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Math for Very Delayed Learner - Serious Need of Help


CyndiLJ
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I am very discouraged, and am struggling to find good guidance about how to move forward with our daughter.  I sure hope someone here can help me!

 

DD is 14 1/2, adopted at age 10 1/2 from an orphanage in Kazakhstan, where she had been since about age 3.  There is a possibility of alcohol exposure in utero.  She has learned English amazingly fast, and is doing quite well at almost 4 years home in most other subjects.  We consider her to be in 6th grade, and her work is on par with an average 6th grade student. When we adopted her, she had only had 2 years of school, and she was labeled a poor student.  She has proven to be incredibly diligent and hard working, very organized, etc.

 

While she is doing well in all other areas, though admittedly well below grade level for her age due to lack of prior exposure to content and learning English, it is math where there is clearly a major problem.  I am worried not at all about any other area, but math is just not clicking at all.  We took her all the way back to 1st for math upon arrival home.  We used Saxon for 1-3, and Teaching textbooks for 4 and 5, which was just completed a week ago.  She did fairly well on all work in both curriculum, but we did end up switching for 4th because we could see trouble coming and thought a visual presentation might help.  Here is what we are seeing:

 

1)  She tests at only mid-3rd grade level

2)  At times, she still struggles with place value.  Just yesterday she said that 365,000 was "thirty six hundred thousand and fifty", though that was the most "off" she has ever been, and often she gets it correctly.

3)  She can't deal with analog time well, getting it right with simpler questions, but always getting it incorrect with harder questions about time.

4)  Timelines and number lines throw her off

6)  She knows her math facts but often her processing speed seems quite slow

7)  Reading graphs can throw her off, even the most simple

8)  She doesn't know how to approach a problem.  She basically seems to have no real grasp of numeracy, but can do some functions reasonably well.

 

I realize she probably has Dyscalculia, but a diagnosis of that does us little good.  She is not a child who is likely to go to college, as though she is a very solid student in every other way, she is just not all that engaged by the learning process.  I do not want to move on to Teaching Textbooks 6 unless we shore up all the prior material.  In a basic workbook with double digit multiplication, she missed 6 of 10 problems this week.  She doesn't always do that, but clearly, we have major issues.

 

It has been recommended to me by a trusted learning specialist that at this point, due to her age, we keep working on the fundamentals but start focusing on practical real life math applications, and allow the use of a calculator.  I do feel we are running out of time, and that there appears to be little out there for remediation for seriously challenged kids who are/might be Dyscalculic.  

 

I am torn.  I feel like a little like going this route might mean I am giving up, but I also don't want to lose precious time to gain real life skills that might take years to master.  I don't know what materials to use, I can't even envision her solidly learning fractions at this stage, and would be thrilled if she could add, subtract,multiply and divide using decimals by the time she graduates.

 

Does anyone have any suggestions, other than the usual MathUSee, Saxon, etc? Does anyone have a child this severely effected who has found a useful curriculum or tools to work with?  I don't want to take the easy way out, but I also know this may be something we can't really "fix", and I don't want to delay moving in a more practical direction if that is what I should be doing.  I just feel like I am really fumbling about with her, and I want to do right by her as her teacher, let alone as her mom.   

 

I am open to any and all suggestions, and hope someone can offer something concrete we can use!  This goes beyond "slow learner", this is mroe like "I can't conceptualize math AT ALL!"

 

Thanks so much,

 

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I am in a similar situation with my 13 year old.  What has started to help us is using the Ronit Bird books (recommended by the lovely ladies here), some activities from 1st grade Math Mammoth, along with a British program called Dynamo Math.  We are also doing a lot of games and other activities to shore up subitization skills (recommended by the Ronit Bird books).

 

We have used TT and intend to go back to it for periodic practice and giving some independence, but for DD it does not break things down in small enough increments and there is not enough systematic review for her to retain anything.

 

My DD does not do well with anything time related and does not actually seem to have a true sense of the passage of time.  I had not realized this until last year.  It explains a lot about her aversion to certain time-related activities and math assignments.

 

I am starting some project based math, too.  I recommend you look at Soror's post on relaxed math over on the General Education board from a few days ago.  There are some great suggestions over there for how to approach math from a non-traditional way.  Lots and lots of possible resources on there.  If I can locate it, I will try to link it here.

