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Math Dilema...Input Needed!


jcmi
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I've been reading math threads on this board for weeks but am still stumped. I really, really need to get this figured out before we get much farther into the school year. Short version:

 

Dd (6th) has math issues :001_smile:. A huge part of this is my fault, as we've made several curriculum changes over the years. After MUS Beta through part of Epsilon, I realized that she still didn't know her facts and that although she was actually doing the lessons she had no idea what she was doing or why. She dreaded math. We switched to CLE (at a grade level below) the last semester of last year and that was going well---although it revealed many weakness that she had.

 

After reading all the MM, MEP, and Singapore threads this summer, I decided to switch to MM (two grade levels behind) and this was disastrous. She doesn't know how to think this way, and it brought tears and frustration. I didn't like the format and missed having a "real" book. Knowing I needed to choose something and stick with it, I bought Saxon so that I could use it for the rest of her homeschool years.

 

Well, *I* can't stand Saxon, and she's not doing that great with it. She can do it but I don't think she sees the big picture or has any idea what she's doing. Now she's starting to say, "I hate math," and "I am lousy at math." I am sick at the thought of switching again, but I'm not sure either of us will survive Saxon. The other problem is that several of the programs I'm leaning towards don't go through high school, so I'd be looking at switching again....

 

So I'm thinking my options are:

 

1. Stick with Saxon

2. Go back to CLE and supplement a bit with Singapore's CWP

3. Totally switch approaches to something Asian-style and go back several grade levels.

 

I saw Math in Focus online and fell in love...but the price is prohibitive (I have four children and I'd want to switch everyone.) And it only goes until 5th grade (however, she would start in 4B so that would buy us 1.5 years...) She did comment on the color and the pictures and said she'd love something like that...she's done Saxon, MM, MUS (all b&w) and CLE (two-tone) so that really appealed to her.

 

Sorry for the length, I'll be surprised if anyone is still reading this.

 

Thoughts? Any options I've missed?

 

Thanks!

 

Jen

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I've been reading math threads on this board for weeks but am still stumped. I really, really need to get this figured out before we get much farther into the school year. Short version:

 

Dd (6th) has math issues :001_smile:. A huge part of this is my fault, as we've made several curriculum changes over the years. After MUS Beta through part of Epsilon, I realized that she still didn't know her facts and that although she was actually doing the lessons she had no idea what she was doing or why. She dreaded math. We switched to CLE (at a grade level below) the last semester of last year and that was going well---although it revealed many weakness that she had.

 

After reading all the MM, MEP, and Singapore threads this summer, I decided to switch to MM (two grade levels behind) and this was disastrous. She doesn't know how to think this way, and it brought tears and frustration. I didn't like the format and missed having a "real" book. Knowing I needed to choose something and stick with it, I bought Saxon so that I could use it for the rest of her homeschool years.

 

Well, *I* can't stand Saxon, and she's not doing that great with it. She can do it but I don't think she sees the big picture or has any idea what she's doing. Now she's starting to say, "I hate math," and "I am lousy at math." I am sick at the thought of switching again, but I'm not sure either of us will survive Saxon. The other problem is that several of the programs I'm leaning towards don't go through high school, so I'd be looking at switching again....

 

So I'm thinking my options are:

 

1. Stick with Saxon

2. Go back to CLE and supplement a bit with Singapore's CWP

3. Totally switch approaches to something Asian-style and go back several grade levels.

 

I saw Math in Focus online and fell in love...but the price is prohibitive (I have four children and I'd want to switch everyone.) And it only goes until 5th grade (however, she would start in 4B so that would buy us 1.5 years...) She did comment on the color and the pictures and said she'd love something like that...she's done Saxon, MM, MUS (all b&w) and CLE (two-tone) so that really appealed to her.

 

Sorry for the length, I'll be surprised if anyone is still reading this.

 

Thoughts? Any options I've missed?

 

Thanks!

 

Jen

 

:grouphug:

 

At this point I think it's important to find something that a) you can teach and like and b) your daughter can at least tolerate. Then you need to just stick with it.

 

Math may never be your dd's strong point and she may never **really** like it. So, I would ignore the fussing once you find something you both can tolerate. I would go back as many levels as you need to make sure she understands.

