Jump to content

Menu

HELP! I am drowning and so is my daughter!


Recommended Posts

First time homeschool momma here and we are struggling. My daughter completed 3rd grade in public school and was an honor roll student. She passed all of her SOLs. I order Abeka Language Arts (4th Grade) which has English, Reading, Spelling and Penmanship. So day 1, I realize that she can't tell me what a fragment sentence is and then she doesn't know any of the types of sentences. It took us an hour and a half to get through just the language lesson.  We have went through 2 quizzes which she failed both of them. I let her retake Quiz 1 and she still only got 6 right and that was after going over the stuff for 11 days! I had her do extra worksheets and everything to help her. Reading has been horrible. She is leaving out words, adding words, changing words, can't pronounce several words per page and can't really sounds them out! She doesn't like to pause at the end of a sentence Ex: She kept pronouncing Giles as Gales. She does still get her b and d mixed up. Not all the time but she does quite frequently have to think which one she needs to write. Spelling was also horrible, she had to dictate this sentence, "Someone stole our dog last September.". She wrote it like this "Someone stoll ower dog last September". She would get 100-110 on spelling test in public school but then the next week couldn't spell the words she just had a test over. Penmanship I switched to Handwriting without tears because Abeka assumes that she was taught to write cursive and she was not.

 

We are using Saxon math and she is doing ok with it. She still doesn't know her math facts (addition, subtraction, multiplication). It took her almost 11 minutes to do the saxon math drill today of 100 simple addition problems. One of her lesson problems was 38 + 3 and she answered 121 and when I brought her back over to correct it, she told me the answer right away. She said she didn't know why she wrote that. She done this on several problems.

 

Someone PLEASE help me!!!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would suggest having her tested for a learning Disability.  DS also did great on spelling tests but has dyslexia and we think dysgraphia.  You will feel better to have her tested.  Your local school should be able to do that for you and If they get fussy, go over their head.  I would also drop the worksheets and find a way to teach the material using kinetic or verbal methods and see if there is any improvement. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OK...only my two oldest kids went to public school (so I'm not an expert at what they learn in ps) and it was only for a year, but here's my thoughts.

 

1.  Math facts - yeah, I confess my 4th grader does not have all of her math facts memorized (specifically multiplication/division).  It seemed like somewhere in 4th grade was when they all clicked for my older kids.  I would just do some flashcard work for a few minutes every day before math.  Just make that a goal this year to get them all down.  There's also stuff like math songs, those video games where they learn math facts, Time Tales, etc.

 

2.  38+3 = 121...was she tired?  This sounds like something my kids would do when they're tired.  I try to keep math under half an hour.  Any more than that and my kids are in outer space.  Even my 7th grader will start to space out after about 30-40 minutes of math.

 

3.  Getting b and d mixed up.  I had my son evaluated once and was told by our early education center that kids do that even in 3rd grade.  They said it was very common.  I've seen my 9 yro stop and think before she writes a b or d. 

 

4.  The reading: It sounds like she needs to slow down and do more practice reading out loud.  This is why I periodically make my kids read aloud from stuff like McGuffey's Reader.  I've caught all kinds of weird mistakes that way (even in my older kids).  Stuff you would think they already knew...  Even if we are working on a math workbook, I'll have the 4th grader read the directions out loud to practice.  

 

5.  Spelling - it sounds like she was memorizing the spellings and forgetting them.  Do you think she needs to do more work with phonics?  Or a phonics-based spelling program?

 

6.  Abeka - Abeka can be a difficult program in the younger years (IMO).  That was actually the first curriculum I bought when we started homeschooling and one of my kids would cry when I brought the books out.  Also, it's hard to jump in the middle of a program, because everybody has a different scope and sequence.  So, she may have been learning completely different topics than Abeka's LA 1-3.  So, she's really jumping in the middle.  There will be a learning curve anytime you change curricula.

 

:grouphug:   Good luck!  The first year homeschooling is really rough.  Our first and second years felt like disasters.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We're starting homeschooling this year too, and it looks like my younger kid is the same age as your daughter.

