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I'm a failure as a math teacher.


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My middle child is 8 1/2 years old and still cannot add without using her fingers. She has significant trouble subtracting, and cannot do any sort of mental math. C-rods are meaningless building blocks to her; they failed to translate to numerical values. She is most definitely a VSL. I have used R&S 1 and 2 with her, and I don't know that she got much out of either of them. I stopped using a curriculum for a while and just read her math books...they are all above her head. The Grapes of Math reduced her to a weeping mess by the third page. She needs something waaaaay simpler than that, but I have yet to find it. She does not see the patterns that numbers have, and skip counting is a meaningless series of words. A hundreds chart is just rows of numbers - she can see that all the numbers that end with 4 are in a vertical row, but it does not make sense to her why it is that way.

 

I was looking back at old posts of mine, and I realized that my daughter has not made very much progress this past year. She made a small amount after using Jump at Home 2, but she has not made any since then. Jump at Home 3 is too advanced for her.

 

I bought MUS Alpha today after watching some of the videos and looking at samples. I had tried R&S 3 this past week, and I could already see that it was not going to work for her. I hope that bumping her back to the beginning and taking a different approach will help her. I am also hoping that someone here has been in my shoes and can give me some reassurance that I did not just waste a whole heap of money!

 

If anyone has any ideas, any reassurance...anything, I am floundering about here.

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Your DD sounds like she has dyscalculia. Does she struggle with handwriting or reading too?

 

You need to look at a few books and start helping her subitize and develop numbering sense. A book and author list follow:

How the Brain Learns Mathematics by Sousa

books by Kathy Richardson and Ronit Bird

Dyscalculia Action Plans by Hannell

subitizing

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My middle child is 8 1/2 years old and still cannot add without using her fingers. She has significant trouble subtracting, and cannot do any sort of mental math. C-rods are meaningless building blocks to her; they failed to translate to numerical values. She is most definitely a VSL. I have used R&S 1 and 2 with her, and I don't know that she got much out of either of them. I stopped using a curriculum for a while and just read her math books...they are all above her head. The Grapes of Math reduced her to a weeping mess by the third page. She needs something waaaaay simpler than that, but I have yet to find it. She does not see the patterns that numbers have, and skip counting is a meaningless series of words. A hundreds chart is just rows of numbers - she can see that all the numbers that end with 4 are in a vertical row, but it does not make sense to her why it is that way.

 

I was looking back at old posts of mine, and I realized that my daughter has not made very much progress this past year. She made a small amount after using Jump at Home 2, but she has not made any since then. Jump at Home 3 is too advanced for her.

 

I bought MUS Alpha today after watching some of the videos and looking at samples. I had tried R&S 3 this past week, and I could already see that it was not going to work for her. I hope that bumping her back to the beginning and taking a different approach will help her. I am also hoping that someone here has been in my shoes and can give me some reassurance that I did not just waste a whole heap of money!

 

If anyone has any ideas, any reassurance...anything, I am floundering about here.

 

You are not a failure! Some kids' brains take longer to develop than others. Sometimes they need to be placed lower than their age. Some of them always stay a little lower and move a little slower than a college prep schedule. The best thing to do is place them where they are at.

 

I'm using grade 1 materials with an adult student right now. Having her copy the charts in How to Tutor are helping her SEE the patterns of arithmetic. I'm using the main book, but the charts without the answers in this workbook are similar.

 

I'm using money and fingers as our main manipulatives. Professor B is good for explaining fingerwork. I'm still working on how to use money as a GENERAL arithmetic manipulative but got ideas from

.

 

I ordered Ray's math. I like this copywork and recitation idea. I think some people don't understand concepts until they do some cookbook work first and I think HTT style copywork is the best cookbook method for arithmetic, and I've narrowed in on arithmetic even if it means skimping on the rest of the strands of mathematics.

 

Oh, and I left Grapes of Math on the shelf. It's too hard. I have only been bringing home books on addition, subtraction and money, right now.

 

I really hate giving you a list of curricula, cause...I just really hate answering with an answer that costs money. But, this is what I am doing :tongue_smilie: Sorry I'm not more helpful.

Edited by Hunter
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If you teach someone that intensively and they aren't getting it you (and it isn't due to being cognitively delayed) than you are most likely dealing with a learning disability.

 

The math disability is called dyscalculia and one of its hallmarks is the difficulty in developing number sense.

 

I like mathusee but you are going to need to move at your daughter's pace and not the pace of the program. If you go to the website there are a variety of online and printable material to support the program.

 

In addition, you can play at home with counting of a variety of objects (legos, spoons, etc.) and just playing with them in a math way in order to supplement what you are already doing.

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I have had my kids study flashcards that have the math question and answer. I've seen copywork offered that does the same thing. The idea is that instead of the child guessing or floundering around for an answer, they see the correct answer in front of them and commit it to memory.

 

I use the jigsaw cards from here and just don't cut them apart. You might also try the loop cards.

