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LAmom

Help with 7th grader--math, reading!

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My 7th grader seems to be struggling.  I know that this is partially my fault.  I feel like I kept moving him along, grade to grade, but thinking each time, "Should I hold him back a grade?"  

 

Here we are now in 7th grade and he is not doing well.  I need to slooow it down and help get him to where he needs to be.  I just don't know how.

 

Math:  We have done MM 1-4, CLE 5-6, and now he is in Saxon 8/7 (where he seemed to place...).  He has not passed any of the lessons.  It is normally really silly mistakes and when I have him redo the work, slow down, etc., he generally gets the answer correct.

 

I got fed up one day and had him start taking the tests from my younger ds's math: Saxon 6/5,  So he did ok with test 1.  Did not that great in test 2.  And got 11 out of 20 for test 3.  5th grade math for a 7th grader.  Any suggestions?  Should I continue having him test the 6/5 book and as he gets them wrong go over each individual problem and make sure he understands the concept?  Or do this with 8/7, slowing down, going over each individual problem?  I am not sure what is going on.  He does fine on math facts/xtra math.  It seems like sloppy, careless mistakes but I don't know how to make him stop it.  :P

 

Reading:  He struggles with reading.  He just doesn't like it.  He can barely write a paragraph and I am trying to help him by doing IEW SWI-B slowly.  Spelling, ack.  He joined his younger brothers and started with AAS 2 so we will see if that helps.

 

Anyways, I have no idea how to step back and get him on track again.  

 

Thanks for listening.  I know I need to work with him where he is at but don't know how.

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Have you had a full assessment done? With what you describe, I would be suspecting some learning disabilities, especially with the reading.

 

Knowing where he *is* at will help immeasurably in working with him there!

 

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I'll get a full vision evaluation follow up with a reading evaluation if vision turns up nothing.

 

Reading ability is going to affect math starting from the word problem stage.

 

All the careless errors in math could be just teen mental fog. Could you just sit with him for the next few days and just make sure he slow down and be careful when doing math? If he does well slowing down with you next to him, it could mean he is just not ready to work the problems independently. My DS11 is careful but he is also easily distracted so I am nearby to redirect else any work would take forever or be incomplete.

 

My DS12 had made a few careless mistakes these past few weeks so I am reminding him to check. He usually checks his work but he was coughing (seasonal allergies) and was just more absent minded than usual. I do have to remind him to check properly because he wants to go and do his leisure reading instead of spending time checking.

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I am with a CA charter school so I will inquire about assessments.  I don't know otherwise where to get assessments?  I know part of his math problem is rushing through it. But, I have not successfully slowed him down.  I hate to say this but I cannot sit with him each day for his subjects (all of them....) and work 1:1.  I have 4 other kids I am also trying to manage.  I wish he could be more independent.  I know if I did sit 1:1 all day he would be doing a bit better.  But this is not realistic.  :(  I know it sounds like bad parenting/teaching but I don't know what else to do. 

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How long have you been with this California charter? I would expect remedial reading lessons by the charter teacher as well as reading evaluation done by someone appointed by the charter school admin.

 

My oldest was with the CAVA many years ago and had remedial writing sessions in 3rd and 4th grade because his writing was behind grade level but his state testing results for language arts is very high. So he only gets remedial writing sessions as a reluctant writer. The remedial sessions get done at the library so I could spend one on one time with my younger child at a nearby table while older had his sessions.

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You refer to his mistakes as careless and silly but I would ask that you step back from that and try to rethink your approach.  He may very well be struggling with something that makes those mistakes indicators of deeper issues.  The fact that reading/writing/math are all areas he is having issues and seems to have been for a while indicates to me that the others are right, an assessment is in order.  He could have visual acuity issues.  Or developmental vision issues.  Or be a stealth dyslexic.  Have dysgraphia tied to the output of ideas, not the physical handwriting itself.  Have low processing speed or low working memory coupled with any of the above.  Or ADD.  Or whatever.  Talk with your charter.  Continuing to limp him along when there may be underlying issues not being dealt with could make High School a real nightmare.  Better to know now what he may be dealing with while you have time to help and before High School transcripts come into play.