 

Many schools don't put much of an emphasis on spelling nowadays. Even when they do, spelling for a test is different than spelling in the heat of the moment. When it's for a test, you have the word right there in your memory, because you studied. When you're writing - especially when the test is long in the past - it's not there anymore, you're focused on other things. On the plus side, her spellings for our and stole are perfectly reasonable. They're just incorrect. I've seen some doozies of misspellings on homework over the years, a reasonably spelled (but incorrect) spelling doesn't shock me anymore. I can't tell you what spelling curriculum is a good idea for homeschooling (because we're just starting!) but I bet if you go back and review with one, things will get better.

 

Not pausing at the end of a sentence is another bad habit - and that's all it is, a habit - that kids pick up. I wouldn't worry about that.I did cure my kids of that before this summer by reading aloud to them, pointing out the punctuation if they skipped over it if they were reading to me, occasionally reading in a super exaggerated monotone (you know, to set the example), and repeating "reading aloud is an art!" a bazillion times a day.

 

As for math facts... you know what? I got this advice from teachers, and it's really good advice. As much as possible, make drill into games. Get a deck of cards and play multiplication war, addition go fish. Get some dice and play shut the box (we use 8 sided dice). Get a copy of Sleeping Queens, and another of Zeus on the Loose. Sitting there with a sheet of 100 problems, after already spending an hour and a half doing LA that's apparently too hard and stressful - I think my girls would kill me. Seriously, I'd be a puddle of goo on the floor, and they'd be quite right! It sounds like misery. We had to do a lot of extra math work with the one girl and extra spelling with the other over the years, and if we just threw it in there after a stressful homework session they would get simple easy stuff wrong and cry while they did it as well. The easy, gentle, fun way works just as well, but without all the drama.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is a big transition for both of you, and the newness of the educational setting may distract her. Perhaps you need to ease into the homeschooling more. Also, remember that now your child doesn't have to learn things in as linear an order as in school. Personally, I delayed the most of the grammar until Middle School. Once the kid is a little older and has better abstract-thinking skills, the grammar will be much easier and faster to learn. My daughter also had delayed math facts. They all sunk in the summer between fourth and fifth.

 

My suggestion is that you get a bunch of books and read aloud together and just make it fun for a while. And if the math facts are not progressing, then focus on concepts for now and tackle the facts again in a few months. For spelling, you might try something pattern-based like Sequential Spelling. We got more mileage out of that than programs where you memorize words. And look at what your child's strength is and capitalize on that. If it is history or science, read tons of books on the subject. While reading, you can identify and gradually correct any reading problems.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We are in VA and we have to test at the end of every year. Since I did not have anything to compare her to really get an idea of where she is, I ordered her CAT test. We took it last week and should get the results back this week. I'm just afraid of failing and failing her as a teacher. I don't want her to be behind.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm just afraid of failing and failing her as a teacher. I don't want her to be behind.

No, no, no, no, NO! :) You are obviously a conscientious parent to be seeing these areas that need improvement! I completely agree with kiana.

 

She sounds misplaced. Like her prior knowledge didn't prepare her well, especially in English. She may not be ready for the level you're doing.

My understanding is that Abeka is pretty rigorous, and it likely follows a very different scope and sequence than your DD's school. Saxon excels at drill and frequently spirals through prior math, while what she was using before may have let her test and forget.

 

But honestly, because of the disconnect between what you are seeing and this...

 

My daughter completed 3rd grade in public school and was an honor roll student. She passed all of her SOLs.

...I would say it is the school that has been failing your DD. The good news is that you are in control now. Take note of what needs work and charge forward, but don't be nervous and don't sell yourself short, because YOU are the one who is observing all this. Why wasn't it observed when she was earning A's? You and your DD are going to be fine. Just back up to the essentials and work from there!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It sounds like she was taught with sight words in school. You are going to have to go back to the beginning of phonics and use a lot of nonsense words and word lists to help break the guessing habit. I recommend that you read everything for her for a month or two except her phonics work, reading sentences or stories before the guessing habit is broken sets back the learning of phonics and encourages the guessing habits.

