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kathym

Frustrated son wants to use calculators and seems lazy

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My son is 15 doing Saxon Algebra 1/2 I am seeing that he is starting to use a calculator in his work. Am I supposed to give him points for his work when he is using it? When is a typical time to allow calculators? My husband feels I am being too 'tuff' on my son because I feel a calculator is not needed for simple long division and other easy math problems. When I give him a test he gets frustrated and wants to pull out the calculator because it is too much work, of course I stay firm with my belief that he needs to do it without one until I know he can do it in long form. What can I do, any suggestions please. I am starting to feel I will never get my son out of HS at this rate.

To me I see him just being' lazy like' on ALL his subjects he is doing. I can not get him to read or do most of his 2-3 paragraph writings. Unless the work is only fill in the blanks he seems to not want to do anything.

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Just to address the calculator issue...not sure I can address the "lazy" issue...

 

I began allowing my first son to use a calculator on appropriate problems in his pre-algebra course (which I think is on level with Saxon Algebra 1/2???). The textbook he used suggested doing this. This son also used a calculator sporadically in Algebra (Jacobs...the text puts a star by problems that call for calculator use). And he now uses one...again sporadically...in Jacobs Geometry. There is no reason to make him do long multiplication or division at this point (imho). He is 13.

 

I *think* you may have reached the point in your son's education (age 15) where it may be more beneficial to let him use a calculator and progress in math. This is a difficult call, I know, but it seems like you are beating your head against a wall.

 

HTH!

Jetta

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You are right I am pretty frustrated with this. and Thank You for easing my mind on some of this. What about the tests? I know when he does do the work, he is doing alright no major mistakes and he seems to be understanding what he is doing. I just don't want to see him have issue later on when it comes time for any of the SAT's or any other test he may come across in his future.

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On the subject of the calculator:

 

I do think that students should be familiar with the use of a graphing calculator. To that end, I allowed my son to use a graphing calculator to check his graphs in Algebra I and II. I permitted a calculator to be used in any science class for computations. That said, my son prefers fractions to decimals (go figure!) and he felt that it was faster to do things manually. For someone with decent arithmetic skills, mental math or a scrap paper computation can be faster than digging out the calculator.

 

I would not allow him to use the calculator for basic arithmetic, agreeing this is lazy.

 

It sounds like you have a few other issues going on though...

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You are right I am pretty frustrated with this. and Thank You for easing my mind on some of this. What about the tests? I know when he does do the work, he is doing alright no major mistakes and he seems to be understanding what he is doing. I just don't want to see him have issue later on when it comes time for any of the SAT's or any other test he may come across in his future.

 

Students use calculators on the SAT but that is besides the point. As a math teacher, I can tell you that dependence on calculators leads to other issues. Students need to have intuitive ideas of the magnitude and sign of an answer or the shape of a graph. When they do not and rely on a calculator, the problem of "operator error" (erroneous key strokes) arises and students do not recognize the problem. "But the calculator says...!"

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My son is 15 doing Saxon Algebra 1/2 I am seeing that he is starting to use a calculator in his work. Am I supposed to give him points for his work when he is using it? When is a typical time to allow calculators? My husband feels I am being too 'tuff' on my son because I feel a calculator is not needed for simple long division and other easy math problems.

A calculator is not necessary until the student has to compute values of logarithms, exponentials and trig functions at some point in algebra 2 or precalculus, or has to do lots of numerical calculations in a science class.

In a prealgebra course, the student has to learn certain skills and the problems should be designed to acquire those without a calculator; using a calculator may prevent the student from learning what he is supposed to learn (example: problems where the law of exponent has to be used are rendered comletely pointless if the student works with a calculator instead). Prealgebra is a preparation for algebra and many of the skills taught will be used in algebra with symbols, not numbers - so a student who has learned to rely on a calculator will not be able to master symbolic operations in algebra.

