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Math and Spelling 8th Grade


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We received the test scores back for our DD today and her math and her spelling (shocker) were borderline below average. She struggles very much in math, and spelling, while I knew was a slight issue I didn't expect such a low score. Though she still tested as average, I do know her potential and would like to see her excel in this. We had tried Saxon last year and she was just frustrated. I've heard TT is behind a few levels, MUS isn't quite up her alley, so what's next? Where can I find some sort of medium territory that her and I both agree on? All of her other scores were 10 grade on up to 12th grade in reading level. I'd love some suggestions on what to do with math.


Also, for spelling? It showed her phonetic blends were her weakness. Would you be able to offer any programs to help us increase her spelling and these blends? We had been doing spelling all of this past year but obviously I need more structure to get her back in the swing of things. Public school never corrected spelling on her reports etc so I know I have years of damage to erase but I'd love to be able to give her a challenge (for she works better with challenges) but not to make her to the stressed level. Is this even possible?


Thoughts? I know there are so many choices and I just get overwhelmed but now that I know what to look for better than I did prior to the results I'd like to lock down and get something ASAP so we can work a little this summer before starting back hard and heavy.


Thank you so much for time in advance.


God bless!

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For spelling, you could look at Logic of English Essentials.  She has a schedule for struggling spellers from 9 years old to adult students(she also has free training videos for you on her site).  Teach one lesson every one to two days and completing LOE in 8-16 weeks.  I would also check out her advanced spelling list to use instead of the spelling words in the book OR use the book entirely for spelling and then go through again using the advanced spelling words.  If you started now, she could get through LOE by Sept/Oct and then start using the Advanced list for her 8th grade year.  Just a thought.  

Hope you find something soon!

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For math, it depends on where her issues lie.  How is she with computation vs. conceptual understanding?  I did not know to ask that with my own DD until she was in middle school, but the answer matters.  Could you give her a placement test for CLE or Right Start Math or even Saxon or something else along those lines and see where her weak spots are?  Most placement tests are free or a low cost.  Even if you didn't purchase the program, just seeing where she stumbles might help you find where she needs help.  


Also, did she have trouble because it was timed?  Does she get stressed when under time pressure?  Or does she process math problems more slowly than would be needed to answer questions effectively and quickly in a timed setting?  My DS did great with math when it wasn't timed.  But his teacher was telling me he was failing his timed math tests in class in prep for the big end of semester test.  I finally asked if he was missing the math problems or just not completing the tests.  She showed me.  Every problem he answers was correct.  But he wasn't able to write quickly enough to get through all of the problems.  She had erroneously assumed it meant he didn't understand the math.  He did.  He just couldn't get it onto the paper quickly enough.  


If you can find out where the disconnect is you could go back as far as needed to solidify those areas specifically over the summer before hopefully moving on in the fall.  For instance, maybe she needs work with fractions, or decimals, or percentages, or all three.  You could get the Key to ...workbooks and have her move through those all summer until those weak areas are solidified.  




Or if she is actually struggling with basic subitization skills then maybe working on that with Ronit Bird books like Overcoming Difficulty with Numbers might help.  





 You might also play a lot of math games.  That has helped my kids understand math quite a bit better.  



If she is struggling with Algebraic concepts then perhaps Hands On Equations would help.  



Is she a visual spatial learner?  Kinesthetic?  Auditory?  Maybe watching the Great Courses DVD Fundamentals of Mathematics might help. It was recommended to me recently and we just got it in.  I have been perusing it and like it a lot so far.


Seek to find the specific areas she needs help and go back as far as needed to solidify those areas..  That will help a lot more, IMHO, than curriculum hopping.  BTDT.   Still on this journey ourselves.  I totally sympathize.



Good luck and best wishes!  :grouphug:

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I was in a similar situation for spelling and mechanics with my youngest back in the late 90s. I never got his spelling and mechanics up to grade level, despite him having all 12+ scores in almost all other subjects starting at grade 5.


With all I know now, and all the books I have now, I THINK I could go back and IMPROVE his scores, but I think I still might not be able to get him up to grade level in an efficient manner.


In the English speaking world we still don't have an efficient way to teach spelling explicitly to those who are not natural spellers. We have all sorts of time consuming and expensive methods that take lots of teacher training, that do IMPROVE, but don't fix the problem.


Phonics is a HOBBY of mine. I enjoy studying it and trying to come up with efficient methods to teach it to LD students. The more I learn though, the more I despair of accomplishing anything major with the left behind students without great visual memory skills.


As for math, too often, we try to push students past their developmental readiness. Once a student is not at grade level, the highest scores for THAT student will come from placing them at their REAL level and slowly and steadily moving forward. NOT trying to teach to grade level will often produce higher scores than trying and failing to teach to grade level. I'm not sure if that makes sense.


I'm not offering quick fixes and sound so discouraging. I'm sorry. But looking for quick fixes can be expensive and take precious time away from subjects that the student CAN continue to make progress in, and that the student enjoys.


So, do follow up on some leads, and do make SOME effort to remediate these below grade levels subjects, BUT, keep it all in perspective. You are not a bad mom/teacher and your student is not a failure, if you never get up to grade level.


Spelling: just UGH!  :willy_nilly:


Math: slow and steady wins the race.

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Completing my OWN student notebook for Spalding's Writing Road to Reading the 4th edition was one of the best teacher training moves I ever made, but when it comes to TEACHING it, to certain older students along with a LONG list of other subjects too,  :willy_nilly:  :banghead:  :ack2:


The students that NEED spelling the most, make the slowest progress with intensive spelling programs. You put in lots of time and money, sacrificing other areas, just to get less results than others report.

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