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Some people find some of the lesson ideas in the free African Waldorf pdfs helpful.

 

Grube's Method is good reading and free, and the granddaddy of many of the modern conceptual methods.

 

Franklin Math is based on Grube's method, but there is no answer key for the early lessons, and it needs to be printed out. I had started using Franklin Math and was writing my own answer key for it, when my printed died.

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Are you looking for cirricular/book ideas? Kitchen Table Math is a fun book that has lots of small things you can do in your everyday life to build number sense and practice with numbers. I put it in my schedule this year because while I loved it when I read it, it doesn't have a "do this now" list to it, so I hadn't been using it. I think you can definitely use it every day, bit by bit, to learn and play with numbers. Very very hands on.

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Jump at Home is supplementary. Jump Math is the one you want as a full curriculum, and it was designed for remedial students. Might be worth trying if she seemed to be having some success with Jump at Home (and the price is good, so you can't go to wrong there)

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Adding a couple of questions:

 

What did you do with the C-rods? Did you try things like the exercises at Education Unboxed?

 

When you say she's most definitely a VSL, what do you mean by that? Your description of her math abilities has me confused.

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If you do not think a disability in learning is the case then I would drop formal math for a while. Play math instead. My dd was reduced to tears daily with math and believed she could not do it. I dropped the curriculum and got a book listing the skills needed (Katheryn Stout's Maximum Math is what I used but you can get a list of skills needed online). Everyday we did math but it was in the form of...playing with money (played store, resterant), made word problems based on her stuffed animals, played card games, pattern blocks, graphed Halloween candy, made shedules(telling time), measured using standard and non standard measuring, balance, cooked, and lots more. Along the way I reintroduced the number facts slowly. She would write word problems with the newly introduced set of facts. We used stickers and stamps to show the facts. Drew pictures of the facts. Played hopscotch with facts and other made up games. Eventually I had her work on facts but she could use anything needed to help figure them out but not her fingers...blocks, dots on a page, number line. Because the extra energy needed to manipulate the things was time consuming and tiring she started using them less and less.

By the end of last year she lost her tears and we had a wonderful notebook created of all the math work we had done. She still hates math but it is not the same, she has confidence in her abilities to do the math now so she does not get upset.

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Your child sounds much like mine. I can tell you to keep having hope - mine is now 10 yrs old (today's her birthday), and while she still has struggles, she has made leaps and bounds since 8 1/2.

 

I've had people here throw out the "dyscalculia" armchair diagnosis as well for my daughter. Whether that's true or not, I do know in my case, she is identified dyslexic - even though she is literate and has a lot of proficiency with language skills in general. She struggles with spelling, calculation, speech articulation (mixing sounds), and directional awareness in real life as well as in academics - such as cardinal directions in geography.

 

I think the advice of the above poster to drop formal math would potentially be a huge mistake. If you think you could be totally *on it* in terms of daily math engagement, that might be OK, but I know in my case the structure of formal math makes sure we attend to it *every* day and I think that's vital.

 

I switched my daughter to Teaching Textbooks, and I know many malign it here, but I think the audio-visual component of TT has bee a HUGE boon and suits her learning style fabulously. In addition we have done supplemental math fact reinforcement and we've just had to stick with it. She is doing Xtramath.com and is only about 75% through the subtraction set while her 7 yr old sister is is halfway through multiplication. We used Math Rider. C-rods. Math games. And this year, I've added ALEKS into the mix.

 

It's not fast, it will probably never be fast, but it IS working. There is progress. She no longer uses fingers and while it takes her longer than most kids to do mental math, she can do it. I continue to work on speed with her. We recently started her with Orton-Gillingham tutoring (an AMAZING opportunity fell in our lap) and I am highly hopeful this will help her both mathematically as well as with language issues.

 

One eye-on-the-prize things for us has been is whatever you want to call her learning disabilities, her father has/had them too. Yet my husband is now a successful research engineer, published researcher with a master's degree and it starting his PhD work in January. For him, the math did not *click* until he hit algebra and could think symbolically. He was a re-mediated math student until middle school and with effort and some extra time caught up and by senior year, was taking the Calculus AP exam and passed into starting Calculus C in college. The learning disabilities do not go away... but they do not necessarily inhibit all forms of mathematical understanding. My husband is *still* slow when it comes to doing basic calculations - but as long as he is working with variables he is absolutely proficient. I am telling you this story as we use it often to try to put a STOP to the "I'm bad at math" inner dialogue in our child. Zero tolerance for that. You can say you're struggling, that something is challenging, but pigeonholing yourself as "bad" at an entire area of academics when you're 8 has the potential to be needlessly self-restricting on what you can accomplish later in life.