 

Something else to consider is a private tutor that could sit with him and really target in on where his weak areas are and address them consistently and directly.  Sometimes they aren't that bad on price and some students really, really, really need someone sitting with them.  Especially with a struggling student, trying to learn by themselves is not always realistic or fair to the student.  Of course, we have to do what we are able and if private tutoring is out, well, there is only so much time during the day to cover everything with multiple kids.  I hope you find a way that works for your family.

 

Hugs and good luck.

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This age, the hormones of this age anyway, can case foggy thinking and careless errors, at least here. 

 

Did he seem solid in CLE through 6? I'd be tempted to jump back to CLE if he seemed to be ok there, and see where he is. That would give you two years of pre-algebra, and some breathing room to shore up base math type weakness as well. But then you wrote you kept thinking you might need to hold him back, and if that was during math 5/6, I would be more concerned there may be some underlying issues. 

 

Then you mentioned the reading and spelling too...I agree with others that getting an evaluation would be helpful. You may well be dealing with something that needs accommodation or treatment. Have you looked at signs of dyslexia? 

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I am with a CA charter school so I will inquire about assessments.  I don't know otherwise where to get assessments?  I know part of his math problem is rushing through it. But, I have not successfully slowed him down.  I hate to say this but I cannot sit with him each day for his subjects (all of them....) and work 1:1.  I have 4 other kids I am also trying to manage.  I wish he could be more independent.  I know if I did sit 1:1 all day he would be doing a bit better.  But this is not realistic.   :(  I know it sounds like bad parenting/teaching but I don't know what else to do. 

 

The vision assessment is a great one to start with.  That wouldn't go through your school, likely, but your optometrist.  Specifically look up a developmental optometrist as you can have "perfect vision" in a regular eye exam, but still have major vision problems.  Look up a COVD optometrist, their website lists them.

 

For the rest, probably talking to the charter would be a good start.

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My 7th grader seems to be struggling.  I know that this is partially my fault.  I feel like I kept moving him along, grade to grade, but thinking each time, "Should I hold him back a grade?"  

 

Here we are now in 7th grade and he is not doing well.  I need to slooow it down and help get him to where he needs to be.  I just don't know how.

 

Math:  We have done MM 1-4, CLE 5-6, and now he is in Saxon 8/7 (where he seemed to place...).  He has not passed any of the lessons.  It is normally really silly mistakes and when I have him redo the work, slow down, etc., he generally gets the answer correct.

 

I got fed up one day and had him start taking the tests from my younger ds's math: Saxon 6/5,  So he did ok with test 1.  Did not that great in test 2.  And got 11 out of 20 for test 3.  5th grade math for a 7th grader.  Any suggestions?  Should I continue having him test the 6/5 book and as he gets them wrong go over each individual problem and make sure he understands the concept?  Or do this with 8/7, slowing down, going over each individual problem?  I am not sure what is going on.  He does fine on math facts/xtra math.  It seems like sloppy, careless mistakes but I don't know how to make him stop it.   :p

 

Reading:  He struggles with reading.  He just doesn't like it.  He can barely write a paragraph and I am trying to help him by doing IEW SWI-B slowly.  Spelling, ack.  He joined his younger brothers and started with AAS 2 so we will see if that helps.

 

Anyways, I have no idea how to step back and get him on track again.  

 

Thanks for listening.  I know I need to work with him where he is at but don't know how.

 

Have you been homeschooling him all along? If so, then of course you should not have "held him back a grade." Homeschooled children are not in grades.

 

How does he do on the daily lessons? How many lessons has he completed? Are you having him do all of the problems? How long does he spend on each lesson?

 

As far as his reading and spelling, my recommendation would be Spalding. And I would wait on IEW or any other formal writing instruction until his reading and spelling are age appropriate.

 

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Saxon might not be a good fit for him. My oldest 2 children are good math students, but the format of Saxon just didn't work for them. They never seemed to achieve mastery in terms of performance on daily lessons and tests, and the lessons took forever to complete. I felt so sorry for them. Switching to another math program solved all of our problems with math.

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Here are some ideas to assess reading.

 

Do all of my reading tests, the MWIA 3 short, the NRRF reading grade level test, the 40L Quick Screen Reading Grade Level test, the nonsense word diagnostic test, and an oral reading speed test of nonsense words.

 

All but the last test are here:

 

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

 

For nonsense word fluency and accuracy, he should be reading 70 or more WPM with 100% accuracy, links in teacher section, use 25 words from extra words document, link 6 and tracking instructions and chart, link 7.

