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Big differences between Teaching Textbooks and CLE Math?


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See my original thread here.


I've been looking at CLE Math and giving serious thought to switching from Teaching Textbooks to CLE. Ds2 has been through TT3 or 4 and is now in 7. He has done very well until recently -- he has seemed to understand the concepts, and the format (short lessons with a consistent structure) seems to agree with him. But his recent performance on standardized testing shows that either he has forgotten a tremendous amount in a short period of time (less than 2 months) or the concepts weren't as solidly in his head as I thought. I could chalk it up to summertime learning loss, but I suspect that the problem is that as the concepts have gotten more difficult, he's needed more practice than TT is providing.


So I gave him the placement tests for CLE. He placed into the 400 level. I know that CLE's levels don't correlate strictly with grade level, and that CLE is considered somewhat advanced -- but I was stunned that he could be in TT 7 and place only in CLE 400. I also know that different programs have different scopes -and - sequences, but there were things in CLE that he has not covered in TT. What concerns me about this is that TT 7 is the last book before pre-algebra.


I don't think TT is terrible. (I know there is a wide range of opinion on it on this board. ;)) But I'm really wondering if there is something to my theory that the spiral in TT is (fumbling for the right wording here) not wide enough for some students. I think that between the short lessons and the comparatively narrow spiral, topics may not be covered long enough or often enough for some students who need more practice (which might explain why some students do well in math later on after TT and others don't). To try to explain what I mean by a narrow or short spiral, it's sort of the difference between Mercury's orbit of the sun and Mars' orbit of the sun. Mercury goes around in a shorter period of time because it's not spending as much time doing it. Mars spends more time because it covers more distance.


I'm reluctant to change programs because, well, because maybe I'm in denial ;) and just want to believe that if we just keep plugging away and add in some extra practice, things will be fine. But this whole process has really made me start to think that maybe TT is no longer the best approach for him because it's Mercury and he needs Mars. ;) BTW, I'm not concerned about him being "behind" or "below grade level." I just want to make sure he understands math. If we have to backtrack so he gets it, I'm fine with that.


Help me think this through...

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We had dabbled a bit in TT, but for several reasons I did not think it was a good program for DD. At the time she would have been doing TT 7, she placed into CLE 5.


My DD also needs constant review, and CLE has been providing that. There is not as much conceptual teaching as I would like (but it does have more than TT), so I provide that to her. Overall, I have been very happy with CLE. I sometimes expand on their instructions, but I would be doing that with any math curriculum.

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I returned TT after we tried it for a month. We use CLE instead. It is so thorough and so explicit in explaining new concepts. I really like it. Three of my school-age children use CLE. The other uses Math Mammoth, which is a mastery approach and makes bigger leaps.


After returning TT5, I took my then-5th-grade dd through Math Mammoth 1-3 at an accelerated pace. She got through part of MM4 when it started making too many leaps for her. I switched her to CLE 500 at the beginning of 6th grade. She did CLE 500 and 600 that year. Now she is in 7th and we just started CLE 700. So far so good. Math is not her strong suit, but CLE helps her understand. The format of short lessons followed by review is perfect. I'm planning to switch to a regular algebra textbook next year (Forster's or Jacob's).


TT did not impress me. It seemed way too "light" in what it covers.

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