Edited by zenjenn
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If you do not think a disability in learning is the case then I would drop formal math for a while. Play math instead. My dd was reduced to tears daily with math and believed she could not do it. I dropped the curriculum and got a book listing the skills needed (Katheryn Stout's Maximum Math is what I used but you can get a list of skills needed online). Everyday we did math but it was in the form of...playing with money (played store, resterant), made word problems based on her stuffed animals, played card games, pattern blocks, graphed Halloween candy, made shedules(telling time), measured using standard and non standard measuring, balance, cooked, and lots more. Along the way I reintroduced the number facts slowly. She would write word problems with the newly introduced set of facts. We used stickers and stamps to show the facts. Drew pictures of the facts. Played hopscotch with facts and other made up games. Eventually I had her work on facts but she could use anything needed to help figure them out but not her fingers...blocks, dots on a page, number line. Because the extra energy needed to manipulate the things was time consuming and tiring she started using them less and less.

By the end of last year she lost her tears and we had a wonderful notebook created of all the math work we had done. She still hates math but it is not the same, she has confidence in her abilities to do the math now so she does not get upset.

I completely agree with this method. Does she like art? A math notebook can be a fun and creative thing to put together. Math games are great. Amazon has a ton, but card games and dice are some the best ways to get them mentally adding. DD still has weird gaps in areas I know I taught her, but she hates memorizing numbers, she is much more abstract and conceptual.

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I'm with you. My dd was finishing 3rd and after hours of games and lessons and tears (some of them mine!), she still couldn't add without counting up on her fingers. Our curriculum was moving on to multiplication and I knew she was loooooost. We bought Alpha in MUS and it transformed her. We went slow and steady and she is totally caught up now. I mentioned changing math curriculums the other day for high school and she almost cried. She remembers the frustration of other programs and doens't want to change - ever. My advice: check out to see if she has some kind of learning issue, and then be patient and just keep plugging along. You will find something that helps - often time just seems to help - and your dc will do fine. You are not a failure! No mom is a failure when they are working toward their child's success.

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Your DD sounds like she has dyscalculia. Does she struggle with handwriting or reading too?

 

You need to look at a few books and start helping her subitize and develop numbering sense. A book and author list follow:

How the Brain Learns Mathematics by Sousa

books by Kathy Richardson and Ronit Bird

Dyscalculia Action Plans by Hannell

subitizing

 

She struggled with learning to read (it reduced her to tears almost daily and she had to work very hard at it), but she is a very good reader for her age now. Her handwriting is very good if she pays attention to it - she can get very sloppy.

 

Thank you for the book recommendations. I will see if my library has any of them. I actually looked over the website at that link recently and downloaded a lot of things that I want to try with her. She can easily subitize up to three, but no higher. If I lay seven crayons in front of her in a set of five and a set of two, or a set of four and a set of three, she will give a random guess as to how many crayons there are. But if I split it into two sets of three and a set of one, she can instantly say that there are seven crayons.

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It's not fast, it will probably never be fast, but it IS working. There is progress. She no longer uses fingers and while it takes her longer than most kids to do mental math, she can do it. I continue to work on speed with her. We recently started her with Orton-Gillingham tutoring (an AMAZING opportunity fell in our lap) and I am highly hopeful this will help her both mathematically as well as with language issues.

 

One eye-on-the-prize things for us has been is whatever you want to call her learning disabilities, her father has/had them too. Yet my husband is now a successful research engineer, published researcher with a master's degree and it starting his PhD work in January. For him, the math did not *click* until he hit algebra and could think symbolically. He was a re-mediated math student until middle school and with effort and some extra time caught up and by senior year, was taking the Calculus AP exam and passed into starting Calculus C in college. The learning disabilities do not go away... but they do not necessarily inhibit all forms of mathematical understanding. My husband is *still* slow when it comes to doing basic calculations - but as long as he is working with variables he is absolutely proficient. I am telling you this story as we use it often to try to put a STOP to the "I'm bad at math" inner dialogue in our child. Zero tolerance for that. You can say you're struggling, that something is challenging, but pigeonholing yourself as "bad" at an entire area of academics when you're 8 has the potential to be needlessly self-restricting on what you can accomplish later in life.

 

 

This is a very common dyslexic profile though and is different from dyscalculia, which is more about number sense as I understand it. The above could also have to do with processing speed, which is frequently just the dyslexia showing up in math (and the bold absolutely describes ds too). If OP's dc is dealing with dyscalculia, the strategies, tools, and remediation might be different because the internal number sense is what is causing the issues.

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You are not a failure! Some kids' brains take longer to develop than others. Sometimes they need to be placed lower than their age. Some of them always stay a little lower and move a little slower than a college prep schedule. The best thing to do is place them where they are at.

 

I'm using grade 1 materials with an adult student right now. Having her copy the charts in How to Tutor are helping her SEE the patterns of arithmetic. I'm using the main book, but the charts without the answers in this workbook are similar.

 

I'm using money and fingers as our main manipulatives. Professor B is good for explaining fingerwork. I'm still working on how to use money as a GENERAL arithmetic manipulative but got ideas from

.

 

I ordered Ray's math. I like this copywork and recitation idea. I think some people don't understand concepts until they do some cookbook work first and I think HTT style copywork is the best cookbook method for arithmetic, and I've narrowed in on arithmetic even if it means skimping on the rest of the strands of mathematics.

