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chaya
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I'm considering BA (3a) for my now third grader.

was wondering if this is something that is meant to be more of an independent study thing or if its more parent intensive. It seems written to the student, do you as a parent just step in when the child isnt understanding something or gets stuck? or is it expected that the parent will teach the lessons?

My ds is probably capable of getting most of it on his own but needs alot of encouragement to stay focused and on topic. and he lacks any initiative when it comes to math. so I will most likely be around while he is working, just wondering what level of parental involvement is expected.

thanks

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I would say it is pretty parent intensive. But not in the way that you have to teach the lesson. It is hard and takes a lot of thinking. So, as a parent, my job was to guide that thinking into the correct answers. There are parts where I could leave him to do the page on his own, but there were also many parts where we had to work through a page of questions together or he would not have understood it. And because of that, I had to know the material and the way they were teaching it, so it just benefited us both to do the entire thing together-read the "text" and then work through the problems, leaving him to independently do a small amount.

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They encourage it to be independent. However, it is challenging. I'm have found I need to check it over to make sure they are "getting it" and don't leave problems unfinished that are too hard. I have had to help him thing through a few different ones. On the most challenging ones, they give a clue in the back you can provide. I once had to email the publisher bc I couldn't figure something out, only to find out that they explained it in a previous chapter. So it is independent lessons with parental assistance and oversight.

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I think it's going to depend so much on the student. Especially with how they respond to challenge and not getting the answers immediately. If you have a child who enjoys the challenging puzzle, it can be pretty hands off. For my daughter, I could set a timer for math time and walk away for the easier questions, but needed to hand hold more when she got stuck.

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For us it is as most of the posters say -- I let my dd read the lesson and then she usually can tackle the first problems alone. Then she needs me there for support and Socratic guiding. But she's not particularly math oriented -- my ds would have been fine alone, however math is definitely his strongest subject.

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Absolutely depends on the child.  This can be an incredibly intense program.  Some kids may be able to do it on their own.   Most will need some guidance from a parent since it isn't really teaching how to just plug in numbers but to understand WHY and HOW and WHEN you plug in numbers.  Work collaboratively at least at first to get them used to the program and for you to gain understanding as well.  Then see how it goes.  The goal here really isn't to rush through to get correct answers.  The goal is to learn how to think through the problems at a deeper level.  If that means taking a LOOOOONG time to process through the problem, fine.  Let them take that time.  Help them move through the process of learning how to think mathematically.  And if they hit areas where they need to slow down, maybe take more than a year to complete the books in a level, that's fine, too.  

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DS and I read the guide out loud, each taking different characters' parts and doing voices.  It's lots of fun.  The bonus is I have read it with him, so it is easy to help him with the practice when he gets stuck. 

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DS and I read the guide out loud, each taking different characters' parts and doing voices. It's lots of fun. The bonus is I have read it with him, so it is easy to help him with the practice when he gets stuck.

Oh, that's a good approach! My dd wants to switch to BA next year (3rd), but I worried about her not being as strong of a reader. I think she would enjoy doing it this way, though, and I wouldn't be as worried about her reading level slowing her down.

 

I already use BA with my ds because he was struggling with some concepts in Singapore Math and just didn't seem to be getting things like he should. We ended up stepping back to BA 3B from Singapore 5A because it addressed his sticking points. He finally gets the order of operations and his multiplication facts improved significantly. He does things independently and I check his answers and talk through the problems he has the most difficulty with. We work by time (so x amount of time on math per day) and he gets done what he gets done. Sometimes that means he flies through several pages and other times he might get one or two problems done.

 

I also ask that he try solving the problem first on his own, then checking for hints in the back, and then coming to me for help - mostly because he needed practice puzzling through and failing at things a few times on his own. BA has helped tremendously with that for him.

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I have a very math adept kid and we tried BA 3A after finishing MIF (Singapore) 3. He did fine with the beginning of each lesson, but inevitably as the problems got more complex I had to lead him through it - to the point it felt like he was just watching me do it. He has the aptitude but I guess not enough of the interest or perseverance. When we addressed some of those topics in MIF 4 (like factoring) he didn't remember doing it in BA. So I don't think at this time that BA is good way for my son to learn new math. After switching back to MIF, he did most of grade 4 in the last quarter of a year, so he is a fast learner with math, just not from a puzzle angle. I'm planning on going back to 3B once he is fully finished with MIF 4 as review/ extension.