 

I had the same issue with MUS (got into Epsilon too). The tricky part of that is if you want to see her able to apply the concepts she really needs to understand them. We did switch to MM and that's where we're staying put. I will tell you IT IS CHALLENGING for my kids! Especially my olders, who for the past 2 years were able to zip through a MUS day without even really thinking. If you're going to tackle a conceptual math program you will probably get some resistance from your dd. My solution is to take it in small bites and do whatever we need to together. My goal is not that my kids are independent in math. My goal is to TEACH my kids the concepts. Sometimes that means more handholding along the way. It's okay. They are learning! Most children when they feel confident they can do it are more than happy to do it independently. Personally, I don't think color/not color are big issues. In the long run it's the math concepts that are important, not how pretty the pages are. Color and excitement may help up front, but doesn't have much lasting value.... more important I think should be if the program you choose teaches how you teach and if your child is learning from it.

 

Anyway... my personal advice would be to sit down and figure out how you want to teach your dd and what she would respond to the best. Be confident in your choice and figure out where you should begin. (I would find something you can go at least up to pre-algebra with, I wouldn't worry about being able to get through high school...) Take it slow to begin with... maybe not assigning as much as you think you should. Do it with her if necessary. Try to make the initial teaching as concrete as you can to make sure she understands. Maybe try have her teach it back to you... maybe you could have a "Mom is the math student day" at the end of the week so she can teach you all she learned.... this would be an easy way to bring some enjoyment back into math for both of you. (You could even do problems wrong so that she has to help you fix them.... have her try to figure out where you went wrong...)

 

You can do this and so can your dd!! :grouphug::grouphug:

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I've been reading math threads on this board for weeks but am still stumped. I really, really need to get this figured out before we get much farther into the school year. Short version:

 

Dd (6th) has math issues :001_smile:. A huge part of this is my fault, as we've made several curriculum changes over the years. After MUS Beta through part of Epsilon, I realized that she still didn't know her facts and that although she was actually doing the lessons she had no idea what she was doing or why. She dreaded math. We switched to CLE (at a grade level below) the last semester of last year and that was going well---although it revealed many weakness that she had.

 

After reading all the MM, MEP, and Singapore threads this summer, I decided to switch to MM (two grade levels behind) and this was disastrous. She doesn't know how to think this way, and it brought tears and frustration. I didn't like the format and missed having a "real" book. Knowing I needed to choose something and stick with it, I bought Saxon so that I could use it for the rest of her homeschool years.

 

Well, *I* can't stand Saxon, and she's not doing that great with it. She can do it but I don't think she sees the big picture or has any idea what she's doing. Now she's starting to say, "I hate math," and "I am lousy at math." I am sick at the thought of switching again, but I'm not sure either of us will survive Saxon. The other problem is that several of the programs I'm leaning towards don't go through high school, so I'd be looking at switching again....

 

So I'm thinking my options are:

 

1. Stick with Saxon

2. Go back to CLE and supplement a bit with Singapore's CWP

3. Totally switch approaches to something Asian-style and go back several grade levels.

 

I saw Math in Focus online and fell in love...but the price is prohibitive (I have four children and I'd want to switch everyone.) And it only goes until 5th grade (however, she would start in 4B so that would buy us 1.5 years...) She did comment on the color and the pictures and said she'd love something like that...she's done Saxon, MM, MUS (all b&w) and CLE (two-tone) so that really appealed to her.

 

Sorry for the length, I'll be surprised if anyone is still reading this.

 

Thoughts? Any options I've missed?

 

Thanks!

 

Jen

 

Math with your first can be very stressful, because you want to do the right thing and the perfect thing...

 

Here's a few thoughts (from a non mathy experty type person LOL)

 

Try not to jump around to much within each YEAR. Pick something at the beginning and stick with it, teaching her perseverance and how to work through things that are difficult. If she doesn't know her math facts, that can easily be remedied alongside ANY curriculum.

 

Try not to show your OWN frustration and stress about math, or even just the way a certain curriculum teaches, in front of her. She might be picking up on that and then reflecting your own frustrations.