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Hi CyndiLJ,

Something that I would like to suggest, is a very basic Japanese abacus, called a Pacchi.
Here's a link where you'll see it on the top left, and they cost $24.
 
If you had a look at it, you'll see that it is very simple with 3 rows.  Which can be used to count up to 999.
While it can be used for basic math. Also for people with Dyscalculia, it provides a way of concieving of numbers.
With Dyscalculia, the difficulty is not simply with learning math? But rather with concieving of numbers as quantities.
So that as a foundation, they first need to be provided with a way of concieving of numbers.
When a Pacchi is used regularly, over time people generally develop a 'mental Pacchi'. So that they can visualize it, and do mental calculations.
 
With Dyscalculia, the difficulty with concieving of numbers?  Is equivalent to someone born Deaf, concieving of letters?
Where just as the Deaf have been provided with an alternative way to concieve of letters?
Dyscalculics need to be provided with an alternative way to concieve of numbers.
 
 
 
 
 
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My first thought was Fetal Alcohol.  I hate to say it as it doesn't really help but math is often very very difficult for those with fetal alcohol.  They just don't "get it".  They might be able to "do it" but not "get it" if that makes sense.

 

My 26 year old son has fetal alcohol.  He is delayed overall but has great social skills, superb physical skills, writes neatly, reads about a 4th grade level but can't do 1st grade math for anything.  He sorta gets time and money but not really.  He called one time from his friend's house (2 doors down) to ask me what time it was.  I told him 5 o clock and he said "oh, good, it is 5 o'clock here too"..........and honestly didn't seem to get that YES, time at our house is the same as time 2 doors down.  He can' handle pocket money amounts but can't comprehend how much more $1000 is than $10.

 

I would focus on some very practical math and using  calculator---things like time, money, basic measurement, balancing bank accounts, cooking, etc.

 

If you are looking/thinking that she might need help long term as an adult you might want to consider a neuropsych test to help establish a paper trail well before she turns 18.

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You might look at Kitchen Table Math sold by Art of Problem Solving. This is a series of three books that start at the beginning of math and go farther than where you are now. They have great (easy) suggestions of how to learn all sorts of math concepts with manipulatives, games, etc. Each book is around $20. The best price I saw when quickly looking was the three book set from Art of Problem Solving.

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Hi, Cyndi,

 

Some ideas for things that might possibly be worth looking at (I am only familiar with the first two, but thought I'd throw in a couple of other Google results, too): 

 

JUMP math http://www.jumpmath.org/cms/

Key To... series http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/cms_content?page=1181118&sp=102656&event=1016DPL

I haven't seen these, but Walch has some life skills math resources: http://walch.com/alternative-and-special-education-text-books/

I haven't seen these either; Saddleback Educational Publishing: http://www.sdlback.com/search/?hsr=1&CAT=A&CAT=G&CAT=26&CAT=32&M=32.1

 

 

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Given your child's age, I actually agree with Geodob.  If you are interested in Soroban abacus, here is a link to get you started:

http://www.nurtureminds.com/online-store.htm

 

I am not a fan of Jump math.  DS used it for 6 weeks last year before I apologized to my son profusely and pitched it.  I use the Key to..Series as a math supplement.

 

Your child's math issues require out of the box thinking and teaching.  Standard math materials are not likely to work unless the instruction is multisensory.  The Soroban abacus employs a visual and kinesthetic element.  Outside of knowing the complements to 5 and 10, there is no counting.  With addition and subtraction, the abacus is about a few bead moves (carries) over and over again and visualizing the abacus. 

 

 

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My oldest is very very delayed in math.  We do use MUS even though you asked not for that sort of post.  He is 15 in 9th grade and only in MUS delta, so even further behind what your dd is doing but what he has learned he has retained and understood. My goal is to get him through algebra 1 and consumer math by the time he is in grade 12.  This year in addition to his \MUS we have some work books by remedia something or rather that focus on real life skills, he is enjoying the one he is doing now on grocery store math, we have one on writing cheques and balancing your cheque book etc.  I do not allow a calculator because he is still learning the basics, once he is in alg 1 I will allow it but not before then as I want him solid in his foundational skills even if it takes years of struggle to get there.

