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7th grade math curr woes....help!

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I really need some advice.

This is long, bear with me.


My 7th grade is seriously struggling with Saxon 8/7. She know all of her math facts etc, so that is not the problem. I will say that she has never been my math wizard, or anything, but has always taken a long time to do her lessons/ needs lots of review etc.



We did CLE from 1st through 4th. We LOVED it!!! She FULLY understood a concept though the daily review before she was tested on it, and really didn't need my help too much. She would make little mistakes on tests and quizes(more of a not paying attention mistake)


We switched to saxon after some discussion with other moms. I like that it has teachng dvds, as I am no math wizard either! She really struggle with it from the beginning. It is as if they are asking the questions in a different language! Some days she would ask me to help with nearly every problem! Often after I re-asked the question, she would get it.


We switched to TT for a few months this year, but it was not for us. Back to saxon.


She will take 1- 1 1/2 hrs to do a lesson and gets many wrong. Her tests has been close to failing; half due to small errors and half due to forgetting concepts.


MY perception is that the algebra-type concepts are very confusing to her, and she need tons of review of each concept before mastery.

The one or two problems that review a concept in each lesson is not enough.


What to do?? We both accept that math is not her strong suit, but she does need to "get it" and be able to move on!


The good thing in it all? The still loves math!

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We decided to introduce algebra in a new way. I own the MUS pre-algebra student text but decided to do an intensive math study to beef up his abstract math skills. I bought Hands On Equations (books and manipulatives, no video) and Life of Fred Pre-algebra 1. Every morning we start out with a HoE lesson. It's short but very effective. The program brings abstract algebra skills to a very concrete format. After that he reads Life of Fred for fun. Twice a week he powers through a MUS lesson, very confident in his ability.


If you're looking for a supplement I'd strongly suggest Hands on Equations. You can go back over basic concepts as many times as needed or break out the board during Saxon. It's fun, it's short, and if you omit the video it's not that expensive (around $35 through Rainbow Resource). If you're looking for a new program I'd suggest one that is like Math U See - concept mastery instead of spiral, plenty of review, and gently explains each concept in a multiple of ways.

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Saxon DOES ask things in a different way. My daughter completed Rod and Staff Math and started Saxon 8/7 in January. They have to read the questions VERY carefully in order to know exactly what they are being asked to do and my daughter still has to frequently go back and restudy previous lessons.


I'm agreeing with the others about slowing down, if you need to. Often Khan Academy has videos that can help make concepts more clear.


But I just wanted you to know that we are in a similar boat. My daughter is doing okay with it only because it has started out as mostly review. If she was trying to learn all new concepts and work through the Saxon terminology she'd be having a worse time of it. Even so, she learned to do many of these problems in a very different way then Saxon is teaching it.

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Well I think you have two options, either stay with Saxon and find a way to make it more clear for her or change.


If you stay with Saxon, you might want to look into the DIVE dvds to go with it. I've never used them for math but their science DVDs are excellent and having someone teach the lessons could be really helpful. They are specifically for Saxon and are only $50 which for DVD lessons is a pretty good deal.


If you want to switch, I recommend Lial's Basic College Math. I picked one up recently very cheaply on amazon to use as review and the explanations are very clear and start from the very beginning but since it's made for college students it isn't kiddie and doesn't feel like they are being talked down to.


Hope this helps some.



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Did you have her take the placement test?


You might consider taking her back to 7/6. Or if you don't want to do that, start back at the beginning of 8/7 (one of the things Saxon recommends for dc who are really struggling). Be sure to have her do every.single.problem; also, go over the lesson with her, and talk her through the first couple of problems in the set. The amount of time she's taking isn't all that long, although I know it seems as if it is. :) But something really weird that people have found that helps is to give dc a finite amount of time for the lesson--say, 30 or 45 minutes--and what they don't finish that day the finish the next (yes, it could take two days to finish one lesson). Very often, children are able to finish the lesson in that amount of time, even though it used to take them twice that. Go figure. :)

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