The parents over on the K-8 board recommended I cross post this over here, I'd appreciate any wisdom!
I have been searching around and coming up with some good info already from old threads but thought I'd post my exact situation and see what you all think!
I have a 7 year old first grader who is during Math U See Alpha. We made it though approximately lesson 10, which is adding 8. She hasn't "mastered" all the facts before that but she can always do them with the blocks. She has no problem with the blocks in front of her and she's asked to add two numbers. We have gone painfully slowly through this lesson because all along the way I have tried to get her to memorize the facts from each lesson.
But, unless it is adding +1 she NEEDS the blocks. She can't add 2 in her mind or memorize the facts. We drilled for a while on the +2 facts to see if she could memorize them and I kind of came to the conclusion that she just couldn't. She would know them with the flashcards after lots of drill, but then the next day it would be on her worksheet, or I'd bring up a "real life" example with a fact I thought she "knew" (like oh look, you have 5 crackers, what if I gave you two more?) and she would have no idea and just guess.
Sometimes I say look at your fingers (adding on my fingers was really helpful for me as a kid, I don't know if its bad or not) and I even tried teaching her some methods to add on her fingers, and she could NOT do it. She didn't understand that one hand is ALWAYS five and so the next hand you "count on" from 5. So for example I'd say "5+2. try it on your fingers" she'd hold up 5 and then 2 and then have to start from 1 and count all 7 fingers, even after showing her many many times that you don't need to start from one because you know 5 is a hand.
Another thing is when the problems are the "Solve for the Unknown" variety, she chokes. Every time they come up I have to walk her through how to do them. Once I do one (painful) with her, she can do the rest, but whenever she sees ___ + 4 = 10 or whatever, she will inevitably write "14" if I don't point out to her that its different, and then once I do, it's like she's never seen it before and she panics.
I am struggling because I know Math U See is "mastery" based but she just is not mastering it. I feel like I'm at the point where I need to decide, AM I trying to get her to master this? Because if I am , I can't move on to the next lesson. And if I don't focus on mastering lessons 1-10, then is she going to not "get" the rest of Alpha? And if I don't need her to master these facts now, then what should I do? Switch to another curriculum? If so, which one?
A few other things:
1. I need plans to help me know what to do every day during math time. Saying "work on adding up to 10" is helpful, but I need to know like what do I do each day to know we are making progress in the math she needs to know in 1st grade? my personality is such that I love being told a plan by an "authority", and then putting that plan into action. Not so good at making my own plan.
2. She has serious math anxiety. She complains of stomach aches every day before math and if she has the slightest bump in the road, she cries. She doesn't like it...and sometimes has complete meltdowns.
3. Times we have taken "breaks" from Alpha to play math games (we have the right start math games set and math dice jr.) it is like starting from scratch when we try to go back to Alpha. It doesn't stick. And games are tricky because of the next thing...
4. I have a 5 year old who is in kindergarten and is already "better" at math than her older sister which is really tough. I don't compare them on purpose and obviously don't praise one above the other, but they are both in Math U See and I could see right away the difference in my 5 year old. She just gets it. She can think about numbers in her mind. She has breezed through Primer and I have been trying to slow her down because I haven't wanted her to catch up to or pass her older sister. So that is a factor in curriculum choice...should I switch my 7 year old so she doesn't see her sister passing her by in Alpha? My 5 year old can already do it. She watches her older sister's math lessons and is chomping at the bit with answers she has figured out in her head. I can't help but feel "proud" of her natural math ability and frustrated by her older sister's "lack". I know this is terrible of me to think. No one told me about this particular aspect of homeschooling, where the younger might be better at something than the older...before this I just had complete confidence that all my kids were going to take to all their schoolwork easily, like I did as a kid. I'd love some wisdom about this. I check my attitude every day about this because I really don't want this to become an issue.
I am thinking of just starting day 1 of First Grade Math all over with my 7 year old, starting with a new curriculum. But I just don't know which one to try and it REALLY overwhelms me, it can't be anything where I have to figure it out what to do every day, it needs to be easy to figure out how to teach. I am fine spending tons of time teaching it, but not ok with being confused myself on what I'm supposed to teach. I like the videos and teachers book of Math U See a lot. So something along those lines but not geared around memorization? Or maybe its ok to just keep going in Alpha without memorization? That would take a lot of the pressure off of both of us!
Math, more than anything, has made me think about sending her to public school. I just feel like I'm failing her! And then I get frustrated, and sad to say, sometimes angry I also know I need to make this a matter of prayer and patience and encouragement.