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Professor B is this the best kep secret


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Hi,

 

I've been reviewing old threads but I'm finding it very difficult to get information on Professor B. My DS is going into 6th grade & struggles with math. We were set to start Saxon 7/6 adaptions but the truth is he is miserable in Saxon, it's too long, he phases out & it's a nightmare. MUS didn't really work for him either. I just found Professor B over the weekend & this looks like it could be a good fit. So I have 2 questions.

 

1. Should I start at the beginning or go right into book 3 which is problably similar to Saxon 7/6?

 

2. Books/ CD/ or online, which is best?

 

Thanks in advance for your help.

 

Jean

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I prefer the books to the online version, but if I hadn't of seen the online, I wouldn't have known how good the books are. There is much more to the books than there first appears to be.

 

I think the program needs to be started at the very beginning. RightStart (the cheap purple book), Professor B and the free vintage teacher's Manual for Ray's Eclectic Arithmetic all focus on visually recognizing numbers instead of counting. I've become a die hard fan of this method. Rightstart uses the abacus, Professor B the fingers, Ray's uses objects.

 

I think every student needs to learn to recognize numbers, and then master the basic facts for all 4 operations. Too often, one of both of these areas are not mastered, leaving a student crippled for the more advanced maths.

 

One other resource I recommend is the free African Waldorf maths pdfs for grades 1-3. It overlaps a lot of the above 3 methods, and adds storytelling and art.

 

I've found decent $1 downloads at Scholastic for extra speed drills.

 

Professor B has become my main curriculum. I have to be careful not to get distracted by the other resources, and remember to stick with the professor B and only use the other resources when they are directly supplementing a Professor B lesson.

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Just wanted to say we used prof b and loved it. We only did the books and it was years ago. I would lean towards books only for 1 and 2 --going through the exercises verbally if not really proficient with all 4 operations. Using Hunters free resources for practice. For 3 I would include workbook.

 

I spoke to the author a few times. He did the whole series in one week courses for teachers who needed serious review. Great results.

 

This is a response from someone who has not done prof b for 3 years. Hunter has researched this recently and is currently using it. I would take her advice over mine. But if he is struggling this curriculum has a proven track record from the beginning.

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I think there are important things in books 1 and 2 that are not in Saxon. I think a lot of the material can be skimmed with an older student. I was able to finish the online level 1 in a week working for several hours a day.

 

Often struggling math students need review, and review much further back than where the problems become evident. Often people only back up to where they see the problem. They keep trying to prop up leaning walls on sand, stressing over the roof that is not being constructed, when they really need to just let the walls crash in, and dig a hole and pour cement and build a foundation, and then go back to putting up walls.

 

There is a reason that the average junior college student has to start at basic math, even though most of them took algebra and geometry. No one ever made sure they mastered the basics. But again even the junior college doesn't go back far enough and starts where the students is failing, not back to where the student got shakey, so again the student stalls out. The foundation doesn't get laid by continually propping up walls.

 

For my own self-education I needed to go back to recognizing numbers and the basic math facts. I don't even pretest students any more. They all go back to recognizing numbers which none of them were ever taught, and at least a quick review of the basic math facts.

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Thanks for all the info. I know they have a free 30 day trial going on right now, so I think I'll sign up for that & see how far we can get starting in book 1, hopefully the month will be enough but you never know. I know he needs review of place value & I'm sure there is other basics he never fully grasped.

 

It sounds like you would recommend the books over the online. Is there an advantage to doing them both. Is there anywhere to see a sample of the book, I've been unable to find one.

 

Thanks.

 

Jean

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I have the books and just reviewed the E-Learning. I was really thankful to b able to see in the E-Learning what was being explained in the books, it sort of helped make everything make sense for me.

 

We will continue to use Professor B in our homeschooling. I am excited about how it approaches math. It uses the same expectation of recognizing numbers not counting.

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I'll bet an older student can finish online level 1 in a month and not need to buy book 1.

 

My biggest problem with the online version was how fast things flashed on the screen. Once you see the idea, you could turn the lesson off and just flash your hands at a slower pace for the student.

 

As for teacher training, I found the online level 1 very useful. I have to constantly reteach the same lessons to different students, and there is no way I can afford all 3 levels each month. There are certain lessons I actually prefer the online to teach with, but in general I prefer the books, and they are more affordable.

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I prefer the books to the online version, but if I hadn't of seen the online, I wouldn't have known how good the books are. There is much more to the books than there first appears to be.