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I am not as knowledgeable about everything as most on this board are, but would like to offer a few suggestions:

 

Montessori uses a wonderful way to introduce the decimal system. Keys of the Universe has both Primary (don't pass on the primary, the primary goes quite advanced and does cover decimal etc) & Elementary Albums (so math upto pretty much pre-algebra (it says upto age 12, but Montessorians do things differently, it would be the last formally taught math before algebra, and their is now a NAMTA Algebra (I believe) Math album available. A lot of people wish they were taught math that way, as it would be more understandable.

 

Math-U-See, because it is mastery, and you can work on the areas you need to, you both can sit in front of the video, and it has manipulatives, could be an option also.

 

TouchMath is meant for back to basics help, I'm not sure how far up it goes.

 

Now onto my last recommendation. We are currently using Kitchen Table Math (I am not recommending this to you!) which, so far I love, my son has a different way of looking at things and is really clever with puzzles etc, but somehow its not clicking with math items (and we tried MUS (he refused to look at it) so if KTM fails, I have decided to get a math book I came across that is actually sub-titled survival math.

 

It's called: " Teaching Math to People with Down Syndrome and Other Hands-On Learners" there is also a CD-Rom, and a secondary level

 

TBH, I haven't tried it, or researched insanely into it, but I scanned through both items, and it was what I was looking for. Its very hands-on concrete, and teaches the skills the child needs to survive in the world, minus all the chaff they teach at school (which when just trying to get the most important bits of math learned, it is chaff, my child does not need to be burdened with trying to figure out weird word problems or math he wouldn't use in real life, but he does need to learn how to count change etc.

 

Anyway, its our back-up plan.

 

Hopefully I have helped in some way :grouphug:

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My oldest dd has dyscalculia. RightStart Math was a life-saver for her. Even though she was older (I think 6th grade), we went all the way back to Level B and worked through Level D. She hated it, mainly because she knew it was meant for younger children. But by golly, it worked.

 

She's still a couple of years behind, but she is progressing at the rate of slightly more than a year's growth in a year's time, so I'm pretty happy with that. Before RightStart, she just kept falling further behind.

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Thank you so much, all of you, for every single post.  I am looking at all your suggestions, and really like the idea of using an abacus.  Making it concrete/visual might help.

 

There were lots of great ideas here.  What helps most is hearing we aren't the only ones.  This can be so discouraging.

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Thank you so much, all of you, for every single post.  I am looking at all your suggestions, and really like the idea of using an abacus.  Making it concrete/visual might help.

 

There were lots of great ideas here.  What helps most is hearing we aren't the only ones.  This can be so discouraging.

I felt so incredibly alone when the kids were still in school.  No one seemed to have children with the same issues as mine.  And poor DD just really struggled with math, the very basics, al the way through 5th grade.  It took her forever to get through material and homework was a nightmare.  I remember when I tried talking to her teacher about the fact that even remembering just one set of times tables or reading a clock seemed beyond her, she looked at me like I had three heads.  She could not conceive of a child in 4th grade unable to do these things and seemed to think we just needed more drill.  Drill had not helped at all so why would she think MORE drill would assist her.  I wish I had known to come here for advice and support.  There really wasn't anyone IRL that seemed to get what we were going through.

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  I am looking at all your suggestions, and really like the idea of using an abacus.  Making it concrete/visual might help.

 

Here are a couple more hands-on ideas:

TOPS Math Lab: http://topscience.org/books/math07.html#Activity

Cuisenaire Rod Problem-Solving puzzles: http://www.hand2mind.com/catalog/product?deptId=MIDDLESCHOOLRESOURCE&d0=MATH&d1=MIDDLESCHOOLRESOURCE&d2=40251&prodId=40251

 

Your girls are crafty, aren't they? (It seems to me that I've seen some cute projects on your blog.)  Do you think she would like some sort of quilting math books?  There are quite a few of those sorts of resources out there--also some origami and math books.  I know that those don't really address arithmetic issues, but it might make a nice break and/or confidence-builder once in a while.  I can dig around in my links if that has any appeal.

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I am currently reading How the Brain Learns Mathematics by David Sousa, who also has other books on the brain and learning including one about special needs. So far this is the only one I have read. Others on here apparently did not like it, and I had thus not gotten it until recently. But I now wish I had gotten it when I first heard about it.