 

When I give him a test he gets frustrated and wants to pull out the calculator because it is too much work, of course I stay firm with my belief that he needs to do it without one until I know he can do it in long form.

I completely agree. There is nothing in this kind of math where a calculator would be a necessity. If my student complained about "too much work", I would not be sympathetic and assign more.

 

To me I see him just being' lazy like' on ALL his subjects he is doing. I can not get him to read or do most of his 2-3 paragraph writings. Unless the work is only fill in the blanks he seems to not want to do anything.

Sorry, I have no suggestions for that, that must be very frustrating. Does your son have any idea what he want to do with his life? Does he see a goal in his education?

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My son is talking about going into the military. He says he doesn't like school and it is too hard for him. As far as his school work I am just trying at this time to get him to get through the basic cores so he can at least learn to start to see what he likes. So far he cant stand reading, writing, and math is not fun for him either. Not much interests him when it comes to studies.

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My son is talking about going into the military. He says he doesn't like school and it is too hard for him. As far as his school work I am just trying at this time to get him to get through the basic cores so he can at least learn to start to see what he likes. So far he cant stand reading, writing, and math is not fun for him either. Not much interests him when it comes to studies.

 

The military is cutting back. I suspect that someone with technical skill sets will be more attractive to a streamlined military. Perhaps this is a good time to visit a recruiter to ask what they want to see in candidates. If you cannot inspire your son, perhaps they can.

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I subbed for an aide in a 7th grade math class last week, and I subbed for the regular teacher in a different 7th math class last week, too.

 

Both classes used calculators for every problem they worked. Very simple problems!!! I mean extremely simple problems!!!!

 

x + 5 = 10

 

Yes! That was the level of problems! And they used a calculator for that!

 

:001_huh:

 

They also had special calculators that do fractions. The teacher said, "In the spring we'll do fractions without calculators."

 

:001_huh:

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Both classes used calculators for every problem they worked. Very simple problems!!! I mean extremely simple problems!!!!

 

x + 5 = 10

 

Yes! That was the level of problems! And they used a calculator for that!

 

Ouch!

No wonder that, when it comes to something like a+b=c, they have no idea what to do.

I have seen college students (majoring in sciences) make mistakes such as a=c/b...:banghead:

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That is what they are teaching the kids in school these days and that is exactly why my son is unable to do his work without thinking he needs to use a calculator..really sad and teaches them absolutely nothing!

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IMO there is no good reason to use a calculator for Algebra 1/2. That defeats the purpose of cementing all the basic arithmetic and learning how to use your head for decimals, fractions, etc.. I wouldn't allow the calculator and would have the work done within my view if the student couldn't be trusted not to use one. Can you tell I feel strongly about it? :tongue_smilie:

 

I think we started calculator use sparingly in Algebra 2 at the urging of her math teacher. Otherwise, I would have waited until Advanced Math. Dd liked her teacher's suggestion. :lol: And admittedly it was a good one as some of the computations would have taken quite a bit of time otherwise.

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The Saxon texts suggest no calculator use until late in Saxon Algebra I, where they allow some limited use of them for the 'cut and try' method of finding square roots, that's just because the calculations are pretty long and tedious. Then they suggest you put your calculators away again until you need them to figure sines, cosines, and tangents, about halfway through Saxon Algebra II. If you want him to continue using the Saxon books, I would definitely follow the directions in the text. He won't get nearly as much out of it if he relies on the calculator in places where the book expects him to be doing it himself.

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I use a calculator for some math - and I can do it by paper. Is it laziness? Maybe. :tongue_smilie: I don't have to do it by paper, though, I have nothing to prove.

 

I say if he has the basics (multiplying, division, etc - which is what I assume he is using the calculator for?) down cold I would let him use a calculator occasionally. I would not let him use a calculator if there was any hint that he could not do it by hand, or if he seemed to have poor number sense. A calculator is much like spell check - it is a tool, but not the be all and end all - if you punch the wrong key you will get a wrong answer. You need to be able to see whether the answer makes sense.

