainly in photocopies that have little continuity or relationship to each other, and are of questionable quality and emphasis. Trying to go deeper on the school's stuff would almost be a contradiction in terms. And I can't assume books on display would be used; the English teacher's room was full of lovely literature at the beginning of the year, and they've mostly read bad no-name historical fiction of recent vintage to coordinate with the social studies class's truly bizarre priorities. Sorry for the rant, just the idea that I would use home time to reinforce what they're doing... nah.
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#10 gstharr

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Posted 03 May 2017 - 11:50 AM

I am wowing that your school is not using textbooks.  My son is headed to 7th grade.  But, we have been able to this ever since he entered school.  A little harder to do with English, because it does tend to change somewhat  year to year, and teacher by teacher. 



#11 winterbaby

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Posted 03 May 2017 - 12:41 PM

In a way I'm glad they don't use (or at least send home) textbooks as I still have some painful nerve compression in my shoulder from a heavy backpack in school days. A number of workbooks, ranging from half filled-in to virtually untouched, come home for good at the end of the year. I find them of limited use. Over spring break they sent home a science worktext that they apparently wanted her to crash-read some sections of in anticipation of standardized testing - it was so bad I immediately substituted other material on the same topic, after which she quickly completed the questions in the worktext.


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#12 vonfirmath

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Posted 03 May 2017 - 02:48 PM

I am wowing that your school is not using textbooks.  My son is headed to 7th grade.  But, we have been able to this ever since he entered school.  A little harder to do with English, because it does tend to change somewhat  year to year, and teacher by teacher. 

 

My son is in 4th grade. This is the first year he's used a regular textbook -- and that is social studies.

 

Otheriwise, each teacher has done their own thing without any apparent textbook involved. SOmetimes they use selections from a book. More often, the teacher has 3 or 4 copies of a book that is given to a reading group and then the groups take turns over which books they are reading. (Or the teacher uses photocopies. LOTS of photocopies)



#13 SKL

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Posted 03 May 2017 - 03:51 PM

I have bought the next year's textbooks on Amazon / Ebay for some of the subjects, though I have been burned a couple times when the school changed to a different curriculum.  :p

 

Interesting idea to have the kids outline the first couple chapters in August.  If I can discipline myself and my kids to do that, it might work well.  But realistically, it is likely that other priorities will win out at that time.

 

I have heard that textbooks are being phased out as kids move up through the grades.  I do wish there was a way to know for sure what they will use, and it would be great to get online access to materials too.  But I've found that teachers don't like me working with my kids at home in order to make things easier for them at school.  (I'm really talking about my eldest, who finds it a challenge to keep up in school.)  If I do it, I try to make sure it doesn't interfere with what they are doing in school.

 

 

I see a change in how I view afterschooling / summerschooling as my kids get older.  I'm not so concerned about them performing with high accuracy on their classwork, as much as being able to keep up mentally in the classroom.  My eldest is slow to process math in particular.  If she's going to get anything out of a math class, she needs to go in with a strong foundation.  Previewing the lesson would help her follow along, but the teachers seem to consider it cheating if she sees the material in advance, so I have to try other things.  So far I haven't found the magic formula.

 

Just today I set up a trial for Sylvan's "Math Edge."  They have summer classes (2 hours per week).  I decided not to go with the math camp provider we used before, for a few reasons.  I am hoping this one is a better fit.



#14 winterbaby

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Posted 03 May 2017 - 04:09 PM

I imagine most people on here may be in very different personal situations and school settings than I; I don't have access to the kind of school where keeping up would be a concern. She's there to work on her special needs social skills stuff, period, and their distressingly bad curriculum only gets as much respect from us as necessary not to be encouraging her to have a bad attitude. A lot of "yes, I know it's ridiculous, but you have to cooperate with what's going on at school." It's an arrangement fast approaching its expiration date as academics become more important and the busywork they pile on starts to make that harder, time-wise. A quite different situation than most afterschoolers, I suppose. I love working with her in any case but it would have been cool if the school had been reliable for the basics all these years, leaving time for a more enriching range of stuff at home.


