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Math - need advice - RS, SM, Miquon users


fireball
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My son is 6 yr, and sadly, not enjoying math.

 

We started with Singapore Essential Math B when he turned 5, and he did fine. But then we began SM 1A and he just could not remember the facts to 10 and had to count every time. Another problem was the writing - too much writing!, he would complain. So I figured we could not move on until he learned the facts. We tried several things - Right Start math games - he got bored after a while, MEP worksheets - he liked the puzzles, but it got to the point where it became too abstract for him. I decided to try something more hands on, less worksheets - we began Right Start B, not just the games. We stuck with it for a while, although he does not really like it and complains every day. We are on lesson 38 - he did great on the first test. So, while I can see that he is learning, doing math every day is a struggle - lots of whining, complaining about being bored. I don't know what to do to make math more enjoyable for him. Should I try something else? Miquon? I really don't know what to do. My plan initially was to return to Singapore Math after finishing Right Start-B, and supplement with MEP. Do I throw Miquon at him "for fun"? I know it is supposed to be hands - on discovery type program. Or am I just completely nuts? Please help!

 

Helena.

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At 6 I'd keep it short and not expect him to remember everything. All three of mine are well past 6 now, and only one of them had a mind like a stainless steel trap for all things math. My ds couldn't even count to 10 until we did Brain Gym (but he was 5 when we did that) and none of my kids memorized their math facts to 10 at 6. Ds used C rods with SM to avoid counting--he'd learned those with the bit of Miquon we did. Miquon wasn't a great for ds and we didn't have it for my dd's.

 

Honestly, I'm bit of a better late than never fan. I'd keep math short, as I mentioned and NOT worry about memorizing facts right now. If 15-20 minutes is too long, do 5-10 minutes, then include a bit of math IRL.

 

Also, you could read some fun math books that aren't textbooks. I think Murderous Maths has a title on basic arithmetic. If you google horrible books you can find them there. It's http://www.horriblebooks.com . You'd have to read it to him as a fun book unless he's advanced in his reading.

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It depends, usually about 30 min, sometimes less. The thing is, he starts complaining as soon as I mention math. He especially hates doing the review (warm-up) in the beginning of the lesson - and he drags his feet doing it. It can take us 10 minutes sometimes just to go through the review. Once we are on to the main lesson, it gets better. I typically break up the lesson into parts, so we would do 1 lesson over 2 or 3 days.

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It depends, usually about 30 min, sometimes less. The thing is, he starts complaining as soon as I mention math. He especially hates doing the review (warm-up) in the beginning of the lesson - and he drags his feet doing it. It can take us 10 minutes sometimes just to go through the review. Once we are on to the main lesson, it gets better. I typically break up the lesson into parts, so we would do 1 lesson over 2 or 3 days.

 

Do you need the warm up review? I'd skip it if he gets the concept. Also, my ds has been a reluctant scholar almost the entire time he's done school & he's 10. There isn't a boy in our neighbourhood who likes school. Everything you're doing now is going to come up again at the next level.

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I would encourage Miquon. The use of Cuisenaire rods can eliminate the need for writing to problem solve (at least part of the time) and rods are something a boy can control himself, where an abacus can be "challenging" to use as intended without Mommy or Daddy.

 

The Miquon work/play is just Singapore "number bonds" in a concrete form. And the Miquon Teachers books will enrich you math studies for years to come. Miquon is a great compliment to Singapore (and MEP) and the strength of each adds synergy to the combined use.

 

Bill

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Helena,

 

When my ds was 6 I broke up the lessons. We did warm up on one day, the lesson on another (sometimes broke up the lessons when more than one concept was covered or when they start 4 digit addition) then do the worksheet on another. He plays a game twice a week with his sister and twice a week with me.

 

Now that he is 2nd grade, still in B, and is headed to 8 I have him do the warm-up and a lesson in one day, and the worksheet the next. Though often I will have him do the warm-up/lesson and a practice sheet then the worksheet. He still plays games 4 days a week. Right now he does a time game on Monday, Corners on Tuesday, Addition War on Wednesday and Money War on Thursday.

 

I wouldn't drop the warm-ups they really are important, but there is no reason why you can do them and call it quits for the day. If he is yawing, putting his head down on the table, rubbing his eyes and such those are signs of mental exhaustion. While you can go on it might just be pushing his mental abilities beyond comfort.

 

BTW if it helps I have my 2nd grade DS finishing B, my 4th grade dd mid C, my 5th grade dd finishing D and my 7th grade dd who just finished E and is starting Geometry and right on schedule to start Algebra I in 9th grade. You can be "behind" and do just fine. All my kids also test well on standardized tests.