 

I think the program needs to be started at the very beginning. RightStart (the cheap purple book), Professor B and the free vintage teacher's Manual for Ray's Eclectic Arithmetic all focus on visually recognizing numbers instead of counting. I've become a die hard fan of this method. Rightstart uses the abacus, Professor B the fingers, Ray's uses objects.

 

 

So, are you using these three together. Where/when do find the RightStart book helpful?

 

(I remember you asking about the RightStart book a while back.)

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I read on a couple of blogs that had PB reviews that there is a special for the e-learning, which is not mentioned on their website yet. They said: $100 for 3 years with access to each level. To me that sounded pretty good. I contacted PB about it, because I have kids at different levels and I'd be interested in all 3 levels. They told me "Our special offer is $100 for 3 years for each of the Levels. So, you would pay $300 to access all three." :glare: The books are a better deal then. But, if you only had 1 kid or only needed 1 level it might not be too bad...better than $20 a month (still more than the books though)....but why would anyone need 3 years for one level??? :confused:

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I haven't used PB long enough to say how well it prepares for high school math. PB has algebra, but I don't think I will be trying it. I think I'm going to switch my students over to Saxon after book 3, or before. I think that when I switch a student from PB to Saxon will be made on a case by case basis. And many of them will never continue math past PB book 3.

 

I'm realizing something with my tutoring students that I observed with my younger son. I can get into a co-dependant relationship with students that is not good for me or them. I start working harder and harder, and they start getting lazier, less interested and more dependent on me. I'm not blaming the students, but blaming myself. There is something about me or my teaching style that causes this.

 

Each PB level covers about 2-3 years of math. Some students can do a level of PB in a year or less, but many will not.

 

I bought the RightStart purple book and the abacus, but don't have the worksheets for it yet. Many of my tutoring students get manic in the summer or are struggling with a close relationship to a manic person. I'm not intensively tutoring math with anyone this month and am just mostly working on reading stamina and assorted content and trying to plan field trips that don't materialize...because...well... things have been eventful here :-0 It's just not the right time for serious math goals this month.

 

I think the purple RightStart book is usable without the worksheets, but...I'm going to give myself a break and buy them before seriously trying to implement it. Or just stick with PB for now. The students are fascinated with the abacus and want to use it, but I only have so much money and time. We've played around with it a bit and it has great potential, but I need some more self-education time with it, to fully implement it.

 

I'm trying out a bit of a modified Robinson Curriculum approach with the students. They need a lot of handholding in beginning maths, but I want to gradually transition them to at least partially work more independently for math. They seem to benefit from speed drills, and types of lessons where they can graph their accuracy and speed on charts. I think Saxon is the best next step for those that are capable of finishing PB 2 and 3.

 

This may not be the best way to learn MATH, but I think it the best thing for them in GENERAL. Many of them are never going to make it to junior college or the GED or English tests. Not so much because they cannot learn the academics, but because of mental health and behavioral issues. I'm finding the need to address these above the academics.

Edited by Hunter
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I haven't used any Saxon under Algebra 1. We used Algebra 1, Algebra 2 and Calculus. I'm still looking at the lower levels. I'm broke and don't have the money to buy any yet.

 

The thing I learned with Saxon though, is that most people place students way too high in the series. Saxon is best used as mostly review with a focus on speed and accuracy. The volume of work is too much, unless the work is very easy.

 

I've learned the hard way the value of a student being required to sit down and complete some daily drill work when it comes to math and Latin. It really is okay for a child to be bored sometimes. Every single moment of homeschool doesn't need to be new and challenging and fascinating and ultra-efficient. Daily review with butt in chair is necessary, educationally and for character training. I also think it improves self-esteem.

 

The Robinson Curriculum people are the experts about Saxon. There is a Yahoo group.

 

I want to buy 54. I think I'll probably be starting some students in 54, and then plan how to transition them. Maybe that will mean not finishing PB 3. Others will never do Saxon, as I said, and will just do PB. I'm not sure I will be finishing level 3 with the students I plan to start in Saxon. Hopefully as I get ultra familiar with PB, I'll be able to on the fly add PB to Saxon lessons.

 

I'm sorry. I'm still winging this. And this isn't going to be a one size fits all approach for all students. It's going to vary. Everyone is going to start with PB and me holding their hand, but depending on their potential, the plans will vary, as we move along, with a primary focus on character training, not academics.

