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I gave each of my girls math placement tests with a couple of different curriculums, solely because I wanted to check to see how they were doing compared to other curriculum. I then also tested them with CLE's math diagnostic tests.

 

My youngest daughter tested consistently at 2-3 years ahead of our current year in CLE (including CLE's) . My elder daughter is on track with our current year (I started them on school work at the same time due to some developmental delays DD1 had as a toddler/preschooler, but there is an age difference of not-quite 14 months between them). 

 

My question is this - should I switch DD2 to a higher level, knowing that it will very likely cause jealousy and strife on DD1's part, due to her lack of confidence and math anxiety? I fear that if I switch DD2, DD1's confidence will degrade further, but I also fear that if I deliberately hold back DD2 from this, she will be bored and possibly lose her love of math. I don't want to cause my older DD pain, I don't want to see the wonderful, close relationship the two of them share suffer, nor do I want to deliberately hold my younger child back. 

 

 

My husband and I have been talking about this but have not yet reached a clear decision. I'm going to wind up feeling guilty and concerned whichever way I go; I need the hive's suggestions on this one. 

 

 

 

 

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You can go deep instead of wide! You could add in challenge problems, word problems, mathcounts (or other math competition) stuff, NACLO stuff, programming, logic, worksheets from the next levels, introduce geometry/trig topics, algebra topics, and early physics problems or any science application problems really.

 

You can do any and all of these things no matter the child's age, and problem-solving techniques would be good for both kids.

 

I'm not sure how old your kids are, but if you decide to just use the next level of math - or no matter what you do - maybe you can be brutally honest with your older daughter and explain to her that everybody's strengths are different, etc, etc, kids develop different things at different times, and that they need to support each other since it's going to be awkward for everybody. I think maybe just acknowledging that it's going to be awkward and feelings may happen would be a big help. But idk, I've never had a sibling, so ymmv :)

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Mine are 2 years apart...but I had the same issue. I did different curriculum and didn't discuss levels with them. The younger one did math mammoth and I printed it myself, so he never really had a level to compare to his older brother. I didn't print the cover, so he didn't see the level. It was just his math. Older brother used Singapore math.it worked for us.

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Life is not always fair. Keep both girls at their individual levels. If that means the younger is ahead of the elder, so be it.

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Can you move her on to a different curriculum so it's not so obvious?

 

I would also suggest this if it's practical for you.  Of course, the girls will likely notice (if they haven't already) that the youngest finds math easier than her sister, but at least if they are working from different programs, it won't be so glaringly obvious every single time they work on their math. My girls have commented on the 'levels' they are doing (my elder daughter is working a year 'behind' while her younger sister is working 2 years 'ahead' according to their ages), but I just shut it down by telling them that in school you are put in a grade and have to do the work for that grade, but that at home it doesn't matter what book you're on, because we work at the pace that suits you best. 

Edited by IsabelC
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I would use completely different math curricula not just to eliminate the direct competition, but because they seem to have  very different educational needs that require different curricula anyway.

 

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Unless you make a point of letting them know you are putting one on a higher level they may not even notice.

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These are the stickiest of issues. Been there, done that. I I finally decided that I would not hold one of my twins back because of the pride of the other. They did better with it than I thought,

 

They are in college now - states apart - and are really proud of each other's accomplishments.

 

It's probably easier with twins then with an age gap like yours, but I think with daughters I would be even less inclined to place a daughter below her natural level. Women get pressure their whole lives to restrict their ambition, downplay their accomplishments, and deflect credit for their achievements. I would err on the side of promoting her academic reach.

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I just switched my middle DD (5th grade) to a different math curriculum. I had been using SM with all of my DC since the beginning but it was not working as well for middle DD. She was becoming very discouraged with math and making comments about not being smart. She needed a lot more review and smaller steps. Also, youngest DD (18 months younger, 4th grade) was quickly catching up. Middle DD tested into CLE level 400 and we started 2 weeks ago. Youngest DD is now past where middle was in SM. Middle DD notices, of course, that the youngest is better in math and is ahead of her but she also knows that there are things she is better at than oldest DD. If they start to compare too much I just remind them that they each have different strengths and weaknesses and we are fortunate that they get to work at their own level due to homeschooling. It really hasn't been an issue.

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I would put them on different curriculums: the one you have been using for younger (clearly it's working) and something new and different for older. I'd say it's about "learning style" and always downplay the "level numbers" claiming that the two numbering schemes have nothing to do with grade level, or with one another.

 

(If possible I'd use clothes or shoes to demonstrate that different brands do that: a 7 in one brand is larger than an 8 in another, etc.)

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I had a similar issue where my younger needed to go to a more difficult level of my than my older, who happens to struggle with math. So I did change curriculum for the younger to better suit his needs. The math we were using wasn't challenging enough for him so it was a good decision. My ods notices from time to time that his younger brother is doing things he hasn't learned. I just explain it as their curriculum is set up differently (which it is since once has mastery). Since yds is using ba, ods at one point showed interest and I allowed him to try it, but he decided on his own that mus was a better fit for him. They use different curriculum for subjects they are st different levels and there isn't pride for my younger or my older feeling bad or not as smart. They just both realize they were made differently and different curriculum work better for each of them.

