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Which math program most closely resembles the materials from your childhood school?


Guest Dulcimeramy
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Guest Dulcimeramy

Are you using methods that are new to you and better than the math that you studied as a child? Or are you using materials that look very much like your own textbooks of yesteryear?

 

Please feel free to name names. :lurk5:

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I had old-fashioned traditional math growing up. While I don't recall exactly which textbook was used, the program that reminds me the most of it is MCP. No-nonsense, mastery approach heavy on the procedure and light on the reasons behind it.

 

I really wish that I'd had something like Right Start or Math Mammoth growing up. I finally understand *why* the algorithms work.

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I looked at Saxon, and it looked very much like math from my childhood.

 

But I never felt like I learned math the way they taught it. I hated the busywork and resented the teachers who required me to practice things that I understood intuitively.

 

When I saw Singapore, I felt like, "Aha! This is the way I have always understood math!" And it's the way I prefer to teach.

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I found a sample of MCP to explain what I mean by "heavy on the procedure and light on the reasons behind it". It's from Level E and is on finding fractional parts of a number. The student is told the procedure for solving the problem but there's hardly any explanation given for why it works. The picture drawn "to help us understand this" is not particularly enlightening IMHO.

 

I'm good at memorization and was able to learn enough to get good grades in math through calculus and a good score on the math portions SAT & GRE. But even though I turned out okay, I want so much more for my own children...

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Crimsonwife's example from MCP is most like the math I had while growing up. We were presented a small example in our textbook; the teacher went over the lesson for a bit in class, and then we went to town doing problem after problem.

 

I am just now feeling like I'm "getting" math as I teach my son using Singapore. I vowed to find a program that didn't just require rote learning because I was never able to see math, instead, I just went through the motions and hoped the answer was right at the end.

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When I discovered Singapore math, I realized I had found a math program that was similar to the way I was taught math and the way I was actually teaching my boys. We bonded instantly ;)

 

:iagree: Except that I discovered SM at the beginning of our homeschooling journey and used it from day 1.

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I do remember how I learned percents LOL. When my sisters and I would play Monopoly, I would always have to pay $200 since I didn't know what 10% meant. But I noticed that sometimes my sisters were paying much less than $200. They wouldn't explain it to me, so I went to my parents and asked them to explain percents to me.

 

:lol:

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I didn't know it until today, but MCP sample looks pretty close to what we had in our textbooks in Russia. There was some brief explanation of the topic, which I honestly never bothered to read, because the teacher explained it in the classroom, followed by problems and word problems. The type of word problems was pretty close to SM, although we never used any sorts of diagrams to solve them. I do understand math, and never had problems with it.

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The only math I remember from my PS years, K-4, were mindless busywork pages.

 

In private schools and later homeschool, I used ACE paces, which are still sold today. I *never* struggled in math until ACE. :tongue_smilie: Those books read like stereo instructions. I could not wrap my brain around their alleged explanations. Asking for help just got an adult to read my pace to me, after I'd already done that a dozen times. :001_huh: Those paces were chock full of extra practice that must be done though. I finally learned to blindly memorize the steps and my grades went back up.

 

My oldest two kids have used a few different math curricula, and now all of mine use R&S. R&S makes ACE look like an unknown foreign language. The only similarity I can find is both include the "self-teaching" in the student book, (excluding R&S grades 1 and 2). Both my mathy and not-so-mathy kids like the explanations in R&S, and both do well in these books. I do actually teach the math and work through a practice set with them before they ever crack their books open.

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I looked at Saxon, and it looked very much like math from my childhood.

 

But I never felt like I learned math the way they taught it. I hated the busywork and resented the teachers who required me to practice things that I understood intuitively.

:iagree:

I hated math as a kid, despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that I understood it easily. I hated the busy work and the endless repetition and the fact that no one ever explained the point of it all. I always scored in the 98-99th percentile on math tests, including the PSAT & SAT with zero prep, and my guidance counselor was forever trying to talk me into taking more math courses. I couldn't imagine why anyone would ever voluntarily take more the bare minimum of such a boring and tedious subject! If I'd been taught math using a program like Singapore or Math Mammoth, I'm sure I would have loved math instead of hating it.

 

Jackie

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elementary school math, i really don't remember the type. i really think it was addison-wesley for at least a couple of years. middle school i had saxon for two years. then saxon again in high school for a year.

 

honestly, the most stand out part of any of my math education wasn't the book, but the instructor. pretty much, the books were used for practice, not instruction. the stand out teachers for me were the ones who would come at it from a few different angles.

