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From my signature you can see I teach a "little man." He struggles with math and we are fighting the good fight in this area. It would be so encouraging to hear from those of you successfully on the other side. At what age did your son make the most progress in math? Did your late bloomer hit his stride in middle school? Anything encouraging would be really appreciated!

Give me hope.:D

Holly

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What part of math does he struggle with? If Singapore and MUS aren't working for him, have you tried other programs? I tried many things with my math-phobic son, and was surprised that Math Mammoth was the most successful so far. The explanations are very simple and clear, it uses the Singapore-style "bars" to illustrate problems but it seems to have more explanation, more review, and a slower pace than Singapore. It's fairly inexpensive if you want to try it out: http://www.mathmammoth.com/

 

My DS still has a very hard time with memorization of math facts, so his processing speed is very V E R Y slow. On the other hand, once we got into Algebraic concepts (5th grade), he "gets it" and enjoys math a lot more. Arithmetic and conceptual mathematics are two different things and often kids who struggle in one area may do very well in the other. If your son's main problem is with math facts, I wouldn't hold him back conceptually; just let him use a math facts chart.

 

Jackie

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From my signature you can see I teach a "little man." He struggles with math and we are fighting the good fight in this area. It would be so encouraging to hear from those of you successfully on the other side. At what age did your son make the most progress in math? Did your late bloomer hit his stride in middle school? Anything encouraging would be really appreciated!

Give me hope.:D

Holly

 

True "late bloomers" are a very small portion of the population. If your child is struggling with math, I would discard that theory until you've ruled out other things. (For one thing, if he's the rare "late bloomer" it won't have hurt to get more help. If he's not a late bloomer, it will hurt not to lose time that could be spent in addressing the real issues)

 

Why is he struggling? What does he struggle with? Is he having trouble memorizing facts, or is he struggling with concepts? What kinds of mistakes is he making? What can he do/what can't he do in math?

 

How does he do in other subjects?

 

Have you been consistent in math instruction?

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Still in the MIDST of our story, but I can encourage you that our DS struggled with math horribly (mild dyslexia, visual-spatial learner (VSL]) up until the start of 5th grade / age 10, at which point we started Math-U-See, and he also "clicked" a little more with math due to brain maturity. Grades 5-8 were so stress free; we used MUS and supplemented with Singapore.

This year, grade 9, I knew we'd have to gird our loins for another battle: Algebra. Algebra is all about abstract math concepts, and our VSL son doesn't do well with abstract math concepts, and really needs very visual ways of seeing the math. We started the year with MUS Algebra, but it didn't have enough instruction, so we're doing Jacobs Algebra together (a LOT of handholding), with a few math meltdowns which haven't happened since grades 1-4. Jacobs is very gentle and incremental, with very concrete examples of how each concept is used in real life. The plan is to finish Jacobs next year in 10th grade, and have him do MUS Algebra as a review, and then do MUS Geometry, which should be much easier for him as Geometry is a very visual 3-D math. Hopefully even more brain maturity will have kicked in by 11th or 12th grade when we have to tackle Algebra 2...

So our success story has been:
- a lot of supplements, handholding, and hard work
- using lots of manipulatives with matching booklets along with whatever "spine" math we used helped a lot in the early elementary grades
- finding MUS and gaining some brain maturity in later elementary grades helped immensely
- realizing we were potentially going to hit another rough patch in high school helped me mentally prepare, and doing the Algebra together with visual and big picture programs is helping some

Hope that is of some encouragement! Warmest regards, Lori D.

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At age 13, my dd said to me, "Mom, I will never be a mathematician. I just don't think like you. I am an artist and a writer. I hate math."

 

At age 20, she is taking Mathematical Statistics and Abstract Algebra, and is two courses away from a B.A. in mathematics.

 

Never give up. Never surrender. Just keep teaching the next thing, and expecting him to be able to figure it out. Math is not difficult. It simply requires persistence and review. Constant vigilance. :)

 

Lori

 

PS Let me know if I can recommend some more specific things we've done through the years. I teach 6-8th math and science now fulltime, and have a plethora of strategies that have worked on boys and girls of all ages.

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Still in the MIDST of our story, but I can encourage you that our DS struggled with math horribly (mild dyslexia, visual-spatial learner (VSL]) up until the start of 5th grade / age 10, at which point we started Math-U-See, and he also "clicked" a little more with math due to brain maturity. Grades 5-8 were so stress free; we used MUS and supplemented with Singapore.