 

FWIW, in high school I was in advanced math. We were not allowed to regularly use calculators until grade 9 and as an adult I applaud that decision. Sadly, kids in normal math were allowed calculators (maybe the powers that be decided they were not capable without help :confused:). Even as a teen I knew they were being done a disservice.

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My older dc used a calculator w/ Chalk Dust prealg & Alg 1 at home followed by Prentice Hall Alg 2 and Geometry at school. Ds just earned 100% on his college alg test (the first 100% given in 3 years by this teacher). His teacher (phd) looked through the test 4 times to find a mistake. She couldn't find one. He plans to be her first A in college alg/trig in 3 years.

 

A strong foundation in the basics followed by calculator use in prealg (and beyond) won't kill a kid's future, imho. I think you should let your ds use a calculator for at least every other lesson.

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I have similar problems with dd, 18. Must be a plague. At times like these I want to send her via FedEx to Ester Maria for a while.

 

Is she taking donations of lazy teens?!?!?! WOOHOO!!!!!

 

:lol:

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Well I'll toss out an alternative. Is it possible that your lazy+frustrated+nothing works right kid is actually telling you he needs testing for some LD's? Just askin'. ADHD, working memory, dyslexia, dyscalculia, vision problems, there are all sorts of things that could result in a dc with the profile you're presenting. Just a thought. My personal experience (admittedly small) is that sometimes these kids getting labeled "lazy" have other stuff going on that hasn't been identified and dealt with.

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Well I'll toss out an alternative. Is it possible that your lazy+frustrated+nothing works right kid is actually telling you he needs testing for some LD's? Just askin'. ADHD, working memory, dyslexia, dyscalculia, vision problems, there are all sorts of things that could result in a dc with the profile you're presenting. Just a thought. My personal experience (admittedly small) is that sometimes these kids getting labeled "lazy" have other stuff going on that hasn't been identified and dealt with.

 

:iagree:

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Well I'll toss out an alternative. Is it possible that your lazy+frustrated+nothing works right kid is actually telling you he needs testing for some LD's? Just askin'. ADHD, working memory, dyslexia, dyscalculia, vision problems, there are all sorts of things that could result in a dc with the profile you're presenting. Just a thought. My personal experience (admittedly small) is that sometimes these kids getting labeled "lazy" have other stuff going on that hasn't been identified and dealt with.

 

I don't think it is an either/or kind of thing. I have 3 boys with varying levels of LDs. My 10yo, even before meds, was a VERY hardworking kid. He is even more so now, despite his fairly significant issues. My 13yo, OTOH, is not a hardworker unless it is either something he likes or involves making money.:glare: Guess who is making the most progress?;)

 

I tell my dc all the time that LDs just mean they will have to work harder to reach the same level as those without LDs. Even remediation involves hard work - if they won't put in the effort, all the tutoring, therapy, etc. won't do any good if the work ethic isn't there. Attitude is everything.

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Well I'll toss out an alternative. Is it possible that your lazy+frustrated+nothing works right kid is actually telling you he needs testing for some LD's? Just askin'. ADHD, working memory, dyslexia, dyscalculia, vision problems, there are all sorts of things that could result in a dc with the profile you're presenting. Just a thought. My personal experience (admittedly small) is that sometimes these kids getting labeled "lazy" have other stuff going on that hasn't been identified and dealt with.

 

I have no idea whether this is the case or not w/the child in question, however it might be the unaddressed and unanswered question in this thread.......why is a 15 yr old in pre-alg?

 

What is this student's history in math? Has he really struggled learning basic elementary math? Can he actually do the problems w/o a calculator? What is his understanding of the actual math or does he need the calculator to complete the problems?

 

I think the question about using a calculator or not is actually not the most important question.

