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Talk to me about Teaching Textbooks


nixpix5
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I know a homeschool family and they are really struggling. She has two kids and while she is a lovely person, she just cannot get this homeschool thing together. I have known her for a year now and her kids do next to no work each day. She does attend some outside classes each week at our umbrella school but they are meant to be supplementary. Her kids were pulled from her local public school due to bullying. One in particular has a high level of behavior issues and even if she tries to work with him he just gets up and leaves or yells at her. He is in 4th.

 

I feel bad for this family and she is pretty desperate. She knows what she is doing isn't helping. I have my own thoughts about what I feel would be a solution but it isn't mine to fix so I try to help her find some academic solutions she can implement in baby steps. We have figured out writing but now we need to figure out math.

 

So with in mind, she is going one step at a time and trying to find a math curriculum he won't be resistant to. TT has never been appealing to me but I could see it might be a better fit for this family as it might take some of the teaching pressure off this mom. Those of you who use it or have tried it, what are the pros and cons you see? I don't want to recommend something that will be one more point of contention.

 

If you can think of something better throw it at me. He is very bright but I suspect struggles with undiagnosed anxiety from his experiences in public school coupled with what looks alot like ODD though it is hard to say because there is a lack of discipline and boundaries in the home.

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Thanks Texasmom33. I feel much like you do. It makes me feel so sad to see and I have a hard time not trying to help but I try not to get into a sticky situation either. She doesn't seem to have the capability to homeschool or deal with the extreme behaviors. She gets overwhelmed. We have talked about therapy and steps, I have given names of good therapists and broken it down. She just won't. She makes a ton of excuses for the behaviors and she doesn't seem to want to admit they are as extreme as they are. Any issue this child has with kids or teachers always brings out her protective mother bear and she always assumes it is the other person. She has lost many friends in the short time she has been homeschooling. My own children recently told me that this boy reminds them of Draco Malfoy. Not a great comparison.

 

It is good to know TT has this flaw because this boy would certainly figure it out. They have tried Kahn Academy and she says it doesn't work for them :(

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TT doesn't have the flaw if you turn off the second chance or hints options (or both).  

 

I really like TT for my work-resistant 9 year old.  The caveats are that he generally finds math very easy to understand - generally he gets a new concept on the first introduction.  TT works well for him because it exposes him to the concept and then makes him do some practice with it, which is all he needs for 99% of math topics at this stage.  I watch him do the quizzes and we talk about the concepts in a casual sort of way while eating a snack or playing cards or something (hey, what was math about today?  Oh, multiplying fractions - I don't know if I remember how to do that!  Oh, that's how you do it - what if it were something like 3/4 x 2/3, though?  Oh, that makes sense -now I remember how to do that. Etc.)

 

If she's really not going to do anything else, or at least until she gets something else figured out, TT wouldn't be a terrible thing to try, imo.

 

We also do BA a level below for hard thinking practice.  The kid might like BA - DS reads the guidebooks when he's getting ready for bed completely of his own volition.

 

TT the online version is very cheap.  I think we're paying either $39 or $49 for each level.

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TT doesn't have the flaw if you turn off the second chance or hints options (or both).  

 

I really like TT for my work-resistant 9 year old.  The caveats are that he generally finds math very easy to understand - generally he gets a new concept on the first introduction.  TT works well for him because it exposes him to the concept and then makes him do some practice with it, which is all he needs for 99% of math topics at this stage.  I watch him do the quizzes and we talk about the concepts in a casual sort of way while eating a snack or playing cards or something (hey, what was math about today?  Oh, multiplying fractions - I don't know if I remember how to do that!  Oh, that's how you do it - what if it were something like 3/4 x 2/3, though?  Oh, that makes sense -now I remember how to do that. Etc.)

 

If she's really not going to do anything else, or at least until she gets something else figured out, TT wouldn't be a terrible thing to try, imo.

 

We also do BA a level below for hard thinking practice.  The kid might like BA - DS reads the guidebooks when he's getting ready for bed completely of his own volition.

 

TT the online version is very cheap.  I think we're paying either $39 or $49 for each level.

 

TT online is still in beta and only available by invitation.

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I know this isn't what you asked, but do you think she'd be willing to start with something other than math? Could they start with reading out loud together instead? Maybe reading on the couch together - starting with high-interest books and moving to more literary ones would be a gentle way for them to "do school" without him yelling at her? Or games? Get some snap circuits and work together to solve the different circuits together. Start with something fun and that's good for the relationship and then add in more subjects. 

 

I am not familiar with TT, but I will say that DS loves to work on Khan as a supplement to Beast Academy. He especially loves it when I log in and work on math at my level while he does math at his level. Then we're both "working" and he gets into it when either of us wins a badge for something. We cheer each other on. 

 

I also agree that therapy would be the most helpful at this time. If she's struggling with that, maybe mention telemedicine? It's becoming more popular and all of the insurance companies in my state now pay for it. She could start working with a therapist and not have to leave her home. American Well is a big company that works with BCBS and Cigna in my area, and many insurance companies are starting to send pamphlets out to their members letting them know what options they have for telemedicine. My colleague is a therapist with Talkspace, which is a mostly e-mail and chatting type of therapy and she is an experienced, licensed therapist and a homeschooler. If she's interested in something like that, PM me and I can get you her information. 

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One other thing, and I'm not sure if this student would fall under this description or not, but for a child who doesn't want to actually learn the program and just wants to get through it, (or frustrates easily and doesn't take the time to go back and understand something) TT is very easy for a student to manipulate or "game". I speak from experience. :) They can progress without actually mastering a thing. To me, that's the biggest flaw with the program. If she tries it she needs to be aware that she'll still need to check in frequently, see how many attempts it is taking him for each problem and if she sees an area he's struggling with she's going to need to address it outside of TT because between the multiple attempts and the hints he'll probably be able to get past it.

This. And I speak from experience.
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