 

Heather

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It depends, usually about 30 min, sometimes less. The thing is, he starts complaining as soon as I mention math. He especially hates doing the review (warm-up) in the beginning of the lesson - and he drags his feet doing it. It can take us 10 minutes sometimes just to go through the review. Once we are on to the main lesson, it gets better. I typically break up the lesson into parts, so we would do 1 lesson over 2 or 3 days.

 

Given that he is complaining BEFORE the lessons start, I don't think it's mental exhaustion.

 

How is the attitude YOU are projecting? My kids can sense a mile away when I am dreading doing something with them, and their attitudes definitely reflect mine. Also, he may have just gotten in a habit of having a bad attitude about math, and may need some help to get back into a better habit.

 

Tomorrow I would say in your most cheerful voice, "we have a FUN math lesson today!". Be as happy about it as possible.

 

When he whines & complains, say in an unemotional voice, "I have decided not to teach you unless you are happy about it. We can't do anything else until math is done. I had hoped to go to the playground today. I hope we get our lessons done in time! Go sit in the corner until you have your happy face on and are ready to do math!"

 

Send him off, and check on him in 5 minutes. "Just coming to see if you have your happy face on - I really want to do our math so we have time to go play!" (Or make cookies or whatever he would like to do.)

 

When he comes out with his fake smile/grimace on, give him a QUICK lesson, and then take him to the park. Be sure that sometime on the way there, you comment about how fast the lessons go when he smiles, works hard, etc. Tell him how proud you are, how much you like spending time with him, especially when he is happy, how you like math b/c it's time that you get to spend alone with just him, etc. etc.

Edited by MeganW
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Well, I am afraid if we don't review, he will forget - things like counting by twos, facts he's just learned. Although I could try to find a different way of practicing this.

 

I am not too worried about him not knowing his facts to 10 at this point. I thought Right Start would be an enjoyable "hands-on" way to learn this as well as other things. I thought that maybe he was not ready for SM 1A - when we started it, and so we would take a "detour" with RS-B, and come back to SM afterwards (perhaps place into 2A).

 

I guess, what I really want for my son is to like math. To enjoy it, have fun with it, to really "get" it. So that is why I am questioning my methods of teaching it. Maybe Right Start is not a good fit for him. I am not saying he is not learning, just seems like such a struggle. I don't believe it should be like that.

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Thanks to all who replied. I think that maybe I do need an attitude adjustment. My frustration with the situation is very likely showing.

 

I am also willing to explore other options - Miquon sounds very intriguing. I don't want at this point to switch programs completely, at least not until trying and really liking something else. Would adding Miquon as a supplement be overkill?

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I guess, what I really want for my son is to like math. To enjoy it, have fun with it, to really "get" it. So that is why I am questioning my methods of teaching it. Maybe Right Start is not a good fit for him. I am not saying he is not learning, just seems like such a struggle. I don't believe it should be like that.

 

Or maybe he's just a kid who'll never love math. Especially if other subjects come more naturally to him, the mental effort required to learn math may mean grumbles & complaints no matter what curriculum is used.

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Thanks to all who replied. I think that maybe I do need an attitude adjustment. My frustration with the situation is very likely showing.

 

I am also willing to explore other options - Miquon sounds very intriguing. I don't want at this point to switch programs completely, at least not until trying and really liking something else. Would adding Miquon as a supplement be overkill?

 

If you do, just make it playful. It does sound like you may be getting too "goal oriented," when it might be better for your son's math skills to develop more naturally through "doing."

 

Children do learn better when they are enjoying themselves. The tools and methods in Miquon do help children solve problems themselves and help parents understand how children of this age learn best. Frustration will help neither of you. Sometimes it is the smallest shift than make the difference in understanding.

 

What is going to appeal to a child can be hard to predict. One might take to RS after not finding Miquon their thing, or vice-versa. The thing that made Miquon work here is allowed my son to be in the "drivers seat" in problem solving and it kept my "lectures" to a minimum. But other times I used the rods (and base-10 flats) and demonstrated concepts often cribbed from RS just with blocks/rods rather than the abacus. Whatever works.

 

Bill

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I guess, what I really want for my son is to like math. To enjoy it, have fun with it, to really "get" it. So that is why I am questioning my methods of teaching it. Maybe Right Start is not a good fit for him. I am not saying he is not learning, just seems like such a struggle. I don't believe it should be like that.

My 3rd dd hated B, especially the warm ups, which took her forever. I would almost fall asleep while she she was thinking about it. She did complain daily.

 

But we got past it and she does well with them now, and her highest scores on her CAT 5 for 3rd grade were in math.