 

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

Edited by ElizabethB
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I agree with most of the advice given.  It definitely sounds like it's time to look into some evaluations.  Ask your charter school, ask the local public school, or ask any homeschool umbrella programs in your state.

 

I'm going to have to agree with Saxon math.  It doesn't sound like a good fit.  My DD is good at math and could handle CLE, Horizons, etc... but Saxon was never a good fit.  In my opinion, Saxon doesn't work well with kids that struggle with reading.  It is heavy linguistically.  I would either switch back to CLE if he was doing well with it, or choose a different math that he succeeded with.  We have had good luck with Lial. 

 

Also, unless he likes it, I feel like AAS 2 is going to be too babyish for a 7th grader.  I would look into Sequential Spelling or Megawords to help with his spelling.

 

Finally, we did decide to repeat a school year with my DD.  She did 6th grade twice so that she would be ready for the increased workload in 7th.  It was the best decision we made.  She didn't like it at the time, but she is much more confident and it is reflected in her test scores as well.  Of course, we live in a state where we have to declare a grade level and submit testing at that grade level.

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Also, unless he likes it, I feel like AAS 2 is going to be too babyish for a 7th grader. I would look into Sequential Spelling or Megawords to help with his spelling.

 

.

Yes, there are some great non babyish options out there. I would jump start the process with my Syllables program, then follow up with one or more of the following:

 

My online phonics and spelling lessons

Megawords

Marcia Henry’s Words from Pro-Ed

Webster’s Speller 2+ syllable words

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I agree with most suggestions above.

 

 

on math you could see if KhanAcademy would help him.  It works so that if a small number of problems are done right in a row at start of lesson, it allows moving on. This can help to encourage carefulness on a few problems, rather than facing the huge numbers of problems that Saxon has per lesson which can be daunting and discouraging.

 

MUS could also be a better fit, if you move on when he shows mastery of a type of problem.

 

Tutor could help.

 

Generally, yes, you need to start wherever he actually does have mastery of math and go on from there. But Saxon may not be a good program for him

 

On reading: in what way does he struggle with reading?  Decoding? Comprehension?  Other? What is he able to read?

 

my suggestion also is to get him evaluated to see if he needs a specialized reading program.

 

He's going to be stuck in most subjects unless you can figure out how to get him reading or find out what is wrong and find work arounds.  Lots of audio and visual input might help in meantime.

 

 

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Another vote for getting evaluations done. My 5th grader has been in the same boat with writing/spelling and such. He doesn't have an issue with math, but I suspect we might get into problems as we move into algebra later. Anyway, I had him evaluated earlier this year by a psychologist. We suspected autism, so she tested for that, dyslexia, and some other things. Turned out that he is autistic (high functioning), and that he does NOT have dyslexia, but he does have dysgraphia. He also has slow processing speed and low working memory compared to his other IQ subtests (both were low average, but there was a huge difference between those and visual spatial). I'm actually surprised he does as well in math as he does.

 

Anyway, with this knowledge, I made some changes. First, we got Writing Skills Book A. It starts at the beginning of writing sentences and works up to paragraphs. Last year he couldn't write a coherent sentence. This year, he typed an entire paragraph with added details!!! Slow and steady wins the race. For spelling, I went with Apples and Pears Book A from Sound Foundations. We're only about 15 lessons in, so not enough time to transfer to writing. I do know that he struggles with applying phonics. He's done strong phonics programs from the beginning, but applying them just didn't happen. He didn't start reading until I switched to a program that incorporated sight words along with strong phonics. He needed both.

 

It's worth it to back up and lay a good foundation for these skills. We aren't changing grades. Just teaching him where he is. :)

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With my son who has some learning challenges, we experienced a lot of what you mentioned. We went back and I chose grade levels for each type of work based on what it looked like he could do but would still be a challenge and it seems to be working well. We went a couple grade levels back overall and switched to Math U See which seems to be helping him better understand concepts that I only now realize he didn't really get before. My son is a reluctant reader so I never considered a literature based program before, but on a whim we went with Build Your Library and I have to supervise him reading aloud so that I know he does the reading, but he has actually said several times how much he loves this program and that he can't believe he is enjoying all these books. I feel like the books in the grade level I chose are perfect for him even though it's below his chronological grade level, and it seems like it's actually taking away his reluctance to read. I think that he and I are both a bit shocked.

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