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My 12 year-old 7th grader is struggling with Saxon math. We have done some of 5/4, all of 6/5 and half of 7/6 and he is still struggling. He is bright but hands on type of learner, loves puzzles and is good at them. Give him a thing to build and he can do it instinctively great and loves reading instructions to do it as well. 

What we are struggling with is he doesn't get Saxon, he never knows when to do what even though he's learned the concept for 3 years (I'm thinking its the fact the Saxon does things in increments and he needs the whole picture). I love saxon and it is going great for my other two but for him its not working.

What option are there? I am planning on doing saxon through the end of this year and trying a few different things to help  but next year I think we need to move on to something else if he is continually having the same issues. Would Math-u-see be an option? Or Principles of Mathematics? I would like something he can do with the help of videos or independent as can be as I am not able to help much (I can't do the math), my husband and oldest can help when needed but its not always on the spot.

What we've tried in the past so you can get an idea of has worked and not worked:

MLFLE 3,4,6 he did very well in these till book 6 when there wasn't enough explanation for me to help him and him to understand. /He literally thrived and when he was in public school his 5th grade year his teacher had him teaching a small class to help other students because he was ahead and explained things so well.

CLE: HATED it and didn't remember anything because the lessons were so long and the review too much and I think it was to much like saxon.

Math Mammoth: He didn't get enough review and there were too many problems. he didn't retain much

Any ideas?

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1 hour ago, seemesew said:

My 12 year-old 7th grader is struggling with Saxon math. We have done some of 5/4, all of 6/5 and half of 7/6 and he is still struggling. He is bright but hands on type of learner, loves puzzles and is good at them. Give him a thing to build and he can do it instinctively great and loves reading instructions to do it as well. 

What we are struggling with is he doesn't get Saxon, he never knows when to do what even though he's learned the concept for 3 years (I'm thinking its the fact the Saxon does things in increments and he needs the whole picture). I love saxon and it is going great for my other two but for him its not working.

What option are there? I am planning on doing saxon through the end of this year and trying a few different things to help  but next year I think we need to move on to something else if he is continually having the same issues. Would Math-u-see be an option? Or Principles of Mathematics? I would like something he can do with the help of videos or independent as can be as I am not able to help much (I can't do the math), my husband and oldest can help when needed but its not always on the spot.

What we've tried in the past so you can get an idea of has worked and not worked:

MLFLE 3,4,6 he did very well in these till book 6 when there wasn't enough explanation for me to help him and him to understand. /He literally thrived and when he was in public school his 5th grade year his teacher had him teaching a small class to help other students because he was ahead and explained things so well.

CLE: HATED it and didn't remember anything because the lessons were so long and the review too much and I think it was to much like saxon.

Math Mammoth: He didn't get enough review and there were too many problems. he didn't retain much

Any ideas?

I would outsource the teaching of math. He has very high potential, but he's reached the point where he needs a teacher. Ideally, it would be daily, but a tutoring scenario for 2-3 times per week would also work. 

Now would be the perfect time to get him in with a tutor, because that person could help shore up all the arithmetic gaps and then be the one to lead him through Pre-Alg/Alg.

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Have you tried AOPS?  I know it’s more advanced but you said he loves puzzles and it does feel a lot like puzzles.  You could start with pre and work up.  Full disclaimer it doesn’t work for my kids however my kid so far is liking Saxon and doesn’t like puzzles so much.

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3 hours ago, Ausmumof3 said:

Have you tried AOPS?  I know it’s more advanced but you said he loves puzzles and it does feel a lot like puzzles.  You could start with pre and work up.  Full disclaimer it doesn’t work for my kids however my kid so far is liking Saxon and doesn’t like puzzles so much.

I can't remember what AOPS stands for? I will look into it.

 

6 hours ago, Lang Syne Boardie said:

I would outsource the teaching of math. He has very high potential, but he's reached the point where he needs a teacher. Ideally, it would be daily, but a tutoring scenario for 2-3 times per week would also work. 

Now would be the perfect time to get him in with a tutor, because that person could help shore up all the arithmetic gaps and then be the one to lead him through Pre-Alg/Alg.

I am so glad you said he has high potential I have been feeling so down about it all and this really was nice to hear.

I've honestly never considered a tutor, I just never thought about it! I will see if there is anything available here. Thank you for that suggestion!

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2 hours ago, Paradox5 said:

BJU dlo or Teaching Textbooks or Videotext 

I know teaching textbooks won't work we tried that for a couple lessons and both hated it. I'll look into the other two! 