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I have no idea whether this is the case or not w/the child in question, however it might be the unaddressed and unanswered question in this thread.......why is a 15 yr old in pre-alg?

 

What is this student's history in math? Has he really struggled learning basic elementary math? Can he actually do the problems w/o a calculator? What is his understanding of the actual math or does he need the calculator to complete the problems?

 

I think the question about using a calculator or not is actually not the most important question.

I wondered that at first as well, but I thought that maybe the OP started into homeschooling with a child late in their education and had to back track a bit??

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I subbed for an aide in a 7th grade math class last week, and I subbed for the regular teacher in a different 7th math class last week, too.

 

Both classes used calculators for every problem they worked. Very simple problems!!! I mean extremely simple problems!!!!

 

x + 5 = 10

 

Yes! That was the level of problems! And they used a calculator for that!

 

:001_huh:

 

They also had special calculators that do fractions. The teacher said, "In the spring we'll do fractions without calculators."

 

:001_huh:

 

And in my College Alg classes yesterday I was teaching polynomial long division and synthetic division.

 

I had to start by teaching them how to divide 346/5 (no x involved). Many had no idea.

 

Back when this group was in elementary school our district changed to Everyday Math and calculator use became the norm. Kids were told they'd never have to do long division/fractions or multiplication by hand so could just use their calculators. Somehow, the elementary teachers missed the idea that a common calculator won't do (4x^4 - 3x^2 + 5x - 6)/(x-5) or the equivalent.

 

I've been told this issue has been "fixed" now. Time will tell as kids come through the grades. My guess is they may have been taught, but will still jump to use their calculators instead - effectively eliminating the knowledge.

 

I've had kids in other classes who wouldn't do 4x2 or 3x100 without calculators. When I've told classes they were expected to know cubes of all integers up to 5 they groaned.

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He is in Algebra 1/2 due to his Algebra being a big struggle. We did original buy him the Saxon Algebra 1 his knowlege of his basic math skills when it came to fractions, decimals and most of what is in the Pre Algrba was frustrtin him and he was not getting it at all. My husband, thank goodness, is real good in math so he works the math with my son. When we noticed the struggle with his Algebra we immediately gave him a test to see where his problems were. We are also having him go onto Khans academy for Math Lab as well to help his progress.

When my son does do his work he does fine. He is as my husband and I noticed just has more days then not when he rather sleep and argue then do his work. It is definitely a lack of ambition for him at this point.

We are dealing with it and hopeing we can get him through this.

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He is in Algebra 1/2 due to his Algebra being a big struggle. We did original buy him the Saxon Algebra 1 his knowlege of his basic math skills when it came to fractions, decimals and most of what is in the Pre Algrba was frustrtin him and he was not getting it at all. My husband, thank goodness, is real good in math so he works the math with my son. When we noticed the struggle with his Algebra we immediately gave him a test to see where his problems were. We are also having him go onto Khans academy for Math Lab as well to help his progress.

When my son does do his work he does fine. He is as my husband and I noticed just has more days then not when he rather sleep and argue then do his work. It is definitely a lack of ambition for him at this point.

We are dealing with it and hopeing we can get him through this.

 

If fractions and decimals are where his weaknesses lie, than he doesn't understand basic elementary math. Using a a calculator will prevent him from actually understanding what he is doing and he will probably continue to not understand fractions and decimals. Calculator use is going to defeat the purpose of remediation.

 

What did he use for math prior to now? What was his level of performance?

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When we had him enrolled in the PS they tested him on enrollment they too had him take a reading/math test. They said he was behind and needed help on his Math, so they threw him into Algebra 1 (he was failing that class) and then a Math Lab class as well to help him. You are right, hs basic understanding of math is below what he should be in and that is what my husband and I are working on to help bring him back up. I figured by the time we get him through the Pre-Algebra we should be able to move him back to the other Math. When he does do the Math problem sets he is doing much better with less struggle. I have so far given him 3 tests out of Saxons test and his scores have been much better each time. He does tell me that at his old school in WA that they were allowed to use calculators which i believe is why he never was able to pick his math skills up properly to begin with.

