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Pulling 1st grader out of PS, need math advice please.....


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A little history/insight here....


DS will be 8 this summer....considered grade 1.


I HSed him for Pre and K.


He wasn't ready for "formal" maths, so we just tried to use whatever real life "Teachable Moment" we could, to get him counting and doing the simplest addition.


For Kinder, I introduced MUS Primer. He wanted nothing to do with it. He just wasn't getting it. ( Just maybe, he picked up on his older siblings distaste for MUS-and perhaps a bit of my own...)


Skip ahead to the current school year...he is in grade 1 at PS. They use Houghton Mifflin(sp?), and have just worksheeted the poor little guy to death! With just a few weeks of school left, he is still struggling with basic addition-isn't even near ready to add up to 20. So...knowing I was going to bring him back home after this year, I haven't followed the teacher's instructions to drill via flashcards. It is painful to watch my otherwise bright dc have to sit and fill out four disorganized worksheets-telling me how stupid he is and how much he hates math. :-( Though eclectic, our hs style has always been mostly a Charlotte MasonISH approach....thus my discernment not to push him in areas when I know it isn't about laziness.


Stay with me here...


We are planning on taking the entire summer off from all formal academics(we don't consider reading academics-and he is a strong reader.)


Enter next year....I am going crazy trying to figure out what math curriculum I should order for next year.( My oldest used CLE Math last year, and was waay ahead of her peers at school, so I am familiar with two levels-400 and 500. We *mostly* liked it, though she is thinking she wants to switch to something different next year.) Anyway, for DS, I am considering R&S, to be sure he gets the basics down, but am concerned he will get drilled to death. I am also scared to go with a mastery approach because that is what I used for many painful years with my oldest, until I relaized she was bored and prefered a spiral approach.(Sorry I am rambling..) We can't afford the more pricey math curricula out there, and so, I am trying to discern between R&S and CLE-and wondering which level I should go with. HELP!!:confused:


A typical day...Today DS was adding two digits, using the counting bears and his fingers. It took sooo long. I'm not sure if any of you are familiar with HM, but it REALLY skipped around-introducing a new concept-than dropping it!Completely!:001_huh::001_huh: Perhaps he is able to do more than he is showing if he hadn't been using this awful HM all year?


(To anyone thinking he may have a math LD, I have checked online, to see if he fits the criteria-and he doesn't. He is a very imaginative dc-but that was it for the three lists I checked. He is an excellent reader and speller.)


SOS!!:lol: Thank you!!


(I'm sorry this was so long...I am next researching on writing programs for my oldest-I will need lots of help-just not a neat and tidy writer myself.:tongue_smilie:)

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I, personally, would do any games that include numbers: Uno, slapjack, war, dice and domino games. Even board games where you roll a dice and count the spaces. I would work to associate numbers and fun, and that start to seat order and magnitude and number relations deep in the folds of his cerebrum (that last phrase is from Don Marquis).



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I would recommend taking a look at RightStart math. It has a logical progression, great use of manipulatives, limited worksheets, and games for reinforcement. The teacher's manual is wonderful - it really helped me to be a better math teacher.


Good luck finding the right fit for your son :)



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If you still have Primer, I'd give it a try again. Unless it brings up bad memories. My just turned 8 yr old finished Alpha, but she still doesn't have the facts down cold, because I went forward with the lessons instead of holding off. I have a card game called Easy Addition War that she loves. Also, I have her do the online math u see drill.



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I would buy Miquon and let him just play with cuisennaire rods this summer. Buy atleast the teacher materials for you to read this summer. You can do a lot with him using just the Lab Sheet Annotations and First Grade Diary.....you might go ahead and get the Orange book, but if he's worksheet phobic - it's not neccessary to get him adding and subtracting this summer.


The rods are a concrete way to see the quantities/concepts. It is UNlike ps worksheets;) and my kids pick up a WHOLE lot just by building trains and houses with the rods. My ds knew that "red+red=purple" LONG before we ever said "2+2=4" He sees the rods, rather than simply memorizing the facts. I use Singapore for my main math, and I always keep the rods handy.


We play lots of games too. :001_smile:


...and I only use flashcards as a "test" for me to see how well he knows his facts cold. I don't use them for drill. UNfun = INeffective for my ds.