 

Neither of my oldest two dd's love math either. They know they are good at it, so they don't hate it, but they don't love it.

 

I, on the other hand, love math not becuase of math. Because I love numbers. I do lots of sudoku as well well as other number games and ended up being an Accountant because that lets me play with numbers. That is despite not learning why math works, but just learning the formulas. I didn't care I just liked playing with all the numbers. :001_huh:

 

Kids are all different, and some just won't love math no matter what.

 

Heather

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Lots of little kids do like playing with blocks. And if you can get them moving into "play mentality" and then do such things as asking them to lake a 6 rod and find all the other combinations of rods that make the same value (in length) and stack them up in a "train" then you have a chance to teach through play.

 

And maybe they decide they like (or even love) math, because it is "fun" and they understand what they are doing which makes it comprehensible on a level that matches their age, and things move forward with confidence and enthusiasm. It is possible.

 

Bill

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Kids are all different, and some just won't love math no matter what.

 

 

:iagree:

 

 

Sometimes you just have to teach it anyway. Even though we want our children to like subjects, they don't....no matter what we try. I would choose a program that you know is working for your dc and keep lessons short and sweet, and add 'fun' things like games in when you can. One thing that seemed to help my ds 'like' math better is when he would get problems right, I would complement him, give him a high-five etc...and tell him, "hey, you're good at math!" I also made a point of telling Dad, 'look at how good ds did in math!" and Dh would complement him too. Most of us like something (at least a little better) if we know we're good at it. ;) While math is still not ds's favorite he doesn't complain as much.

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Have you considered giving him a choice? You could explain to him that he needs to do math every day, but which program you use is something he could help decide. He's used 3 programs, so he has enough information to decide between them. You can of course revisit periodically.

 

Also, do you play the games as part of your math lesson? If so, you might consider a different time, like in the evening when Dad is home. We play math games (and many other games) as a family, and the grown ups make it clear that we're doing it for fun! We also play games in front of the kids that they can't play yet, which inspires them to want to play, too.

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I really appreciate all of your comments.

 

I thought I had it all figured out, at least for elementary math. Singapore math was the winner (all the reviews) - and I can attest my older dd7 does very well with it. So when my then 5 yo son got stuck in the 1A, well, it was an unpleasant surprise. In retrospect, I think he was just developmentally not ready for it and we should have waited until he was older, at least 6.

 

Well, I have to think about this for a while... In the mean time, we will continue with RS-B, maybe with a little MEP and Miquon here and there. Maybe those extras will make math more fun for him. I hope.

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Was it, by change, when they took away the picture manipulatvies? Kids often get stuck in 1A because the book does a great job of providing all these pictures for the child to count with, then they suddenly take them all away. My oldest was so used to her ways she refused any physical manipulative, but still couldn't do the math because the pictures weren't there. We stepped away from it, then came back and she did fine.

 

With the rest of my kids I have done RS as our main program, and not started Singapore till 2nd grade when they were well ingrained in the use of manipulatives.

 

Either way, I am sure he will eventually overcome it. Good job on being sensitive to his needs and changing plans to meet them.

 

Heather

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Guest Alte Veste Academy
My son is 6 yr, and sadly, not enjoying math.

 

Should I try something else? Miquon? I really don't know what to do. My plan initially was to return to Singapore Math after finishing Right Start-B, and supplement with MEP. Do I throw Miquon at him "for fun"? I know it is supposed to be hands - on discovery type program. Or am I just completely nuts? Please help!

 

Helena.

 

Your situation sounds very similar to mine last year when ds7 was 6. If you are feeling like I was, you might actually be completely nuts by now. :tongue_smilie: Kidding. Kidding. But seriously... You have answered your own question here:

 

Thanks to all who replied. I think that maybe I do need an attitude adjustment. My frustration with the situation is very likely showing.

 

and I very much believe this...

 

Given that he is complaining BEFORE the lessons start, I don't think it's mental exhaustion.

 

He is frustrated. You are frustrated. I'm going to make a scandalous suggestion and say I would quit math entirely for a while. That's what I did and it worked wonders.

 

You can just tell ds that you recognize that both of you are frustrated about math right now so you are going to do some thinking on it. That's what I did. I took all the blame as his teacher because I absolutely do not want him to see math as a shortcoming. DS is actually good at math and in real life, day-to-day stuff, does computations that are far beyond where we've gone in the curriculum but, despite being good at it, he initially appeared to dislike it. I now believe it's because I took something that was natural and playful to him and corrupted it in his mind by forcing it in a certain sequence.

