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Math for a 2nd grader and 5th grader who struggles with math


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I'll be homeschooling for the first time this fall and am getting hung up on what Math curriculum to use. My son going into second grade did fine with Everyday Math in first grade, my son going into 5th grade struggled with 4th grade math, they used Zearn last year. I'm planning to homeschool my older son from now through the middle school years for sure. He has struggled quite a bit with school in general and has focus issues. We may send our younger son back to public school to finish out elementary.

I like the looks of Math U See but am concerned it would be difficult for my younger son to return to school if we go that route. I'm considering doing Math U See for my older son and something else for my younger such as Singapore Math or Math Mammoth.

I'd love to hear recommendations.

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Having pulled a child struggling with math, I understand wanting to find the best fit!  I have a few more questions for you:

Does this child know his math facts for addition and subtraction?  Multiplication and division?  

Do you recognize specific types of problems that he regularly gets incorrect?  

What types if issues do you tend to see?  Arithmetic errors?  Lack of proper procedures?  

When learning a new skill, math or otherwise, how many repetitions to you use before he can remember?  

What types of explanations work best- hands on, drawing diagrams, just the numbers on a board, just verbally explaining?  

 

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My foster daughter was struggling with very basic math (she was in third grade, struggling with addiction and subtraction) and Math-U-See improved her math a lot. She's a visual learner and all the manipulatives help. But I have no experience about the transition from Math-U-See back to school, maybe someone else can help with that. 

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I'm in a very similar boat, with a soon to be 1st and 5th, with the younger being advanced and the older being slightly behind in math. 

We started our own math in March when school let out. I got Math U See, and 6yo loved it and 10yo hated it. We tried Beast Academy, again 6yo loved it and it was too challenging for 10yo. I bought Saxon next and it was too plain and too different an approach for DD and she grew frustrated. Then we tried Khan Academy because they have a new "get ready for x grade" and surprise! she liked it! We settled on Teaching Textbooks and DD is doing really well, it's similar to her elementary math program and hits the public school standards. 

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For the dc who struggles, I would go ahead and try the MUS. The best way to go forward is to build a firm foundation. Also, if he has ADHD, his processing speed and working memory may be affected, causing him to struggle. Consider meds and supports like scribing, short sessions, etc.

For the dc who doen' struggle, if he's really ust one year I'd get him a standard workbook and be done with it.

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14 hours ago, BusyMom5 said:

Having pulled a child struggling with math, I understand wanting to find the best fit!  I have a few more questions for you:

Does this child know his math facts for addition and subtraction?  Multiplication and division?  

Do you recognize specific types of problems that he regularly gets incorrect?  

What types if issues do you tend to see?  Arithmetic errors?  Lack of proper procedures?  

When learning a new skill, math or otherwise, how many repetitions to you use before he can remember?  

What types of explanations work best- hands on, drawing diagrams, just the numbers on a board, just verbally explaining?  

 

@BusyMom5 Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my question! He does well with addition, subtraction and multiplication. He is good at memorizing and memorized his multiplication tables well. He does pretty well with division.

In fourth grade, he had trouble with rounding, measurements (cups, quarts etc.) and always struggles with motivation.

I'm not sure on how many repetitions, we went over multiplication quite a bit. He's the type of kid who would rather be doing just about anything else besides school work. He seems to do better with one on on explanations, diagrams and actual examples such as cups or a ruler for measurement. The problem he has with computer programs is sometimes he just clicks until he gets through it without actually learning anything, so I'd like to not rely on computer programs too much. 

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@square_25 His rounding issues were with bigger numbers. I'm not sure on 11x13 without an algorithm. I'm thinking maybe I should just repeat a lot of what he was supposed to have learned. Thank you so much for your help. I'll look forward to any ideas you have 🙂 

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13 hours ago, PeterPan said:

For the dc who struggles, I would go ahead and try the MUS. The best way to go forward is to build a firm foundation. Also, if he has ADHD, his processing speed and working memory may be affected, causing him to struggle. Consider meds and supports like scribing, short sessions, etc.

For the dc who doen' struggle, if he's really ust one year I'd get him a standard workbook and be done with it.

@PeterPan That is kind of what I'm thinking. I guess I'm just a little nervous about MUS since it's pricey and I want to make sure it's going to be good before I make the investment. 

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1 minute ago, square_25 said:

Mind giving me an example of a rounding issue? 🙂

I’d basically review everything and see where the gaps are!

@square_25 Yes, I do need to review. I think I will have him do a couple of placement tests and see what they reveal. We haven't don't any rounding since May, but I remember him struggling with larger numbers so I don't have a specific example.

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3 minutes ago, ww1319 said:

always struggles with motivation.

