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Advice for improving math thinking skills

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My oldest (and unfortunately my homeschooling guinea pig :) ) is in 7th grade. We have used MUS all along with some general workbook supplements along the way, and we also did LoF Fractions and Decimals. She is currently in Pre-Algebra. She has never really like math, though she does ok. Though she can do the usual MUS type worksheets, she is really lacking in "thinking skills". Anything out of the ordinary and she is lost (I now realize that MUS was weak in teaching those skills esp word problems). So how do I improve this before she gets to algebra? More LoF (at first she liked them but was not so thrilled by Decimals), or try some remedial math with something else? She is easily frustrated, and I always want to solve things algebraically which she isn't ready for. I do have CWP for grades 5 and 6, and we have tried them, but I actually found them frustrating as I don't have the Singapore background and I couldn't figure out how to help her without using algebra.


Any advice welcome- I really want to help her be stronger in math because I see her heading towards a science/medicine type future.


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Detonate some thought bombs to agitate the learners math marbles http://www.amazon.com/Moscow-Puzzles-Mathematical-Recreations-Logic/dp/0486270785/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1298510826&sr=8-1


Being at pre-algebra take 'thinking skills' one learning activity at a time with its own regular time, and to accelerate it further implement a math journal to practice reflecting on their own mathematical thinking. It is easier for us to just talk about math than write about it, but I think writing it down is a few notches up for developing individual math prowess.


Challenging word problems are excellent, but since they always have a correct answer the student can become conditioned to look for key or clue words. Gambling on one of 4 operations and not bothering to orient themselves to the problem and just work numbers. For example- "there are 26 sheep and 10 goats on a ship. How old is the ships captain?" if they answer me with the Captains age then we are spending too much time with the 'what' . In other words have some sort've course correction built into your curriculum.

Edited by Ray
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I would suggest looking at MEP math. I am thinking of stuff like the lesson plans for maybe 4th or 5th grade. They have lots of mental math, things like "what number is three times as much as 264" or 'write 2 digit numbers which have a remainder of 6 after dividing by 7'


I do three or four every morning with my son. It has really changed how he interacts with numbers.

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We used MUS from K through Algebra. I agree that it is weak in word problems. We supplemented with CWP. I would suggest going back to CWP 3 and starting there, if you don't think it would be too babyish. Do 3 problems a day 5 days a week. Work through what you need to work through ahead of time in order to help your dd. Use the Singapore forums as needed. I have a degree in math, and I used the Singapore forums for help. Amusing, humbling, empowering, learning.

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