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Learning to format your math assignment (or writing, or whatever)


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Do you teach your children the skill of formatting a page nicely, so for example:

 

Top margin contains full name, date, and assignment title

Side margin has problem numbers, and on a math assignment, possibly that the page is folded in two to create two columns for problems

Answers are boxed or underlined or similar

Etc, you get the idea

 

If so, starting at what age?

 

I just started doing this with my ds for when he has in-textbook reviews for Singapore Math.  It's going ok, and I'm sort of wondering if I should move him over to doing ALL work on separate paper, for a few reasons:

 

- attention to detail when transcribing the original problem

- prep for higher math without workbooks (we're one book away from PreA)

- possibly saving money by being able to re-use the higher level SM WBs for younger sibs.  The lower level ones sort of need the WBs for puzzles and the "draw a line to connect to the answer" type problems, not to mention younger students would have a much harder time.

- Prep for some possible future out-of-home schooling

 

But he is 9, so if this seems developmentally inappropriate, then please tell me what you think!  It is hard to judge since his math age doesn't necessarily correspond to his physical age.  

 

I am not interested in the sheet protector plus whiteboard marker method, really just asking about what age it is appropriate to have a student transcribing their problems to paper.  

 

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I don't have an opinion on the proper age since I think it depends on the kid.

 

Eldest learned it late (8th grade?).

I'm teaching it to dd#2 and dd#3 now. It is going better with the younger one (close to your kid's age), but that could be just due to personality/fine motor skill rather than age.

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Yes, I think it would be beneficial. I have had a terrible time getting my daughter to neatly write out math problems so that I can follow what she has done. At first, she wanted to list the problem numbers on the left hand side, and then just write the answers there. The associated work was scribbled off to the right in no organized way. I have emphasized to her that I need to be able to find the work that goes with each answer, and I have tried to get her to write down the problem she is working on and then write each step below that, and then the answer. But she still wants to cram all of her work in a tiny little space, and resists writing most of the steps. She gets upset if, when correcting problems, I write the problem in larger script on the blank half of the page. She complains that I am wasting paper (as if we had a shortage). 

 

We also used Singapore Workbooks for 1 through 5, so it was not really an issue before. But now we are doing Art of Problem Solving Prealgebra, which assumes one is doing the problems on a separate page. 

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We also used Singapore Workbooks for 1 through 5, so it was not really an issue before. But now we are doing Art of Problem Solving Prealgebra, which assumes one is doing the problems on a separate page.

I start teaching how to format in preA. In elementary math, often the answer was the only thing to write down. My oldest is working in AOPS preA and RS Geometry. It was this year effete I taught her to format a paper, and WHY.

 

It is not a skill she has mastered. But I hope to have it solid before algebra.

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I know I really started pushing it with my daughter around nine or so, when math started involving a lot of writing for multiplication and division. It has really paid off as she works through algebra because her work is very neat and tidy.

 

I haven't pushed it as much with my son because his writing tends to be naturally neat, but we have pushed the heading of the paper a bit more in the last year or two. He's newly eleven.

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Thank you for all of your responses!  It sounds like I am about on-track, age-wise and math level-wise.  

 

A graph-paper spiral notebook is a great idea.  I think if I attempt to have him to SM5 on paper, I will go with this, so that there is less paperwork to lose.  lol.  

 

I was happy to see he took some pride in the end result of a nicely laid-out paper today.   That's what I'm going for!  

 

My thought is: We'll start with math, where it's quite easy to give very explicit instructions for formatting, then we'll ease into it with the LA stuff once the whole heading/margins thing is established.  Paper here rarely has margins in the way US notebook paper does.  Kids have to draw them on, which I guess is a fine-motor and ruler skill in and of itself.  

 

 

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I don't bother worrying about it until my kids reach higher level math. At that point, they all learn it quickly and painlessly, and it's never been an issue.

 

For my 10yo, who is the only one of my kids not to use Singapore Primary Math, I use a piece of graph paper that I fold in half. I write the problems neatly for him, and he writes the answers. That way, he's getting a model of how to write them, but he can just focus on answering.

 

 

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That is one reason I'm not fond of workbooks for math past 2nd or 3rd grade--the children don't learn how to format their written math.

 

R&S is a textbook beginning at 3rd grade. I think that's an acceptable age for children to begin writing their math.

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I taught my DD to write her math on college ruled paper when I switched her from a workbook based math to a textbook based prealgebra program. I had to sit with her every step of the way for about two weeks before she got it. I still occassionally have to remind her to box her answers. I don't have her write her name on the paper.

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I think I had to start writing out seperate math problems around 3rd grade when I was growing up. I feel that at about this level the math gets to where you have to write out multiple steps. I don't think I had any problem with it, but at the same time I've seen 10th graders having trouble with this.

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I think I had to start writing out seperate math problems around 3rd grade when I was growing up. I feel that at about this level the math gets to where you have to write out multiple steps. I don't think I had any problem with it, but at the same time I've seen 10th graders having trouble with this.

 

I've been wracking my brain trying to figure out when I started writing out problems from a text...  I feel like my 8th grade teacher was still giving us dittos for homework every day, but I know in high school I was writing them out on paper with no issues.  I don't remember any sort of learning curve, but I was also a child who naturally leaned toward organization...

 

Not so much for my ds.  lol.  

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I've been wracking my brain trying to figure out when I started writing out problems from a text...  I feel like my 8th grade teacher was still giving us dittos for homework every day, but I know in high school I was writing them out on paper with no issues.  I don't remember any sort of learning curve, but I was also a child who naturally leaned toward organization...

 

Not so much for my ds.  lol.  

 

I don't remember doing any sort of worksheets or copies or anything, ever, through all my years of school, for any subject.

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