 

This year, grade 9, I knew we'd have to gird our loins for another battle: Algebra. Algebra is all about abstract math concepts, and our VSL son doesn't do well with abstract math concepts, and really needs very visual ways of seeing the math. We started the year with MUS Algebra, but it didn't have enough instruction, so we're doing Jacobs Algebra together (a LOT of handholding), with a few math meltdowns which haven't happened since grades 1-4. Jacobs is very gentle and incremental, with very concrete examples of how each concept is used in real life. The plan is to finish Jacobs next year in 10th grade, and have him do MUS Algebra as a review, and then do MUS Geometry, which should be much easier for him as Geometry is a very visual 3-D math. Hopefully even more brain maturity will have kicked in by 11th or 12th grade when we have to tackle Algebra 2...

 

So our success story has been:

- a lot of supplements, handholding, and hard work

- using lots of manipulatives with matching booklets along with whatever "spine" math we used helped a lot in the early elementary grades

- finding MUS and gaining some brain maturity in later elementary grades helped immensely

- realizing we were potentially going to hit another rough patch in high school helped me mentally prepare, and doing the Algebra together with visual and big picture programs is helping some

 

 

Hope that is of some encouragement! Warmest regards, Lori D.

 

Thanks Lori. That is encouraging! How did you find out that your ds is a visual-spatial learner?

Holly

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At age 13, my dd said to me, "Mom, I will never be a mathematician. I just don't think like you. I am an artist and a writer. I hate math."

 

At age 20, she is taking Mathematical Statistics and Abstract Algebra, and is two courses away from a B.A. in mathematics.

 

Never give up. Never surrender. Just keep teaching the next thing, and expecting him to be able to figure it out. Math is not difficult. It simply requires persistence and review. Constant vigilance. :)

 

Lori

 

PS Let me know if I can recommend some more specific things we've done through the years. I teach 6-8th math and science now fulltime, and have a plethora of strategies that have worked on boys and girls of all ages.

 

Thanks Lori,

Your dd sounds like mine. We struggled until Algebra. Then she really blossomed. However, her struggles were pretty unremarkable compared to my ds. Her attitude was the big problem. "I hate math!!!!" Her old mantra.

 

I do appreciate the paragraph that I bolded. I need to tattoo it to my arm so I can read it over and over. My old motto was Serenity Now (with dd). Maybe I should adopt Constant Vigilance for ds.

 

I would love some specific suggestions. I am going to reply to Laurie's post with answers about what we do and have done. Maybe that will help you advise me.

Holly

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My DD is finishing up Saxon 87. She is almost 13, so out here could either be a 7th grader or an 8th grader next year.

 

We had planned that she would do algebra next year, but she doesn't seem really ready for that to me.

 

She veers wildly in accuracy. It's like the math part of her brain turns off and on at random. And she never seems to have a sense of whether she is doing well or poorly. Last week she took a test and got a 55%. The previous test she scored 85%. They covered very similar material!

 

Half the time it just seems like she doesn't really know anything, and the other half she is frighteningly proficient. It is so weird.

 

Next year we could do Saxon 1/2. I have looked it over, and it is SO similar to 87 that I really hate to spend a year on it. And I'm not positive that more drill and practice would really solve this. Furthermore, on the straight algebra stuff, she is pretty good at coming up with equations and expressions for word problems. She knows how to set them up. She is good at the multi-step part of solving an equation in one variable. I think that once she really learns algebra she will be good at it. OTOH, Saxon algebra seems to me to move too fast for her.

 

I have considered kluging a combo of Saxon 1/2 practice with slow progress through Saxon Algebra 1, but that would mean that DD would not finish Algebra 1 next year, but would not be at the beginning of Algebra 1 the next year. She really wants to go to school the year after next, and so she would have to be called an 8th grader at that point and take Algebra 1 starting from the beginning.

 

I always wanted to get her through Algebra 1 as a homeschooler, and I still think that to a large extent that is in her best interests, but she is an only child and has become very isolated this past year as her friends have gone to real schools and her extra curricular activities have become significant. She is really, really unhappy. I don't want her to fall into depression, and if I homeschool her in isolation for two more years, I think that that's where she will end up.

 

I wish that I could give her a program with some mixed review but also more targetted practice in pre-algebra, to get her to the point where Algebra 1 is a reasonable thing to attempt maybe starting in November and finishing up in July of next year. A whole nother year of Saxon is not going to work out that way, but I don't know what else to use. Her specific problem areas are in percentages (sometimes she blanks on how and when to change these to and from decimals) and 4 functions with negative numbers, and remembering the names for the principles that she applies to her work--commutative, distributive, associative, identity--she can use these properly but never remembers which is which.

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I'm going to start with what we've done.