 

I recommend the things on my how to tutor page, everything you need is free to print and linked at the end. If you need more nonsense words after a month or two, add in We All Can Read, 3rd grade and above by James Williams.

 

http://www.thephonicspage.org/On%20Reading/howtotutor.html

 

She can also watch my online phonics lessons for reinforcement. They use the gospel of Romans, but I am guessing you will be OK with that if you are using A Beka.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 I'm just afraid of failing and failing her as a teacher. I don't want her to be behind.

 

I realize how terrifying this must be, but you are going to have to change you thinking. To start with, the school have left your dd behind. You haven't had a chance to fail her yet. What you can NOT do, is teach her where you think she should be and expect her to learn. You must figure out where she is, start there and work forward. She will learn, she will be fine. If where she is was excelling at the end of third grade by public school standards, then where she will be after a year of one-on-one tutoring will be even better. 

 

Try to control the panic. Do some placement testing. Do some backing up. Find where she can do the work and still learn and then move forward. Do not allow her to drown. Do not try to drag her through water that is over her head. Let her wade in and find her depth and swim!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

:grouphug:

 

My how to tutor page has spelling, but I would follow up the Spelling with Spelling Plus by Susan C. Anthony. I don't think A Beka is a good fit for where you are right now for LA, it is hard to do orally, you need to focus on what was missed in school.

 

Most schools nowadays also don't teach much grammar or emphasize math facts, they go to calculators early.

 

I would quickly work through FLL 1 and 2 over a few months, doing it orally and not worrying about the repetition unless it is needed. I would not get the workbook.

 

http://www.amazon.com/First-Language-Lessons-Well-Trained-Levels/dp/0971412928/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1407199224&sr=8-4&keywords=First+language+lessons

 

Then, you can either skip 3 or skim 3 and go to 4.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Families that leave traditional school often talk of a period of "deschooling." I'm not sure what your reasons for starting homeschooling may be, but it sounds as if you could use a period to reset your homeschool expectations. I'd take a month and do very relaxed schooling - lots of reading, run through basic arithmetic facts, and figure out where your daughter is in terms of academic attainment. She may be used to playing games to cover for performance gaps, but she won't be able to as the only student in class! 

 

I'd also step way from the idea of doing hours and hours of school. It's exhausting for her but especially for you. If it's not clicking, if you're butting heads, you will only benefit from stepping away and coming back even twenty minutes later. 

 

FWIW, I see how 38 +  3 = 121. I've seen my own DS do it several times. He thinks: "eight plus three is eleven, carry the one, eleven plus one is twelve." When these mistakes show up, I ask him to read aloud every problem as he does it. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Did you do the Saxon placement test before you put her in? What level is she doing?

 

The language is where she sounds the most misplaced. In addition to what Elizabeth said about phonics, I would look for a language arts curriculum that doesn't pre-suppose a lot of prior knowledge. A grammar curriculum that assumes you've been having intensive grammar instruction all along is not a good fit. Furthermore, it's clearly not necessary for passing the SOL's, otherwise she wouldn't have been doing so well in school.

 

You might consider one of the following:

Saxon homeschool/Hake grade 4 grammar and writing. This has the Saxon methodology and it's the starting point in the series, so it won't be assuming as much that she doesn't know. It's about $60 on RR.

Rod and Staff -- but here I would start in 3rd grade. That will cover MORE than enough to pass the SOL's. Also cheap.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi, I just pulled out my DD in the same grade!  I have noticed several issues, and have been working all summer to help correct them, so we can be on grade level soon. 

 

For math, unfortunately math facts just are not being made a priority in schools.  I decided to re-do 3rd grade math b/c I knew she had so many holes.  I think this was the best decision!  I did get Saxon b/c it still had a lot of manipulatives in the 3rd grade level (which we need).  So far we are doing 2 lessons per day, and have done a little over 1/2 of the 3rd grade book.  I don't do every question, I pick and choose so it doesn't take forever.  I also just pick the parts of he meeting to do, so it doesn't take as long.  She is so proud of herself!  I've seen massive improvement and recalling of math facts, understanding on topics she was lost on (fractions!), everything is slow and steady.  The biggest improvement has been in her self confidence, though!  We do spend a good hour per day on math, but she knows that will end as soon as we are done w/ the Saxon 3, and working on 4th grade stuff.  She also knew she was behind and agreed that Saxon 3 was a better place for her to start.  We were having tears b/c she did not understand the math lessons in PS, now she gets it all quickly and is ready to move on.  It's like night and day!  I don't know if we will stick with it forever, but I really think that we made the right choice in math, it's worth it to back up and get the foundation down before moving on.  It's also worth it to boost their self esteem. 