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8 hours ago, seemesew said:

My 12 year-old 7th grader is struggling with Saxon math. We have done some of 5/4, all of 6/5 and half of 7/6 and he is still struggling. He is bright but hands on type of learner, loves puzzles and is good at them. Give him a thing to build and he can do it instinctively great and loves reading instructions to do it as well. 

What we are struggling with is he doesn't get Saxon, he never knows when to do what even though he's learned the concept for 3 years (I'm thinking its the fact the Saxon does things in increments and he needs the whole picture). I love saxon and it is going great for my other two but for him its not working.

Do you require him to do all of the problems in every lesson?

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8 hours ago, seemesew said:

My 12 year-old 7th grader is struggling with Saxon math. We have done some of 5/4, all of 6/5 and half of 7/6 and he is still struggling... I am planning on doing saxon through the end of this year and trying a few different things to help  but next year I think we need to move on to something else if he is continually having the same issues. Would Math-u-see be an option? ...


Not sure I would continue with a program that has not clicked for 2 years/3 levels now, and waste this next semester with something that is not clicking. Instead, why not use THIS spring semester to explore options, and THEN next year move full-speed-ahead with what you discover works for him this semester.

And yes, Teaching Textbook, BJUP, and CLE are all traditional math programs, somewhat similar in teaching style to Saxon.

Saxon works great for many students, which is super. But Saxon does not well at all for many other students, due to its focus on the abstract algorithms, too overwhelming to look at per page / too much to do per page, and more traditional teaching method. I have also heard more than one student say that Saxon came across to them as "plug and chug" -- try and memorize which formula to plug in word problems that are worded a certain way and then chug away at the calculations -- they had no clear idea of what they were doing or why. 😫  The added difficulty with Saxon for some students can be, as you say, the way a topic is broken down into "snippets" and spread out over a year or more -- that absolutely loses some children, who NEED to stay focused on ONE topic at a time, with a small amount of review to remember the past topics.

Does DS just need to get solid with word problems/problem solving and with some of the foundational Pre-Algebra concepts (such as fractions, decimals, and percents)? Math-U-See is certainly mastery-based (with some review each lesson), and has video lessons. You might try backing up and do a fast trip (slowing down as needed) through MUS Epsilon (fractions), Zeta (Decimals and Percents), Pre-Algebra -- which is a VERY lite pre-algebra, so I'd re-do with something else after that one.

There are the Keys too... workbook series (Fractions, Decimals, Percents...) You could have DS work as many pages as is necessary to "get" a weak concept, and then skip pages to get to the next topic. What's great about this series is that they come at each topic from multiple angles, to make sure you really get it. Not much in the way of problem-solving or word problem practice, however. And no videos.

Video Text does have videos, and is very incremental. More traditional in teaching style, like Saxon, et.al. One other visual option might be Kinetic Textbooks BUT, it is only for Alg. 1 / Geom / Alg. 2, so you aren't there yet...

If considering AoPS, I'd actually recommend backing up into the Beast Academy books (levels 4 and 5) for some practice with problem solving with lower level topics, esp. if considering doing AoPS Pre-Algebra. That gives DS a lot of *success* in FUN math. AND you want to make sure DS has a VERY solid foundation in the Pre-Algebra topics before moving on into the higher maths. There is absolutely NO rush -- he could do AoPS Pre-Algebra (or ANY Pre-Algebra) program in 8th grade to make sure he's solid for Algebra 1 in 9th -- and that is NOT behind at all.

I do agree with previous posters, that if you aren't able to teach the math at this stage, you really need to get DS hooked up with a good math tutor now.

Edited by Lori D.
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10 hours ago, square_25 said:

Do you know what concepts he’s solid on and which ones he’s struggling with?

He's struggling with decimals in every aspect pretty much except adding/subtracting them. Some with fractions in the multiplication, going from decimal to fractions, and just knowing when to reduce or not.

 

10 hours ago, Ellie said:

Do you require him to do all of the problems in every lesson?

Yes. When we tried every other he did a lot worse.

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10 hours ago, Lori D. said:


Not sure I would continue with a program that has not clicked for 2 years/3 levels now, and waste this next semester with something that is not clicking. Instead, why not use THIS spring semester to explore options, and THEN next year move full-speed-ahead with what you discover works for him this semester.

And yes, Teaching Textbook, BJUP, and CLE are all traditional math programs, somewhat similar in teaching style to Saxon.