 

Don't write off Saxon or the more spirally math curriculums from your short experience with the early years saxon. I didn't like the grade 1-3 saxon books either (too scripted for me and hard to find your way around them if you aren't using the scripts for the teacher... I hated it). We switched to Horizons in grade 3 and haven't looked back since. I often cross off half the problems (which she thinks is a huge bonus) and we are both very happy with it. It's not a strong asian math conceptual amazing program LOL, but I'm ok with that. :-) You have to do what works, right? Not necessarily what is the most perfect math out there.

 

And don't worry about swtiching from elementary math to a different curriculum for prealgebra/algebra. Almost everyone does that. If you can spend the next three years in one curriculum you will have a nice solid grounding for prealgebra.

 

If CLE was working for you, then switch back to it and stay there... or tough out the next year of Saxon until you can reach 54 and it will likely get much better for you because it is a very different curriculum then.

 

hth!

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So I'm thinking my options are:

 

1. Stick with Saxon If you both hate it and it doesn't seem to work for your DD, there's no point in keeping it just because it goes all the way through high school. That just prolongs the torture!

 

2. Go back to CLE and supplement a bit with Singapore's CWP I've never read anything about the high school levels of this, and I'm not sure why you switched to begin with, so I can't help with this one.

 

3. Totally switch approaches to something Asian-style and go back several grade levels. Well, Math Mammoth is Asian-style math, and if she wasn't understanding the explanations in MM, she's likely to have a harder time with Singapore. Plus, with Singapore, you will need to read the HIG and teach the concepts yourself.

 

 

Have you looked at Teaching Textbooks? It's expensive up front, but you can resell it for a little less than the original purchase price, or you can keep and use it for all your kids. You can also find it used, and sell it for pretty much what you paid for it, as long as the disks are in good condition. The levels from 3rd-7th grade are done on the computer and they're very colorful and engaging. (You also don't need the workbook for these grade levels, you can just buy the CD-roms.) It goes from 3rd grade to PreCalculus, so it's a format you can stick with through HS without having to change again. The explanations are very simple and straightforward, in plain English rather than math terminology, and the problem sets are short, simple, and include lots of review of previous topics. It might also help your DD rebuild her confidence, because the grade levels tend to run about a grade behind, and perhaps even 2 grades behind Singapore or MM. So if she was doing MM3, for example, she will probably test into at least TT4 and maybe TT5. Convincing her that she doesn't hate math, and can actually do it, is half the battle.

 

If TT is not an option for you, then I'd probably go back to CLE and stick with it, since that seems to be the program you had the fewest problems with.

 

Jackie

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:iagree: with both the 1st and 2nd posts (I don't know if any others have been added since I started writing this). And they said it so well that I'm not going to reiterate. So, a thought from our experience:

 

We too ended up not liking the math that I chose (and it required A LOT of supplication), and jumped around a bit. I realized that both kids had gaps, and ones that couldn't be ignored or breezed over, so I tried ACE School of Tomorrow's Diagnosis test (http://www.aceministries.com/assessments/). We figured out exactly what the gaps were, and then I started them on the level it said they needed. I'm not sure if you're familiar with ACE, but they break every year into 12 (give or take) books. So, if there is a gap, your dc is not going back a whole grade level, but just back to that specific skill that was missed. So, for my ds that meant we jumped back to 2 books from 3rd grade, 2 books from 4th grade, and then we were back on track and ready for 5th grade. We've been doing it for 2 months now. I know, that's not a very long time, but it's working so well, and my kids actually enjoy it. You could give your dd the diagnosis test, and see exactly what you're dealing with (be forewarned, the test is a bit long, but, man, is it thorough). Then you could do the books that she needs to catch up, and go on from there. And you don't have to change your curriculum.

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If you go back to CLE math then TALK about that lesson with examples on the board/paper BEFORE your ds does the lesson for the day. Also review anything she's having problems with OR forgets. Pull out the manipulatives when needed to SHOW common/decimal fractions, etc. We did flashcards & skip counting for YEARS. That's how we did CLE math with success. :001_smile:

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This is great feedback...you guys are giving me lots to think about. I'm hoping to make a decision this weekend.