 

I am finding it very useful. It is not a math program, but it tells a lot about what is important that may help you to be able to decide what would help her.  Also it has a long list of resources in the back.

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One of my girls struggles with some of the same issue. She's much younger and definitely not fetal alcohol, but she was premature. One thing that has helped her with the big picture things that she struggles with is brain training exercises. We use Brainware Safari but there are others. It doesn't really teach any kind of math but helps with other basic thinking skills. She doesn't resist doing it like she does with other math related work. Her difficulties w/math have created some anxiety, and this doesn't trigger that. It could simply be maturation and unrelated to the brain training program, but we've found her problems with basic ideas such as place value, time, sequencing, and other similar concepts have improved significantly. With improvements in those areas, other concepts have started clicking and she's moving more quickly than she has in the past. The brain training also boosted her confidence because there are some areas that she was quite good at and enjoyed.

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More thoughts"

 

You said you do not want to hear about MUS, but taken from the primary level it may be one of the best for her needs, using the blocks, DVD's and so on to have multi-sensory learning. That is, I am thinking starting at first grade misses the missing basic levels in number sense, subitizing etc.

 

ETA: Could I ask why you are against MUS? It seems like it might be an excellent fit so long as you went all the way back to the basics. Also btw at a higher level it is one of the programs that has a lifeskills type math option called I think Stewardship math as a different track than typical academic math.

 

I am less taken with Miquon than some people, but it too might help with some of the math sense--giving dots to practice saying how many there are without counting, or using grouping and so on. Though you can do that yourself with dots on paper.

 

You may need to do things she probably missed out on bec. of her background, like help you with sorting and counting of every day items such as laundry, food, money, etc.  And also games she may have missed out on. With youngers it is helpful that maybe she could play monopoly with them and be the banker, that sort of thing. Possibly even to do that sort of thing with more dice than usual.

 

The movie called something like Paper Clips on DVD via Netflix if you can get that is about understanding the number of people killed during holocaust, but could be helpful with number sense for large numbers. Students collect paper clips to represent the people. Seeing the movie could help. Doing things like that for large numbers could help. 

 

There are other DVD's on math that could also help if she is a good audio-visual learner.

 

Khan Academy perhaps.

 

My son has like Sumdog.com games. But he is younger, a boy, and is actually very strong in math per se, but only has trouble when his language area trouble gets involved. Still, it might help if she were to find it fun.

 

There are books that stress lifeskills with math, such as dealing with money and so on, that might appeal to her, and show her why it would be important to learn the skills. I don't have a specific one to recommend, but you might look at Rainbow Resource selections to start.

 

 

 

 

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ETA: I just realized that it is David A Sousa. I spelled it wrong. I put a link in a post down lower.

 

-----------------

 

 

One more thought based on my reading of the Souza book and research on math learning is that based on what you write she has trouble with and is thrown by, she is getting way too many different concepts and subjects when she is not yet solid on basic preschool level numeracy. That doesn't necessarily mean there is dyscalculia, but trying to get her to do things that are too hard are likely to cause anxiety and thus make things go in a downhill spiral. That is part of why I suggest going to a Primer level of MUS, and home type skills like sorting and counting objects and so on. The research seems to support that the MUS method of having one main subject at a time (with review of other subjects so they do not get forgotten) is the way brains learn math best.

 

Another program I know less about, but that might be worth considering would be Math in Focus which gives Singapore style math in a quite useable way as I understand it.

 

My sense is that maybe the Ronit Bird materials overlap with the Souza book information. ??? Souza's goes up to ideas through adolescence and changes at that time which I think is helpful, while also dealing with ideas for subitizing and so on. I have only seen the Ronit Bird website so I cannot really compare.

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Read My 13th Winter by Samantha Abeel.  She has dyscalculia.  It doesn't really guide a parent in what to do to help their child specifically, but it really helps gain some perspective on how a person with serious math struggles sees the world and how they end up coping.  I highly recommend this book for anyone with a child that has real struggles in math so we can better understand their perspective.

 

http://www.amazon.com/My-Thirteenth-Winter-A-Memoir/dp/0439339057

 

And again, read the Ronit Bird books.  

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=ronit%20bird&sprefix=ronit%2Cstripbooks&rh=i%3Astripbooks%2Ck%3Aronit%20bird

 

Read the materials of Brian Butterworth (has been doing extensive research on dyscalculia).