 

In the past, I probably would have started Saxon Algebra 1 after PB 3. I've only used 2nd edition which has plenty of review for students transitioning from another program. I'm told the later versions don't have the same review, but cannot confirm that. I no longer rush students onto the AP calculus route, as I didn't find it useful. The Jamie Escalante method doesn't impress me so much anymore, for lower income students. Most of them end out at neighborhood satellite junior colleges that don't even offer Calculus 1 never mind anything further. Better to cement their basic math skills and prepare them to ace the College Algebra class they will be taking.

 

Sorry. I don't think I'm being very helpful :-)

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Hunter, I don't want this to get too off-topic from the op's original question....but I wanted to ask your opinion regarding Professor B. I have an older teen who is going through TT6. I have to work with him to just accomplish this (he is doing well, but makes simple errors that I try to catch right away)....if left on his own to do TT he gets too many wrong. I literally sit with my own white board and do each problem myself as he does it for himself (although, I am actually learning too...so I don't mind). This year, we are still going to keep plugging away at TT (because it's the one few subjects where I can let someone else do the teaching to this boy for me)....and I'm going to add in practical life-skill type math too (like a checkbook workbook, Real-World Math that has worksheets on ordering from a restaurant and adding on tax and a tip, doubling a recipe, etc...that kind of stuff). Our educational guide for the school program we are using suggested maybe getting him some Developemental Math workbooks to add in too (probably starting back with multiplication...and then when he gets up to fractions either stay with DM & TT or switch to Key To and TT). I kind of tossed around the idea of Prof B books along with TT instead of DM. The appeal of Prof B is the 3 levels of math learned in 1 year. But I'm wavering on this idea....wondering if it would be better to give him a DM workbook to do 2 pages a day on his own and then me check his progress......or sit with him doing Prof B. I did try Prof B many years ago when he was little and didn't get far at all because they seemed to want him to instantly know the answer without thinking....and he couldn't do it. Can you progress through Prof B if you can't do that? I just wish I knew if Prof B would be something that would cause a lightbulb moment for him and he'd finally get math....or if it would just complicate things. Do you have any advice in this regard? Sorry to ramble....I'm just trying to think this through and decide what to do (and I have to decide this week!).

Edited by ~AprilMay~
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I have math books spread all over the floor today, planning. Sigh. I'm not feeling well today, and today is probably not a good day to plan.

 

Professor B is so NOT independent. It is good for catching a struggling student up quickly, though and plugging in holes in conception. It's a catch 22. I feel like the further along I move in this series, I gain and lose in equal amounts.

 

I have never seen TT, but it sounds like it has it's place in the available resources.

 

I was gifted some Key To books and they are looking awfully good to me today.

 

I don't think I'm seeing everything in context when I'm feeling so crappy today. I'm very negative and defeatist today.

 

Someone in another thread linked to an online school version of Saxon 54. I'm not sure how similar it is to the homeschool version. It's harder than I expected it to be in the early lessons. I expected more review of grades 1-3. It pretty much jumps right into a large number of diverse topics, without any chance to coast a bit. It looks incredibly time consuming and energy expending for the student, if these topics are new.

 

I'm clean out of advice today. My attitude is just too stinky to see anything clearly.

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I have math books spread all over the floor today, planning. Sigh. I'm not feeling well today, and today is probably not a good day to plan.

 

Professor B is so NOT independent. It is good for catching a struggling student up quickly, though and plugging in holes in conception. It's a catch 22. I feel like the further along I move in this series, I gain and lose in equal amounts.

 

I have never seen TT, but it sounds like it has it's place in the available resources.

 

I was gifted some Key To books and they are looking awfully good to me today.

 

I don't think I'm seeing everything in context when I'm feeling so crappy today. I'm very negative and defeatist today.

 

Someone in another thread linked to an online school version of Saxon 54. I'm not sure how similar it is to the homeschool version. It's harder than I expected it to be in the early lessons. I expected more review of grades 1-3. It pretty much jumps right into a large number of diverse topics, without any chance to coast a bit. It looks incredibly time consuming and energy expending for the student, if these topics are new.

 

I'm clean out of advice today. My attitude is just too stinky to see anything clearly.

 

OK. Hope you feel better soon.

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I still have the books spread out. I remember now one of the things that attracted me so much to PB. The scope and sequence is narrower than many other curriculums, and stays focused on the most important topics. When equal time is given to too many topics, the most important ones get neglected.

 

Ugh! Just Ugh!

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Just wanted to say dd did do the first algebra book. She was doing key to at the same time. She did well at it but she loves math and is generally very detail oriented. I remember it being a lot of problems. She thinks the topics and order were different from other algebra courses. I know I decided ds could never stand to do that book--repetition and writing are really hard for him.