 

I do realize that Singapore is similar to MM...and yet visually it's very different. That makes a huge difference to me (and to dd, as I'm learning.) The placement test for Singapore (and MIF) put her in 4B, so we'd be going back 1.5 grades. I *love* math and don't mind teaching and working with her.

 

But CLE was working as well as anything has, and it goes through 8th, and those are two big advantages. I just worry about her missing the "big picture," the conceptual/problem solving skills, and preparation for higher level math (if needed.)

 

A few people I know in real life have suggested just pushing through with Saxon...(she's in 6/5)....I feel like maybe I should but I sure don't want to :)

 

Keep the ideas coming...I really appreciate the input. I'm off to look at TT...

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How about taking some time and doing some fun math thinking for a break? Seriously--I'm not joking. My dc loved the Murderous Maths books, for example. They read them for fun & did math thinking without realizing it was work. Also, although they thought the idea of a devil in the book was gross, they learned a lot reading The Number Devil. Other books you can read for fun (or do the work) that will help with math thinking would be LOF Fractions & Decimals.

 

What I would do if I were in your shoes would be to stick with what's working and then add things to it for the conceptual side of it. In fact, that's what we do at our house (2 or more math programs at once, one being our main one, at least until Algebra). What I personally wouldn't do, based on our experience with it, is to buy TT. While I realize that TT has ardent fans, it isn't as strong heuristically as SM or MM

 

One other thing you might like to augment your CLE with that's free is MEP math. The link is on my old computer, but all you need to pay for is paper & ink, so you can try it for low cost. Do get the teacher portion since the lessons are what make this course, IMO. I'd go down a level or two, of course. My personal favourite for concepts & heuristics is Singapore math, but you need to use the bar diagrams & to teach it their way. You could take a placement test first.

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But CLE was working as well as anything has, and it goes through 8th, and those are two big advantages. I just worry about her missing the "big picture," the conceptual/problem solving skills, and preparation for higher level math (if needed.)

 

IMO, I wouldn't add yet another thing to the mix. TT is not what you are looking for if you are catering to the conceptual math crowd. (I have some IRL acquaintances who have gone down the TT road and their dc didn't get out of it what they hoped they would. If anything, it was a "wasted" year, even at the proper level.)

 

I will echo other posters. If CLE was working, go back to it and stick with it. The most important thing is to find something that works & STICK TO IT.

 

I found that CLE has as much conceptual stuff as it needs to have at this level. It really does explain the "why" - just maybe not in the same way as the mastery-type asian programs do. (I've read Liping Ma's book.) You will short-change your kid if you keep skipping around math programs and confusing her. I'm ACT-prepping a high school senior in math who did this very thing. She loves math. She's behind in math. She doesn't understand the why behind the stuff at her level. Her "facts" are not cemented. Her mother & her wish she had another 4-5 years to relearn & catch up in math.

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One other thing you might like to augment your CLE with that's free is MEP math.

 

I would second this idea. My dd11 is not math inclined and also has trouble retaining math facts. (I've stopped stressing about that) She uses MUS with success; she understands the whys\concepts but MUS is lacking in conceptual math imo. I have been supplementing with MEP and she really enjoys it. She is in 6th but I backed up to yr3. It is easy enough that she doesn't struggle and so her confidence is boosted. And its FREE!

Edited by 5LittleMonkeys
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I do realize that Singapore is similar to MM...and yet visually it's very different. That makes a huge difference to me (and to dd, as I'm learning.) The placement test for Singapore (and MIF) put her in 4B....

By "visually different" do you mean fewer problems on the page? Your OP mentioned that your daughter wanted more color, but the workbooks for Singapore 4B (and up) are B&W, and the textbooks are 2 color.

 

IMO, I wouldn't add yet another thing to the mix. TT is not what you are looking for if you are catering to the conceptual math crowd....

 

I found that CLE has as much conceptual stuff as it needs to have at this level. It really does explain the "why" - just maybe not in the same way as the mastery-type asian programs do.

IMHO CLE isn't any more "conceptual" than TT.

 

I should clarify that I don't use TT, but I was recommending it specifically because I thought the OP was looking for something that was (1) colorful and engaging, (2) suitable for a child that hates math and struggles with it, and (3) less conceptual than Math Mammoth.