 

And you might consider looking at Dynamo math (British program).  We are currently using it and it has been a great companion to the Ronit Bird books so far.  There are activities you use with your child to introduce a math concept, then there is an on-line math activity they do independently, then a worksheet that they usually can do independently after completing the other two parts, then you do all three again at a higher level and then again until the child is very comfortable with the math concept or subitization skill.  We do one lesson a day, and it doesn't take very long, but has had quite an impact.  This program takes math all the way back to basic subitization skills and moves through addition, subtraction, multiplication and eventually division.  The only difficulty has been the printed pages are set for A-4 paper instead of U.S. letter size, so I had to find a source for A-4 paper or the pages got a little clipped.  Wasn't a big deal, just a bit inconvenient.  Both my 9 year old and my 13 year old are using it and have enjoyed it so far.  Don't skip the hands on activities.  They are critical.  The people running this program have responded quickly and with great depth and support on the few times I have had a question, by the way.

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I agree with Pen that, as I study math issues more and more for DD, I am coming to the conclusion that a lot of kids that struggle with math need to go back to the beginning, with very explicit and systematic instruction in subitization skills.  Starting over from the very, very basic building blocks of math seems to be far more effective long-term with helping struggling students then just letting them limp along from grade level to grade level (like we did for years with DD) trying to force them to function in even 2nd and 3rd grade math hoping they will finally catch on.  

 

Starting over with the very basic building blocks of reading finally opened up the world of reading and spelling to both kids.  Starting over with the very basic building blocks of math seems to be doing the same thing.  DD may never be quick with calendars or reading a clock or adding up and balancing her bank statements as an adult, but she is finally seeming to understand and process these things in a way that just wasn't there before.

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I wanted to mention that DS wore a watch that gave the time in analog and digital. He now prefers an analog watch. For mulitplication, he uses a method called lattice multiplication. In my son's case, the lattice method has proven to be the most accurate way to multiply big nasty numbers. We use math mnemonics all the time. He remembers funny, silly ones the best.

 

I love the Sousa book. It's easy to read and explains math learning well alongside math research study results. Books by Roniit Bird provide real world activites to help build numeracy.

 

After reading the Sousa book, I spent a long time with DS speaking to him in the way Sousa described how Asian math students speak, For example, there is no special word for the number eleven in Asian math. The number eleven is spoken "ten -one" The number 79 is spoken "seven-ten nine". The very way numbers are expressed explicity reveal their make-up. You and your DD could make a game of saying numbers this way. Using the red, blue, and green MUS blocks, you could practice building numbers and saying them. MUS Primer has the student build the numbers with blocks around lessons 8-10.

 

I want to mention something about abacus. The Japanese abacus (Soroban) and the RS abacus (Slavonic) are not the same. Yes, they both can be used for number sense activities and subitizing; however, a 3-bar Soroban counts higher, is efficient, and lends itself better for explaining place value. Blessings, h

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I wanted to mention that DS wore a watch that gave the time in analog and digital.  He now prefers an anolog watch.  For mulitplication, he uses a method called lattice multiplication.  In my son's case, the lattice method has proven to be the most accurate way to multiply big nasty numbers.  We use math mnemonics all the time.  He remembers funny, silly ones the best.

 

I love the Sousa book.  It's easy to read and explains math learning well alongside math research study results.  Books by Roniit Bird provide real world activites to help build numeracy.

 

After reading the Sousa book, I spent a long time with DS speaking to him in the way Sousa described how Asian math students speak,  For example, there is no special word for the number eleven in Asian math.  The number eleven is spoken "ten -one"  The number 79 is spoken "seven-ten nine".  The very way numbers are expressed explicity reveal their make-up.  You and your DD could make a game of saying numbers this way. Using the red, blue, and green MUS blocks, you could practice building numbers and saying them.  MUS Primer has the student build the numbers with blocks around lessons 8-10.

 

I want to mention something about abacus.  The Japanese abacus (Soroban) and the RS abacus (Slavonic) are not the same.  Yes, they both can be used for number sense activities and subitizing; however, a 3-bar Soroban counts higher, is efficient, and lends itself better for explaining place value.  Blessings, h

 

Yes. I was disappointed by the RS abacus. I didn't even know that there were ones like that.