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I would put them in different curriculum. I would look for a curriculum that better matched the younger dds pacing and learning be style and I would add some sort of challenge work.

 

For the older I'd consider whether the current curriculum was meeting her needs and whether to add some practice sets from another source so she saw the same type of problems presented in a different manner.

 

Math was a big deal for me. My DC had a main curriculum, but supplemented with two other things. I used different stuff for each kid. Stuff that was great for my oldest wasn't that great for my middle.

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Yes. Agree with everyone else. Look at something like Beast Academy or maybe Math Mammoth for your youngest.

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I forgot to add...

 

This issue with my boys was when they were little (k-3). Now that they are in middle elementary they are more understanding that they have different abilities. It isn't perfect, but we discuss it as needed. They are now both doing Singapore math and not comparing. They are only a book and a half apart in level and they are ok about it. It helps that the older brother improved with maturity and pulled a little ahead. And although little brother is still nipping at his heels, they are able to let it go.

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You are not individualizing their education (through homeschooling) just to hold either one of them back. You can't make people think the same, or learn at the same rate, anyway...it would have been surprising for two children (a year apart in age) to need the exact same math lessons. There is nothing more normal than to give them each the lessons they individually need.

 

I've BTDT with the younger surpassing the elder, and followed the usual advice (already given in this thread) to use different programs. If there's a lot of sensitivity over it, on the part of the one who isn't as advanced, MUS and Keys to... lack grade levels on the packaging.

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I absolutely believe that you can't hold back DD2 to protect DD1's (natural) competitive feelings. In fact, I think that'd be wrong of you on multiple levels. 

 

If you move DD2 into a different curriculum (probably very reasonable to do so, IMHO), that'd certainly ease the comparative factors. Consider Art of Problem Solving for DD2. She'd likely be a grade level or two back from where she'd be in CLE or most other, easier than AoPS curricula, FWIW.

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I also have a younger daughter who blows away her older sister academically.

 

Consider another perspective:  it may be a relief to your slower-learning daughter if you let her go at her own pace vs. forcing her to keep up with / compare with her sister.  Also, whether you use the same curriculum or not, it may make it easier for you to tailor your teaching to the way she learns best as an individual.

 

My kids are 10yo and have always done most things together (largely at my insistence), but recently I've started to push the elder less (academically) and let them pursue their own interests more.  It's been great for my eldest.  In our case, the biggest difference is in reading, and I have stopped pushing eldest to read daily outside of school.  (She does have other incentives and does read some, but not like before.)  She now has time to do other things that are also important for development - like do chores, get more sleep, ride her bike to the park.  She is a lot happier and so am I.  :)

 

In our family, the fact that one kid learns faster is just a fact of life.  They've known it at least since they were 4yo.  Outside of academics, the balance is different - eldest is way more athletic, organized, etc.  Because she has other areas where she excels, she has no trouble accepting that her sister does some school things better.

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Please don't hold the math child back.  The beauty of homeschooling is to adapt the education to the individual child.  I would change curriculums for the math child and keep the other one in the current curriculum.  Both my oldest and youngest have surpassed my middle in math.  She surpasses them in being able to write well and fast.  Everyone is different.

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Life is not always fair. Keep both girls at their individual levels. If that means the younger is ahead of the elder, so be it.

You're right. My elder daughter has always felt lesser than her sister academically, and it's been the cause of much jealousy. Younger DD is also many inches taller than her older sister and that has caused an issue as well. I suppose anything that one's sibling is perceived as "better" at can be cause for contention (I'm an only child, I don't have any personal reference for this).

 

I would also suggest this if it's practical for you.  Of course, the girls will likely notice (if they haven't already) that the youngest finds math easier than her sister, but at least if they are working from different programs, it won't be so glaringly obvious every single time they work on their math. My girls have commented on the 'levels' they are doing (my elder daughter is working a year 'behind' while her younger sister is working 2 years 'ahead' according to their ages), but I just shut it down by telling them that in school you are put in a grade and have to do the work for that grade, but that at home it doesn't matter what book you're on, because we work at the pace that suits you best. 

I like this! 

 

I would use completely different math curricula not just to eliminate the direct competition, but because they seem to have  very different educational needs that require different curricula anyway.

Absolutely. The differences have gotten obvious as they've gotten older (they're currently 12 and 11).

 

These are the stickiest of issues. Been there, done that. I I finally decided that I would not hold one of my twins back because of the pride of the other. They did better with it than I thought,

 

They are in college now - states apart - and are really proud of each other's accomplishments.

 

It's probably easier with twins then with an age gap like yours, but I think with daughters I would be even less inclined to place a daughter below her natural level. Women get pressure their whole lives to restrict their ambition, downplay their accomplishments, and deflect credit for their achievements. I would err on the side of promoting her academic reach.

 

Bolding mine - this really resonates with me and you're completely correct. 

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