 

I guess I'm confused by this statement:

After reading all the MM, MEP, and Singapore threads this summer, I decided to switch to MM (two grade levels behind) and this was disastrous. She doesn't know how to think this way, and it brought tears and frustration.

followed by the idea that what's needed is another "conceptual" Asian-style program that will require her to think exactly the same way. :confused:

 

Perhaps CLE supplemented with MEP or Life of Fred would give her the basics (CLE) plus a bit more challenge and critical thinking (MEP/LOF).

 

Jackie

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So if I was going to choose CLE and supplement a bit, what would be the best mix?

 

* CLE + LOF Fractions (I think she might enjoy this)

 

* CLE + Singapore CWP or IP (she has enjoyed some of the samples we've found online)

 

* CLE + MM (going way back to 3 maybe)

 

I usually don't weigh what kids would prefer so heavily, but I really want to turn this math phobia around before it's too late :)

 

Thanks for all the input so far...this has been so fantastic!

 

Now I just need to start thinking about ds (9) and whether to go back to CLE with him, too, or switch to Singapore...but that's another post. ;)

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By "visually different" do you mean fewer problems on the page? Your OP mentioned that your daughter wanted more color, but the workbooks for Singapore 4B (and up) are B&W, and the textbooks are 2 color.

 

It was MIF that we both loved the look of. And I realize that Singapore is two-tone and nothing like MIF, the layout is still more...appealing than Saxon, MM, or MUS.

 

I guess I'm confused by this statement:

 

followed by the idea that what's needed is another "conceptual" Asian-style program that will require her to think exactly the same way. :confused:

 

The fact that she struggled so much with it makes me think it might actually be what she needs...we would go way back (3A? 2B?) and work from there.

 

 

 

Jen

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The fact that she struggled so much with it makes me think it might actually be what she needs...we would go way back (3A? 2B?) and work from there.

OK, now I get it — I thought you were trying to go in the opposite direction.

 

The LoF books are cheap, you could buy the Fractions book and see if she likes it. I think it would be a good complement to CLE because it's such a different format (no worksheets!), and so funny, that it seems like a treat instead of another math program. Yet it teaches math concepts really well and the problems can be challenging.

 

Jackie

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So if I was going to choose CLE and supplement a bit, what would be the best mix?

 

* CLE + LOF Fractions (I think she might enjoy this) If her big problem lies in fractions & decimals and she learns well with stories, etc, I'd use this. There is more to it than just the titles (eg Fractions covers what cardinal & ordinal numbers are early on.)

 

* CLE + Singapore CWP or IP (she has enjoyed some of the samples we've found online) CWP is no longer being printed, last I heard, so you may wish to check this.

 

* CLE + MM (going way back to 3 maybe)

Before buying any of these thngs, I'd print some of the MEP (the part you don't need the password for.) There is an MEP Yahoo group for support where you can also get the password should you choose to continue with MEP. If it works well, then you're all set with that combination. If it doesn't, you're only out the paper & ink it took to print that section of MEP along with the teacher guide.

 

 

I usually don't weigh what kids would prefer so heavily, but I really want to turn this math phobia around before it's too late :)

 

Thanks for all the input so far...this has been so fantastic!

 

Now I just need to start thinking about ds (9) and whether to go back to CLE with him, too, or switch to Singapore...but that's another post. ;)

My answer is in blue.

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Well, after weighing everything and printing out samples of Singapore and CLE at various levels and putting them side by side, I *think* I'm going to go with Singapore. It is how *I* think about math, and I wondering if that will make it easier for me to teach. It's what I wish I'd done with her from the beginning, and I'm not sure I'm ready to give up on that yet! The placement test puts her right into 4B, which I agree with. I haven't totally let go of the CLE/LoF combo, but I'm leaning towards Singapore.

 

Regardless of what I do with dd, I will switch ds into 2B and dd into 1A. Ds could really use some drill. He's big on ideas and concepts but his lack of speed with his basic facts really slows things down.

 

I don't really want to just print worksheets off the Internet, and I would prefer that he not do it on the computer. Someone suggested the Abeka speed drill book---cheap, and it addresses basic facts as well as converting measurements, etc. I've not seen it. Any thoughts?

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