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Not meshing with Mr. D Math's format for Prealgebra.UPDATE


journey00

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My 8th grade son is doing pre-Algebra with Mr. D Math live class.  The instructor is super encouraging, friendly, helpful, engaging and very reachable.  Ds loves to be in a live class with other

students.  He likes math.  He has an A in the class.  Here's the BUT....  since it is a live class, my son has to take notes.  Mr. D has his own math program & doesn't follow any particular book.  There is no textbook nor a workbook.  He prints the class notes provided by instructor but It is more of an outline & the kids fill in the rest as they go through the live class.  

 

When he is stuck he asks me...I'm a very non-mathy mom.  I paid $190 upfront & making 10 monthly payments of $29 and you're asking ME? I can't always help him & all I can say is go back to your notes.  He might not have any notes written for that particular type of problem so the only option is to watch the recorded class.  Mr. D offers tutoring 2x weekly but we have schedule conflicts.  

 

He has done Teaching Textbooks since 3rd grade and there are notes & dvds explaining that type of problem where he did not waste very much time re-reading the chapter & finding the problem then analyzing what he did wrong.  That Mr. D's format isn't jiving with us is NOT the program's fault.  My ds prefers having all the information already there for him.

 

Why did I change if it was working and getting done? Because I thought he needed something more rigorous to prepare him for higher maths & college.  He is quite capable of getting ahead in math. 

 

Should I go back to TT since I already own the pre-algebra? I also own Saxon Math Homeschool 8/7 with Prealgebra & the Dive cd.   Mr. D's rate was $190 upfront and 10 monthly payments of $29.  

 

I would appreciate any advice.  Thanks.

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You mentioned that sometimes your son has no notes on a particular topic - is it because students are expected to extrapolate from something that has been taught, or is your son having a hard time taking notes?  If it's the former, you might need to switch to something that gives more step-by-step procedures.  I'm sure that you can get good recommendations for a book or class that has that format.   

 

If it's the latter and your son is otherwise enjoying the class, I would use a 2-pronged approach.  In the short term, to keep from getting behind in math, could you ask a classmate for a copy of the notes?  To help students get over a note-taking hump in my co-op class or deal with an absence, I have occasionally asked for a volunteer (or asked particular students who take good notes) if they would be willing to share.  Students who type the notes are often willing to send a file, and now that so many students have cell phones with cameras, it's easy to snap a picture of notes and send it.  They are surprisingly legible - before I had a good online platform, I sometimes graded tests that were cell phone pictures!  At the same time, I would work on note-taking skills since these are an important skill across all subjects.  Maybe sit with your student for a couple of class sessions to point out what he should be writing down?  Sometimes it takes students a while to get the hang of taking notes from a lecture.  I have had to explicitly tell students 'If I am writing something on the board, you need to be writing it down.'  I think that, because everything makes sense when the instructor is doing the work and talking about it, students think that they'll remember all of the details when they try to do their work.  

 

Also, have you contacted the teacher?  Parents and students are often reluctant to ask for help or talk about a problem with the class, but most teachers understand that some formats may be a problem for a particular student.  He might be able to offer some tips to deal with a particular problem, suggest a supplemental resource, or, if all else fails, suggest a curriculum that would be a better fit.   

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We switched to Mr. D's this year too, but we aren't even doing the live class. We are doing prerecorded videos only. We are getting used to the no textbook format too, and learning to take notes from the video. Usually mine can go back and watch the video to see what she missed though if she needs to. The outline to fill in the notes for Geometry seems to be pretty thorough so far. Hope you all get the hang of it soon. I wasn't sure how it was going to go, but I think I like it so far. We are only on chp. 3 right now though. :) 

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This is our 3rd year of taking classes with Mr. D. and we are huge fans, so I'll just give you some thoughts.   I can't really make the decision of what is best for your DS.

 

For the money you pay for an outsourced class (any class), you should not need to also be the teacher.   When my kids have questions about their math, if I can't answer quickly off the top of my head, I tell them to go re-watch the recorded video or to ask Mr. H. (their co-op teacher).   You may, however, need to teach him how to take notes.   I would probably do what a previous poster suggested and sit with him for one or two classes, with your own copy of the lessons, and take your own notes.   Then compare your notes to your DS's notes, and teach him what he should be writing down.   Note taking from a lecture is a very important skill that he will need for other outsourced classes in high school and college, so I'd probably spend some focused time developing the skill now, before it "counts" for a transcript.

 

If sitting through a class or two doesn't help and your DS still just doesn't get it, if it was my child, I'd rearrange the family schedule once or twice to allow him to attend the live help session.  Math is a cumulative subject, and he really needs to master the material before forging ahead to new concepts, because they all build on prior knowledge.   I wouldn't let him continue to move through the course if he doesn't have a firm grasp on the topics already covered.

 

My last thought is that, for both of my kids, Pre-Algebra was HARD.   I think it was more difficult than Algebra 1, Geometry, or Algebra 2 (which is as high as we've gone so far - I reserve the right to change my mind when my DS hits Calculus!).   There's a fundamental shift in Pre-Algebra that requires a different set of brain cells, and it took both of my kids a while to get their groove in Pre-Algebra.  But once it clicked, they've done very well.   They both really like math.

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No advice. This is our second year of Mr D and my kids have never taken notes. Oops. I think I’ll be checking that out to see what we’re missing!

 

They watch the videos, do the coursework, and take the quizzes/tests. Sometimes they do need to rewatch parts of the videos if they get stuck.

But I do like that what he teaches, they remember. He says it or shows it in a way that just makes sense to them.

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I wanted to thank everyone that responded.  I read all the responses and followed the advice given.  

 

I sat with him during a live and a recorded class.  I took notes while he took notes.  Bingo!  Big difference so we are working on note taking. 

 

I also noticed during today's live class that he needs extra work with neg. & pos. numbers so we will try IXL and Khan.  After the first few live classes in

August my ds emailed him about extra practice problems and he responded that he doesn't have any but ds is welcome to make some up.  Then in one

of the homeschool forums (maybe TWM) I read about moms using IXL for free and Mr. D provided the username & password.  So, I emailed him & obtainted that

to start using IXL.  I knew ds would need more practice problems than Mr. D provides to really cement it in which is why I considered Saxon.  But, I may have to

switch to the recorded only classes and re-arrange the family schedule to attend the live help (which a poster recommended).  

 

Thank you again to everybody!! 

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