First Grade-BJU-disaster! We did everything in the teachers manual. None of it transferred to knowledge. All of those awesome activities were completely wasted. We did them, but he had no idea what anything represented. We ended up halfway through the book. And that's not because we didn't do math everyday. We did. But, for every lesson I presented I had to spend several days re-teaching and reviewing. I purchased the supplemental books so that he would have extra practice. However, I found that he would figure out the algorithm and then just complete the problems using that algorithm-all the time having no idea of WHAT he was doing. In some cases, he never figured out an algorithm. After teaching the concept in every manner I could possibly conceive of, I gave up and moved on, thinking, surely he'll get this next year. This didn't seem like to crazy an assumption as I had seen my dd progress with age.

 

Second Grade-Another BJU-disaster. Just read above.

 

Third Grade-Back to basics. Singapore 1A and B, Challenging Word Problems Book 1 and MUS. He did a couple of pages of Singapore Each day, 1 CWP page and one MUS lesson. If one of the books got too hard, we would stop progressing in that book and I'd review and re-teach the difficult concept, while moving twice as fast in the other book. We finally got stuck and unable to move in either book. In MUS we are stuck in the section that asks the kids to add:

 

1,000 + 200 + 30 + 1

 

He can do this type of problem up through hundreds. Past that, he has the eye glazed, yeah mom, look.

 

In Singapore we got to adding dollars. He can barely do pennies, nickels and dimes. Forget anything bigger.

 

We basically ended up with the same issues. He'd figure out some system of working the problems. However, he didn't know what he was actually doing.

 

So, I decided to get CLE first grade math for a summer review. We are doing 1st grade! He is finishing up his third grade year of school. Since we are stuck in Singapore and MUS, we have gone ahead and started CLE. We do 2 lessons a day.

Why is he struggling? What does he struggle with? Is he having trouble memorizing facts, or is he struggling with concepts? What kinds of mistakes is he making? What can he do/what can't he do in math?

 

This is a conceptual issue. Memory is not the problem. Here is an example of the problems we experienced just today. I state, write the number that is two hundreds and two ones. He writes

Hundreds Tens Ones

211

OK-We've spent that last THREE years doing place value. MUS is a great program for place value. We use blocks. We use number lines. We use the abacus. So, I get the MUS blocks and show him 2 hundreds and 2 ones and he writes 202.

 

Same exercise, write 67. He writes in the hundreds column "6" and the tens column "7." Again with the blocks.

 

Now he sees a problem with six pencils. He is to divide this pencils in half. I state, that means two groups. In Singapore this year, he did this a lot. He was even dividing into groups of 4 and 5. But, he does not know how to divide six pencils in half, now? All that work we did, and he doesn't know how to do it? So, he first circles groups of 2. Then he gets frustrated and circles all of them. I try a couple of different ways of showing him how to divide into 2 groups, but really...........we've done this a million times.

 

OK-So what do I know for sure he can do? He can count, forwards, backwards. He can skip count easily by 5's, 10's and 100's. He can a little less fluently skip count by 2's. He can add and subtract single digit numbers fluently and fast. He can reliably add 3 single digit numbers in his head. He can add and subtract with carrying and borrowing, but has no idea WHAT he is doing in terms of borrowing and carrying. He was able to fool me into thinking he understood division, but he doesn't. I have no idea now, if he really understands multiplication. (He doesn't-I just asked him 5x2 and he answered 15-sigh.) He can tell time. He can count money-sometimes. He still isn't reliable. If I arrange the money from biggest to smallest, he is pretty reliable. If I pile it on the table, he comes up with crazy ways of "counting" it. He does (reliably) know how much money each coin (penny, nickel and dime) represents. And he does (reliably) know which one is bigger. But, he sometimes just ignores what he knows and counts the money any which way. He is good at ordering #'s from biggest to smallest and understands how to use the symbols < and >.

 

He rarely understands how manipulatives relate to math.

 

Oh yeah. I read the Liping Ma book on math. I understand what she is saying. I haven't been able to implement any of her ideas with ds at all.

 

How does he do in other subjects?

He can read music. He is a good reader (words)-probably reading at a 7th grade level if the material is Star Wars-related. He reads out loud fluently. When he reads to himself he is able to competently narrate details. He memorizes 20 poems a year. He likes to hear books read out loud and enjoys history. He is an excellent speller.

 

Have you been consistent in math instruction?

We do math 4 days a week. We miss a day for co-op. We did math the past 2 summers and will also do math this summer-5 days a week. My kids call me Darth Mom and my dh says I'm the homeschool nazi. We never miss school. One time I dictated math to a child because we were at the eye dr. with her eyes dilated. And if we have something completely unavoidable (once or twice a year), math gets done no matter what. It is non-negotiable.