Edited by winterbaby, 03 May 2017 - 04:10 PM.

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#15 gstharr

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Posted 03 May 2017 - 04:49 PM

I have bought the next year's textbooks on Amazon / Ebay for some of the subjects, though I have been burned a couple times when the school changed to a different curriculum.  :p

 

Interesting idea to have the kids outline the first couple chapters in August.  If I can discipline myself and my kids to do that, it might work well.  But realistically, it is likely that other priorities will win out at that time.

 

I have heard that textbooks are being phased out as kids move up through the grades.  I do wish there was a way to know for sure what they will use, and it would be great to get online access to materials too.  But I've found that teachers don't like me working with my kids at home in order to make things easier for them at school.  (I'm really talking about my eldest, who finds it a challenge to keep up in school.)  If I do it, I try to make sure it doesn't interfere with what they are doing in school.

 

 

I see a change in how I view afterschooling / summerschooling as my kids get older.  I'm not so concerned about them performing with high accuracy on their classwork, as much as being able to keep up mentally in the classroom.  My eldest is slow to process math in particular.  If she's going to get anything out of a math class, she needs to go in with a strong foundation.  Previewing the lesson would help her follow along, but the teachers seem to consider it cheating if she sees the material in advance, so I have to try other things.  So far I haven't found the magic formula.

 

Just today I set up a trial for Sylvan's "Math Edge."  They have summer classes (2 hours per week).  I decided not to go with the math camp provider we used before, for a few reasons.  I am hoping this one is a better fit.

Why are your teachers even involved?  Just do it . Don't ask for special treatment because she already knows it, Then math is just review.  Believe math is the cruncher from 6th grade up. if you kid is not spending 1 to 1 1/2 hr per day, on math , there is a tremendous advantage. 



#16 SKL

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Posted 03 May 2017 - 07:48 PM

Why are your teachers even involved?  Just do it . Don't ask for special treatment because she already knows it, Then math is just review.  Believe math is the cruncher from 6th grade up. if you kid is not spending 1 to 1 1/2 hr per day, on math , there is a tremendous advantage. 

 

I'm not asking for special treatment.  I'm not trying to involve the teachers.  Just, things get awkward at school sometimes.  Like when the teacher decided to use an "extra practice" page as a quiz, and we'd just used it the previous night as a practice sheet.  :/

 

I'm going to pursue testing for her, and maybe that will make them understand why we work at home.
 



#17 winterbaby

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Posted 03 May 2017 - 09:23 PM

I'm not asking for special treatment.  I'm not trying to involve the teachers.  Just, things get awkward at school sometimes.  Like when the teacher decided to use an "extra practice" page as a quiz, and we'd just used it the previous night as a practice sheet.  :/

 

I'm going to pursue testing for her, and maybe that will make them understand why we work at home.
 

 

Why use the same materials as the school at all? Students who struggle in math often benefit from multiple perspectives. MEP is free to print; Math Mammoth subject books are highly economical. And if she's struggling to keep up you probably want to go back and shore up the foundations rather than chase what they're doing in class, at least not on a day-to-day basis. I have found great benefit in going waaaay back. And that for a student who wasn't even struggling. I was told she was working at grade level and true enough, but on closer consideration she turned out to be going through the motions in a way that would have been a problem for algebra and beyond if I let it go unaddressed and joined the school in just adding more and more procedures on top of a shaky conceptual foundation. The teacher has pressured me to focus on what they happen to be doing right now in a blind rote way and I'm ignoring her. I believe the long term results will be much better this way.

 

I am more concerned about the total picture of understanding than I am about keeping up with the class as such. Especially since a big part of the problem with our school's math is the way they organize their time. Since Common Core came in (btw although it's better than what they had before the switch to Common Core happening in the middle of her foundational sequence was a big complicating factor too), they have simply interpreted the areas of study in the standards as actual units of instruction, so they do a bunch of something for weeks or months and then drop it entirely for the next thing. Especially bad now that they are on geometry and there has been no arithmetic for weeks on end. Add in ten days (!!!) of state standardized testing, close to spring break, then apparently feeling like with the standardized testing done they've essentially done their jobs so the lazy end of year feeling began already in April, and yikes.  Really bad plan for skills.