I also forgot to add for any one wanting to know, My son is 15 and in 9th grade because he spent 2 years in kindergarten dues to issues back then.

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Melissa , we just started Homeschooling my son a few weeks back He did 9 weeks in the PS high school and when we noticed his grades, most were F's we realized that he was in trouble scholastic wise. The school also was very big and we were concerned he was starting to hang with wrong groups, being that we were getting calls saying he was not in class.

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He is in Algebra 1/2 due to his Algebra being a big struggle. We did original buy him the Saxon Algebra 1 his knowlege of his basic math skills when it came to fractions, decimals and most of what is in the Pre Algrba was frustrtin him and he was not getting it at all.

 

If basic arithmetic is his problem, Algebra 1/2 may not be the best placement. Take a look at Lial's Basic College Mathematics. It takes the student from the basics all the way through prealgebra and pregeometry in a systematic way. You can get used (new or like new) copies very inexpensively.

 

While I don't have issues with a kid *who has mastered arithmetic* using a four function calculator for algebra, if he is struggling with arithmetic, a calculator is the last thing he needs (as a PP pointed out).

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of course I stay firm with my belief that he needs to do it without one until I know he can do it in long form. QUOTE]

 

Maybe the question is how many times does he have to do it manually to "Prove" he knows how to do it.

 

I can do long division - that doesn't mean I have to use it to check my kids work - I use a calculator for that part. If he is still learning long division, that is one issue - if he is learing a different concept shouldn't that be the focus?

:confused:

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Maybe the question is how many times does he have to do it manually to "Prove" he knows how to do it.

 

I can do long division - that doesn't mean I have to use it to check my kids work - I use a calculator for that part. If he is still learning long division, that is one issue - if he is learing a different concept shouldn't that be the focus?

:confused:

 

That depends on your definition of "knows how to do it". It is not sufficient to just know how to do it - it is a skill that must be practiced to such a degree that the student can do it automatically without having to greatly think about what he is doing, so he can focus on the new aspects (for instance when it comes to polynomial division).

One problem with some new tendencies in math education is too little emphasis on mastery of technique. If the student has understood how something works in principle, but is not able to perform the computation quickly and accurately, this will hinder him in higher math and science. The students in my physics class who have to think about the algebra instead of doing it as automatically as adding integers are at a great disadvantage, because they spend their time worrying about things they should be proficient in and can not absorb the new concepts.

 

It is not a question of "proving" that he knows it; it is a question of being truly proficient in carrying out the operation, achieving correct results quickly. If the student has to think about the algorithm and ponder while he is doing it, he has not practiced enough.

And the thought "I can always use a calculator when I need to do it" is faulty, because the calculator will not perform the division if the expressions contain only symbols and no actual numbers.

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That depends on your definition of "knows how to do it". It is not sufficient to just know how to do it - it is a skill that must be practiced to such a degree that the student can do it automatically without having to greatly think about what he is doing, so he can focus on the new aspects (for instance when it comes to polynomial division).

One problem with some new tendencies in math education is too little emphasis on mastery of technique. If the student has understood how something works in principle, but is not able to perform the computation quickly and accurately, this will hinder him in higher math and science. The students in my physics class who have to think about the algebra instead of doing it as automatically as adding integers are at a great disadvantage, because they spend their time worrying about things they should be proficient in and can not absorb the new concepts.

 

It is not a question of "proving" that he knows it; it is a question of being truly proficient in carrying out the operation, achieving correct results quickly. If the student has to think about the algorithm and ponder while he is doing it, he has not practiced enough.

And the thought "I can always use a calculator when I need to do it" is faulty, because the calculator will not perform the division if the expressions contain only symbols and no actual numbers.