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How did you find out that your ds is a visual-spatial learner?

 

 

How did you find out that your ds is a visual-spatial learner?

 

 

As far as the mild dyslexia, we had some testing done locally to look for general learning disabilities and especially language arts level. This article really describes our DS's "stealth dyslexia": http://mislabeledchild.com/html/Library/DyslexiaReading/Stealth_dyslexia.htm

 

As far as the VSL, I did a lot of reading / research, slowly narrowing down what the problem areas were. This website has a great "quick checklist":

- http://www.gifteddevelopment.com/Visual_Spatial_Learner/vsl.htm

 

And the book "Upside Down Brilliance: The Visual Spatial Learner" has a lot of helpful descriptions, explanations, resources, etc. You have to read through the whole book -- which is like a Ph.D. dissertation -- in order to find the specific helpful parts. See it at amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Upside-Down-Brilliance-Visual-Spatial-Learner/dp/193218600X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1242774889&sr=8-1

 

Here are some websites that described our DS exactly or provide helpful tips:

- Visual Spatial Resource: http://www.visualspatial.org/index.htm

- Gifted Development Center: http://www.studygs.net/visual.htm

- Hoagies Gifted: VSL = http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/visual-spatial.htm

 

 

BEST of luck! Warmly, Lori D.

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I'm going to start with what we've done.

First Grade-BJU-disaster! We did everything in the teachers manual. None of it transferred to knowledge. All of those awesome activities were completely wasted. We did them, but he had no idea what anything represented. We ended up halfway through the book. And that's not because we didn't do math everyday. We did. But, for every lesson I presented I had to spend several days re-teaching and reviewing. I purchased the supplemental books so that he would have extra practice. However, I found that he would figure out the algorithm and then just complete the problems using that algorithm-all the time having no idea of WHAT he was doing. In some cases, he never figured out an algorithm. After teaching the concept in every manner I could possibly conceive of, I gave up and moved on, thinking, surely he'll get this next year. This didn't seem like to crazy an assumption as I had seen my dd progress with age.

 

Second Grade-Another BJU-disaster. Just read above.

 

Third Grade-Back to basics. Singapore 1A and B, Challenging Word Problems Book 1 and MUS. He did a couple of pages of Singapore Each day, 1 CWP page and one MUS lesson. If one of the books got too hard, we would stop progressing in that book and I'd review and re-teach the difficult concept, while moving twice as fast in the other book. We finally got stuck and unable to move in either book. In MUS we are stuck in the section that asks the kids to add:

 

1,000 + 200 + 30 + 1

 

He can do this type of problem up through hundreds. Past that, he has the eye glazed, yeah mom, look.

 

In Singapore we got to adding dollars. He can barely do pennies, nickels and dimes. Forget anything bigger.

 

We basically ended up with the same issues. He'd figure out some system of working the problems. However, he didn't know what he was actually doing.

 

So, I decided to get CLE first grade math for a summer review. We are doing 1st grade! He is finishing up his third grade year of school. Since we are stuck in Singapore and MUS, we have gone ahead and started CLE. We do 2 lessons a day.

 

We do math 4 days a week. We miss a day for co-op. We did math the past 2 summers and will also do math this summer-5 days a week. My kids call me Darth Mom and my dh says I'm the homeschool nazi. We never miss school. One time I dictated math to a child because we were at the eye dr. with her eyes dilated. And if we have something completely unavoidable (once or twice a year), math gets done no matter what. It is non-negotiable.

 

I would definitely go the route of an evaluation. You've been consistent. You've tried various teaching methods, and he is not able to get concepts that he should be able to get by his age. I would say there is a strong possibility there is an issue of wiring and that he has a learning disability. A neuropsychologist is a very good professional to use, as they are trained in neurology and not just psychology and psychological testing. Getting a good evaluation is important for a few reasons.

 

1) This does not sound like it's going to go away with a new approach or new curriculum. You need to know the name of what you're dealing with so that you can research which approaches work best with his specific issues (in addition to whatever the neuropsych suggests. Ours had excellent suggestions for ds's issues.) This cuts way down on your frustration level.

 

2) knowing that there is a name for what he is struggling with will keep ds from concluding that he is "stupid." If you ask over on the special needs board, you will find that parents consistently find that their children are relieved to get a diagnosis and those who put it off for fear of "labeling" consistently wish that they had sought the evaluation sooner, as they are dealing with the self-esteem issues of years of failure and the kid concluding that he or she is "stupid." (That's what kids invariably call it.)

 

3) If your child needs accomodations on the ACT, SAT, etc., these are easier to get if the "paper trail" starts when they are young, rather than if it looks as if the eval. is just for the purpose of getting accomodations.