 

In spelling, I decided to go w/ LOE.  We are using the spelling list on-line, so the words are harder than the list in the teacher manual.  This is also what we are doing or Grammar, since that's included.  It is going over all the phonics (which is great!) but not in a baby-ish way.  We have just started a few lessons, but so far so good.  There are games and stuff for fun.  Our LA is CAP Writing and Rhetoric (she loves this, it's her favorite of all the LA), LOE (Spelling and Grammar), and Wordly Wise b/c she needed some vocabulary. 

 

We have been doing the math all summer, and now she's really fast at it.  I've figured out that each time we start a new program it takes a few lessons before they know what is expected.  Maybe just do one or two new books per week until you are doing everything?  That's what I am doing.  Good Luck!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not sure assigning lots of worksheets is going to solve the problem. That's a group/classroom solution. Try something more individualized. Try her on copywork, a sentence at a time, and see how she does. Then bump it up to two sentences. Have her read them aloud first. Copy them. Write them from dictation last of all.

 

I might look at something like Phonics Pathways that can be used to reinforce phonetic reading skills and you can pull the words for spelling as well.

 

I would have her read aloud every day, something that's easy for her to read--below grade level is ok at first, but an enjoyable story. See how long she can read without pooping out--what's her stamina level--and that will tell you a bit about how hard reading is for her. Have her stop and summarize after a page or two. That will tell you a bit about reading comprehension. Buddy read with her, trading off paragraphs, using lots of expression, talking about how punctuation helps us figure out meaning, pointing out whole sentences *in her reading* as well as fragments or dialogue and quotation marks. Sit together on the couch, not just at the table.

 

If she's having that much trouble with language arts, you might try doing grammar orally from the worksheet and *you* help her write the answers down. OR you could try something like Grammar Songs first, sing the songs along with the CD, read/discuss, and then do the oral exercises.

 

Don't do one thing for more than 30 min. at a time or you'll both burn out. Break it up. Better to make sure the foundation is firm before you start building on it. You can do this!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with everyone who has explained that you need to meet her where she is rather than where you think she should be.

 

As far as results from a standardized test, those results may very well say that she is working at or ahead of grade level. Being able to perform well on a standardized test will not tell you what level of ABeka grammar she should be using. Welcome to the world of why so many homeschoolers don't test or don't put much emphasis on test scores. :)

 

I also agree that a product like ABeka or Rod and Staff or any other grammar heavy product used at grade level is probably not a good choice coming out of the ps where grammar study was probably minimal. Either go back a grade level or use a program that doesn't assume prior knowledge.

 

Saxon 54 may work out fine. You may just need to move slowly and use something other than their drill sheets for math facts.

 

In grade 4, I also agree with not going over 30min in a subject unless she is really into something like reading a book or working on a project. One way to do this is to break down the lesson. For example, do math drill, and then do phonics. Then, do the reading portion of science. Tandem read the science. You read a section or paragraph, and then she reads a section or paragraph. Then, go back and do the mental portion and teaching portion of Saxon. Do a bunch of other things before having her come back and so the problem set. Some kids find schooling this way to be less exhausting and produce higher quality output than when they try to spend longer times fighting their way through.