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The 1965-1975 Dolciani Structure & Method Algebra books we have are just like the Algebra texts we used when our school was doing new math. Nothing else compares since prior to that we did Arithmetic and it was just that, arithmetic. It wasn't called Math until we started with new math.

 

fyi, I am not so old that we used New Math when it first came out. The public schools I went to didn't start that until 1971.

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I do remember how I learned percents LOL. When my sisters and I would play Monopoly, I would always have to pay $200 since I didn't know what 10% meant. But I noticed that sometimes my sisters were paying much less than $200. They wouldn't explain it to me, so I went to my parents and asked them to explain percents to me.

 

:lol:

 

 

:lol::lol::lol: I love it!

 

 

I learned nothing about why we did math the way we did. I was drilled until I could just do it. I can still do it, but only the way I was drilled. I'm okay at math, but not great. We are using Math U See, and I am learning new ways of attacking problems.

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What I remember about ps math: racing to be the first one done on timed drills (I was never less than 2nd:tongue_smilie:), playing Around the World (again math drill), and that's it for elementary. In middle school, I remember talking with my math teacher about going into the accelerated track for HS math...but I don't remember the actual math...I'm sure I did some.

 

I remember my geometry teacher. We had a big thick textbook, but I understood well b/c he was really a good teacher. That was the last math class I enjoyed.

 

Then I remember being lost in trig & calc...but keeping my head above water to get the grades.

 

I have no idea what the currics I used would compare to...probably not RS, Singapore or Miquon.;)

 

 

My kids asked me just y-day if I played with C Rods when I was a kid, and I said no, but I wish I did.:001_smile:

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I don't really remember much prior to Algebra. I do know that four of us finished our 6th grade math book before Christmas (we were sent to the library to work at our own pace) and didn't do any more math for the year. Nothing to do with the curriculum but definitely impacted my education. I was fortunate to have an amazing high school math teacher. Our curriculum didn't matter...he taught us the material. We must have had a text for Calculus since we did problem sets but we always referred to our lecture notes for help. I still have all of my notes. I was so proud of them.

 

That said. I love SM for how it guides me as a teacher and what it expects of my ds. Pretty sure that I wasn't taught elementary math this way. Well and Miquon...that's just pure fun for us. We're kinda weird that way.

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I don't remember what books we used in elementary school in the 1970's -- some traditional program from a major publisher, Scott Foresman, Addison-Wesley, something like that. We spent a lot of time doing speed drills and memorizing procedures. Our weekly tests had lots of speed problems at the top, and two or three word problems at the bottom. I was terrible at the speed parts, but great at the word problems.

 

Every now and again we had units I now know to be "new math". They weren't part of our regular math curriculum. I remember doing things with sets, and in alternate bases. It was the most fun I had in math class in elementary school; I'm the kind of kid who would have loved a full-on new math program.

 

What I have chosen and have started to do with my children is different from the main math program used in my elementary school, but it's not different from the way I think about math. There were no stunning revelations for me in Liping Ma's book. I cannot imagine using a math program that glossed over the "why" and emphasized the rote procedures, the way the books I used as a child did.

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I have only two memories from math. First is I remember learning negative numbers from reading an antique book my dad had in the basement. He used to buy books in lots from sales and we got to pick which ones to keep (maybe my whole book obsession is his fault :D). I have no clue how old I was, but I was self-educating when I figured out negative numbers.

 

The other is using Dolciani texts for Alg I and II in high school. They were the 1975 versions. I graduated in 1985. I would not have remembered except I ordered a Dolciani from paperback swap and about fell over when I realized it was the same text I used in high school.

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Guest Cheryl in SoCal

I was taught to add/subtract by counting imaginary dots on the numbers, and it didn't get any better. Needless to say, I'm using different methods with my children ;):lol: I have no idea what most resembles those horrible materials but am hoping none! I guess by HS the texts were pretty traditional but don't recall specific authors or publishers. I always got good grades in math but forgot most of what I "learned" because it wasn't taught conceptually.

Edited by Cheryl in SoCal
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Pages and pages of problems, one after the other. A gazillion on each page. Small sized, but not thin book. The series was called De Grondslag. Drill, drill, kill, kill. Bleh. MCP made things look more fun. We tried MCP for over a year. Ds needs to know the point, the big picture, just like me.

Edited by sagira
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I was taught to add/subtract by counting imaginary dots on the numbers, and it didn't get any better. Needless to say, I'm using different methods with my children ;):lol: I have no idea what most resembles those horrible materials but am hoping none! I guess by HS the texts were pretty traditional but don't recall specific authors or publishers. I always got good grades in math but forgot most of what I "learned" because it wasn't taught conceptually.