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I have no idea why Math-It works, but it worked beautifully for one of my children. She was also a good reader, left-handed (I mention this only because the woman from whom I bought Math-It also used it with her lefty and highly recommended it), and a whiz at putting puzzles together, but memorizing math facts didn't come all that easily to her. She always scores very high on the verbal portion of aptitude tests and about 30 points lower on the nonverbal. (She's now finishing 4th grade Singapore, a full grade level ahead, and considers herself a math genius. :glare: Math-It might have worked a little too well.)


Another thing we did that seemed to help her remember numbers was to play a game we called "parrot." I would give her a number, say 572, and she had to repeat it to me, backwards (275). This was my husband's invention, but I later came across a recommendation for something similar from some famous educator who suggested it for some sort of learning disability. This was a good game for the car and didn't seem like math. I would also give her strings of words to repeat either forwards or backwards. Numbers are harder, since you're not just converting 5-7-2 to 2-7-5, but also have to convert the places so it's two hundred seventy-five.



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If I were you, I would start your ds in CLE Math 1. My son is 5.9 and is doing so well with CLE math. He started in Singapore, so his foundation was already good...and he does NOT struggle in math (other than constantly thinking the teen numbers are their reverse..i.e he sees 16 and says 61 because "sixteen" just doesn't follow suit with all the other numbers). However, I love the way CLE introduces flashcards. My ds has started with the most basic addition and he is really, truly, memorizing them. He sees the problems every day on paper and just writes in the numbers. No using his fingers, no counting up or counting on. I am so proud of him! CLE really does a good job, IMO with math. I know it is definitely workbook-y, but you don't have to do every single problem if you don't want to...and you also don't have to test at all if it upsets your son.

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What your *thinking* of doing is what I did with my 3rd grader and what I'm doing with my 1st grader. They both use R&S Math mainly because it DID drill the the basics to death lol With the spiral approach they weren't learning the facts but once we did R&S wow, the difference! I stay stick with your gut. Remember that you can pick and choose how much the do! Just because there are a bunch of problem doesnt mean he has to do them ALL!




ETA: We will switch to spiral when all the facts are down to spice it up a bit. So I am doing the tract you are thinking of and it is working out just fine IMO.

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Mamas, thank you, for replying!


I left out an imprtant piece of info....this ds has never liked games(which is how I approached math to begin with), and he doesn't like manipulatives. Oh, he'll use his little cars or his assortment of balls to count,add or subtract-but even using the bears is a stretch.:glare: (He views those as being for little dc.)


I did sell the MUS. He wouldn't have given it a second chance.


What kind of dc doesn't enjoy games, PB sandwiches, or mac n' cheese? MINE!!;)


I may get the CLE 1...


Anyone else??:D


Thank you!!

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Singapore as well, you can buy just an IP book to try it out, play up how hard the challenging problems are, and act really excited when he solves a few! (And, then, he won't be too mad when he can't solve them. There was one that my husband had trouble solving, and this was 1A!)


(My husband has a M.S. in Ops Research, he got it within the last several years. He doesn't do her school much, but on a few days that he has been home during school days, he'll do math with her.)


My daughter has come a long way since we switched to Singapore 4 months ago. She's really starting to get math now.

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we did mus with the old books so did foundations and then moved to r&s. We stopped midway through year 3. We were very, very faithful to do every thing they scripted for the teacher to do and say, play every game, drill with flashcards, do all of the extra blacklines. But by 3rd grade midyear, my 2 dd's confused their addition/sub/multiplication facts and didn't get the concepts at all. I was so discouraged since I had personally loved R&S. We bought Rightstart and have loved it. I just ordered the game package to go with it. for now we have been doing the games that she explains but I am very excited to have more games to add in!


R&S might work for you. But it was too much drill and too little explanation for my kiddos. If you get Rightstart, I'd start with book A just so you don't miss anything and take it as slowly as you need to. I make notes on stickies each day and stick them to each page, so the next day I do a quick review of all of the main concepts from the previous days. (I think I did a poor job of preparing my kids for math, so this seems to be helping them learn the concepts well.) I hope your son soon thinks he is a math whiz!

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Thanks, mamas!