 

I do think dd benifited greatly from prof B algebra. She seems to glide through the equation balancing part of any math she does. She "sees" it -- my son does not to the same degree. It can be harder for him. I am not sure if Prof B algebra is the reason or not. But it is the one main difference between them in their math backgrounds.

 

Someone gave us Saxon pre-algebra and algebra. Dd was beyond the books but ds could have used them. They did not seem to work for him. I think it was the number of problems and writing again. He does really well with "key to" and LOF books. Enjoys solving the AoPS counting book. Just can't be required to write much and keep concentrating.

 

Not sure how much these thoughts will help. I really like books 1 to 3. The method can achieve mastery very quickly. I wish I could find the algebra book so I could look at it.

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I still have the books spread out. I remember now one of the things that attracted me so much to PB. The scope and sequence is narrower than many other curriculums, and stays focused on the most important topics. When equal time is given to too many topics, the most important ones get neglected.

 

Ugh! Just Ugh!

 

Just what is your frustration right now Hunter? Are you trying to weed through all of your math books and decide what to use......or what parts of each to use......or trying to decide if you really like PB or not?

 

I've got similar frustrations going on....although I haven't bought all my options I'm considering and they aren't sitting here for me to look through. That's the problem...what should I get? That's rhetorical, btw. :001_smile: I like your quote....."...less is more". I need to keep remembering that. I kept thinking....what can I have my dd use along with Teaching Textbooks 3 this year?? Well....how about nothing and just TT? :banghead: Plus she'll be getting extra math practice in all the menu math workbooks she wants me to get her. I was looking at the Prof B website and she said, "Um...mom, I think you have enough math stuff already, don't you?" :001_smile:

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My frustration is wanting a narrow scope and sequence. PB does that. But I find that students--at least when I am teaching--lose interest and self-confidence when I am totally spoon feeding them.

 

As I'm thinking about certain students and looking through level 3, I just don't like how little independence they will have. There is NOTHING written TO the student. All the explanation is written to the teacher only. There are not even token student explanations. Just a single short sentence on the worksheets.

 

Saxon 54 is WAY too wide. If a 4th grader does nothing else they need to learn to do long division. If they attempt to complete all the rest of that book there is no time to seriously devote to long division. I feel lost looking at that book. I can't imagine how a student learning those topics for the first time would feel, never mind an LD student.

 

"less is more" in math. It really is. I don't like cluttered scope and sequences. I think they do far more harm than good.

 

Maybe I'll buy the Professor B software. I had forgotten about that option.

 

AprilMay, I'll bet TT is enough and doesn't need to be supplemented. I haven't seen it though.

 

I was just looking at the ACE Paces. At least for grade 4, they look much narrower than Saxon. People are complaining about them being behind Saxon, but...I'm not liking 54 for the average 4th grader in difficulty level never mind breadth. I really am not draw to Saxon 1-3's format, so it's not a matter of just backing up a grade. I could maybe put up with the width of 54 if it came a year or two later, after a book focusing on basic arithmetic. 1-3 are just as wide and...I don't know, not what I am looking for at all.

 

I think I'm going to have to stick with PB for now. Maybe I can start to write some token student directions. Or save up for the software.

 

A too wide scope and sequence will be a disaster here. The reason I abandoned the Amish Study Time was because it started getting too wide as the levels progressed. I'll go back to Study Time before using Saxon. I'm so glad I saw 54. I wasn't expecting that. A gifted student that is merely reviewing those topics will be okay, but for an average student just being introduced...well...God bless that student, is all I can say.

 

EDIT: Is the software no longer for sale???? sigh. I don't see it on the website :banghead:

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My frustration is wanting a narrow scope and sequence. PB does that. But I find that students--at least when I am teaching--lose interest and self-confidence when I am totally spoon feeding them.

 

As I'm thinking about certain students and looking through level 3, I just don't like how little independence they will have. There is NOTHING written TO the student. All the explanation is written to the teacher only. There are not even token student explanations. Just a single short sentence on the worksheets.

 

Saxon 54 is WAY too wide. If a 4th grader does nothing else they need to learn to do long division. If they attempt to complete all the rest of that book there is no time to seriously devote to long division. I feel lost looking at that book. I can't imagine how a student learning those topics for the first time would feel, never mind an LD student.

 

"less is more" in math. It really is. I don't like cluttered scope and sequences. I think they do far more harm than good.

 

Maybe I'll buy the Professor B software. I had forgotten about that option.

