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Developing a feel for accelerating math

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I know this is highly kid dependent so no one can tell me specifically what to do, but I need help in figuring out how to develop the feel for knowing how to accelerate math for my son. Are there tips and tricks (or old threads) on how you gauge when you hit the right pace with a kid where they are being challenged but no overwhelmed? 

 

My son is bored. He's 6 and he understands place value, addition and subtraction although he hasn't memorized all of the facts- but he definitely is getting there quickly. I know that is something to keep working on, but I don't want to stall him out progression wise while we work on that, I feel like we can keep going. I posted on general for some ideas of fun BA like math supplements for his age and am receiving ideas, but what I'm also trying to figure out is how to accelerate him without missing anything. I left RS-B for MM1, but I placed him too low in MM apparently and he's bored out of his mind. I'm going to buy the rest of the MM collection next month if it goes on sale on HSBCO so I can try and jump to MM2 perhaps and see if it's better.  We're doing Beast 2A on the side 3x a week, but we're almost done with the book and B isn't out. I have MUS Alpha for his little sister, but I flipped through it tonight and he would already ace all but maybe 5 lessons max. 

 

I can't figure him out. He needs very little repetition or demonstration. But I don't understand how to know how far to push how fast. How do you do it? He's still so little, but he LOVES math and wants to learn more. Do I just add supplements and living books and keep going in his age progression, or do I push and skip forward and then fill in holes as they appear? Please help. I haven't had a kid like this before and don't know what to do. 

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...I'm also trying to figure out is how to accelerate him without missing anything.

 

See here's the thing...if you're homeschooling and you accelerate and miss something, you'll find out soon enough, and then you just fill the hole.

 

For us, it wasn't so much actually missing things, but that my kids didn't remember what we did.  You would not believe how many things I've retaught because people have insisted that they never learned it.  

Edited by EKS
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Another question, or rather I guess a confirmation: I can move him on to more advanced addition/subtraction before he has completely memorized the basic math facts, correct, as long as he is solid on the concept? Some days he just doesn't pay as much attention, so much like memorizing the notes and his piano music I just set the timer and review for a few minutes. Somedays he's more solid than others. Is that okay? He doesn't mind reviewing for a few minutes, but I think if we did nothing but fact review for two weeks he'd be sliding out of chairs and rolling on the floor out of boredom or something. 

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Another question, or rather I guess a confirmation: I can move him on to more advanced addition/subtraction before he has completely memorized the basic math facts, correct, as long as he is solid on the concept? Some days he just doesn't pay as much attention, so much like memorizing the notes and his piano music I just set the timer and review for a few minutes. Somedays he's more solid than others. Is that okay? He doesn't mind reviewing for a few minutes, but I think if we did nothing but fact review for two weeks he'd be sliding out of chairs and rolling on the floor out of boredom or something.

Totally ok. My 6 yo just finished Singapore 2B, including multiplication and division, and still counts on her fingers when she forgets what 8+5 is... lol

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Also fwiw, we really like Singapore. We use the workbooks mainly, occasionally the textbook, and my kids just do however much they want each day. It may be only half a lesson when it’s lots of steps, like three digit subtracting with regrouping, and it might be ten lessons one day bc someone enjoys learning multiplication. I don’t really tell them how much to do.

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We made several jumps ahead, and sideways, and all over the place. She’s now solidly working through BA4, and finding it fun and not too challenging. I can’t think of any subject to worry about gaps less than math, because they become so evident eventually. I mean, if a kid didn’t learn place value or addition properly, it’s still going to trip them up even if you tried to jump directly to Algebra and you would *see* that. It won’t be some mystery. And then you go back and fix it.

 

I almost never wait for mastery with DD. She’d become bored and rebel. Mastery seems to come with additional time and continued usage for her.

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This is all so refreshing to hear. Thank you.  I just need to shift my mindset. I think it's still stuck back in public school mode and the disaster all of that was with my oldest where if you didn't get it, you were in big trouble and she just went deeper and deeper under. I need to keep all of this in my head that circling back is normal, and probably required, rather than expecting systematic progression with no bumps and no backtracking. 

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When I accelerated dd, we skipped an entire grade. I bought the materials for the grade we skipped, though, and if she ran into trouble with a concept, I would pull out the materials for the previous grade and do those lessons before returning to the higher level books. Worked pretty well for us.

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If you're thinking of using Math Mammoth, it works well to just print out all of the end of chapter reviews and let him go through a little each day until you find areas where he needs to work.

 

Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk

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We did a lot of unschooly maths the first few years, then filled in any K-2 gaps using Khan Academy before trying out Beast 3A and 3B. Those last two went well, but DS doesn't feel like being challenged every single lesson, so we use Miquon on our low key days. It felt like a big step backward at the time, but Miquon is really well set up in the way that it presents problems differently so that kids don't get stuck in a procedural rut.

 

We still play a lot of games, too.

 

Don't be afraid to take steps forward, backward, or any which way!

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Another question, or rather I guess a confirmation: I can move him on to more advanced addition/subtraction before he has completely memorized the basic math facts, correct, as long as he is solid on the concept? Some days he just doesn't pay as much attention, so much like memorizing the notes and his piano music I just set the timer and review for a few minutes. Somedays he's more solid than others. Is that okay? He doesn't mind reviewing for a few minutes, but I think if we did nothing but fact review for two weeks he'd be sliding out of chairs and rolling on the floor out of boredom or something. 