 

I imagine that your son has developed an attitude problem about math (as my son did) and that is a discipline issue. However, going all hard-core discipline this early in a math education could have disastrous consequences for his relationship with math for years to come. For that reason, I took the blame and backed off to regroup instead of insisting on forging ahead. Think of it this way: If you are so confused about which way to head and what your next step should be, just imagine your son's feelings as he's bounced around between programs (NOT an accusation as I did the same thing trying to find a good fit). :grouphug:

 

Well, I am afraid if we don't review, he will forget - things like counting by twos, facts he's just learned. Although I could try to find a different way of practicing this.

 

There are a million ways to drill math facts that don't involve curriculum. We skip count as a family in morning "together time" instead of during math. We play Sum Swamp, Dino Tracks, and lots of other card games to reinforce. I will also say my son's capacity for remembering these figures has grown like wildfire in the space of a year. I don't know about anybody else (and he's my first so I don't know if this is typical), but I'm astonished at the growth between 1st and 2nd grade. The writing that was a big pain last year is no biggie at all this year. The sums that were hard to remember last year are easy-breezy this year. It makes me a little sad that dd and ds4 get the benefit of my experience with the eldest, who has had to endure the bulk of my ignorance. :D

 

I guess, what I really want for my son is to like math. To enjoy it, have fun with it, to really "get" it. So that is why I am questioning my methods of teaching it.

 

OK, so now to what we did when we quit math. I waited a while and laid low. Then, I casually pointed out to ds7 one day as he made a castle out of his wooden blocks that I was impressed at his math work. "Huh? What math work," he asked. I said, "Oh, well I see that you figured out you need four of the square blocks to equal one of the long blocks and then when you ran out of square blocks, you figured out that you could use four small rectangles to make a square. That's math, you know. I'm impressed at how you can puzzle that out." (Look back at my magazine in silence.) I had a talk with DH and he started talking very casually (we were in super-stealth mode :lol:) about how much he uses math for his job (he's a pilot). Raised eyebrows from ds. We kept going like this and then I started introducing more real life math into our lives. I bought lots of games and we played them. I started strewing math books all around the house. When I had to figure something out (how many kiwis for a dollar, gas mileage, whether I could move my dresser to another wall, etc.), I made sure to do it out loud. I now do virtually all the math that comes up in my life out loud, so the kids can hear it. DS started getting cheerful about math and started pointing out to me when he was using math to solve real-life problems. DD and younger ds became very interested in math. I introduced Miquon and dd and ds4 were all over it. DS7 joined them because he must be the leader of all new endeavors. :tongue_smilie:

 

When he was cheerful through and through, I told him I had figured everything out :lol: and that it was time to start math again. As a pp recommended, I gave him a choice at this point. I asked him if he wanted to do Miquon, Singapore or Math Mammoth (which I bought in a moment of crisis and love...I ditched RS because it wasn't a good fit for me). He chose Math Mammoth and some side play with Miquon. Excellent. That's what we started doing. Then dd started Singapore (her preference was for color and cuteness while ds's preference was for the all-business look of MM). DS7 is now willingly, at his own request, doing all 3 math programs. :001_huh: Yesterday he did some math (10 pages of Math Mammoth) and told me when we were finished, "I'm going to do 20 pages tomorrow!" And he did.

 

If you do, just make it playful. It does sound like you may be getting too "goal oriented," when it might be better for your son's math skills to develop more naturally through "doing."

 

Children do learn better when they are enjoying themselves. The tools and methods in Miquon do help children solve problems themselves and help parents understand how children of this age learn best. Frustration will help neither of you. Sometimes it is the smallest shift than make the difference in understanding.

 

Whatever works.

 

Look, maybe your kid will end up loving math and maybe he won't. He still has to do it. I just don't think this is a hill I would die on before giving him a chance at loving it.

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What I would do...

 

Play games. Anything that uses even a little bit of math. Read some "living books" that incorporate math. Give him an allowance, and count his money with him. Tell him when it's time to do things and show him where the hands on the clock will be...ask him to remind you when it's time.

 

Give some time.

 

Introduce Cuisenaire rods but do NOT even HINT that they might ever be used for math! Have them handy to pull out at times when you want him to sit quietly and play at the table while you work. Play some games with the rods together.

 

Give some more time.

 

Try math again. Start at an easy spot when you try again.

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Helena,

 

When my ds was 6 I broke up the lessons. We did warm up on one day, the lesson on another (sometimes broke up the lessons when more than one concept was covered or when they start 4 digit addition) then do the worksheet on another. He plays a game twice a week with his sister and twice a week with me.