 

AprilMay, I'll bet TT is enough and doesn't need to be supplemented. I haven't seen it though.

 

I was just looking at the ACE Paces. At least for grade 4, they look much narrower than Saxon. People are complaining about them being behind Saxon, but...I'm not liking 54 for the average 4th grader in difficulty level never mind breadth. I really am not draw to Saxon 1-3's format, so it's not a matter of just backing up a grade. I could maybe put up with the width of 54 if it came a year or two later, after a book focusing on basic arithmetic. 1-3 are just as wide and...I don't know, not what I am looking for at all.

 

I think I'm going to have to stick with PB for now. Maybe I can start to write some token student directions. Or save up for the software.

 

A too wide scope and sequence will be a disaster here. The reason I abandoned the Amish Study Time was because it started getting too wide as the levels progressed. I'll go back to Study Time before using Saxon. I'm so glad I saw 54. I wasn't expecting that. A gifted student that is merely reviewing those topics will be okay, but for an average student just being introduced...well...God bless that student, is all I can say.

 

EDIT: Is the software no longer for sale???? sigh. I don't see it on the website :banghead:

 

What I bolded is quite helpful for me to know. I feel like for my son I have to help him with everything. I really want something he can begin to do a bit independently. TT does that a little. But, I'm thinking if I add in the DM workbooks (they are thin....like Key To workbooks) I can just hand him one and tell him to read through the page and try it on his own. Then help if needed. Doesn't sound like that could be done at all with Prof B. Goodness knows I don't need a ton of more work on my plate (that sounds terrible....but it's true).

If by software you mean the CD's for Prof B.....I don't think those are available anymore. You might get lucky and find them used. I think they just have the books and e-learning options now. I heard the e-Learning is the same as the CD's though. I'm not positive on that though.

Anyway, I hope you find what you are looking for.

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Do tell. :001_smile:

 

It was just a double post. Nothing more interesting :-)

 

I've been thinking, though. Waldorf schools only introduce new math topics a few times a year in main lesson blocks. Then those topics are just drilled in games when main lesson blocks are being introduced in other subjects, and math is not officially taught for most of the year. New math topics are NOT introduced daily or even weekly.

 

I'm thinking I could buckle down with a student for just a couple weeks, and then spend the following weeks drilling with worksheets that the student can do independently, and work on speed and accuracy, and be able to chart their progress. They really like measuring progress with charts.

 

If I keep it down to only one subject at time that I'm spoon feeding, and then immediately switch back to independent work, I think I might be able to make this work.

 

Main lesson blocks only work with a lean curriculum. I think it might work for the PB books. I'm going to try it anyway. I've got nothing to lose, because I'm plumb out of other ideas.

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Re: Waldorf maths - its true they only focus on one aspect of maths, on average each term. For us, in 6th grade, that has been percentages, as part of a business maths model. But this block includes lots of stuff: fraction, decimal and percentage conversions, through to percent increase and decrease, simple interest, pay and tax calculations. Lots of other minor topics are added in, as well as geometry. I'm adding extra, because the Australian syllabus moves faster than the US, and we need to begin algebra next year. Australia also runs an integrated maths curriculum. The juggling act is a big pain and I wish I was one of those people who could just buy one ruddy book and use it....

 

For weekly worksheets, I can't recommend Jamie York's "Making Math Meaningful" books highly enough. Very challenging, lots of maths tricks, and just enough work to keep a kid who needs lots of review well practiced in skills, without drill-and-kill.

D

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It was just a double post. Nothing more interesting :-)

 

I've been thinking, though. Waldorf schools only introduce new math topics a few times a year in main lesson blocks. Then those topics are just drilled in games when main lesson blocks are being introduced in other subjects, and math is not officially taught for most of the year. New math topics are NOT introduced daily or even weekly.

 

I'm thinking I could buckle down with a student for just a couple weeks, and then spend the following weeks drilling with worksheets that the student can do independently, and work on speed and accuracy, and be able to chart their progress. They really like measuring progress with charts.

 

If I keep it down to only one subject at time that I'm spoon feeding, and then immediately switch back to independent work, I think I might be able to make this work.

 

Main lesson blocks only work with a lean curriculum. I think it might work for the PB books. I'm going to try it anyway. I've got nothing to lose, because I'm plumb out of other ideas.

 

Oh darn...that's boring.

:001_smile:

 

Glad you seem to be able to think through things and maybe finding the light at the end of the tunnel. I think I've decided on what to do to.

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