 

Oh, and I left Grapes of Math on the shelf. It's too hard. I have only been bringing home books on addition, subtraction and money, right now.

 

I really hate giving you a list of curricula, cause...I just really hate answering with an answer that costs money. But, this is what I am doing :tongue_smilie: Sorry I'm not more helpful.

 

I actually have Prof. B on my shelf; my plan this year was for my daughter to "help" me give my youngest child math lessons using Prof. B. We are only one week into the school year so we haven't done it yet, but I think it is something that could help. Money is not a good manipulative for her because she does not get the monetary value - I have explained it, but she just sees each coin as one individual item.

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If it's at all possible, I would stop switching curricula and get an evaluation ASAP.

 

I have paused using R&S in the past for a brief time to just read math stories, but everything else I have used is just a supplement - we used R&S continually up until now. Buying MUS is the first actual curriculum switch, and I have hesitated for a long time to do it since I dislike the idea of jumping around between math curriculum.

 

I would like to get her an evaluation, but I do not have that kind of money. The local school system is extremely unfriendly toward homeschoolers and will not provide any sort of evaluation. I can't get a recommendation from her pediatrician for an evaluation because she is a ding-a-ling and doesn't take a single word I say about anything concerning my children seriously (I am trying to get a new pediatrician for them, but it is a long process).

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Jump at Home is supplementary. Jump Math is the one you want as a full curriculum, and it was designed for remedial students. Might be worth trying if she seemed to be having some success with Jump at Home (and the price is good, so you can't go to wrong there)

 

For some reason I liked the workbook better than the full curriculum when I looked at it last year, but I will go back and take a look again. Thanks for the reminder.

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Adding a couple of questions:

 

What did you do with the C-rods? Did you try things like the exercises at Education Unboxed?

 

When you say she's most definitely a VSL, what do you mean by that? Your description of her math abilities has me confused.

 

I have a kit called Math Made Meaningful, which has a set of c-rods and a stack of activity cards that are intended to progressively teach the student math using the c-rods. I have not tried the exercises at Education Unboxed, but I have had the site bookmarked since I first heard about it. Since it has been a few months since I have tried using c-rods with her perhaps I should bring them back out and use the videos instead of the activity cards.

 

By VSL I mean that she is like Jackie describes in this post here. She is not a linear thinker, nor parts-to-whole. Numbers in her mind are not a long string (like on a number line), but a big conglomeration of randomness, and trying to pull the right one out is confusing and a struggle. She does not understand trying to make tens (to make it easy to add and subtract mentally) because she does not get that tens are a special number. I have a sister like her, and we always used to tease her because she would set her alarm clock for odd times, like 7:37 instead of 7:30 or 6:54 instead of 7:00. To her they were all random numbers, and there was nothing special about 7:00 or 7:30.

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I would like to get her an evaluation, but I do not have that kind of money. The local school system is extremely unfriendly toward homeschoolers and will not provide any sort of evaluation. I can't get a recommendation from her pediatrician for an evaluation because she is a ding-a-ling and doesn't take a single word I say about anything concerning my children seriously (I am trying to get a new pediatrician for them, but it is a long process).

 

:grouphug: I had similar problems with my 2E child, back in the 90's and early 2000's. He never got a full evaluation, and...I just did the best I could.

 

You are getting a lot of advice here. Absorb what you can COMFORTABLY, and leave the rest behind for NOW. Bookmark the thread and come back when you are ready or maybe never.

 

Make a REASONABLE effort for math instruction. Don't tip the household upside down. The main thing I would do is provide instruction at the level she is AT, not where she "should" be on some scope and sequence. Find some peace for yourself and her.

 

It would be nice to "fix" this and "get to the bottom of the problem", but that might not be possible TODAY with the resources YOU currently have available to you. Salvage the home in your HOMEschool first, and then school as much as you can without pain to yourself or daughter, balancing math with ALL the other subjects. Stay AWARE of the situation, but don't let it OVERTAKE :willy_nilly: everything else.

 

Good luck and :grouphug:

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If you do not think a disability in learning is the case then I would drop formal math for a while. Play math instead. My dd was reduced to tears daily with math and believed she could not do it. I dropped the curriculum and got a book listing the skills needed (Katheryn Stout's Maximum Math is what I used but you can get a list of skills needed online). Everyday we did math but it was in the form of...playing with money (played store, resterant), made word problems based on her stuffed animals, played card games, pattern blocks, graphed Halloween candy, made shedules(telling time), measured using standard and non standard measuring, balance, cooked, and lots more. Along the way I reintroduced the number facts slowly. She would write word problems with the newly introduced set of facts. We used stickers and stamps to show the facts. Drew pictures of the facts. Played hopscotch with facts and other made up games. Eventually I had her work on facts but she could use anything needed to help figure them out but not her fingers...blocks, dots on a page, number line. Because the extra energy needed to manipulate the things was time consuming and tiring she started using them less and less.