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He is wired a bit differently AND is a late-bloomer, so the beginning of high school didn't look anything like the end GRIN. He slowly changed between 10yo when we took him out of school, and now, when he is 18. He really bloomed after 16 or 17. I see why college is usually started at 18 or 19. He had trouble learning to read and it didn't come smoothly until he was at least 9. He cried if I made him write a sentence when he first came home to homeschool and his math was scary.

 

Reading and writing are ok now. His understanding of people and the world is very good, due to natural talent, lots of travel, and some reading. He happily read great books - not a lot, not the most difficult, but he did them and almost nothing else for high school lit. He can write the answer to an essay question quickly and easily now. His writing sounds grownup. He managed to do pre-calc, composition, chem, speech, drawing, and computers at community college. He still works slowly, and he still gets confused or forgets easily in math. He still doesn't test well, so he has to get A's in all his other assignments because he will get 30% of a test wrong no matter how well he knows the material. He has to work much harder than other people. None of this has to do with his intelligence. He's very intelligent. He is confident, reasonable, and cheerful. He works independently. I gave him the last 6 weeks or so of work all in a chunk and he is just doing it, including getting some of the books from the library. He is enjoying reading Communist Manifesto and volunteered to read a geography book because he is done reading Western Civ. He figured out where he wanted to go to college, talked his older brother into going too, applied and was accepted. He wants to be a ship captain. He is good and he is strong. He figured out how to register himself as a conscientious objector, which required persistence and research. He has some hobbies that will work as an adult. He can cook himself supper and do his laundry. He drives himself around now. He got the car repaired when the brakes failed. He voted. I will miss him dreadfully when he goes off to college, and I'm glad he'll have his brother to help him with his math and science, and we've cautioned him not to sign up for too many classes that require memorizing all at once, or that require large amounts of reading, or that base their grades only on tests, but other than that, I feel like he is ready to move on to other things. Wow!

-Nan

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Holly, I'm just curious, so if this is a bother, don't answer. (My son is also easily confused in math and gave (can still give) wildly unlikely answers. If you talk to him, though, he can usually explain why he did what he did, and it is pretty interesting - very wrong but interesting. We tried a program that involved memorizing algorithms and he fooled me pretty thoroughily, too. We figured out after a bit that he couldn't apply his math and we switched to Singapore, backing way up, and that helped. It wasn't perfect, and I still worry, but it helped.) So my question is, what happens if you ask him a practical question and have him solve it in his head? If you say, "If I want to split these 6 cookies evenly between your brother and you, how many should I give your brother?" can he answer? And if you give him the actual cookies, can he do it? I can see why he circled the cookies by twos - if he had cookies in his hand and wanted to divide them in two even piles, he'd work by twos - he'd give himself one and his brother one, then himself and his brother, then himself and his brother. He even knew he had to draw another circle after he had put his group into twos. He just didn't know that he had to split each of the original circles when he drew the next circle, and that he then had to count up the cookies in that last circle. My youngest began teaching himself division the same way. He was much younger and he couldn't really count because he didn't really understand what the word six had to do with piles of pennies (he could only count by rote), but he had things that he wanted to divide up evenly. That is how he did it - divided into piles of twos, then took one from each pile of two. That's why I am curious - I recognize the pattern.

-Nan

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1) This does not sound like it's going to go away with a new approach or new curriculum. You need to know the name of what you're dealing with so that you can research which approaches work best with his specific issues (in addition to whatever the neuropsych suggests. Ours had excellent suggestions for ds's issues.) This cuts way down on your frustration level.

 

2) knowing that there is a name for what he is struggling with will keep ds from concluding that he is "stupid." If you ask over on the special needs board, you will find that parents consistently find that their children are relieved to get a diagnosis and those who put it off for fear of "labeling" consistently wish that they had sought the evaluation sooner, as they are dealing with the self-esteem issues of years of failure and the kid concluding that he or she is "stupid." (That's what kids invariably call it.)

I'm going to talk to about this with dh. I have come back to your post and read it several times. It takes awhile to digest what you are saying. Thanks for your honesty.