 

I think the Japanese Soroban with 4 beads below and 1 bead above bar is good for a beginner with math troubles, and translates well to finger math.

 

Anther option is theChinese abacus Suan Pan: 

 

It has 5 beads below the bar, and 2 beads above the bar. These might be more clear in that one does not have to keep a "carry" in one's head, which also might help if there is a memory deficit, or the greater number of beads might be more confusing. I am not sure.

 

Does anyone have a link to a good, not too pricey, Japanese or Chinese abacus?

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Yes. I was disappointed by the RS abacus. I didn't even know that there were ones like that.

 

I think the Japanese Soroban with 4 beads below and 1 bead above bar is good for a beginner with math troubles, and translates well to finger math.

 

Anther option is theChinese abacus Suan Pan:

 

It has 5 beads below the bar, and 2 beads above the bar. These might be more clear in that one does not have to keep a "carry" in one's head, which also might help if there is a memory deficit, or the greater number of beads might be more confusing. I am not sure.

 

Does anyone have a link to a good, not too pricey, Japanese or Chinese abacus?

The Chinese abacus can be used in a base 10 and base 16 number system. For normal base 10 calculations, you use one heavenly bead and four Earth beads. It's been awhile since I explored all this.

 

A link follows:

http://www.amazon.com/Fat-Brain-Toy-Co-ABA-CONUNDRUMS/dp/B00392JTHG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1390192818&sr=8-1&keywords=Fat+brain+abacus

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Yes. Usually that is so. But if you have the Chinese type with more beads, you can use them if you want to help yourself to not have to hold so much in working memory.

 

If in base 10 (don't think working in base 16 with someone struggling in base 10 would be wise) you had a Chinese abacus and you had moved all 5 earth/water beads up to the bar, then you would replace the 5 ones with 1 heavenly bead moved down representing 5. In other words, you can use all 5 and both of the heavenly ones if you want to do so.

 

With the Soroban you would put  4 beads up and then remember that your next number is a heavenly bead down (meaning 5) and the 4 lower beads cleared.  You can still do it that way (in fact usually this is the case as you point out) with the Chinese type, but it might help a child if there is a working memory problem not to have to remember to do the "carry" in her head.    ?????

 

I know my son who is good at mathematical concepts in general has still had a hard time with finger math at the jump from the units fingers to the thumb being 5 (which is basically using the hand as a Soroban). Though it is also changing from using every finger to represent a one, which might be the reason it is hard.

 

Luckily what sounds murky on paper tends to be more clear with the actual abacus device. And I think it might help an older child because a real one is not babyish.

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Pen, I will try to email you later. :)

 

ETA:  Well crud...You don't accept email?

 

Cyndi, I don't want to utterly and completely derail your original question.

 

Pen, you could use a Suan Pan as you described.  I would definitely have a good go at teaching the abacus correctly prior to any mods.  If I were seriously considering mods to abacus, I believe I'd be tempted to forgo abacus all together, but that's me.   Anyho....

 

There is plenty of research to indicate that prolonged use of the Asian abacus strengthens visual and motor memory.  Sousa mentions that Asian students can recognize much larger digit spans than Western students, but that is attributed to our longer English number names.  English uses around 28 words to describe math numbers where as Chinese uses something like 11 words that are all about 3 letters in length.  It would be interesting to discover whether Asian abacus could actually improve working memory.  Just found a link..  

 

Blessings, h

 
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Hi, I accept PM's--I guess there is a way to link to an email that I don't have!

 

 

What I'm trying to describe for the Suan Pan is actually not uncommon for it when used for base 10 and if one is not planning to do base 16 with it, as I understand it. And a librarian at our library said that doing it that way had been hugely helpful for his own children who were struggling with math.  I hadn't gotten one because my son did not particularly struggle with math, but after this thread, Sousa, the link you gave above, and so on, I think I am going to get one!

 

I think, to get back to OP, that it might be of great help to her daughter!

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Yes.. I have a 14 yr old daughter who has significant trouble with math. We do use Math U See. That, along with a history of using Right Start (she learned to use their abacus which was helpful) and Saxon (only good thing that came from using that was she learned her doubles addition facts...but that was good!).