 

He sounds like my son.  I think this is fine.  I did this with mine.  :)  Eventually they do so many problems over the years that the math facts are eventually memorized.  or just come intuitively. 

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In the mean time you can do other fun stuff.  Like Mindbenders and balance benders from the critical thinking company. 

 

Books like family math and math for smarty pants are good too.  Also, if you have a math circle for second graders near you, I would consider that for when he's supposed to be in 2nd grade. 

 

Hope this helps.

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He sounds like my son. I think this is fine. I did this with mine. :) Eventually they do so many problems over the years that the math facts are eventually memorized. or just come intuitively.

Same here! Fluency followed use. No drill required.

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I don't know how wedded you are to MM. There are quite a number of ALs on here that use SM. They have chosen to use the textbook with the Intensive Practice Book instead of the workbook and the Challenging Word Problems book.

I used SM myself, but I also used the workbook. I used it for more practice and developing math muscle memory. I had other things going on math-wise so boredom wasn't an issue. I read a book recently where the author said that Asians approach math education they way that Americans approach reading education. This was the the Beyond the Tiger Mom book which is referenced here in this article. 

https://www.parents.com/kids/education/math-and-science/are-asian-kids-really-better-at-math/
 

Edited by calbear
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Pacing acceleration will become more natural with time. It'll never be perfect, but you'll have a good balance more often than not.

 

The main thing I look at is whether or not DS is stil engaging in his topics of interest outside of "school". Is he still playing math apps / pulling logic games off the shelf in his free time? Does he want to keep score? If he asks a question that requires calculation to answer, is he letting me lead him to the answer, or shutting down the conversation?

 

If he starts avoiding it outside of formal learning time, we slow down. Play games for a few days, do shorter lessons or a totally different type for a while.

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Math acceleration is probably the most popular subject to discuss on this sub-forum, so definitely just look around and you'll find lots of discussion on it.

 

Ultimately, the math culture in your family will be different from mine, but At GEAR, math is a multi-thread subject. Requiring my kids to work multiple strands of mathematics at a time has allowed us to be flexible and peruse lots of what they find interesting, while I ensure my kids are genuinely mastering the concepts, have a rock-solid foundation and developed full control of and fluency in the skills that I want them to have and we've been building their problem solving muscles gradually since they were 5.

 

We're about 6 years into this approach and while it was a bit of work for me in the earlier years to coordinate everything, it gets easier and easier as they go up in levels and we feel it has paid off in spades in that we are tremendously pleased with the results: both my kids still love math, and I've been able to accelerate them the way that I'd wanted to.

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We find an asynchronous approach works best for my youngest, a few different things to do every day.  Like, he'll spend time calculating slope and running through prime numbers with Life of Fred, but then turn his brain to a more relaxing Right Start lesson on beginning division.  Or he'll play some RS card games and pull out the MUS pre-algebra book to work a few problems.

 

Whatever is too taxing he'll put away for another day, but having a balance of 'this is just challenging enough" and "this is easy" helps a ton in keeping his math love alive. 

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We took the path Calbear listed.

How do you tell...let the dc lead. Mine just picked problems that weren't obvious from the SM IP and other resources. We moved along till done with all the threads, and then started programming with GameMaker. There are other options now. Enjoy.

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Generally speaking, I know it's time to move forward when he can do the problems mentally. I'm really looking for him to find "tricks" to solve a problem and to be really adept at manipulating numbers with whatever operation he's practicing. But I also introduce and have activities for new concepts about a year or more ahead of where he's comfortably computing.

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To stave off the boredom I would add in problems from the MOEMS book.  We did SM 4 days a week, and broke it up with MOEMS on Wednesdays (fun math day).  That was way before BA was published, and I would have used AoPS if it had been available.  

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Singapore teaches different approaches to the same problem, and their exercises are pretty short, so they are a good choice for staying interested and moving quickly. 

 

Lots of good suggestions here. Math games and math books for sure. 

 

When I tutored, I did run into quite a few kids who never developed fact mastery or fluency from solving problems, so I would keep the short and sweet drills. More advanced math can be a misery if every problem takes forever because you don't know your facts. 

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My favorite for math is Singapore with Beast Academy. I think grade 2 Beast Academy is coming out soon? Do Singapore first and follow with BA. Math I think is one of the easier subjects to accelerate. Just complete one level after the next, as the child is motivated to do. You may come to a topic or section that need more time, that’s fine. Let them go through it at their pace. There is always more math. This flexibility is a big, huge pro of homeschooling.

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A story to alleviate your concerns about “holes†or filling gaps. DD went through Beast 3-5. By the time she did 5 she was self teaching. She’s now doing AOPS, self teaching, and last week I realized she was having trouble because she never really learned to do long division. So we went back and I showed her the algorithm. She did a few practice problems, it clicked, and we moved on. Had it not clicked, we would have paused AOPS for a few days (or however long) to practice Long division, then picked up where she left off. Or, we would have run it in parallel - me giving her 1-2 Long division practice problems per day while she continued AOPS. I think math oriented minds get bored with drill and rote concepts, so running the drill / rote in parallel with the conceptually challenging stuff (as you suggested) sounds great!

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When my math-loving child was that age, we used Life of Fred on an accelerated pace (more than one chapter per day). That gave me assurance that he had at least been introduced to concepts, and we were able to move through elementary topics quickly. Eventually we added Beast Academy, then switched to AOPS. 

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