 

:iagree: completely. It is parallel to learning to be a strong writer. If a student is expected to develop a strong argument, they cannot be focused on the "hows" of writing. Basic writing skills should have been mastered much earlier. Math is similar.

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My son is 15 doing Saxon Algebra 1/2 I am seeing that he is starting to use a calculator in his work. Am I supposed to give him points for his work when he is using it? When is a typical time to allow calculators? My husband feels I am being too 'tuff' on my son because I feel a calculator is not needed for simple long division and other easy math problems. When I give him a test he gets frustrated and wants to pull out the calculator because it is too much work, of course I stay firm with my belief that he needs to do it without one until I know he can do it in long form. What can I do, any suggestions please. I am starting to feel I will never get my son out of HS at this rate.

To me I see him just being' lazy like' on ALL his subjects he is doing. I can not get him to read or do most of his 2-3 paragraph writings. Unless the work is only fill in the blanks he seems to not want to do anything.

 

Then give him separate division worksheets just to practice long division and let him do his algebra with the calculator.

 

He will progress more quickly with his algebra if he's not wearing himself out crunching arithmetic.

 

IMO once you are doing "real" math you don't need to keep working on arithmetic unless there is an area that has not been learned well.

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That depends on your definition of "knows how to do it". It is not sufficient to just know how to do it - it is a skill that must be practiced to such a degree that the student can do it automatically without having to greatly think about what he is doing, so he can focus on the new aspects (for instance when it comes to polynomial division).

One problem with some new tendencies in math education is too little emphasis on mastery of technique. If the student has understood how something works in principle, but is not able to perform the computation quickly and accurately, this will hinder him in higher math and science. The students in my physics class who have to think about the algebra instead of doing it as automatically as adding integers are at a great disadvantage, because they spend their time worrying about things they should be proficient in and can not absorb the new concepts.

 

It is not a question of "proving" that he knows it; it is a question of being truly proficient in carrying out the operation, achieving correct results quickly. If the student has to think about the algorithm and ponder while he is doing it, he has not practiced enough.

And the thought "I can always use a calculator when I need to do it" is faulty, because the calculator will not perform the division if the expressions contain only symbols and no actual numbers.

 

:iagree: In these College Alg classes I've temporarily taken over I haven't seen a single kid struggle with the concepts being taught in College Alg at the moment (inverses, roots, graphs - they know what these are). The difference between succeeding and failing is their knowledge of what was supposed to have been previously learned and totally mastered. And we are starting to move into more difficult concepts... If they need to both learn the more difficult concepts AND catch up with what should have been mastered, it's going to be a hard road.

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Melissa , we just started Homeschooling my son a few weeks back He did 9 weeks in the PS high school and when we noticed his grades, most were F's we realized that he was in trouble scholastic wise. The school also was very big and we were concerned he was starting to hang with wrong groups, being that we were getting calls saying he was not in class.

 

Good for you being proactive in your son's education :001_smile:

 

I am wondering if he expects to use calculators for math because that is what was expected at school? I know here in Australia it is standard for all students from grade 7 up to use calculators for all math.

 

It took my children quite a few months to settle into homeschooling when I removed them from school. and I had to do quite a bit of backtracking with my children in lots of subjects.

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Good for you being proactive in your son's education :001_smile:

It took my children quite a few months to settle into homeschooling when I removed them from school. and I had to do quite a bit of backtracking with my children in lots of subjects.

Would that I had the time. Memo to possible future high school home school parents. Backtracking will be necessary, but quality not quantity may have to be the by-word of the whole experience. Wanted dd to feel passionate and engaged in her subjects....I would have liked to have started in 8th grade.

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Would that I had the time. Memo to possible future high school home school parents. Backtracking will be necessary, but quality not quantity may have to be the by-word of the whole experience. Wanted dd to feel passionate and engaged in her subjects....I would have liked to have started in 8th grade.