 

HTH-

Mandy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First time homeschool momma here and we are struggling. My daughter completed 3rd grade in public school and was an honor roll student. She passed all of her SOLs. I order Abeka Language Arts (4th Grade) which has English, Reading, Spelling and Penmanship. So day 1, I realize that she can't tell me what a fragment sentence is and then she doesn't know any of the types of sentences. It took us an hour and a half to get through just the language lesson.  We have went through 2 quizzes which she failed both of them. I let her retake Quiz 1 and she still only got 6 right and that was after going over the stuff for 11 days! I had her do extra worksheets and everything to help her. Reading has been horrible. She is leaving out words, adding words, changing words, can't pronounce several words per page and can't really sounds them out! She doesn't like to pause at the end of a sentence Ex: She kept pronouncing Giles as Gales. She does still get her b and d mixed up. Not all the time but she does quite frequently have to think which one she needs to write. Spelling was also horrible, she had to dictate this sentence, "Someone stole our dog last September.". She wrote it like this "Someone stoll ower dog last September". She would get 100-110 on spelling test in public school but then the next week couldn't spell the words she just had a test over. Penmanship I switched to Handwriting without tears because Abeka assumes that she was taught to write cursive and she was not.

 

We are using Saxon math and she is doing ok with it. She still doesn't know her math facts (addition, subtraction, multiplication). It took her almost 11 minutes to do the saxon math drill today of 100 simple addition problems. One of her lesson problems was 38 + 3 and she answered 121 and when I brought her back over to correct it, she told me the answer right away. She said she didn't know why she wrote that. She done this on several problems.

 

Someone PLEASE help me!!!!!

 

 

Deep breath!  One thing for sure, panicking is not necessary!   She is still in elementary school and lost ground can be recovered.   You have so many issues listed that the first thing you need to do is to step back and evaluate the big picture goals for 4th grade and see just how few skills really need to be mastered.  Panicking, worksheets, quizzes, and stress are only going to cause both of you unneeded stress and will be counterproductive in the long-term.

 

School in a box, like Abeka, would completely overwhelm me.  I have been homeschooling for 20 yrs and have a background in elementary ed and I could not use Abeka with my kids without feeling like I was a homeschooling failure.  And no, I am not exaggerating!  School at home is just not how I function.  Having kids that fit into tidy categories where their abilities fit some imaginary pre-defined "this is what all 4th graders need to do precisely at this time" is just not reality.   Learning is messy.  Kids have abilities and skills that are uniquely theirs.  A far better approach is to ignore grade level and look at the little person in front of you and decide how to meet her needs where she is.  SHE is the focus, NOT the stack of Abeka books.   As a society we view education completely backward.   We want kids to meet fit into the box instead of creating a box that fits the child.  You and your dd have entered into the beauty of homeschooling.   You can ignore the Abeka box! (I homeschooled in VA for 5 yrs.  At this point you do not need to  stress over meeting VA testing standards.   She only has to be above the lowest 25th% on standardized testing and you have one probationary yr.)  

 

The only thing you need to focus on is helping your dd learn how to learn.  Approaching education from that approach means being willing to let go of 4th grade and instead thinking in terms of how to teach reading, how to teach spelling, how to teach writing, and how to teach math.   Other than handwriting, I would absolutely ignore everything else other than those 4 fundamental skills.

 

It sounds like a phonics remediation program would be a good idea.  Using something like AAS will work.  So you have chosen something that is definitely heading in the right direction.   If she placed into Saxon 54, I would close the book for a couple of weeks and just spend some time on math facts.   I would not do them in a boring way.   You can play games like dice games where you race each other up to 100.  Take turns rolling dice and adding them together and to your previous number and whoever gets to 100 first wins.   You can do something similar with multiplication.   You can play "War" with cards and flip up two cards each and either add or multiply your cards to decide who wins the cards.   (just make jacks =11, Qs=12, and Ks=13.  As can be assigned as 1 or 14.  Or if those are too difficult, just removed the face cards from the deck for the multiplication game.)

 

For writing, it is easy to start at the beginning, sentences, and still be writing paragraph reports by the end of the yr.   The link in my siggie is a writing program I have put together that does precisely that.  Multiple writing programs would be able to help your dd.  She can get there.  It will be OK.

 

 

If by Jan/Feb you feel like your dd is still not making progress, I would start considering the possibility of some sort of LDs at that point.   But, right now, not knowing her experiences at school, it might be hard to decide what are actual issues and what are simply the product of her academic background.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What would be a good curriculum that assumes no prior knowledge of grammar and writing?