 

 

I just posted without seeing your response. Did you grow up in CA? Noticed you are there now. That's where I grew up. Maybe it was a CA thing?

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I just posted without seeing your response. Did you grow up in CA? Noticed you are there now. That's where I grew up. Maybe it was a CA thing?

 

I just googled touchmath, and yep...I was taught to count dots in those patterns on the numerals. I was in central IL.

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The schools I went to used Saxon math. It hasn't changed in the last 20 - 30 years or so. I never did very well with it... usually just well enough to scrape by with a B (because C and below was not acceptable at my house) I wasn't good at memorizing algorithms with out knowing the why behind them and I wasn't very intuitive with figuring out the why part, I needed it shown to me and I needed plenty of time to digest it. I tried to use Saxon with my kids figuring plenty of kids I went to school with did just fine with it and it must have been just me and with the scripting I'd be fine but it was a huge flop. After floating around with math curricula for a while and learning a lot along the way, we've found what works for us. I use a combination of Math On The Level, MEP, Life of Fred and Aleks (Well we use Aleks when we have the money for the subscription. My 10yo wants to go back to Aleks so when tax refunds come in I'm getting him a year subscription)

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I am not sure what math I used. I remember lots of speed drills and trying to be first. It was just procedural math, no concepts.

 

I was appalled when my sister told me she counted imaginary dots for adding and subtracting. I thought she was pulling my leg, teasing me. Surely they never taught this thing she called touch math? She was born in 81, we lived in Indiana so..must have been the "in thing" at the time?

 

 

I am currently using a combination of Singapore Math and Saxon Math. My son thrives with both and he really understands math.

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What I remember about ps math: racing to be the first one done on timed drills (I was never less than 2nd:tongue_smilie:), playing Around the World (again math drill),

 

We did that too, in second grade. We had to sit with our back to the row of multiplication problems and answer as quickly as we could when the teacher read off the problem. I was/am a very visual learner and could not do it without seeing the problems in front of me. My teacher must have just thought I was slow and saw nothing wrong with the use of public humiliation to 'motivate' students.

I also remember in jr. high I missed a couple weeks due to the sickness and death of my grandfather. My math teacher introduced a new concept while I was away which I struggled to learn on my own when I returned. My dad (a brilliant mathematician) helped me and taught me his method for solving the problems, but the teacher would not accept the way I was showing my work and failed me for that semester.

It's no wonder I decided to homeschool. :tongue_smilie::lol:

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I was taught to add/subtract by counting imaginary dots on the numbers, and it didn't get any better.

 

I did this, too, but I am pretty sure I was never taught this in school, but something I just did. I did know my math facts and I didn't learn them in school, I don't think. I only used the dots when adding long columns of numbers, on paper or in my head.

 

Googled touch math, nope, don't remember anything like that.

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Guest Cheryl in SoCal
I just posted without seeing your response. Did you grow up in CA? Noticed you are there now. That's where I grew up. Maybe it was a CA thing?

 

Yes, I grew up in SoCal but think it was more a 70's thing than a CA thing. I was probably taught it around 1976/77.

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Guest Cheryl in SoCal
I am not sure what math I used. I remember lots of speed drills and trying to be first. It was just procedural math, no concepts.

 

I was appalled when my sister told me she counted imaginary dots for adding and subtracting. I thought she was pulling my leg, teasing me. Surely they never taught this thing she called touch math? She was born in 81, we lived in Indiana so..must have been the "in thing" at the time?

 

 

I am currently using a combination of Singapore Math and Saxon Math. My son thrives with both and he really understands math.

 

I was taught to count dots in the mid-70's.

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I was taught to add/subtract by counting imaginary dots on the numbers, and it didn't get any better. Needless to say, I'm using different methods with my children ;):lol: I have no idea what most resembles those horrible materials but am hoping none! I guess by HS the texts were pretty traditional but don't recall specific authors or publishers. I always got good grades in math but forgot most of what I "learned" because it wasn't taught conceptually.

 

 

Was this a post new math teaching? The dates you list later sound like that's what it might be (there's overlap between styles, of course.) Or was it new math? I wonder if my youngest brothers learned to add/subtract this way.

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Guest Cheryl in SoCal
Was this a post new math teaching? The dates you list later sound like that's what it might be (there's overlap between styles, of course.) Or was it new math? I wonder if my youngest brothers learned to add/subtract this way.