Holly:D

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Holly, I'm just curious, so if this is a bother, don't answer. (My son is also easily confused in math and gave (can still give) wildly unlikely answers. If you talk to him, though, he can usually explain why he did what he did, and it is pretty interesting - very wrong but interesting. We tried a program that involved memorizing algorithms and he fooled me pretty thoroughily, too. We figured out after a bit that he couldn't apply his math and we switched to Singapore, backing way up, and that helped. It wasn't perfect, and I still worry, but it helped.) So my question is, what happens if you ask him a practical question and have him solve it in his head? If you say, "If I want to split these 6 cookies evenly between your brother and you, how many should I give your brother?" can he answer? And if you give him the actual cookies, can he do it? I can see why he circled the cookies by twos - if he had cookies in his hand and wanted to divide them in two even piles, he'd work by twos - he'd give himself one and his brother one, then himself and his brother, then himself and his brother. He even knew he had to draw another circle after he had put his group into twos. He just didn't know that he had to split each of the original circles when he drew the next circle, and that he then had to count up the cookies in that last circle. My youngest began teaching himself division the same way. He was much younger and he couldn't really count because he didn't really understand what the word six had to do with piles of pennies (he could only count by rote), but he had things that he wanted to divide up evenly. That is how he did it - divided into piles of twos, then took one from each pile of two. That's why I am curious - I recognize the pattern.

-Nan

 

Yesterday I asked him to tell me half of 6. He immediately said 3. Then I quizzed him on halves several times through the day. Tonight I asked him half of 16. He thought for a while and then said 6. :001_huh:

 

So can he do it?

Is he lazy?

Can he not do it?

 

When he was younger, he used to close his eyes as he was doing simple math problems. I asked him what he was looking at and he said, I see my fingers in my mind. I asked him why he didn't just look at his fingers? He just said that was they way he liked to do it.

 

He never ever tries to incorporate manipulatives into math unless he is forced. He always tries to do math in his head. If he can't, and I've not forced him to do manipulatives, he just guesses.

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When he was younger, he used to close his eyes as he was doing simple math problems. I asked him what he was looking at and he said, I see my fingers in my mind. I asked him why he didn't just look at his fingers? He just said that was they way he liked to do it.

 

He never ever tries to incorporate manipulatives into math unless he is forced. He always tries to do math in his head. If he can't, and I've not forced him to do manipulatives, he just guesses.

 

 

This so sounds like our younger VSL DS! Excellent at visualizing; actually did use his fingers; learns well by watching manipulatives to see the "why" of the math, but doesn't like to have to use them -- and he prefers to guess if it seems like too many steps to get to the answer. (VSLers struggle with any process that has more than just a few steps -- they are highly random thinkers and long sequential processes are very tough for them to remember and implement.)

 

 

 

Yesterday I asked him to tell me half of 6. He immediately said 3. Then I quizzed him on halves several times through the day. Tonight I asked him half of 16. He thought for a while and then said 6. :001_huh:

 

So can he do it?

Is he lazy?

Can he not do it?

 

 

After years of seeing our VSL DS struggle not only with math, but also somewhat with reading and *definitely* with writing and spelling, it's not laziness, and it's not that he can or can't do it -- for him, sometimes he sees how to do it, and sometimes he really doesn't. In an epiphanal moment, I saw a picture in my mind of what it is like for him: it is almost like DS is on one side of 2 walls, and the math (or spelling or...) is on the other; the 2 walls each have some windows in them, at different spacings, and the walls also slowly roll back and forth on tracks at different speeds, so sometimes a window in each wall lines up for him and he can see all the way through to the other side and the math (or spelling or...) *clicks* -- he understands instantly. Other times the windows in the walls are not quite lined up and he can only get a glimpse, or see/remember how to do the math obliquely. And at other times, the windows are completely misaligned, and all he can see through the nearer wall's window is the blankness of the further wall.

 

Don't know if that describes your DS at all, but suddenly being able to "see through my DS's eyes" has really helped me with patience (he's not being willful or lazy -- well, 90% of the time, LOL!), and determined to help find the various programs, tips, methods, practices, etc. that will help the math, spelling and writing click more permanently for him. He is MUCH farther along in the math now (9th grade, and working at grade level) than he was back in, say 3rd grade (and behind in math by 1-1/2 years -- and still 2 years away from really being able to understand and do long division).

 

 

As Laurie in her post above suggested, testing is always helpful. It will either put your worries to rest, or it will pinpoint the areas that need help and will help you more quickly implement the specific tutoring, programs, methods, etc. that will help. BEST of luck! Warmly, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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I second Laurie4B's post. Please get your dc evaluated for both your sakes. And often, with a good evaluation, you can determine the best way to teach your child without going through so many trial and errors. Not that you won't still have trials and errors, just that you can reduce the number of them.