I'll pull out some Singapore books I know I have-pretty sure I have the first levels.


About Right Start....a friend IRL uses this, but said that if ones dc had already been using a more traditional approach-it would only confuse the dc, as the language used to describe numbers/counting is very different-*sort of* like MUS-only much more different. Would you agree with this?


I may start a new thread....:D


Again, thanks!

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Math on the Level doesn't expect pages of worksheets, just 5 on paper problems per day. It is also flexible enough that you can jump around topics whenever it takes your fancy, which sounds important for your son. It's expensive to begin with, but will keep him going to about year 8. They have a 60 day money back policy so you can have a good look before committing.



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Abeka Arithmetic saved my homeschool! Before switching to it, DD wanted to go to PS because she hated math.


I have tried Math Mammoth (samples) MUS (alpha) Horizons (K) Rightstart (games and abacus) Addition Made Easy, Abeka (Arithmetic 1)


I kept the MUS blocks and decimal street (accidentally, but it does work) but got rid of everything else. I kept Addition Made Easy in case I need it for DS later.


Abeka is so thorough and teaches from so many angles, I really don't see ever needing anything else.


I usually prefer to use secular materials. Abeka's beliefs do not agree with mine. I could not use their LA materials. I have not had a problem with their math program at all.


DD was doing very well and from what we could tell was very strong in math when we used Accelerated Achievement with her for PreK.


A preschool teacher gave me a 2nd grade math book that I put on my shelf and then I proceeded to buy Horizons K. Horizons is very advanced and fast moving, and has very little guidance for the teacher, so we were struggling. DD could do the work in Horizons, but I didn't think she understood it. So I switched to MUS. That was a disaster!


MUS was fun at first, but the nature of the program was such that DD consistently forgot what she had learned in a previous lesson. She was so bored with the work that she totally tuned out and fought me tooth and nail for every lesson. MUS has a totally different approach, so everything that she had already learned (she was skip counting, adding, subtracting, recognizing and writing numbers, etc. at 3 years old) was quickly forgotten. We had to start from scratch and worse. I called my MUS consultant a couple of times and joined the MUS group, but nothing helped. I even bought two other programs (Rightstart games and Addition Made Easy) to help with math facts. It is getting worse and worse. DD says she would rather go to PS than do any more math!


So I get the Abeka Arithmetic 2 off of the shelf and show it to her. "This is what I want. I want to do it now!" I called Abeka for help placing her and they told me to get Arithmetic 1 and review it over the summer, then we could go ahead and start 2 in the fall, because their is a lot of review. I am planning to finish 1 completely. We will see if we need to skip some of two. DD likes math, she is learning her facts, I know exactly what, when, and how to teach thanks to Abeka's awesome curriculum guide. She is doing great with their speed drills, and she hated every other kind of drill I tried. (flash cards, stories, oral, online, my own worksheets, etc.) I couldn't be happier. I found a group with used materials also, so I saved a ton on the curriculum guide for 2.


I have been emailing back and forth about Abeka with another WTMr:


What do you think is the main difference between Horiz and Abeka? The main difference is the homeschool curriculum (the TM is actually just an answer sheet). It spells out exactly what to teach each day, what to review, etc. It ties together the jumpiness from the workbook pages. (Abeka's workbook is very similar to Horizons, though a little less jumpy. For example, the front of the sheet might be calendar work and the back has three sections to do with math families.) Ab. not as advanced as you said Hor. is or just slower and more thorough? Horizons is about 18 months ahead of PS and Abeka is about 9 months ahead of PS. Abeka is definitely more thorough. I don't mind advanced, though. or is it not as jumpy? People claimed they like the repetitive nature of Horizon but I wish it would repeat a concpt within a section instead of 3 or 4 pages later. One page it alks about time then ordinal numbers, then calendar.


Does Abeka provide heavy writing like HOrizon? It's just kinda distracting for me and for ds whose fine motor skill is not that great yet, I know I can always skip but it still is distracting. It is probably about the same. DD has a hard time with the writing too. I have found that I need to separate the skills for at least half of her work. In other words, she will dictate the answers to her math worksheet, but then I will make her a copywork sheet with the same numbers, because she needs practice writing them. Coming up with the answers and remembering how to write them and doing it all together is just too much for her. Does that make sense?