 

I have no idea. I think someone mentioned it being a program taught to children with special needs and was then moved to the mainstream classroom? That sounds kind of like how whole word phonics ended up in classrooms (it was develo

ped for the deaf because they couldn't learn phonics) because it was successful with the deaf students and they learned quickly, at first.
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MCP Math is the most similar to what I grew up with. It's a mastery program in the way that Singapore is a mastery program (one topic in depth, move to the next), not how Math U See is a mastery program (same topic all year).

 

I agree with the poster who said it's heavy on technique and drill and weak on the why's and wherefores. It's PERFECT for my 11yo son with high-functioning autism. All the why's in MUS confused him to no end; he just needs to be show the algorithm and given lots of practice.

 

My other two children will not be satisfied with this program. I do a hodge-podge with them, with them sharing the driver's seat with me. My 6yo is doing Abeka 2 (the colorful aspect reminds me of my own 1st-2nd grade math) along with my own hodge-podge of mateirals. (For example, he is doing basic division on his own so I am helping him with that.) My 8yo daughter is working through Miquon, TT4 (will start TT5 probably after Christmas), and anything else I can find for her. My only requirement for her this year is that she memorize the multiplication table; she can do whatever she likes beyond that because she is self-motivated and will push herself.

 

I used to teach math so I feel comfortable being somewhat mixed like this with the two children who need the variety. My own thinking is very Singapore-like so maybe that's where the youngest two will end up...? It is NOTHING like the math I grew up with, though. We weren't taught any mental math techniques, although I did come up with a lot of them on my own, as many kids do.

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Dh and I were born in the mid-50's, so we were in 1st grade in 1962, in the same school system (in the same classes in 9th - 12th).

 

We did plain, old arithmetic until 3rd grade. I LOVED math. But then, they switched us over to New Math.

 

 

So that is what is meant by New Math? I never knew. That example in the Tom Leher song is how I learned subtraction with borrowing in the 70s. Is there another way to teach it? :001_huh:

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How in the world do all of you remember all of this?? I honestly do not remember elementary school at all. I don't remember learning how to read. Mom said I knew how to read when I went to school and she didn't teach me. I do remember being horribly bored in math in middle school. It was always the same thing I already knew. Then in 8th, they introduced Algebra. It was still easy, but it was new!!! I don't remember textbooks used or teachers or anything except it being open mods. Well, and the fact that my 4th grade teacher yelled at me all the time ( so much so another teacher told my mom about it) My grades went way down that year and I got moved to lower level classes, but when I changed teachers in 5th grade I got moved back up to the top. Turns out that teacher was pregnant and found out her child had defects and I was a cleft palate/cleft lip child. That is about all I remember from elementary.

 

Christine

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Dh and I were born in the mid-50's, so we were in 1st grade in 1962, in the same school system (in the same classes in 9th - 12th).

 

We did plain, old arithmetic until 3rd grade. I LOVED math. But then, they switched us over to New Math. I hated it. Math became drudgery. The teacher didn't understand it, hence couldn't teach it effectively. :)

 

 

The teacher makes all the difference. I loved new math, and I didn't start K until I was 5 or new math until I was 11. I have no idea if the teacher did a good job or not, because I was able to learn math just from reading the text most of the time.

 

There have been threads on the high school forum about this (perhaps her, too, but I don't come here as often since most of my questions pertain to high school for my eldest now), and my understanding is that the two reasons new math failed were 1. poor knock offs of the original and 2. teachers were not trained to teach it properly.

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I used Dolciani for Algebra I and Algebra II.

 

I have looked for the Trig program that I used in high school, but I have no idea what the name was. The only reason I know which algebra program I used is because I ran across the Dolciani books at Half-Price and recognized the cover.

 

The only programs I used for school that I would be interested in for my kids are Dolciani and whatever the Trig program was. I taught myself the entire Trig textbook in one week and loved it. I was very disappointed that we moved on to analysis the next semester because I didn't care for it.

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How in the world do all of you remember all of this?? I honestly do not remember elementary school at all. I don't remember learning how to read. Mom said I knew how to read when I went to school and she didn't teach me. I do remember being horribly bored in math in middle school. It was always the same thing I already knew. Then in 8th, they introduced Algebra. It was still easy, but it was new!!!

 

I actually don't remember what we used. But when I opened up a Saxon math sample, it looked...familiar. And I hated it. :tongue_smilie: I actually liked doing math, but I hated most of my math teachers, b/c they never tried to challenge me.

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