Again, a lot of what you're describing is the ADHD.

https://www.amazon.com/Delivered-Distraction-Getting-Attention-Disorder/dp/0345442318/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1HIEKW1JPNMJZ&dchild=1&keywords=delivered+from+distraction&qid=1596647365&sprefix=delivered%2Caps%2C173&sr=8-1

https://www.amazon.com/Superparenting-ADD-Innovative-Approach-Distracted/dp/0345497775/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3OJ9VPMD56HNP&dchild=1&keywords=superparenting+for+add&qid=1596647389&sprefix=superparenting%2Caps%2C164&sr=8-1

https://www.amazon.com/Right-Brained-Children-Left-Brained-World-Unlocking/dp/0684847930/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=right+brain+in+left+brain+world&qid=1596647449&sr=8-2

8 minutes ago, ww1319 said:

He seems to do better with one on on explanations

Yes!! Now the balance to this, and just your tip, is to look for ways you can increase *structure* so he can work independently. Structure is your buzzword. The other thing you want to learn about is EF=executive function. At this age, you'd like him to be meeting delayed deadlines, etc, which will require EF supports.

You can also think about helping him be an active learner, responsible for his learning. He can "do" things and not remember because he's not actively *attending*. So he needs small bits where he practices this, practices being engaged and PAYING ATTENTION to whether he understood and attended. He may need HELP to learn to do this. MUS is actually brilliant for that, with the short video lessons. But you're going to have to sit with him and help him learn how.

https://efpractice.com lots of great stuff here. and just google for more

14 minutes ago, ww1319 said:

actual examples

Keep doing this!!! There's never too much hands on for some kds. He also needs to see how these skills show up in careers. He actually needs to WORK so he can realize how important the skills are. Do you have someone he could work with 2-3 days a week for a couple hours? My ds, similar age, can do weed whacking, move lumber, water the landscaping. He has ASD2. Your ds can probably do more. It's really valuable when their role model says I know it's hard but you really need this.

18 minutes ago, ww1319 said:

In fourth grade, he had trouble with rounding, measurements (cups, quarts etc.)

You're in a prime position to work on this!! :smile:  Consider adding in more variety for manips. I really like the RightStart hardwood fractions puzzle. You can play simple war games making fractions, finding, comparing. Ronit Bird has a free card games ebook. My ds needs to see things multiple ways for it to click. I have bins with dice, clocks, things to measure with, money, etc. and whatever we're working on I just apply the next day to a new thing.

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35 minutes ago, ww1319 said:

he had trouble with rounding

For rounding, we play the "about" game. You can do it for store/money, time, measurement, anything. Item costs $3.95. About how much is it? Or next bill up, like what would you give the cashier?

Yes, it can take a lot of real life, Now you have time to weave that in.

Have you seen TOPS Lentil Science?

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25 minutes ago, ww1319 said:

I remember him struggling with larger numbers so I don't have a specific example.

If he memorized, then a lack of understanding place value would catch up with him, sure. However also working memory (low from the ADHD) could be a factor. Some people do math first so the brain is freshest. Consider playing games to build working memory. WM is the scratch memory of the brain and necessary for info to move to long term memory. So increasing WM and working on EF can improve his ability to get info to ling term memory. Also consider meds. My dd's ACT scores went up 50% with ADHD meds. The difference in his ability to dohis work can be HUGE.

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34 minutes ago, ww1319 said:

@PeterPan That is kind of what I'm thinking. I guess I'm just a little nervous about MUS since it's pricey and I want to make sure it's going to be good before I make the investment. 

Hmm. Well see the placement test results first. If you post with them, people can give you suggestions. You need to see where he's at. He could surprise you. 

Is there anyone locally who would let you borrow for a couple weeks?

Edited by PeterPan
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Have you tried your library? They may have things you could use to supplement like Family Math. Also I REALLY like the Evan Moor Daily Word Problems. 

https://www.evan-moor.com/daily-word-problems-grade-1-teacher's-edition-print

https://www.evan-moor.com/math-daily-practice There's a whole series. Short, to the point, more room for you to do your hands on explorations.

also a huge fan https://www.amazon.com/Basic-Math-Skills-Grade-4/dp/1557999376

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One nice thing about math mammoth is that you can buy the entire 1-6 grade curriculum with all quizzes, tests, extra practice, etc. for one price, as a set of PDFs. It frequently goes on sale at places like homeschool buyers co-op so you get it all even cheaper. At that point it becomes 100% customizable. You simply back up and look at the table of contents and pick just the subjects you want to reinforce or cover. Then, once they get that, you can move to the next thing you want to cover. That way, you don't have to care about spending money on an expensive "4th grade" program when your kid is technically in 5th, or spend the money on 5th and hope you can fill in gaps. You can also skip the obligatory sections on geometry or measurement or whatever and cement your major operations, decimals, fractions, etc. and when those are solid, go back and print the pages dealing with area or graphs or whatever you skipped. It does require printing, but there is fairly minimal color ink used. It's written to the student so I find it easy to figure out what the dc are supposed to do, and it has a very heavy emphasis on mental math and learning the concept, not just the algorithm. Plus the website has online games. 

I'm not getting paid to say this, lol. But I have been very pleased with it and how easy it is for my kids to work ahead, or when needed, to go straight to an issue I want to cover. And it's a great value for multiple kids.

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@Emily ZL those are some really good points on Math Mammoth. I didn't realize you could buy the entire curriculum for all years for one price. What a great deal! I think I'll get it and I can always change to something else for my older son if it's not working.

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