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#18 SKL

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Posted 03 May 2017 - 10:13 PM

Why use the same materials as the school at all? Students who struggle in math often benefit from multiple perspectives. MEP is free to print; Math Mammoth subject books are highly economical. And if she's struggling to keep up you probably want to go back and shore up the foundations rather than chase what they're doing in class, at least not on a day-to-day basis. I have found great benefit in going waaaay back. And that for a student who wasn't even struggling. I was told she was working at grade level and true enough, but on closer consideration she turned out to be going through the motions in a way that would have been a problem for algebra and beyond if I let it go unaddressed and joined the school in just adding more and more procedures on top of a shaky conceptual foundation. The teacher has pressured me to focus on what they happen to be doing right now in a blind rote way and I'm ignoring her. I believe the long term results will be much better this way.

 

I am more concerned about the total picture of understanding than I am about keeping up with the class as such. Especially since a big part of the problem with our school's math is the way they organize their time. Since Common Core came in (btw although it's better than what they had before the switch to Common Core happening in the middle of her foundational sequence was a big complicating factor too), they have simply interpreted the areas of study in the standards as actual units of instruction, so they do a bunch of something for weeks or months and then drop it entirely for the next thing. Especially bad now that they are on geometry and there has been no arithmetic for weeks on end. Add in ten days (!!!) of state standardized testing, close to spring break, then apparently feeling like with the standardized testing done they've essentially done their jobs so the lazy end of year feeling began already in April, and yikes.  Really bad plan for skills.

 

Exactly the problem here.  They spend a week or two on one thing and then switch to something completely different.  Kids like mine, who need more than a week to learn and retain a completely new concept unrelated to everything else learned all year, will never remember that.  Right now they are going into the 2nd chapter on a related topic (yippee, continuity!).  Unfortunately the last time they touched the math curriculum was April 13, thanks to spring break and testing.

 

It's nice to say we should just focus on building the foundation (which I've been trying to do since 1st grade), but without some extra practice of what they're doing in school, she'll be completely lost.  Well, unless they get back on a topic she actually "gets."  And she doesn't think it's fair to spend time after school studying a different math curriculum when her friends are out playing.  I can't say I disagree.

 

The reason it's important for her to keep up with the class is that she needs to be able to learn math in math class.  I'm cool with reviewing it at home, but I'm not cool with her not "getting" anything in class.

 

Last summer we tried using Khan Academy, and she found it so difficult at grade level that we had to go back to 3rd grade in order for her to experience reasonable success.  Yes, she really needs to be re-taught at least 1-2 years of math concepts.  I do have lots of materials to use for this in the summer, but I know time is going to be the issue.



#19 underthebridge

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Posted 28 May 2017 - 11:39 AM

I second the suggestion to use different materials at home.

If the teachers are not aware that your DD is working on the same materials at home, they can't accurately assess her skills. For example, if she is tested with a practice sheet she has already completed, her score will be artificially high and her teachers will assume that she has mastered material that she may not have. She will likely get less instruction on those topics. It might happen rarely, but it can undermine the teachers.

Doing the same materials at home can be confusing to your DD's sense of what it means to succeed at math. Does it mean that you get the answers correctly or does it mean you look for connections and patterns? She is old enough to realize that she has an exclusive access over her classmates and she may feel unduly pressured to "do well". She also may feel that she needs this access to keep up in class. She may also feel anxious if/when this access disappears.

DD8 uses MIF at school and I after school with Miquon and SM CWP and IP. We will move to SM 3A after Miquon. I have found that doing different material at home helps DD make conceptual connections, like "Oh at school we learned x way but I see that y works as well because ...".