By the end of last year she lost her tears and we had a wonderful notebook created of all the math work we had done. She still hates math but it is not the same, she has confidence in her abilities to do the math now so she does not get upset.

 

I added in a lot of the things you mentioned last year, and she actually has no trouble with most of them. She can easily tell time to the quarter hour, understands how to solve basic word problems, can draw and understand graphs, makes and follows designs with pattern blocks and tangrams, and uses measurements in cooking. It is just manipulating numbers in adding and subtracting that she struggles with. I like the idea of notebooking her facts, though...she loves drawing and would probably get a kick out of illustrating each fact.

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Your child sounds much like mine. I can tell you to keep having hope - mine is now 10 yrs old (today's her birthday), and while she still has struggles, she has made leaps and bounds since 8 1/2.

 

I've had people here throw out the "dyscalculia" armchair diagnosis as well for my daughter. Whether that's true or not, I do know in my case, she is identified dyslexic - even though she is literate and has a lot of proficiency with language skills in general. She struggles with spelling, calculation, speech articulation (mixing sounds), and directional awareness in real life as well as in academics - such as cardinal directions in geography.

 

I think the advice of the above poster to drop formal math would potentially be a huge mistake. If you think you could be totally *on it* in terms of daily math engagement, that might be OK, but I know in my case the structure of formal math makes sure we attend to it *every* day and I think that's vital.

 

I switched my daughter to Teaching Textbooks, and I know many malign it here, but I think the audio-visual component of TT has bee a HUGE boon and suits her learning style fabulously. In addition we have done supplemental math fact reinforcement and we've just had to stick with it. She is doing Xtramath.com and is only about 75% through the subtraction set while her 7 yr old sister is is halfway through multiplication. We used Math Rider. C-rods. Math games. And this year, I've added ALEKS into the mix.

 

It's not fast, it will probably never be fast, but it IS working. There is progress. She no longer uses fingers and while it takes her longer than most kids to do mental math, she can do it. I continue to work on speed with her. We recently started her with Orton-Gillingham tutoring (an AMAZING opportunity fell in our lap) and I am highly hopeful this will help her both mathematically as well as with language issues.

 

One eye-on-the-prize things for us has been is whatever you want to call her learning disabilities, her father has/had them too. Yet my husband is now a successful research engineer, published researcher with a master's degree and it starting his PhD work in January. For him, the math did not *click* until he hit algebra and could think symbolically. He was a re-mediated math student until middle school and with effort and some extra time caught up and by senior year, was taking the Calculus AP exam and passed into starting Calculus C in college. The learning disabilities do not go away... but they do not necessarily inhibit all forms of mathematical understanding. My husband is *still* slow when it comes to doing basic calculations - but as long as he is working with variables he is absolutely proficient. I am telling you this story as we use it often to try to put a STOP to the "I'm bad at math" inner dialogue in our child. Zero tolerance for that. You can say you're struggling, that something is challenging, but pigeonholing yourself as "bad" at an entire area of academics when you're 8 has the potential to be needlessly self-restricting on what you can accomplish later in life.

 

I have suspected dyslexia, but never had her formally tested. She sounds a lot like your daughter.

 

I have considered TT (I really thought that the audio-visual component would be helpful), but when I had my daughter do the sample, she couldn't follow it...she couldn't process what the computer was saying as fast as it was speaking. Her listening speed is a lot slower than that. But I have not discounted it for use in the future. I don't listen to naysayers, they aren't trying to teach my daughter! :lol:

 

I am sure that my daughter has inherited it from her father, as well. He struggled with math in school, never even making it to algebra (they didn't attempt to remediate him, but just wrote him off), but when I was taking college algebra (just a few years ago) he could walk past the computer, glance at the problem I had been working furiously on for the last 20 minutes, and tell me the correct answer. My daughter wants to be a doctor (and has since she first learned to say the word), so I am glad to know that there is still hope for her. That is part of what is making me feel like a failure, because if I cannot teach her basic arithmetic, I am messing up her entire future. Thank you so much for the reassurance. :grouphug: I am sure that she will always struggle with it, but it is nice to hear that others have been where she is and managed to make progress.

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I'm with you. My dd was finishing 3rd and after hours of games and lessons and tears (some of them mine!), she still couldn't add without counting up on her fingers. Our curriculum was moving on to multiplication and I knew she was loooooost. We bought Alpha in MUS and it transformed her. We went slow and steady and she is totally caught up now. I mentioned changing math curriculums the other day for high school and she almost cried. She remembers the frustration of other programs and doens't want to change - ever. My advice: check out to see if she has some kind of learning issue, and then be patient and just keep plugging along. You will find something that helps - often time just seems to help - and your dc will do fine. You are not a failure! No mom is a failure when they are working toward their child's success.