Saxon works great for many students, which is super. But Saxon does not well at all for many other students, due to its focus on the abstract algorithms, too overwhelming to look at per page / too much to do per page, and more traditional teaching method. I have also heard more than one student say that Saxon came across to them as "plug and chug" -- try and memorize which formula to plug in word problems that are worded a certain way and then chug away at the calculations -- they had no clear idea of what they were doing or why. 😫  The added difficulty with Saxon for some students can be, as you say, the way a topic is broken down into "snippets" and spread out over a year or more -- that absolutely loses some children, who NEED to stay focused on ONE topic at a time, with a small amount of review to remember the past topics.

Does DS just need to get solid with word problems/problem solving and with some of the foundational Pre-Algebra concepts (such as fractions, decimals, and percents)? Math-U-See is certainly mastery-based (with some review each lesson), and has video lessons. You might try backing up and do a fast trip (slowing down as needed) through MUS Epsilon (fractions), Zeta (Decimals and Percents), Pre-Algebra -- which is a VERY lite pre-algebra, so I'd re-do with something else after that one.

There are the Keys too... workbook series (Fractions, Decimals, Percents...) You could have DS work as many pages as is necessary to "get" a weak concept, and then skip pages to get to the next topic. What's great about this series is that they come at each topic from multiple angles, to make sure you really get it. Not much in the way of problem-solving or word problem practice, however. And no videos.

Video Text does have videos, and is very incremental. More traditional in teaching style, like Saxon, et.al. One other visual option might be Kinetic Textbooks BUT, it is only for Alg. 1 / Geom / Alg. 2, so you aren't there yet...

If considering AoPS, I'd actually recommend backing up into the Beast Academy books (levels 4 and 5) for some practice with problem solving with lower level topics, esp. if considering doing AoPS Pre-Algebra. That gives DS a lot of *success* in FUN math. AND you want to make sure DS has a VERY solid foundation in the Pre-Algebra topics before moving on into the higher maths. There is absolutely NO rush -- he could do AoPS Pre-Algebra (or ANY Pre-Algebra) program in 8th grade to make sure he's solid for Algebra 1 in 9th -- and that is NOT behind at all.

I do agree with previous posters, that if you aren't able to teach the math at this stage, you really need to get DS hooked up with a good math tutor now.

 

9 hours ago, square_25 said:

 

Yes, I absolutely agree with this. I'd start with BA if there are gaps. And I'd find a tutor who can teach conceptually and who is good at ferreting out what a student is confused by. 

I'll look into beast academy, that one scares me! But I'll go through it thoroughly and see whats there.

A tutor in this area might be difficult to find, and one who is good like you mention even harder. This area is not a great place for those types of things but I will do my best to find one!

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4 hours ago, square_25 said:

Ah, got it. Do you mean he's struggling with multiplying decimals, or what else do you do with them other than add and subtract them? 

What trouble is he having in going from decimals from fractions? How does he think of decimals if not as fractions? 

He struggles with switching decimals to fractions, multiplying them, dividing them, and changing them to percents. I did review what the book said yesterday and showed him examples (I have no idea what I'm doing but I copied the examples on a piece of paper) like they showed and it clicked for him. He does watch a video before doing the lesson and that has helped IMMENSELY he went from over 50% wrong to getting about 7-8 wrong every lesson! 

I'm thinking maybe I'll try a decimal/fraction percent topic book for the rest of the semester and see if that helps cement it. Saxon has gotten better in the time we've used it but I can he may do better with something else.

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4 hours ago, hands-on-mama said:

My 6th grader that did well with MLFLE transitioned to MUS perfectly and is thriving. I don’t know if you would consider them, but it might be a good one to look into.

Thanks that's been my top consideration and still is. I think he would do well with it!

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2 hours ago, seemesew said:

He struggles with switching decimals to fractions, multiplying them, dividing them, and changing them to percents. I did review what the book said yesterday and showed him examples (I have no idea what I'm doing but I copied the examples on a piece of paper) like they showed and it clicked for him. He does watch a video before doing the lesson and that has helped IMMENSELY he went from over 50% wrong to getting about 7-8 wrong every lesson! 

I'm thinking maybe I'll try a decimal/fraction percent topic book for the rest of the semester and see if that helps cement it...


Yea about the video helping!

You might check out the Key to Decimals and  Key to Percent series of workbooks  <--- I linked those vendor pages just because they show a number of pages so you can see if the visual presentation and the table of contents of topics would be a match for your student (you can also click on the individual books in each series for more sample pages).

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23 hours ago, square_25 said:

 

Got it. If you're struggling to explain this material to him, I would also concur with others that you need to find a tutor. I don't think there's a good substitute for a teacher who understands the math really well. 

Is there anything I can help explain to either of you, by the way? The reason I was asking about converting decimals to fractions is that decimals ARE fractions, aren't they? Converting fractions to decimals can be kind of a pain, since often you get repeating decimals. However, decimals to fractions should be easy, no? 