Of course, this is just my opinion and your situation may be working out well for you and I hope it is! It's not easy to after school and I appreciate being able to connect to other afterschoolers here.

Edited for typos

Edited by underthebridge, 28 May 2017 - 11:41 AM.


#20 SKL

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Posted 28 May 2017 - 12:42 PM

I don't think some of you believe me when I say that math is hard for my kid.  The idea of making her do 2 different curricula is just not realistic with the homework load that she has.  I'm sure it's a wonderful idea for kids who are finishing their assigned homework before bedtime every night.

 

I stopped using the MIF supplemental material that I bought, after my daughter told me about the teacher using the same material for a quiz.  That happened once (that I know of), and it was unexpected.  I was just trying to give my kid some extra practice - hence the title "extra practice" on the workbook I had bought.  I tried using a different Singapore series, but it is not much help.  Other materials I have accessed are too different from Singapore to be helpful during the school year.  (We do different [non-Singapore] stuff in the summer.)

 

BUT there is one great piece of news I learned last week.  They are not using MIF / Singapore next year.  They are using more traditional stuff.  I think this will work better for my kid.  The MIF mind games have always been problematic for her.  Plus, more traditional teaching at school means I may have more options for helping at home.


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#21 Ordinary Shoes

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Posted 28 May 2017 - 02:16 PM

I don't think some of you believe me when I say that math is hard for my kid.  The idea of making her do 2 different curricula is just not realistic with the homework load that she has.  I'm sure it's a wonderful idea for kids who are finishing their assigned homework before bedtime every night.

 

I stopped using the MIF supplemental material that I bought, after my daughter told me about the teacher using the same material for a quiz.  That happened once (that I know of), and it was unexpected.  I was just trying to give my kid some extra practice - hence the title "extra practice" on the workbook I had bought.  I tried using a different Singapore series, but it is not much help.  Other materials I have accessed are too different from Singapore to be helpful during the school year.  (We do different [non-Singapore] stuff in the summer.)

 

BUT there is one great piece of news I learned last week.  They are not using MIF / Singapore next year.  They are using more traditional stuff.  I think this will work better for my kid.  The MIF mind games have always been problematic for her.  Plus, more traditional teaching at school means I may have more options for helping at home.

 

I'm going to admit that I NEVER heard of kids doing 2 math curricula before coming to this forum I can't believe that's a normal thing that should be expected of most kids. A child should not need to do 2 math curricula in order to receive a good math education. I understand that some schools use a terrible curriculum and those students might actually need to use a decent curriculum at home. But that does not sound like it is the case in your DD's school so I wouldn't feel bad about not doing another curriculum at home.

 

Do you know what they are using next year? Why did they drop MiF?

 



#22 SKL

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Posted 28 May 2017 - 02:23 PM

Do you know what they are using next year? Why did they drop MiF?

 

The math teacher said they adopted MIF when it didn't have anything past 5th grade, and they just never decided to use it when 6th grade + came into being.

 

I am thrilled.  I really don't like MIF, especially for my struggling kid.  Since 1st grade I felt like a significant % of the exercises were "trick questions."  Which probably delight some kids, but they frustrate many others.  And although they say MIF teaches kids different ways to think about math, IME they really expect kids to read the minds of the authors, whose approaches to math are far from being the most intuitive or accessible.  Phooey.

 

In general, I am wondering how to go about discovering what books the girls are going to use next year, before the year starts.  Maybe I'll send an email to the 6th grade teachers....
 


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#23 winterbaby

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Posted 28 May 2017 - 03:07 PM

I think it's probably a false dichotomy between sticking with exactly what the school is using vs. "doing" another curriculum in the sense of working through the whole thing. One can use a variety of materials on an as-needed basis.

I do a LOT of extra math because the school does not believe in teaching children with ASD the concepts. I was told my brilliant child would never understand regrouping. So yeah I do a lot. I have had phases of doing the whole other curriculum straight but I recently realized that I benefited a lot from stepping back and getting a grip on what scope and sequence should be regardless of specific curricula, and where my kid's holes were, rather than just doing extra work.