 

Thank you for sharing your story. And for the reassurance that I'm not a failure. :001_smile: My other two children seem to be learning math just fine, but they are linear thinkers like me. I don't seem to be able to speak the math language that my middle child speaks, which is leading me to feel like a failure. That is why I think she might do well with MUS...I watched some of the video samples online, and while the concepts that are presented are ones that I have already tried to teach her, the presentation is very different (like he is targeting students that think like my daughter), and the method of build-write-say (or whatever it is) looks like it would work for my daughter. That is basically what she does to learn her spelling...she says the word, then spells it aloud while writing the letters in the air, and it helps cement the words in her memory. Since I don't think the way that Mr. Demme does (I understand math conceptually, I just present it in a different manner that seems logical to me), I can't just adjust the way I teach to fit my daughter, which is why I went ahead and ordered MUS. I am glad to hear that it has worked for other students like my daughter, and I do plan on taking it as slowly as she needs.

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Thanks for clarifying. I've only known about different learning styles for a few months, so I'm still learning myself.

 

eta -- I'm pretty sure my daughter is a visual spatial learner. I got her MUS alpha when she was eight. During the first lesson she said, "I'm not stupid. I understand this."

 

Don't know if this helps, but things that help my daughter:

Having the main point of a lesson written/drawn in pretty colours on a white board. I just put it up on the wall for her and leave it until the next lesson. I also sometimes cross off extra steps on the MUS worksheets. I sometimes rewrite the MUS exercises on a whiteboard or sheet of paper, using the MUS block colours for the numbers. We're about to start the times tables (eek), and her times tables chart will be in MUS colours.

Edited by Cmm
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One eye-on-the-prize things for us has been is whatever you want to call her learning disabilities, her father has/had them too. Yet my husband is now a successful research engineer, published researcher with a master's degree and it starting his PhD work in January. For him, the math did not *click* until he hit algebra and could think symbolically. He was a re-mediated math student until middle school and with effort and some extra time caught up and by senior year, was taking the Calculus AP exam and passed into starting Calculus C in college. The learning disabilities do not go away... but they do not necessarily inhibit all forms of mathematical understanding. My husband is *still* slow when it comes to doing basic calculations - but as long as he is working with variables he is absolutely proficient. I am telling you this story as we use it often to try to put a STOP to the "I'm bad at math" inner dialogue in our child. Zero tolerance for that. You can say you're struggling, that something is challenging, but pigeonholing yourself as "bad" at an entire area of academics when you're 8 has the potential to be needlessly self-restricting on what you can accomplish later in life.

 

:iagree: My daughter is finishing her degree in mathematics and is very similar. She was visiting last week and our youngest, who is quite gifted in math, was asking her calculation questions. She was trying to explain to him that she wasn't very quick with mental math or calculations. She finally told him that she would rather do multivariable calculus than multiply. SInce he had no idea what that meant, he figured she must be pretty smart.

 

I know anecdotes like this are no help to you right now, but keep the faith! Things can get much better! You're doing the best you can for her and that counts for a lot. I hope someone here has the magic bullet for you. :grouphug:

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I am sure that my daughter has inherited it from her father, as well. He struggled with math in school, never even making it to algebra (they didn't attempt to remediate him, but just wrote him off), but when I was taking college algebra (just a few years ago) he could walk past the computer, glance at the problem I had been working furiously on for the last 20 minutes, and tell me the correct answer. My daughter wants to be a doctor (and has since she first learned to say the word), so I am glad to know that there is still hope for her.

 

There's plenty of hope. In particular, if you think she may have a tendency toward dyslexia, i.e., having visual-spatial strengths, this article comes to mind. There's a lot more to math than arithmetic :)

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There's plenty of hope. In particular, if you think she may have a tendency toward dyslexia, i.e., having visual-spatial strengths, this article comes to mind. There's a lot more to math than arithmetic :)

 

Thank you, that article was very helpful. Combined with some of what Down_the_Rabbit_Hole suggested, I think I have some strategies for helping her learn arithmetic and gain some number sense. Looking back at what I wrote in a reply earlier, my daughter does have some mathematical strengths, so I am going to continue to focus on those while we keep at it with the arithmetic.

 

Golly! When my husband's parents cursed him by telling him he would have a child just like him, they did not foresee what they were doing to me! :lol:

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My 8 yr old son is also struggling with math. I have seen him go backwards months after we pulled him from public school. So, after THREE different curriculum (Horizons, Ray's Arithmetic, Strayer-Upton, and countless samples) I am starting him from the very beginning with CLE. I know he understands some, and I figure it will give him confidence in his abilities moving forward. I also signed him up for Dreambox and they started him on an early level. You are not alone. I have felt the same way.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I just wanted to give a quick update on our situation here. MUS Alpha is amazing!!!! My daughter took a few days on the first lesson (place value, which has always been a HUGE struggle for her), but she has been happily doing a lesson a day since then (a couple worksheets, a review sheet, the activity, and a test) and SHE IS UNDERSTANDING IT!!!! She now understands place value, she understands the concept of addition, she understands that both sides of the "=" need to have the same value...we have only completed four full lessons, but the improvement in her understanding of arithmetic is enormous! Enough so that when the concept of multiplication was introduced this week in her Daily Mental Math book (which she does on grade level, because it is not just strictly arithmetic), she understood that it was repeated addition and knew how to solve the problems (i.e. 4x2). :001_huh:

 

I am going to keep her going through the levels of MUS at her pace. Mr. Demme is speaking her language. It is also helping her confidence that she can't see that there are six grades between the math program she is using the math program that her sister (who is only 1 1/2 years older than her) is using, and until she is old enough to get on the website and see that Alpha is traditionally a 1st grade program, Beta is 2nd grade, etc., I am not telling her. (Though it might cause some problems when her 5 yo brother starts in Alpha after she finishes it...he is more than ready, I just don't want him surpassing her yet; but we will cross that bridge when we come to it.)

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  • 4 months later...

Hi,

 

I just want to emphasize that you are doing great! You have found out that your child needs something else. What that is, is your next step. You are doing better than any other professional teacher out there! :hurray:

 

You have been great advice here. I don't know if I could add to it. I do have a VSL kid, a right-brained thinker who hated C-rods, too. We played different math games but what got us back into swing of things was "Life of Fred". That and Math Mammoth. Have you look into Brain Gym? Link http://www.braingym.com/ This also helped him. I would stick it in during circle time and he never was the wiser that he was doing anything but movements to songs.

 

You are doing great! Hang in there!

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  • 3 weeks later...

I stumbled across this post while looking for info on dyslexia. I have one kiddo who sounds like your DD's twin. This child is FINALLY a good reader, but it took hiring a tutor to get her there. (And we did it 4-5 days a week for a LONG time.) I hate this, but I think I make her nervous. I don't mean to, but I do.

 

We have completed vision therapy, and are on a very long waiting list for neuropsych testing.

 

We ordered MUS Alpha for her two days ago, just b/c it seemed different from the other things we have tried, and b/c having someone other than me explaining is bound to be a good thing at this point. :( It makes me so happy to see several comments above that MUS helped their kid!!

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I stumbled across this post while looking for info on dyslexia. I have one kiddo who sounds like your DD's twin. This child is FINALLY a good reader, but it took hiring a tutor to get her there. (And we did it 4-5 days a week for a LONG time.) I hate this, but I think I make her nervous. I don't mean to, but I do.

 

We have completed vision therapy, and are on a very long waiting list for neuropsych testing.

 

We ordered MUS Alpha for her two days ago, just b/c it seemed different from the other things we have tried, and b/c having someone other than me explaining is bound to be a good thing at this point. :( It makes me so happy to see several comments above that MUS helped their kid!!

 

The reasons you listed above are the reasons I bought MUS. We are now one-third of the way through Beta, and my daughter is still doing really well with it...she *gets* math now. The difference in her understanding between when I started her in Alpha in September and now is amazing...she understands place value, regrouping in addition, skip counting (she could do it before, it just didn't make any sense), money, telling time...and the best part is she thinks that she is good at math! She makes me promise daily not to switch her to another math program; I have to reassure her that it really does go through high school math and that I will continue to buy it for her every year.

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I would like to get her an evaluation, but I do not have that kind of money. The local school system is extremely unfriendly toward homeschoolers and will not provide any sort of evaluation. I can't get a recommendation from her pediatrician for an evaluation because she is a ding-a-ling and doesn't take a single word I say about anything concerning my children seriously (I am trying to get a new pediatrician for them, but it is a long process).

 

 

As the mom of a kid getting services from the local school district, I just need to add that your local school system might not get to decide if they get to do an eval or not. Check out your state laws. In my state (NY) the schools are mandated by law to provide testing to homeschool students, and provide the services as well. They must be provided at a level that is equal to the students in the school. They might not like it (mine is actually super nice) but they have to do it or they will be in violation of state law. In NY, the believe it would also put them in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. I feel like different states interpret this differently.

 

So, you still might not want to deal with the school, but don't let their bad attitude stop you. Look into your state requirements and mandates and you might find that they have to provide the testing, like it or not. It might be worth the hassle to get the evaluation. It also might not, but don't dismiss it without knowing what your real options are, not just what other people in your district have told you.

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As the mom of a kid getting services from the local school district, I just need to add that your local school system might not get to decide if they get to do an eval or not. Check out your state laws. In my state (NY) the schools are mandated by law to provide testing to homeschool students, and provide the services as well. They must be provided at a level that is equal to the students in the school. They might not like it (mine is actually super nice) but they have to do it or they will be in violation of state law. In NY, the believe it would also put them in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. I feel like different states interpret this differently.

 

So, you still might not want to deal with the school, but don't let their bad attitude stop you. Look into your state requirements and mandates and you might find that they have to provide the testing, like it or not. It might be worth the hassle to get the evaluation. It also might not, but don't dismiss it without knowing what your real options are, not just what other people in your district have told you.