Thank you for the offer! I can't think of a problem off the top of my head but when I come to one maybe I'll take you up on some help! I think I may need to do the lessons with him more...which is hard but I read the last two and helped him work them (I actually did know what to do when I read it, lol!) and  he didn't miss one problem both days. I just need to be more present and carve out time from the other 4 to help him more in this area I guess. (I promise I don't just leave him to it alone its just there is SO much going with the 5 kids he often starts before I can help him.

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On 1/8/2020 at 10:55 AM, seemesew said:

He struggles with switching decimals to fractions, multiplying them, dividing them, and changing them to percents. I did review what the book said yesterday and showed him examples (I have no idea what I'm doing but I copied the examples on a piece of paper) like they showed and it clicked for him. He does watch a video before doing the lesson and that has helped IMMENSELY he went from over 50% wrong to getting about 7-8 wrong every lesson! 

 

 

This also worries me.  As a teacher, you need to be 100% certain of what you are doing.  If you can not get yourself up to speed and really understand fractions (and not just memorize the algorithms), then it is time to hire someone else.  

Remember, these protocols for converting decimals to fractions, multiplying and dividing fractions and all that are not to be memorized.  Your son absolutely should understand what it means to multiply and divide by a fraction, and why we do what we do to get the answer.  

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  • 2 weeks later...

I thought I'd update any of you following.  I had my friend who is my math hero look over some work from my son and we went over problems together with him and me both there. She pointed out 2 things that he messed up on, 1 his hand writing has him mixing up numbers for example his 6 looked like a zero and he later wrote it like a zero so his answer was off. Next he was dropping zeros and forgot to add them later. Those were the main things that he was doing and I hadn't even noticed! It was a big help and he isn't as bad off as I thought after going through everything with her.

Thank you all for your help!

On 1/9/2020 at 5:26 PM, square_25 said:

 

I'm absolutely happy to help! 🙂 Post on this thread or PM me -- I like explaining things. And I'm glad you didn't actually need help, it turns out :-). 

I do think that math requires one-on-one attention more than possibly any other subject. Somehow, without direct feedback, most kids get soup in their heads instead of math.

 

On 1/9/2020 at 9:23 PM, daijobu said:

 

This also worries me.  As a teacher, you need to be 100% certain of what you are doing.  If you can not get yourself up to speed and really understand fractions (and not just memorize the algorithms), then it is time to hire someone else.  

Remember, these protocols for converting decimals to fractions, multiplying and dividing fractions and all that are not to be memorized.  Your son absolutely should understand what it means to multiply and divide by a fraction, and why we do what we do to get the answer.  

 

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I will say BJU has more videos than Rod and Staff, but Rod and Staff 6 would be my recommendation followed by BJU for Fundamentals on up.  The Rod and Staff 6 book lays such an amazing foundation.  I sometimes feel like a Rod and Staff cheerleader😂.  I would love to see Rod and Staff do HS maths, but since they don't BJU is also a great mastery based program and we love it to.

 

Brenda

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 1/7/2020 at 3:01 PM, seemesew said:

My 12 year-old 7th grader is struggling with Saxon math. We have done some of 5/4, all of 6/5 and half of 7/6 and he is still struggling.

 

Why didn't you complete 5/4 before starting 6/5?  I know that 5/4 has some basic foundational things that need to be mastered before moving on.  Could it be he has some gaps?

Have you tried Saxon Teacher CD-ROM's?  How about Art Reed's DVD's?  My dd16 has used both of these for years now, she used Saxon Teacher since 5/4 and we added in Art Reed in 7/6.  Also, never skip problems in Saxon.

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On 2/8/2020 at 7:37 PM, Classically Minded said:

 

Why didn't you complete 5/4 before starting 6/5?  I know that 5/4 has some basic foundational things that need to be mastered before moving on.  Could it be he has some gaps?

Have you tried Saxon Teacher CD-ROM's?  How about Art Reed's DVD's?  My dd16 has used both of these for years now, she used Saxon Teacher since 5/4 and we added in Art Reed in 7/6.  Also, never skip problems in Saxon.

I talked with Art Reed and he tested out of 5/4 and it was so easy he was bored which was causing problems on its own.

We are using the Art Reed DVDs which is why he's doing much better overall.

We went over it with my friend and I think he's actually doing okay now. The things she pointed out I didn't see and since have really been focusing more with him and he's doing much, much better now! We may try a different algebra when we get to that point but for now I feel Saxon is filling in Gaps and is overall working better than other things we've tried.

 

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