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Perhaps he can visualize 6 in his head, but 16 is too many to hold all at once. My youngest used to ask me to be the placeholder. He'd split the 16 into 10 and 6, do the 10, have me hold the result (5), then do the 6, ask me what the first number was, and then add the 5 and 3 together. (He could have hung onto the 5 and the 3 long enough to add them. I simplified the problem to demonstrate the method. He only needed me to hold the numbers if it was multi-steped for each half.) It sounds like he's on the right track, as far as he's gotten. I'd be worried that he wasn't continuing to go forward, though. I saw that stage with my son, but he was a lot younger. You must be doing something very right with him because he hasn't shut down and refused to have anything to do with numbers any more. Lots of hugs. -Nan

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Late to the topic, but I have a late-blooming dylexic 18yo.

 

He had his first pycho-educational evaluation at 7yo. The diagnosis may have helped him understand that he was not stupid, but it didn't improve his math skills.;)

 

He attended an LD school for dyslexics the year he was 7yo/8yo. He repeated 2nd grade in the public school and then went to a private school that used Riggs for LA in 3rd and 4th. We brought him home for 5th grade the year he was 11yo/12yo.

 

Through middle school he used a lot of math programs with limited success until MUS. He used MUS Geometry in 9th with no problems. He used most of MUS Alg2 with a tutor in 10th.

 

Then, last spring we put him in Kumon math to review basic math. He went to Kumon in 5th grade at 11yo/12yo and hated it. He left off at the end of level D. Kumon's progression is very similar to MUS, so level D is very similar to MUS Delta. Well, when he tested into Kumon last spring, he tested into the end of level D almost exactly where he had left off 5 years ago.

 

We do not ask for accomodations on testing. Last June he made an 18 on the math section of the ACT. This year he completed Kumon Levels D-I and was working in level J at the time of the Apr ACT. He did all 200 worksheets in each level (more than a few of them more than once). So, well over 1000 worksheets of math from division well into Alg topics. He worked through last summer.

 

Since Sept he has also worked with a math tutor who taught him how to use a graphing calculator, worked with him on advanced math topics, and assigned ACT math drill each week.

 

For ds's part he is coming out of the tunnel of puberty and his view of math changed. He suddenly saw math as something he personally needed to improve in order to have a chance at being accepted at the college he would like to attend. Poof! What I wanted for him was no longer part of the equation. This was something he wanted. (Although honestly I haven't worked with him on math since geometry.)

 

Through his own desire and determination, his math score went up 7 points from an 18 (only eligible for remedial college math) to a 25 (well within the acceptable range).

 

HTH-

Mandy

Edited by Mandy in TN
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He had his first pycho-educational evaluation at 7yo. The diagnosis may have helped him understand that he was not stupid, but it didn't improve his math skills.;)

 

We do not ask for accomodations on testing.

 

 

Hi Mandy,

 

I guess I'm hijacking, but I'm interested in this.

 

I'm 99% sure that my oldest is dyslexic. My dh is mildly dyslexic, and my ds has a lot of the same tendencies. His reading comprehension is excellent, and he's managed to stay on grade level in math, but his spelling, punctuation, and writing are not where they should be. He also does not test well. We're working on it, and it's getting better, but that's a concern as he approaches the SAT and ACT in coming years.

 

I'm just wondering what accommodations are available for testing, and if you'd be willing to share why you chose not to ask for them.

 

I hope this question isn't too personal, but it's one of the things I'm wrestling with as I decide whether to pay the money to get the official dyslexic "stamp" on my ds. I don't think his problems are severe enough to prevent him from getting into and finishing college, but I don't think his test scores are going to be a true indication of his abilities.

 

As an aside, I had never really talked about dyslexia to my ds, for fear that he would start using it as an excuse to be lazy in subjects he disliked. But this year I finally brought it up, and he read a couple of the books on dyslexia that I checked out from the library. It's made a world of difference in his attitude. I didn't realize how aware he was of his struggles. I even think at times he thought there was some kind of magic key that his ps friends were getting that I wasn't giving to him in hs. Knowing there's a name for this has made him more relaxed, and he tries even harder at things he's not good at now. All this to say that giving things a name (even though ours is not "official") can be very empowering.

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I'm just wondering what accommodations are available for testing, and if you'd be willing to share why you chose not to ask for them.

 

Ds is gifted/dyslexic and I am sure that if the time restraint were removed that his score would improve; however, he doesn't want that label following him to college- his choice. I even suggested that he consider writing an application essay on overcoming dyslexia and his response was... uh, absolutely not.

 

Mandy

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Through his own desire and determination, his math score went up 7 points from an 18 (only eligible for remedial college math) to a 25 (well within the acceptable range).

 

HTH-

Mandy

 

Mandy,

Your ds did so much work! Wow! You must be so proud!!! Thanks for sharing such an inspirational story. He proved that it is never too late to learn when you are determined.