 

No one program or method will probably work for your daughter...so you just have to take from various places. I used Dianne Craft's method of teaching subtraction, used Addition the Fun Way to teach the addition facts...used a trick I found online for teaching subtraction with regrouping... Etc...etc..

 

As far as using the calculator. I know what you mean when you say you just aren't sure about letting her use it. I thought the exact same way. What I do is teach her the methods....then allow the use of the calculator only for things like: addition of 3 or more numbers (ie. 32+45+67 or 716+123+243). I also allow calculator for subtraction with regrouping in problems with more than 2 digits (ie. 245-157). She has learned to add and subtract, but those problems with so many steps are just too much for her brain to hold the info.

 

I would probably grab a calculator for those kinds of problems...so I figure, why shouldn't she?

 

It allows her to progress and gain confidence.

 

My plan is to try and get her to 6th grade level if I can (she is at a late 3rd grade now) at age 14 (nearly 15)....then work on practical math. Money, making change, bus schedules, menu math etc...

 

HTH

Laura

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  • 1 month later...

 

 

And you might consider looking at Dynamo math (British program).  We are currently using it and it has been a great companion to the Ronit Bird books so far.  There are activities you use with your child to introduce a math concept, then there is an on-line math activity they do independently, then a worksheet that they usually can do independently after completing the other two parts, then you do all three again at a higher level and then again until the child is very comfortable with the math concept or subitization skill.  We do one lesson a day, and it doesn't take very long, but has had quite an impact.  This program takes math all the way back to basic subitization skills and moves through addition, subtraction, multiplication and eventually division.  The only difficulty has been the printed pages are set for A-4 paper instead of U.S. letter size, so I had to find a source for A-4 paper or the pages got a little clipped.  Wasn't a big deal, just a bit inconvenient.  Both my 9 year old and my 13 year old are using it and have enjoyed it so far.  Don't skip the hands on activities.  They are critical.  The people running this program have responded quickly and with great depth and support on the few times I have had a question, by the way.

Several questions - when you say "don't skip the hands on activites" are you referring to the introductory activities the parent does before the child going online to do the activity .

 

3 steps if I'm understanding correctly

1.  parent teaches concept

2.  online activity (student independent)

3.  worksheet.

 

Also, what is A-4 Paper??

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Several questions - when you say "don't skip the hands on activites" are you referring to the introductory activities the parent does before the child going online to do the activity .

 

3 steps if I'm understanding correctly

1.  parent teaches concept

2.  online activity (student independent)

3.  worksheet.

 

Also, what is A-4 Paper??

Yes the introductory hands on activities are the ones you really shouldn't skip, although there have been times I have modified them to use materials recommended in the Ronit Bird books, and if the kids really get it with the first activity, I don't always make them do every activity for each level of a concept.  I may skip to the end activity for that set of concepts if they really are understanding and breezing through what we are doing.  

 

You read through the instructions for the activity for that day, prep whatever manipulatives you will need, print out any support materials they have (all of that can be done days or weeks in advance if you wish) then introduce the concept to the student.  After introducing the concept, the student does the on-line lesson then the worksheet.  The worksheet has the student's name and the date of printing at the top so I try to print the worksheets on the day we will be doing that lesson (so the wrong date isn't confusing my kids).

 

Usually prep takes a few minutes, but sometimes it may be a bit longer.  The lesson with the parent is usually short, maybe 10-15 minutes tops.  Then the on-line computer activity is also very short.  Then there is usually, but not always, a worksheet that reinforces what was learned in the physical activity/lesson and the on-line activity.  The worksheet only has 10 problems.  There are usually three levels to each concept taught, but sometimes there are more.  You are supposed to do one level of a particular concept each day.  Does that make any sense?

 

As for the paper, the British do not use what is called "letter size" paper here in the States.  A-4 paper is the standard in Britain and it is a bit longer and a bit narrower than 8 1/2" X 11" paper.  Most stuff I can print on standard paper and the clipped edges aren't a big deal, but some of the support materials for the lessons with the parent get clipped in a way that makes them unusable. I ended up buying a ream of A-4 paper through some company that sells all kinds of different types of paper and I only use it when I need it.  So far, the one ream has lasted for months.  I do have to print a lot with this system (lesson plan, support material and worksheets), but the print cost has been worth the results.