 

See 8Filltheheart's link above. I believe she said that it starts with sentences, and had the kiddo working in paragraphs by the end of the year. It looks stellar.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You might look at these resources for grammar instead:  The Sentence Family http://www.stmichaelschool.us/sentencefamily.html

or Language Smarts B  http://www.criticalthinking.com/language-smarts-level-b.html#

(you can easily sharpie out the one place it mentions grade, which is on the cover.  I don't agree with the grade level they say there at all, but it's a great book)

or Grammar Island  http://www.rfwp.com/series/grammar-elementary-program-by-michael-clay-thompson

 

I agree that the spelling is not that big of a deal.  Very typical of the age.  My dd did the same thing.  I freaked out and started reviewing some phonics with her, but really, I think it's the age.  Just make her rewrite it with the correct spelling.  And keep doing a spelling curriculum of some sort.

 

I would drop math curriculum and just work on understanding and memorizing math facts right now.  They are a necessary foundation.  

 

It really will be okay.  You are discovering the holes in her learning.  Now you just have to fill them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I pulled my to be 6th grade son out of public school this year because I felt that despite good standardized test scores he wasn't really learning. I don't feel that they spent much time at all on grammar or building a solid foundation in math. I will say they used Sequential Spelling, and that has been a great program for him. I highly recommend looking into it. As math has been my area of largest concern that is what I have focused on this summer. I bought all of the Math Mammoth levels and had him start by taking the end of year tests, starting with grade 1, so that I could see where his weaknesses were before we progressed too far. This has really allowed us to work on solidifying his base.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have been teaching remedial reading for 20 years and have worked with hundreds of students. When I first started, I used Phonics Pathways and a few other programs that are good sound phonics programs. They work, but much slower than a program targeted for someone who has guessing problems from sight word and other whole word teaching. When I switched to my own methods and nonsense words, my remediation times dropped in half. When I had my students limit their outside reading and just work on word lists and nonsense words, they time to get to grade level dropped in half again.

 

I have also tried things similar to AAS and LOE. Again, they work, but much slower than something targeted for an older remedial student with a guessing habit.

 

About 6 years ago, I discovered Webster's Speller and added it to my remediation program. White it did not decrease the time it takes to get to grade level, the majority of my students went from going to at grade level to a few grades above their current reading grade level.

 

Until you have worked with numbers of students who have guessing problems, you cannot understand how damaging the guessing habits are to learning phonics and breaking the habit of guessing at words as wholes. I have actually had inner city students and formerly homeless children get to grade level faster than my middle class students because they have no bad reading habits to break because they had few hours working with whole word methods!

 

You could use a regular program as long as you supplement with nonsense words, but I recommend the things on my how to tutor page for efficiency for a remedial student coming out of the standard public school environment.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Elizabeth I have been on your site a lot today, reading and checking out the different things. I will be having her do the placement test to see what level she is. Everyone has been so helpful!

If you have questions about any of the tests, let me know. The MWIA is key to tracking remediation progress, a younger student will eventually miss no words at all on either the phonetic or holistic portion of the MWIA and will read both at exactly the same rate. You should be able to get the times to within 10% with remediation, older students often will have a 10% to 15% difference holding steady, someone starting nonsense words at the beginning of 4th grade should be able to get to 5 or 10%, any older and 15% is usually what they get down to. Most of my remedial students start with a 20 to 50% slowdown.

 

All About Spelling would be a good follow on to the things on my how to tutor page, it is a good solid program.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How do I get the percentage of slow down? Does it give the calculation guide?

Pages 3 - 5 shows how.

 

http://www.donpotter.net/pdf/mwia.pdf

 

It is basically the WPM (word per minute) rates compared as a percentage.