I guess I should have said that the entire Texas Education Agency is not very friendly toward homeschoolers :D . I will quote from the Texas Education Code and the Texas Education Agency website:

 

"...no eligible student who has been placed by his or her parent(s) in a private school or facility has an individual right to receive some or all of the special education and related services that the student would receive if he or she were enrolled in a public school district."

 

"When a student with a disability who has been placed by his or her parents directly in a private school or facility is referred to the local school district, the local district shall convene an admission, review, and dismissal (ARD) committee meeting to determine whether the district can offer the student a free appropriate public education (FAPE). If the district determines that it can offer a FAPE to the student, the district is not responsible for providing educational services to the student."

 

"If a parent requests, either in writing or verbally, that a child be evaluated for special education services, a school must have a meeting with the parent to discuss the referral. If the school agrees with the parent that the child may be a child who is eligible for special education services, the school will obtain informed written consent from the parent and then evaluate the child."

 

Texas considers homeschools to be private schools. Basically, I would have to enroll my daughter in the public school system in order for her to be evaluated.

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The reasons you listed above are the reasons I bought MUS. We are now one-third of the way through Beta, and my daughter is still doing really well with it...she *gets* math now. The difference in her understanding between when I started her in Alpha in September and now is amazing...she understands place value, regrouping in addition, skip counting (she could do it before, it just didn't make any sense), money, telling time...and the best part is she thinks that she is good at math! She makes me promise daily not to switch her to another math program; I have to reassure her that it really does go through high school math and that I will continue to buy it for her every year.

 

YAY for you!!! I know that has to feel SOOOO awesome!!

 

Please, please, please let us have a similar result!!!

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As the mom of a kid getting services from the local school district, I just need to add that your local school system might not get to decide if they get to do an eval or not. Check out your state laws. In my state (NY) the schools are mandated by law to provide testing to homeschool students, and provide the services as well. They must be provided at a level that is equal to the students in the school. They might not like it (mine is actually super nice) but they have to do it or they will be in violation of state law. In NY, the believe it would also put them in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. I feel like different states interpret this differently.

 

So, you still might not want to deal with the school, but don't let their bad attitude stop you. Look into your state requirements and mandates and you might find that they have to provide the testing, like it or not. It might be worth the hassle to get the evaluation. It also might not, but don't dismiss it without knowing what your real options are, not just what other people in your district have told you.

 

We tried the school route before kindergarten, and what a waste that was! I had an almost-5 year old who was walking unsteadily but not running yet, and he didn't qualify for PT. I had two kids who were unable to hit a piece of paper with a crayon, let alone color neatly, and they didn't qualify for OT. The speech eval was the worst. We had done that one 2 years prior. I had a NONVERBAL 3 year old, and she didn't qualify for speech b/c she was able to point to pictures when they were named ("point to the bunny").

 

Their point in doing the evals was to see who made it to special ed. It was ridiculously hard to get therapy if you weren't in special ed - the thresholds were just way wrong. Their response to all my arguments was "don't worry - pull them out of all private therapies, and by 3rd grade they will fall far enough behind to qualify for special ed". That's why we homeschool. I felt extremely unprepared to take this on, but really, I couldn't do worse than what the school was offering, right??

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I guess I should have said that the entire Texas Education Agency is not very friendly toward homeschoolers :D . I will quote from the Texas Education Code and the Texas Education Agency website:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Texas considers homeschools to be private schools. Basically, I would have to enroll my daughter in the public school system in order for her to be evaluated.

 

 

 

LOL, clearcreek! There was no need to hunt down chapter and verse. I so often see homeschoolers with learning problems being convinced by other homeschoolers that they can't get services for their kid in their state when they can. I always point out that it is good to know the regs before making a decision. If you know the regs in your state I believe you, no need to provide documentation. I am sorry you made all that extra work for yourself.

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I have home schooled 3 daughters and what I noticed is that each kid does develop different skills at different rates. For instance, I tried introducing fractions to one of my daughters at the grade level she was at but for some reason she really struggled. That same daughter struggled through multiplication and no matter how I tried to approach the subject, she just wouldn't get it. I decided to hold off on what she wasn't understanding for another year. The following year I reintroduced these things and she was able to grasp the material very easily without the struggle from the previous years. I, at times, have had to use a lower grade level material until they are ready to understand but they have always caught up just fine.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Math finally started making sense with my VSL when we switched to MUS. Now, b/c of the steep cost, I thought I'd try another Mastery program for a year. Bad idea. But since my son would eventually need to switch to Saxon for the co-op we are part of, we struggled through a year of Saxon. Worse idea. Last summer I started him off at the MUS level he would have next been in had we never left MUS. Being older, the concepts are coming more easily, so he's been able to work through nearly the 2 years worth of MUS he missed, but he now has the foundation to begin the level he would have been at this year if I had just stuck with MUS in the first place. And after "seeing" the concepts in the more drawn out forms, he is able to translate that into the more traditional forms taught by Saxon (and most everywhere else).

 

So just one more toot on the MUS horn to encourage you that it is not a waste of $. Just stick with it ;)

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