# 6th grader needing more help with math?

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DS12 (6th grade) has been a pretty good student and worked well independently up until this point in math. We've done Math U See all the way through but he hit a snag in Epsilon and got confused. We switched to Life of Fred with worksheets and Khan Academy as supplements. He was able to do it all independently at first but he's needing me more and more to go over the material and review it with him. I don't mind but I wondered if that was normal for math past the elementary grades. Like I said, I want to make sure he has it down so I don't mind helping him. But I wonder if it's normal for him to need this at this age. I know that LOF is more of a "thinking" math and that might be part of the problem. He's a "check it off and get it done" kid.

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I don't have a typical 6th grader, but I go over every lesson with him and have him do the practice problems with me before he starts his independent work. He is instructed to circle any problems he has questions about and ask me. So our math is pretty interactive. I would bet that that is pretty normal for 6th grade and up.

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He's working on decimals & percents? I really like Maria Miller's explanations in Math Mammoth and you can download the single-topic "blue" books very inexpensively.

Decimals 2: http://www.mathmammoth.com/decimals_2.php

I've found that my DD has needed me LESS since we've moved on from Singapore Primary Math to Singapore Discovering Math. I don't know if that's due to maturity, the secondary level Singapore being a bit more self-teaching, or her mind having an easier time grasping algebra topics than arithmetic (I personally found algebra easier & more intuitive).

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What level math is he doing now?

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He is doing decimals and percents. He does pretty well but mixes up concepts sometimes.

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I second the suggestion of using MM worksheets and/or the blue books to work on these skills.  MM is an excellent incremental, conceptual, mastery-based program.  As I keep telling my 6th grader, now is the time to get these concepts down rock solid, so you can look at an algebra problem and just do it - not have to stop and think about the rules for adding fractions, etc.  There isn't a lot of new math in 6th grade, it's really about solidifying those skills and building automaticity.  Kids don't benefit if you skip that step, IMO.

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I agree with ondreeuch, and this is a subject I'm pretty passionate about...

It sounds to me like he needs to be taught, not left on his own. Teaching isn't hand holding. Walk alongside him. Teach him the concepts, then be there to check his work and thinking on them. I work every problem with my kids when the enter Saxon 1/2. I have my own notebook, but that way I see the problems and issues and can ask the right leading questions. You may need to change curriculum, but is try changing the teaching method first.

Independence is awesome but I think sometimes there is an perception on this board (and im not saying you - but the atmosphere here) that teaching and mentoring are really handholding and helping and smart kids should be beyond that. Teaching and mentoring our kids is not weakness.. We talk about homeschooling being so great because our kids have one on one tutors, but then expect them to do everything on their own from 3rd grade on. It's weird to me. Sit with him. Teach and watch. It's not cheating. :-) It's helped my kids a ton when I started to walk with them instead of giving them a map.

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I agree with going through it with him and actively teaching of the material.  And yes, it is totally normal.   If he were in a B&M school he might be having a teacher explain at school, perhaps several times, and then be coming home and needing another explanation from you along with homework.

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My son is in the middle of Epsilon and starting to have trouble as well.  It has been really frustrating because he likes to do everything by himself.  I am going to have him take a break and have him just do some khan academy, worksheets and Math Mammoth.  He gets the concept for one day and forgets the next.  I think he just needs more work cementing it into his head.

This is the first time he hasn't been able to just finish the practice pages and move on.  His goal is just to finish whether he gets it or not.

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Thanks for the reassurance! Like I said, I have NO trouble helping him. I just wondered if it was normal. Right now he's reading the chapter and coming to me if he doesn't understand something. I'll reread after he's done and we discuss it then he does his problems. I usually walk with him through the bridges and discuss things again then we'll use Khan Academy or worksheets from www.math-aids.com His tendency is to try to finish too even though he might not understand it. We've had to slow down and we talk a lot about how there is no point in moving on until he really gets what he's doing.

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One thing I noticed about LOF as a problem is that while it did teach the "Fred way," sometimes it was a little bit of many things and not enough problems on a particular topic.  We had bridges where ds could pass the 9 needed, but had missed the one problem that was on the new topic that was supposed to be being learned.  If that happens a few times in a rowto children then they can get to a point where they are sort of lost.

The worksheets could help with that.

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My son is in the middle of Epsilon and starting to have trouble as well.  It has been really frustrating because he likes to do everything by himself.  I am going to have him take a break and have him just do some khan academy, worksheets and Math Mammoth.  He gets the concept for one day and forgets the next.  I think he just needs more work cementing it into his head.

This is the first time he hasn't been able to just finish the practice pages and move on.  His goal is just to finish whether he gets it or not.

I think fractions can be a sticking point for many children.  We ended up going into some decimals and percents and then returning again to fractions.   I think MM places decimals first, in any case.

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My dd is using Dolciani Pre-Algebra for 6th grade. We read the lesson together and do the classroom exercises. Then she does about 5 problems independently, and I check them to make sure she understands what she is doing. Then I assign her problems for the day. After I check them, she attempts to correct on her own any she got wrong. I then go over them with her, and if they are still wrong, we work them out together. I consider this teaching, not inappropriate hand-holding.

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I spend more time with my kids on math as they get older than when they were younger.

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I just want to throw in that we switched to CLE this year and LOVE it.

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