You may want to ask more questions about Right Start, as it will help with concepts like place value, etc. the Abacus is great. We had already used the MUS blocks so it was too late for us to switch to the Abacus, but it really makes sense. So easy to understand. It is just like counting on your fingers.


To be honest, I don't do the IG for Horizon just the workbook, I'm wondering if I can get more out of it if I had used the IG, but it's very simple so I never thought I needed IG. Also, do you know if Abeka IG is scripted and tell you exactly what to do to teach the child? The Horizons IG is no help at all. You really should get hold of an Abeka curriculum so that you can see how thorough it is. I was amazed and so grateful. I have a Horizons IG for K if you want to see it. I hope you can find samples of the Abeka curriculum guide. I bought mine used from an Abeka yahoo group for only $20 including shipping!


I also want to know if Abeka teaches the concepts and make the young kids "see" math? HOw is that done, Carmen, with manupatives, do you think the way it teaches this is unique since you have tried other program? There are charts which I think are invaluable, (I didn't buy them from Abeka, but using their instructions along with the charts really works) and there are suggestions. For example... to learn the math facts up to 7, I take 7 marbles and have DD count them. Then I get a cup and hide some of the marbles. She has to tell me how many I hid. Voila! She is subtracting without even knowing it. It works way better than MUS and I don't know why. For place value it has all been done in pictures so far. There will be a bunch of ten ballooons tied together, and there will be two balloons and the child writes 12. Abeka is set up differently than MUS and we had to back up to get the facts down, so we haven't come across place value much. I will take a look at it later today and see if I can find more examples. Oh, and roman numerals and coins are used to teach place value as well. I think that Abeka works well because it uses multiple approaches.


Hey Carmen, what do you think about combining Abeka with Singapore Math 1A, have you looked at Singapore? It teaches a lot of number bonds which later helps with mental math. Do you know if Abeka does a lot with number decomposing, like what makes up a 7, 3 plus 4 and 5 and 2 and 1 and 6, etc. TONS OF THAT! It's just not called number bonds. I have never looked at Singapore. You may want to post something about specifically combining Abeka and Singapore and see if someone has done that. If you get Abeka you will need to cut about half of it out... but that has been easy to figure out.


Also, what is the name of the egroup that you mentioned where you can buy and sell Abeka curriculum? http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ABEKAFORSALE/






Edited by Lovedtodeath
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I have tried I think every elem. math program there is for my oldest. The ONLY thing that worked for mine is TouchMath. You don't need the kits or really the wkbks, just teach the touch points.


My other insight is skip R&S. I agree with previous poster who said too little explanation, too much drill. Yes, you can skip that, but it IS the program. Singapore was just TOO different for my son to 'get it' and TOO hard for me to teach. It assumes a base USA kids do not have.


If I had it to do over, and I will in the Fall, I would go with CLE. Not too costly, write-in (a BIG plus for mine) logical, simple. I understand it is halfway between mastery and spiral so it might fit your child. And I would just start at the beginning, especially if he never 'got it' to begin with.


Just my .02

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Guest lahmeh

My dd is 7 1/2 and we are in LU 104 (out of 10) for 1st grade CLE Math. We tried several different programs and wasted a LOT of money the past year. It is working beautifully! My 6 1/2 year old son is just starting in LU 101. He is enjoying it too! I looove that the first part of the lesson is taught by me and the second part is "I can do this". It's weird because my dd stares a lot and gets distracted when I'm there but does really well on the independant part. I think it's because she knows when she's done she gets a break! :001_smile: She doesn't really care for the flash cards so we don't go over them as much because she does really well with the speed drills. We also have Language Arts and Reading. I'd recommend it to anyone! Good luck to you and your ds! :grouphug:

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Sonlight sells a DVD called Mathtacular that shows all concepts that are taught in K - 2. I think they have one for grades 2 -4 too. I haven't seen these but have ordered one. Maybe just seeing something presented in a fun way would be an option.


Singapore has a cd-rom with math games to play on the computer for that age level. You can get it at CBD.com or Sonlight. There are also free on line math games.


Both my children learned to read through the Leap Frog videos... seeing them over and over... the same could be for math concepts.




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