 

In order to reuse the tests, do not tell errors, use noncommittal words such as OK or try the next word if she needs to be prodded to move on after a few attempts at a word. Also, she can say skip if you can't figure out a word, this helps you keep in track as to where she is on the test.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It sounds as if you are in Virginia (SOLs).  We are in Virginia also, and my son just finished third grade,.  He will be homeschooled for 4th grade.  The education here is petty bad, much worse than we parents realize until we pull them out and start educating ourselves and schooling them on our own.  When I visited a homeschool convention this summer, a well-known vendor (Rod and Staff) told me that often kids have to step back a grade in their products because public school doesn't cover a lot with grammar, usage, etc..  So before you go wandering down a trail where you think your child is disabled, or you are not a capable teacher, consider this:
 
1.  They don't teach phonics here at all; it's all sight word nonsense.  While my son is an excellent reader (one of those lucky kids who can read no matter how you teach him), I am remediating the phonics part of things with Logic of English Essentials in order to head off issue with spelling and writing in the future.  I know there are other phonics-remediation curricula on the market and I'm sure that LoE isn't the only thing you could use to get the phonics remediation done.  I would head toward phonics remediation first, before you tackle anything else. We removed DD from public school after 5th grade and she was also a good reader, but needs phonics remediation for the same reasons DS will (spelling, writing).
 
2.  I put my son into Rod and Staff 3 for English to begin with.  We'll skip lessons there that he is adept at, complete that at a brisk pace this year, and start Rod and Staff 4 later into the year.  We'll complete R+S 4 and R+S 5 in 5th grade using the same strategy.  The kids in Virginia just are not taught grammar, sentence structure, or proper punctuation, so it is not surprising your child can't do those things.  Your kid is not dumb and you are not a bad teacher; the material is just not presented to these kids and so it's not surprising they wouldn't know it.  Step back, meet the child where they are, and plan on a few years to catch up and fill holes.
 
3.  After I took DD out of school for 6th grade, I found out that her math facts were, err...shall we say....shaky.  She just didn't know them cold.  One year of Saxon and that's all fixed!  Do your Saxon book as directed, along with the facts practice, and those facts will come.  The kids really do increase their speed with those drills pretty quickly.  Math is now one of DD's strong subjects.  Make sure your child is properly placed in Saxon and stay the course; it will come in time.  Incidentally, DS's teacher this year in public school told me that the year DD was in 3rd grade (when the kids should be cementing their multiplication facts) was the year the SOLs changed form and that the 3rd grade teachers were under the impression they were not to dwell on learning multiplication facts!  I almost fell over.  Again, not your child's fault; the school did not emphasize these things, and as parents, we took our cues from the school.

 

4.  One other thing regarding writing nonsense answers in math:  DD did the same when she first came home.  I noticed she rushed to finish her work and then crammed all her work into much too small an area on the paper, which caused careless errors.  No matter how much I tried, she would.not.stop. doing cramming stuff with small print into too small space.  I finally asked her why, and she said that they rushed her all the time, and also rationed paper at school (even though I had to buy zillions of dollars worth of school supplies for her each year, which were apparently put into class distribution and not reserved for her).  So I told her I wanted her to waste paper!  No go; she couldn't bring herself to do it!  So I used graph paper and divided it into sections, 6 sections per page (which was waaay more than she needed), and told her she had to use one section per problem and write on the small squares.  She was horrified that I wasted that much paper, LOL!  But after a while, I was able to increase to 8 sections per page, and now she doesn't cramp her writing so much and she's on her own.  I tell you, those bad habits stick with the kids.  Keep at it.  It isn't your fault, there's likely nothing wrong with your child, and nit will get better!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I pulled my kids out of PS after 1st and 2nd grade.  It was a learning process for me to figure out where they were and what they could and couldn't do.  Once I figured out what they knew, I could move forward and build on it.  Going with what grade the material was labeled didn't always work for me.  I still remember a literature guide I used our first few days.  It was way over my kids' heads even though it was labeled for their grade level.  At the time, I was very upset about giving up on that guide.  I did realize that starting out frustrated was not good for any of us, though, and did shelf the guide for a future year. 

Does your dd have any worksheets from her last school year or any of the readers she used?  Why not review and re-read those with her and make sure she really knew what the school was teaching her?  Some math facts flashcards would probably be good, too.  I like the idea from others to see about some math games that teach math facts.  Easing into this transition might be helpful.  You're not failing her.               