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My average student does a majority of it completely independently. I have three students using three different programs and we all sit at the table together. I focus my attention on the youngest but I'm there to redirect or answer questions as needed. The hardest part is staying quiet when no one needs me. I haven't read the guide books (well, except to find all the Princess Bride references). Some days he does two problems, some days four pages. He doesn't like to self-check, so I will check his work and give him a chance to rework the ones he missed. Sometimes I will step in if he seems to be doing too much arithmetic - this is not that type of program.

 

It is definitely not expected that the patent will teach the lesson.

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I agree with others that it depends on the child, and not just their intelligence, but their ability to sit through and wrestle with difficult material.

I had to read it out loud with my ds and sit with him for practice problems.

 

He was perfectly capable of reading the text on his own, but his understanding was so much better if we read it together and I could gauge his comprehension and make him slow down to really figure out what they were saying. I think the busyness of the comic book pages might have been distracting. As for the workbook, he has a low tolerance for frustration, and tends to run outside to climb a tree if I don't insist that he sits through his math problems.

 

I worried that all my hand-holding was keeping him from really learning himself. But after BA 4B he took the 6th grade Stanford test and his test scores were off the chart for problem solving and still above average for procedures.

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The program is written to the student. The teaching is introduced in the guidebooks but the critical teaching happens through problem solving. I think in the beginning you need to be working with the child to learn how to use the books. Also, there are some real challenging problems even in 3A. I think that even kids who aren't thrilled about struggling through problems develop this habit by using BA and by seeing you struggling through the problems with them. I was just listening yesterday to a conversation between DH and DS about a problem in 5B, and they were discussing how to do it (in the most mature way my son has ever discussed anything). He started BA at the end of 2nd grade and it has helped his perfectionism (e.g. "I won't try if I can't be perfect at it right away" has become "let me try"), his communication, his task persistence, as well as loosened his rigidity to see alternative ways of doing things.

 

I have a 3rd grader and a 5th grader using BA right now, and they both work on it about 60-75% independently. Some days they don't need me at all. Some days they struggle (with my help) to get through 5 ** problems. I am always on retainer. I will sometimes pull in things I have learned from RightStart, Singapore, and Education Unboxed if I think my kids need a little more instruction on a topic. For example DD was starting fractions in 3D, and she was just wasn't understanding the notation. Doing some concrete work with EducationUnboxed and cuisenaire rods helped her understand the concrete reality the notation was representing. My kids also use DreamBox for alternative practice. I sometimes send them to work on DreamBox for a change when they're burning out on something in BA.

Edited by Targhee
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While it would work great as a "teach yourself" program for a precocious child, I think many kids at the "quick" end of normal will need some guidance, particularly if they aren't used to thinking about math. For us the greatest struggle is that she can't just solve the problems by looking at them. Of course that's the gift of the book: it teaches bright kids to think and rewards them for that.

 

Usually my daughter reads the book, reads the instructions, then sits down the the first problem and is like, "Mom, I don't get it." What she means is, she hasn't solved the first problem with absolute certainty in her head. Then I ask her to explain the problem. She does. Then I ask what she was planning to do first. She explains it. Halfway through, she's solved it. Then she usually can do 3 - 4 pages in an hour, or 1 page of starred problems. For the starred problems--the challenge problems, I sometimes guide her. "What steps did you take before? How can you apply them here?"

 

My daughter is very good with procedural instruction, but at the same time, BA excites her. It's hard but when she gets a problem you can see her eyes light up. For me it's totally worth it. However, she goes to public school, so she gets instruction there on algorithms and procedures to back up what she learns in BA. Sometimes it overlaps and sometimes BA hits it later in a more critical way. We hope to start BA 4A on track in 4th.

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DD8 (BM3B) read it together (or she reads it aloud to me) and then I sit beside her while she does the worksheets.  We do however many take up a certain amount of time.  I find it very hard not to intervene too much, but DD will say, "No, let me DO IT!"  She still wants me to sit with her, though.

 

She reads the guides ahead for fun, and has frequently told me, "Oh, I get it!" about something in the next grade's books as I walked past.  That does not mean that she'll find the workbook easy, though!  The workbook takes the text up a notch.

 

Perhaps by the time she is doing 4th grade, she will be more independent.

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DS and I read the guide out loud, each taking different characters' parts and doing voices.  It's lots of fun.  The bonus is I have read it with him, so it is easy to help him with the practice when he gets stuck. 

 

This is what DS and I do too. It's very helpful for me to read with him because if he gets stuck on something, I can help guide him. There have definitely been times that I've been stumped this year. DS got used to us doing math buddy style with MM, so he likes that. I'm noticing that he is now taking the practice book from me and doing a lot more himself. Which is good - and kind of tough because I've been enjoying puzzling out the problems too. :-)

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