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Licoricewhip

AoPS Prealgebra-Does your kid write out the problems?

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We just finished chapter 1 of AoPS prealgebra and DS 11 is totally balking at writing out the problems. He's always hated to write, but many of the exercise, review, and challenge problems required him to cross things out, regroup, etc., and sometimes he really needed to have the numbers on a sheet in front of him. I wrote out a few for him, but it was long and tedious and not how I want to spend my time. Do your kids willingly write out the problems if they need to manipulate the numbers? I thought of making copies of these sections, but the way they are spaced on the sheet doesn't offer much room for writing either. The math in this chapter was no problem and I'd like to continue, but I don't want each day to be a writing battle. Is it just my kid?

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Are you taking the online course ? We are for Prealgebra 1 and 4 weeks into it. My DS11 is very mathy. But hates to write out the problems.. Even the tough ones. Its been a big battle between us for months may be even an year :)

 

With Aops , the challenging problems even some of the alcumus need him to write down to simplify. Simply impossible to do it in his head.. Yes slowly getting there. With Online course there is also a writing problem that is a must for submission thats being graded by a live person. He is yielding slowly to this habit...Its a very important skill to be developed. You will need to work through this IMHO.

This skill is kind of like teaching how to ride a bike.. You need to hold on till they get a grasp and slowly let go..

 

 

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Not just your kid.  My ds wrote as little as possible during that book, doing much more than I ever thought possible in his head.  It took time, but he would shout out an answer several minutes after starting a problem - it got so that I thought he was cheating and I hid the answer book LOL (he wasn't).  He has issues with handwriting generally.  He really didn't get better about writing until the middle of the algebra book.  He is taking geometry at school and he still doesn't write if he can avoid it.

 

Try a white board!  Write the problem for him.  The problems in AoPS are nowhere near as voluminous or as tedious as in other programs.

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Of my two AoPS prealg users, one prefers writing as minimally as possible in all things, and the other writes out everything out of habit.

 

The balking DC does not mind writing out problems on a Boogie Board. He'd also use a whiteboard willingly, but Boogie Boards don't care if you misplace the original pen/marker. A fingernail or mechanical pencil (with the lead pushed in) work on them just as well. FWIW, I don't mind letting him learn this lesson the hard way. I let him attempt as much as he wants in his head, but I don't hesitate to point out the mistakes. He's getting better at putting two and two together and just grabbing the Boogie.

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My kid did not like writing things out. But I felt that book was the right time to teach organisation, so I made him write out everything for every single problem. Only for chapter 1 though. Good times :)

 

Now he has no problem organising his work.

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We mostly do it on the whiteboard because it seems more fun that way. It's one of the few things we do together as a lot of her other work is independent. (Besides, I like doing math with her because it means I'm not getting left behind. I've forgotten a lot of my college level math and could definitely use a pre-algebra refresher...though I never learned AoPS style anyway.) All of that to say, I write the problem on the whiteboard and we take turns at the board. I'll write what she tells me to for a problem and then she'll take a turn on the next problem "teaching it to me". She really likes being the teacher. She has written them on paper, but she doesn't like to. She prefers to do things in her head when she can, and sometimes the book asks you to do things that way which makes her happy, but in general I insist she write it down and show me the steps clearly (on the whiteboard). I've explained to her that even if she feels like it takes too much time and writing, it takes less time than if you get it wrong and have to start all over. At least if you have it written down you have a chance of finding  your mistake. I also like to remind her that in b&m school she'd have points deducted for now showing her steps. She doesn't like to think about not receiving full credit.  ;)

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Are you taking the online course ? We are for Prealgebra 1 and 4 weeks into it. My DS11 is very mathy. But hates to write out the problems.. Even the tough ones. Its been a big battle between us for months may be even an year :)

 

With Aops , the challenging problems even some of the alcumus need him to write down to simplify. Simply impossible to do it in his head.. Yes slowly getting there. With Online course there is also a writing problem that is a must for submission thats being graded by a live person. He is yielding slowly to this habit...Its a very important skill to be developed. You will need to work through this IMHO.

This skill is kind of like teaching how to ride a bike.. You need to hold on till they get a grasp and slowly let go..

 

We're not doing it online, just using the book at home. 

 

He does so much of it in his head, but if there's a problem he gets really frustrated because he can't look back, and that's not usually a good time to point out that writing them actually makes it easier. :-)  We've done problems on a small whiteboard, but I think we'll have to move to the larger whiteboard and see if that works. As we went through the first chapter I was trying to decide how important I felt it was that he write them out as I think organization is a crucial skill or if it was simply more important at this point to feed his love of math and hope/teach better organization as he matures. 

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My daughter hates writing anything out. We did Singapore through 5B, and she tries very hard to do it all as mental math. We started AoPS Prealgebra back in September and I used the first chapter to demonstrate how teaches in "factory" school expect their students to write out the proofs--one has to show each logical step. She did not like having to do so. We are now in chapter 9 and she still tries to write the minimum possible. She likes list the problem number and then write the final answer next to it. At first she tried to get away with writing a few numbers off to the side, but it was difficult to figure out which numbers went with which problem. At least now, she draws a box around all the work that goes with the problem and circles the final answer. But it is still a struggle to get her to write the intermediate steps. 

 

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My rule is if you get the problem wrong, then you need to write it out.  If you are correctly solving the problems without using a pencil, then I don't worry.  We had one math coach who recommended using more mental math to get more efficient in competition math.  But I'd rather be correct than fast.  

 

Do you go through the exercises together?  I do the bulk of the writing as the kids dictate to me the solutions to the problems.  (They do the exercises on their own.)  Model good behavior and make sure you also write out each step, even if it's the area of triangle and you've already written A = 1/2 bh a million times already, and everyone already knows the formula.  

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We have the same issue.  I also have the same rule about if you get it wrong, you need to write it out.  The problem is that when I say it's not correct, he will say, "Oooh yea, it's actually .... X = correct answer."  

 

There's some excellent advice from Lewelma in this thread on the topic.  

 

http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/579528-need-to-get-dd-to-slow-down-and-write-neatly-inst-of-mental-math/

Edited by Cindyz

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