 

I would say that quality but not quantity will work in most subjects, but in math, as has been pointed out by several others, quantity is equally important as it's through the repeated working of problems that they become easy and second nature. For a good grasp of math later on, there needs to be a strong foundation. Don't skimp. Even if she only makes it through algebra, she can always pick up where she left off in cc.

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Quality not Quantity -

 

What I meant was not blazing through classes for the sake of blazing through them. Real understanding takes a while. I like to do a thorough work out of each of the math chapters. We are in calc. now. We are going slowly but, carefully, mastering each concept.

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If you try someplace like xtramath.org (free) you can see pretty quickly how your son does in basic math computation. Have him start with addition and work up to multiplication. It goes fast. :) Try to approach it with a positive attitude, as in 'Here are some tools to help you succeed in math.' As opposed to 'OMG you are sooooo behind we have to fix this!' My son was having a hard time with alg and he is working through the xtra math now. Conceptually he was fine, but problems were taking him too long to complete due to lacking fast math fact recall. Drilling these when my son was younger was a struggle, but I am happy to say that he is now acquiring them very quickly.

 

If your son has struggled in public school, do not be surprised if he is resistant to school work in general. Probably hasn't been an activity associated with too many good things for him. I saw this in my kids to a degree I had not expected. But, they can move on and get to a point of academic excellence. I wondered about laziness for my kids also, but turns out it was more of lack of engagement or motivation. Once that motivation came from within, things went much better.

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Quality not Quantity -

 

What I meant was not blazing through classes for the sake of blazing through them. Real understanding takes a while. I like to do a thorough work out of each of the math chapters. We are in calc. now. We are going slowly but, carefully, mastering each concept.

 

Ah. My comment would be more appropriate to the OP then for sure. :) As she's in calculus, it sounds like you have caught her up nicely despite not having started in 8th. :)

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My friend is a high school math teacher. She advocates teaching your kids the basic math functions; make sure they understand the process. She teaches homeschoolers Algebra and up. They all are allowed to use calculators in class, on homework and on tests. There is peer pressure for the students to be able to correctly calculate sums in their head during class time.

 

I don't see a problem using a calculator for basic math functions. No, we weren't allowed to, nor were our parents, and we know our math facts. Really, though, what does it matter if you know your math facts as an adult or not? Knowing them makes life a little easier and more convenient, but in the long run, knowing how to use the calculator is a skill as well.

 

This is not a hill I'd chose to die on. It has been a non-issue for all 3 teens.

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Really, though, what does it matter if you know your math facts as an adult or not?

 

It matters a great deal if the adult is trying to pass a university science or mathematics class... not just if he wants to become an engineer or a scientists, but also a doctor, a pharmacist or even a veterinarian: if you don't know your math facts without a calculator, you won't pass the college physics class that is required to get into vet school... just saying. And the pharmacist even has to take calculus based physics...no calculators there either.

 

So, there are plenty of young adults who are, permit my language, screwed because they have been told they won't need to be able to do math without a calculator. I have several of them in my classes every semester.

 

ETA: Because it fits this topic: today I had not one, but several students, all science majors, get a multiple choice answer wrong because they calculated (1/4) squared and got 1/8. Very basic math facts...

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*Some* community college placement tests are taken without the help of a calculator.

 

For practical application, there are cashiers who can't figure out the correct change if they're given additional money after the register has already calculated the change. For those who are calculator dependent, it's hard to even estimate what a reasonable answer should be for basic math calculations.

 

That's not to say that some who can't do the basic math without a calculator can't succeed in math or related fields, but I wouldn't want to transition students to complete calculator usage. Not having their times table memorized will make working with fractions very difficult in the higher math. To the best of my knowledge, calculators can multiply, but they don't factor. Even if they do, it would be a lengthy process to use the calculator for each problem involving fractions.

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Community college placement tests are taken without the help of a calculator.

 

.