 

This is not a full curriculum.  It is a remedial math program to try and help students struggling in math to visualize and understand math, and math patterns.  The creators feel strongly that lessons should be kept short and the student should be given lots of positive reinforcement.  There are success certificates that can be printed out at the end of each lesson.  If a child does not pass an on-line activity, there are plenty of chances for them to go back and do it again (although they recommend you repeat the lesson first).  The worksheets regenerate every time you print them, so if you think they need more practice on something, and you print out a new worksheet, it will not have exactly the same problems in exactly the same order as the previous sheet.  This can be great, but sometimes I have them repeat a problem they struggled with on the dry erase instead of doing a whole new sheet of problems if it appears that just one problem tripped them up.

 

The parent can go in and see scores for each on-line lesson and how long it took them to complete it, and if they had to repeat the lesson and how many times, along with a bar graph indicating whether that time was average, above average, below average, etc.

 

Older students may balk at the idea of going back to the absolute basic building blocks of math.  DD, at 13, doesn't really like the voice and the sounds, so she turns the volume way down.  Not a problem for completing the activity, thankfully.  And now that she is seeing math patterns a lot better, and her speed is better, even though her computational speed is still not like that of her peers, she is more than happy to do a lesson each day because she is seeing improvement that was not there before.  

 

I will say that because it is a British program, there have been a couple of times that the on-line instructions (all verbal) are a bit confusing at first, so the kids have learned that sometimes they have to sit back, study the screen and figure out what the person is really asking them to do before they jump right in and start working problems.

 

Sorry this is so long...hope it helps clarify things...

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Thank you so much.  I really appreciate the solid explanation.  I am seriously considering this as a remedial "bridge" of sorts for my son.  It's patterns that are a struggle for him but this seems super thorough and I would imagine would cover any issues that I have not recognized.

 

We are theater people who do many things with Brittish accents and phrasing.  Recently, my daughter said to me what is "in lieu of? I thought a lieu was a toilet in Brattain.  SO hopefully we can figure that out ;) 

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Thank you so much.  I really appreciate the solid explanation.  I am seriously considering this as a remedial "bridge" of sorts for my son.  It's patterns that are a struggle for him but this seems super thorough and I would imagine would cover any issues that I have not recognized.

 

We are theater people who do many things with Brittish accents and phrasing.  Recently, my daughter said to me what is "in lieu of? I thought a lieu was a toilet in Brattain.  SO hopefully we can figure that out ;)

I believe that the spelling for the restroom is "loo" for the British version.

 

"In lieu of" means "instead of", IIRC...

 

I will say that along with Dynamo math, I am also doing Beast Academy and Primary Grade Math Challenge (but both very slowly) along with games that use math patterns, such as games with die rolling and dominoes, so that the math is being shown in different formats and the patterns are being reinforced.  I also periodically add in MM worksheets or dry erase board problems to review patterns already covered.

 

And DS has asked to go back to Teaching Textbooks for his main math curriculum, even though we will continue to supplement with other things.  DD is really the one that is struggling with math.  DS needed some review, but is bored with the really basic math skills we were working on with Dynamo.

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Lots of great advice here!  I will add that you might want to start from where you want your DD to be at 18-21 when she might be ready for independence.  Figure out the minimum amount of math she will need for her life and career choices.  Handling money and measuring will be necessary for almost anyone.  Start brainstorming with her about jobs she might be interested in, keeping in mind that she might just have high school education.  Do consider that she might be able to go to Technical college, culinary school, get an apprenticeship and/or own a home-based businesses that she could run with help from parents, siblings, or a mentor. Then start looking into the kind of math she will HAVE to know to be able to achieve those goals.

 

Say she is interested in becoming a nursing assistant at a local nursing home.  Find out the requirements for that job.  High school math?  GED?  AA?  Consider what kind of math she will need to be able to do for the job.  Measuring medicine?  Keeping track of time?  Calculating patient weight loss/gain?

 

This will give you some idea of long-term goals and will help give your DD some ideas of how she can use the math she is learning.

 

 

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FWIW, since ekmom72 mentioned the GED, I just thought I would pass along for anyone that isn't yet aware but might be interested in going that route, that the GED has been changed as of January of this year.  It is MUCH MUCH harder to pass now, apparently.  Anyone taking it in the next couple of years will basically be guinea pigs as they work out the kinks in the revisions.

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