 

Now that he is 2nd grade, still in B, and is headed to 8 I have him do the warm-up and a lesson in one day, and the worksheet the next. Though often I will have him do the warm-up/lesson and a practice sheet then the worksheet. He still plays games 4 days a week. Right now he does a time game on Monday, Corners on Tuesday, Addition War on Wednesday and Money War on Thursday.

 

I wouldn't drop the warm-ups they really are important, but there is no reason why you can do them and call it quits for the day. If he is yawing, putting his head down on the table, rubbing his eyes and such those are signs of mental exhaustion. While you can go on it might just be pushing his mental abilities beyond comfort.

 

BTW if it helps I have my 2nd grade DS finishing B, my 4th grade dd mid C, my 5th grade dd finishing D and my 7th grade dd who just finished E and is starting Geometry and right on schedule to start Algebra I in 9th grade. You can be "behind" and do just fine. All my kids also test well on standardized tests.

 

Heather

 

I think Heather gave great advice about breaking up the assignment. maybe you could also try doing the warm up last instead of first. maybe it would help to tell him "When you are all done with this you are done with math for the day" and then it would go quicker?

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Another option is to mix the warm-up with the lesson. When my dc drag their feet through the warm-up, I will sometimes do part of the lesson, go back to a review question or two, return to the lesson...rinse and repeat.

 

I highly recommend a timer for your lessons. My 6yo hated school until I pulled out the timer and he knew that it would come to an end. If you are doing 30 min now, maybe set the timer for 10 or 15 min and end math at that point. Maybe some short, quick lessons will be a breath of fresh air.

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I would let him solve his own problem. He has to learn his math facts, how he does it is up to him. I would talk UP the Miquon Math, show him the rods on Amazon, see if he thinks he would like using those in his math lessons, let it be HIS idea to order the new curricula & then act like it's the best thing since sliced bread once he starts using it. Praise praise praise! Everything he does in math with little to no whining deserves a ton of praise--he is not only learning his math facts but also exhibiting a huge amount of self-control. With a positive attitude, a little re-direction & a LOT of praise for his efforts you can completely change this situation.

 

:grouphug:

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Also, my ds is older and we're up to 60 minutes of math per day. We use increasingly longer increments throughout the day to get through all the math work I have assigned. We usually do a 10min Textbook lesson in the morning, an online interactive worksheet or two for about 20min after lunch, and then the bulk of his workbook exercise he does in about 30 minutes each evening. Maybe taking a more incremental approach to his math time might help?

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Well, I am afraid if we don't review, he will forget - things like counting by twos, facts he's just learned. Although I could try to find a different way of practicing this.

 

I am not too worried about him not knowing his facts to 10 at this point. I thought Right Start would be an enjoyable "hands-on" way to learn this as well as other things. I thought that maybe he was not ready for SM 1A - when we started it, and so we would take a "detour" with RS-B, and come back to SM afterwards (perhaps place into 2A).

 

I guess, what I really want for my son is to like math. To enjoy it, have fun with it, to really "get" it. So that is why I am questioning my methods of teaching it. Maybe Right Start is not a good fit for him. I am not saying he is not learning, just seems like such a struggle. I don't believe it should be like that.

 

I understand. Have you thought of breaking math up? Do the review, do something else, do more math? Do you have any math songs? We had the MUS skip counting CD that was great for reviewing skip counting as well as addition/subtraction/multiplication/division songs. Also, skip counting IRL life and other real life applications of what you're doing in other subjects, activities, etc. Playing with the C rods separate from math (and adding the Miquon as Bill/Ishmael/SpyCar suggested--it works well for many, just wasn't a great fit for ds. It did teach ds the C rods) is fun, too. In fact, what 3blessingmom (can't see her sig line in this view) suggested is a great way to intro the rods.

 

Right Start was not a good fit for us, so we didn't do it. MeganW has a good suggestion about having your dc have to do math with a good attitude before you do any fun activites, and you can modify it (eg you don't have to use a corner, etc) to suit your dc. This will work for many, many dc. If, however, you have a very strong willed dc this may backfire. I have one for whom incentives quit working very quickly. I personally don't ask my dc to like math or to put on a happy face, just do do it without complaining. My dc are all strongwilled, nd going for the happy face on top of working without complaining just increases the battles I he to wage on a hated subject.

 

Finally, one word of encouragement. My eldest, who is extremely good at math naturally, HATED math with a passion until she hit Algebra. She didn't like it a lot then, but now it's her favourite subject, and she is seriously thinking about majoring in math in university/college. (she's 15 & doing Algebra 2--not that advanced, but considering how much she hated it and that I have my dc do Algebra 1 twice it's not bad.)

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