Just reteaching whatever is brought home can be at least as valuable as additional problems. However this is a problem if you have a school like mine that uses all unsourced handouts so you have no insight into what's going on in class.

I'm fascinated by your comments about MIF. That's Singapore based right? Are the "trick questions" like the Challenging Word Problems everybody on here raves about? I keep saying we're going to get into that but I have mixed feelings about what the role of teasing apart verbal explanations should be in math and how relevant that type of cleverness really is, at least in elementary.

#24 SKL

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Posted 28 May 2017 - 03:51 PM

I'm fascinated by your comments about MIF. That's Singapore based right? Are the "trick questions" like the Challenging Word Problems everybody on here raves about? I keep saying we're going to get into that but I have mixed feelings about what the role of teasing apart verbal explanations should be in math and how relevant that type of cleverness really is, at least in elementary.

 

Yeah, just for the record, I wanted to love MIF.  I just can't.

 

If you are thinking of switching to MIF, I encourage you to buy some cheap materials from a reseller and see whether they are a fit for you / your child.

 

The "trick questions" from early grades involved very simple questions, but asked verbally in confusing ways.  My kid wants to learn the "how to" and then do it.  Yes, I KNOW this is not the path to astrophysics, but not every kid is going to be an astrophysicist.

 

It's been a long time, but let me see if I can remember a basic example.

 

Question 6:  One more than 7 is ___.

Question 7:  7 is one more than ___.

 

And about half of the 1st grade work is like this.  And the teacher refused to slow down so the slower processors could really think it through.  Year after year, a substantial portion of the book is more about verbal comprehension than math.  The actual acquisition of math skills in elementary is rather slow.  They present stuff early, but they don't really teach it and they move on before it is learned.  It's just frustrating for kids like mine.

 

You can say this lays the ground work for brilliant thinking later.  But not if they move on before your kid can internalize the higher thought processes.

 

Another example was a multiplication exercise.  They showed pictures in groups and the kids were supposed to complete __ x __ = ___ over and over.  Fine and dandy.  My kid wrote 7 x 5 = 35, 4 x 6 = 24, etc.  I reviewed the homework and declared it correct.  Nope!  She got 0% on that part of the assignment because it was supposed to be 5 x 7 = 35, 6 x 4 = 24.  And this was the chapter that taught the commutative property.  So (to the authors) please don't tell me that this program is supposed to encourage kids to use different methods to solve problems bla bla bla.

 

In short, I am ecstatic to throw away all the MIF / Singapore materials I have around the house and never look at MIF again.


Edited by SKL, 28 May 2017 - 03:55 PM.


#25 underthebridge

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Posted 28 May 2017 - 04:24 PM

I don't think some of you believe me when I say that math is hard for my kid. The idea of making her do 2 different curricula is just not realistic with the homework load that she has. I'm sure it's a wonderful idea for kids who are finishing their assigned homework before bedtime every night.

I stopped using the MIF supplemental material that I bought, after my daughter told me about the teacher using the same material for a quiz. That happened once (that I know of), and it was unexpected. I was just trying to give my kid some extra practice - hence the title "extra practice" on the workbook I had bought. I tried using a different Singapore series, but it is not much help. Other materials I have accessed are too different from Singapore to be helpful during the school year. (We do different [non-Singapore] stuff in the summer.)

BUT there is one great piece of news I learned last week. They are not using MIF / Singapore next year. They are using more traditional stuff. I think this will work better for my kid. The MIF mind games have always been problematic for her. Plus, more traditional teaching at school means I may have more options for helping at home.


I hope the change in curriculum works out better for your DD. I haven't read all your past posts so I don't know the whole history of her troubles with MIF. I'm also curious which one the school is switching too.

As for doing two curricula, I agree that it's not common but we don't do it to get a good math education. There is just so much more to explore besides arithmetic in the elementary years and working through difficult math problems allows us to visit them.