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My daughter started homeschooling in 4th grade and did not know her math facts either. I discovered Reflex Math online program and it worked wonders! I got a deal on it through homeschoolbuyercoop.com. The program is made up of games that eventually help the child become fluent in their math facts. The only thing I didn't like is that you have to choose between addition/subtraction and multiplication/division - you can't do both at the same time and if you switch you lose all the progress in the previous one. But, she DID become fluent in her multiplication facts - it was really quite amazing and she loved playing the games. Hope that helps!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

DS is using Rod and Staff 3 because of a deficiency with grammar and sentence structure, and it assumes no prior knowledge (or very little) and starts with describing what is a subject and what is a verb.  It's religious, though, so if you are not into that, it won't work for you.  We also used Michael Clay Thompson Grammar Island for DD and she really picked up the basics of grammar quickly with that!

What would be a good curriculum that assumes no prior knowledge of grammar and writing?

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When we started 4th grade last year, I was surprised at how poorly my son performed the first week or so. (He had perfect scores on his FCAT, so I guess I expected more).  

 

BUT…within a few weeks, things were normal.  

 

It's normal to lose math facts over the summer.  They are not really cemented at this stage.  We really liked playing the Right Start card games.  We also used to do a Waldorfy thing of tossing/bouncing a ball to each other while we recited the multiplication tables. (I'd usually pick one I knew he didn't know very well, and we'd do that one every morning for a week as part of our circle time.)

 

We also made multiplication clocks using colored pencils.  http://learnersathome.blogspot.com/2010/02/multiplication-clock-from-robin-sunne.html

 

Re: B/D, one possible way to solve this is by teaching cursive.  That was one thing we did at the beginning of last year because my son's handwriting was simply illegible.  I made him write everything in cursive.  He complained, but after about two weeks, he was very proud of how nice his cursive was.  These days, he refuses to print.

 

Grammaropolis has some fun videos to watch.  https://www.youtube.com/user/Grammaropolis

 

It's also a learning process to see which curricula work for both you and your child.  Abeka is very much loved, but it may not be a good fit for your DD.  Still, I'd slow down…. and just give it a chance.

 

If you are frustrated, I bet your daughter is too.  Can you do something else right now that she can succeed at?  How about reading a book and then doing a Lapbook or something along those lines? Something more fun?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We pulled my daughter out of school after first grade and did a year of combination de-schooling and re-schooling if that makes sense.  We did nothing but language arts (with extra reading) and math, I figured all the other subjects would be covered by what she read.  (These books were easy to find by checking http://oldfashionededucation.com/.)  By dropping everything but the essentials, you have time to evaluate what is lacking and bring the child up to speed without overwhelming her. 

 

Pick programs you like (or stick with what you have) and move down a level or two.  Give her gentle quizzes orally or on a white board one section at a time, noting the gaps in her eductation as you find them.  You may only need to use a few chapters here and there from the previous books.  Math facts can be your focus this year, we use http://www.bigbrainz.com/ for that, but there are lots of other recommendations on these boards.  Even if you spent all year on math facts, you could jump into Saxon 5/4 next year and not be behind.  (In fact, this is actually recommended by the Robinson curriculum.)  I would definitely do something phonics based, I dare say that is your biggest problem.  Because of her age, she may be resistant to programs she could percieve as babyish, so maybe try something like the book Phonics Pathways.  I would also consider All About Spelling.  We used it to improve my daughter's spelling after we brought her home and it was the only program that actually worked.  Just by being around the spelling lessons, my other daughter knew all the sounds for every letter and was able to read well enough to help me dictate some of the lesson's words, so this could be a two-in-one fix for you.  I would also spend lots of time side by side on the sofa, just reading to each other.  :)

 

Most importantly, you must know that you are not failing her and you will not fail her in the future.   Honestly, it sounds as if her school was failing her.  Give yourself a pat on the back for realizing that there is a problem and taking the steps to fix it.  You love your daughter and care enough to take an active interest in her and her education, there is no way she will not come out above where she would have in an environment where she is a data point and the sum of her test scores.  You will succeed!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...