# Need help with Key To math series

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My son is in 4th grade and we had been using Mammoth Math, but I realized he was struggling with understanding fractions so I bought the Key to Fractions series which we LOVE.  He completed the first workbook and in the meantime I bought Key to Decimals and Key to Percentages.  Looking at the scope I think our best option is Fraction workbook 1, then Decimal book 1, Fraction book 2, Decimal book 2, and then maybe Percentages book 1.  They seem to build on each other.  At the same time I am having him continue with 4th grade math drills and word problems and have shelved MM for now.

I am not mathy and I am having to learn with him or just ahead of him and I am freaking out because I am not sure what the heck I am doing, but I really wanted to slow down because I think where I became math phobic was when I missed out really understanding fractions, decimals, and percentages before being thrown into higher math concepts.

How did other's use or schedule the Key to series to review or shore up concepts with their math students.  Also my son is capable but not advanced in math.  He has math facts down cold, but word problems or sequences that he doesn't expect can and do throw him off so we are working on that, and outside of the box, or the idea of playing with math for fun as some experience isn't our experience.

Thanks

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What I found with the Key to series is that they're a great pick and choose resource, but have too many problems of the same type to just work straight through. So, I might have my DD do a page or two, but then skip forward 5 pages, and for some topics, they were covered well enough in other resources that we didn't use them at all. They're not the most "fun" math out there, but it's highly motivating to finish a "book" so quickly, and they're not scary at all.  I used the Key to Series along with Life of Fred as a bridge between Singapore and AOPS.

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I like Key To books. My oldest has been working with the Fractions, Decimals, Percents books this year.

I would just have him work on them on his own, with my help at times 2-3 times a week, as many pages as he could complete. That's usually a 2-4 page spread.

They do build on each other.

I had him working with them as well as our regular math spine. He was able to shore up his skills by the time the math book lessons started getting to the difficult concepts.

I started the year doing this however. But I can see them being an end of year/summer activity as well.

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Thanks Dmmetler.  We have skipped some problems but not many because he seems to need the repetition to solidify the idea and as long as he doesn't mind, neither do I at this point.   I agree they aren't scary and I think that is really helping him since MM had become such drudgery and I felt like I was dragging him through it without him really understanding.  If I go back to MM, then we will be using the Key to out of sequence and might lose what we love about them.  But if we stay with them we will lose other thing.  I am going to have to figure out a way to incorporate them both.  If I knew more myself I would feel more comfortable.  I think I have my own homework to do this weekend.

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Iris my plan is to have him continue with them over the summer, then going into Teaching Textbooks pre-algebra, which I realize is a bit light but for our next step might be a good fit and then in 6th have him go into a more rigorous pre-algebra?   We may have run our course with Mammoth Math.  It is too much on the page at one time and intimidating him and me

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We pick and choose which Keys books to use when. Not to long ago I had my 5th grader shelve his Horizons book and just work straight through Keys to Fractions book 2. When he was done he went right back to Horizons.

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I used them with my first two. We did the whole fraction series before moving on to the decimals and percents, one series at a time. After that my daughter did Keys to Algebra and my son went into Math U See PreAlgebra.

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I think it's fine, once you've finished the first fractions book, to take the others at whatever pace you want and do them at the same time.  That helps break up the problems a little.  Like Dmmetler we also would often do half the problems (or even less) on a page, move ahead, then move back to get more practice.  Two steps forward, one step back.

I have mixed feelings about them, honestly.  I like them, but I can't decide if they're really working or not for the gaps I needed to fill.  We'll see, I guess.

If word problems are his weakness and you're moving away from Math Mammoth, consider maybe also doing Challenge Math by Zaccaro or Process Skills in Problem Solving to keep those up since they're hardly addressed at all in the Key to series.

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Zacarro looks intriguing.  Does anyone know where I can find samples?  I looked at Beast and Singapore and they wouldn't work for us, but I like the idea of each chapter beginning easy and getting harder.  Would like to see how that translates.

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Zacarro looks intriguing.  Does anyone know where I can find samples?  I looked at Beast and Singapore and they wouldn't work for us, but I like the idea of each chapter beginning easy and getting harder.  Would like to see how that translates.

Prufrock Press has a look inside here.  If it's too hard, there's also Primary Challenge Math.  I see it doesn't really give a full picture though.  Basically a kid can be introduced to the different topics and then do the easiest, harder, or really hard problems about it.  The Primary Challenge Math is pretty gentle - it could be a confidence builder or it might just be too easy.  I know these are sort of billed as for "gifted" kids sometimes, but I think they're just solid for any kid.

If you want to try the Singapore type problems, the Process Skills in Problem Solving book really breaks them down.

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• 7 years later...
On 5/10/2014 at 3:13 PM, In2why said:

My son is in 4th grade and we had been using Mammoth Math, but I realized he was struggling with understanding fractions so I bought the Key to Fractions series which we LOVE.  He completed the first workbook and in the meantime I bought Key to Decimals and Key to Percentages.  Looking at the scope I think our best option is Fraction workbook 1, then Decimal book 1, Fraction book 2, Decimal book 2, and then maybe Percentages book 1.  They seem to build on each other.  At the same time I am having him continue with 4th grade math drills and word problems and have shelved MM for now.

I am not mathy and I am having to learn with him or just ahead of him and I am freaking out because I am not sure what the heck I am doing, but I really wanted to slow down because I think where I became math phobic was when I missed out really understanding fractions, decimals, and percentages before being thrown into higher math concepts.

How did other's use or schedule the Key to series to review or shore up concepts with their math students.  Also my son is capable but not advanced in math.  He has math facts down cold, but word problems or sequences that he doesn't expect can and do throw him off so we are working on that, and outside of the box, or the idea of playing with math for fun as some experience isn't our experience.

Thanks

Hi

I know this post is many years old but wanted to find out how the Key to curriculum worked out for you. I'm about to start it with my sons, we are going for Fractions 1 & 2, then decimals 1. How did your schedule it in the end?

Thanks Charlene

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We used Key to Geometry, but as a supplement. Dd just did about 30 minutes once a week and got through all three books in less than a year. She liked it quite a bit. We have no experience with any other books in the series.

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On 10/20/2021 at 1:17 PM, Charlene12345 said:

Hi

I know this post is many years old but wanted to find out how the Key to curriculum worked out for you. I'm about to start it with my sons, we are going for Fractions 1 & 2, then decimals 1. How did your schedule it in the end?

Thanks Charlene

I used this and mostly, I had Keys to Fractions and Algebra and whichever other books. And I had them work in order, but on pages with tons of similar problems, I would assign half a page. I would use the other half on a future day.

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• 3 months later...
On 10/22/2021 at 5:55 AM, Janeway said:

I used this and mostly, I had Keys to Fractions and Algebra and whichever other books. And I had them work in order, but on pages with tons of similar problems, I would assign half a page. I would use the other half on a future day.

Not sure what grade you were working with, but what did you move into after key to Algebra. Maybe it could help me in my situation.

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