Holly

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I'm just wondering what accommodations are available for testing, and if you'd be willing to share why you chose not to ask for them.

 

The usual accommodation for LDs like dyslexia and ADD is extended time on tests -- usually time & a half (i.e. if the test is 30 minutes, you'd get 45 minutes, etc.). Other possible accommodations include taking the test in a separate, quiet room; using a computer (e.g. in cases of severe dysgraphia); having a scribe right down the answers; and having a reader read the questions.

 

My son is dyslexic and has very slow processing speed, although he is also highly gifted, so standardized testing is a nightmare for him and does not show his true abilities. I avoided having him tested for LDs for several years, not wanting him to be "labeled," but eventually I decided it was better to have a label like dyslexia or ADD than to be labeled "lazy" or "stupid" because he wasn't working up to his potential. (My son was also VERY relieved to have a name for his problems, because I discovered that he had been silently labeling himself as slow and stupid.) I also definitely wanted him to have the option of extended test time, since he plans to go to college and graduate school, and without additional time his test scores would be terrible (he would only complete about 2/3 of the questions).

 

I also think it's important to document LDs as young as possible, because that is part of the proof you need to get accommodations on tests like ACT, SAT, etc. If you wait until your child is ready to take the college entrance tests in high school, and suddenly claim that he/she has LDs and needs extra time, you will not get it. I think this is especially pertinent to homeschoolers, since one of the things the SAT/ACT people look for is a history of accommodations in school, so we're already "missing" one of the requested bits of evidence. Also, they usually require recent tests (within 3 years prior to the SAT/ACT/whatever) as well as a history of diagnosis and accommodations.

 

HTH,

Jackie

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Don't know if that describes your DS at all,

 

I don't know, Lori. He doesn't seem to fit the VSL descriptions on the website, except in math-maybe. He spells well. He reads and writes well. He likes organization. His penmanship is average for his age (and gender).

Holly

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without additional time his test scores would be terrible (he would only complete about 2/3 of the questions).

 

Ds runs out of time as well but he usually times them himself well enough to Christmas tree the ones he doesn't get to finish. However, on the English section in April he totally ran out of time. He left the last 15 questions out of 75 completely blank.:(

 

Mandy

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More food for thought besides getting him tested, which I think is a very good idea.

 

1. Smart Moves: Why Learning is Not All in Your Head by Carla Hannaford. Great book, not only for kids with learning disabilities.

 

2. Brain Gym. My ds could not count until we did this for 2 days--certain exercises.

 

3. I have some vs around here, and one dd is highly vs. We used MUS with SM until she was done SM 6 and MUS Zeta (not at the same time). She could not learn math facts by drill, music, or any of those other ways. However, we did math 5 days a week (4 days wasn't enough) and all year round, with, ideally, no more than 1 week off for any holidays. She aced anything related to geometry. She's relatively mathy but struggled with:

 

long division (you're not there yet) getting those rules straight.

 

regrouping, although, in our case, Mr. Demme got through to her on that. Honestly, there were a few things Mr. Demme did that confused the heck out of her. Sometimes, if both SM & MUS confused her, I just taught her how I did it. Or she did it in her head her own way. Now, at 11, she's learning to show all her work.

 

4. Draw what you know. I cannot emphasize this enough with the word problems. Do you have the SM HiG guides? If not, get them, ideally for the regular program, not the US editions one (got that last thing from someone else--I'm sure you can use them with the US editions, just not for answers). Those bar diagrams are brilliant, IMO, for vs kids. Many times my 11 yo, when she was in SM 6, would be totally stumped until I drew the bar diagrams (she hates them, btw, but they really worked for her.) I just wish I'd used them from the get go with her the way I'm doing with ds, at least from SM 2 on.

 

I do have to say that overall my vs dd is mathy, but she has an extremely difficult time with the linguistic aspects of math and struggled at first with word problems. We're working on this now that she's older. And a few areas have been tough. In addition, there are some things she has forgotten every year, such as multiplying and dividing fractions, even if she apparently mastered it the year before. Also, Mr. Demme's way of dividing fractions confused her and I didn't like it, but some people find it works very well. She is finally getting to the point where she doesn't forget this.

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What is Christmas treeing?

 

Coloring in a pattern on the standardized test bubbles (you know, the old "just choose C" idea) for the ones you don't have time to solve. When you stagger your choices, it looks like Christmas tree points. :)

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What is Christmas treeing?

On the ACT the number of correct answers determines your score. You are not penalized for guessing, so you should leave nothing blank on the ACT. So, if you realize that you are almost out of time you randomly fill in (like lights on a Christmas tree) the circles on the answer sheet.;)

 

Mandy

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