 

UMM.. not true. My boys used four function calculators on the THEA ( no graphing calculators allowed).

 

 

Funny story, though. I think my children were in 6th and 8th grade... I think. They showed up to the SAT-10 test at the local Christian school and did not have a calculator. All of the students were using them. My oldest was still the first one done with his math test without one. My middle son and his friend were as well. My son and my friend's son got 99th percentile. My middle one scored the best he ever did...I think in the 80's somewhere.

 

Anyway, I never let them use it until Algebra and really only if the problem is REALLY complicated. In fact, I think it is really Alg II. My middle son isn't using one for Geometry. Now my oldest has needed it for Precalc.

 

Christine

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I don't see a problem using a calculator for basic math functions. No, we weren't allowed to, nor were our parents, and we know our math facts. Really, though, what does it matter if you know your math facts as an adult or not?

 

:svengo:

 

I guess it matters as much as being able to

*estimate what a bill at check-out should be or

*the tip I need to leave or

*what percentage is my share in group earnings or

*whether I am being over-charged or

*how to determine how much of something I might need purchase if I only need a fractional amt.......

 

I cannot imagine needing to use a calculator to perform such basic math functions that are so elementary in nature.

 

I guess I want to my kids to know how do that (and way more) as much as I want them to understand what is meant if someone makes a comment about someone's behavior being like Regan's vs. Cordelia's. Some things simply define being educated. Why read classical literature over pop fiction? Why learn most of what we want our children to learn?

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UMM.. not true. My boys used four function calculators on the THEA ( no graphing calculators allowed).

 

 

Yeah, my son just used his TI Nspire (graphing calc) for the COMPASS yesterday. Little as he thought of taking the COMPASS as a 16th birthday present, he easily placed into calculus despite being only 2/3rds of the way through pre-calc using Saxon Advanced Math. The trig is really way too easy on the test for good outcomes in calculus. Nevertheless, it's nice he won't have to retest to take it in the spring quarter when he is finished with pre-calc at home. The testing enter was lending out scientific calculators freely to students who didn't have them, and lent graphing calculators with license or passport held until it was returned.

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It matters a great deal if the adult is trying to pass a university science or mathematics class... not just if he wants to become an engineer or a scientists, but also a doctor, a pharmacist or even a veterinarian: if you don't know your math facts without a calculator, you won't pass the college physics class that is required to get into vet school... just saying. And the pharmacist even has to take calculus based physics...no calculators there either.

 

So, there are plenty of young adults who are, permit my language, screwed because they have been told they won't need to be able to do math without a calculator. I have several of them in my classes every semester.

 

ETA: Because it fits this topic: today I had not one, but several students, all science majors, get a multiple choice answer wrong because they calculated (1/4) squared and got 1/8. Very basic math facts...

 

Hmmm, calculators are allowed in college classes in NM. I guess it matters where you are.

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:svengo:

 

I guess it matters as much as being able to

*estimate what a bill at check-out should be or

*the tip I need to leave or

*what percentage is my share in group earnings or

*whether I am being over-charged or

*how to determine how much of something I might need purchase if I only need a fractional amt.......

 

I cannot imagine needing to use a calculator to perform such basic math functions that are so elementary in nature.

 

I guess I want to my kids to know how do that (and way more) as much as I want them to understand what is meant if someone makes a comment about someone's behavior being like Regan's vs. Cordelia's. Some things simply define being educated. Why read classical literature over pop fiction? Why learn most of what we want our children to learn?

 

This is true, but why force the issue and cause a child to lose his love of learning and math? When life slaps him in the face he'll learn it and will be able to learn it easily. I learned my multiplication tables while helping dsd learn hers when she was in 4th grade. I was a certified bookkeeper at the time, a homeowner, had always done my own taxes, worked as a cashier and could make change. As each life experience required I learned the skills. That's why it would not be a hill I would die on as a parent; it's just not that important in the grand scheme of life.

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