Jump to content

Menu

Please help- Math commitment issues...


HazelAnne
 Share

Recommended Posts

I seem to have serious issues with sticking to a math program. We’ve used Abeka, Singapore, Saxon, Teaching Textbooks and Horizons over the years. I am about to order Math U See for everyone- or maybe just some of the kids and would really appreciate any advice. 

The year that went the smoothest was when we used Teaching Textbooks, but I didn’t continue with it as I felt like it may have been too easy, and I prefer paper and pencil to the computer. We have otherwise mostly used Saxon.

Here’s how we started school this year:

8th grader- Saxon 8/7- is taking a looong time to do each lesson. Planning to do Algebra 1 next year.

6th grader- Saxon 6/5- needs a lot of help- often forgets what was previously taught.

4th grader- Saxon 5/4- does well with math.

2nd grader- Horizons 2- going well

I feel like the MUS approach would help strengthen my older two kids’ understanding of math and wish I had been using it all along (which is why I plan to switch my youngest to Beta). I regret switching curriculum so much and am hoping to find something we’ll stick with through high school.  
I think my 6th grader really should go back to Delta with MUS, but I don’t want her to get behind to where she isn’t able to do pre-algebra in 8th grade. (Or does that not really matter?) My hope is she would be able to do 1/2 of the next level this year also? 
What about my 4th grader? I could see her wanting to do something with math/science later on, would MUS prepare her well for that? 

And the 8th grader? Switch to MUS pre-algebra? Stick with Saxon but not do every single problem? Any thoughts on MUS in high school?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, HazelAnne said:

I seem to have serious issues with sticking to a math program. We’ve used Abeka, Singapore, Saxon, Teaching Textbooks and Horizons over the years. I am about to order Math U See for everyone- or maybe just some of the kids and would really appreciate any advice. 

The year that went the smoothest was when we used Teaching Textbooks, but I didn’t continue with it as I felt like it may have been too easy, and I prefer paper and pencil to the computer. We have otherwise mostly used Saxon.

Here’s how we started school this year:

8th grader- Saxon 8/7- is taking a looong time to do each lesson. Planning to do Algebra 1 next year.

6th grader- Saxon 6/5- needs a lot of help- often forgets what was previously taught.

4th grader- Saxon 5/4- does well with math.

2nd grader- Horizons 2- going well

I feel like the MUS approach would help strengthen my older two kids’ understanding of math and wish I had been using it all along (which is why I plan to switch my youngest to Beta). I regret switching curriculum so much and am hoping to find something we’ll stick with through high school.  
I think my 6th grader really should go back to Delta with MUS, but I don’t want her to get behind to where she isn’t able to do pre-algebra in 8th grade. (Or does that not really matter?) My hope is she would be able to do 1/2 of the next level this year also? 
What about my 4th grader? I could see her wanting to do something with math/science later on, would MUS prepare her well for that? 

And the 8th grader? Switch to MUS pre-algebra? Stick with Saxon but not do every single problem? Any thoughts on MUS in high school?

If you stay with Saxon (which would be my vote), it will be imperative for him to do every problem, in every problem set.

Saxon was not written like other materials. Each and every problem in each and every problem set is there for a specific purpose, not just for the sake of drill. Concepts are not only continually reviewed but actually developed continually. When you allow your dc to skip problems, they're missing out on instruction as well as review.

Some people set a time limit, like 45 minutes, for the children to work; if they don't finish the lesson, they pick up the next day where they left off. And for some reason, often when children are given a time limit they are magically able to finish what used to take them much longer. Go figure.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

At this stage, I would not switch to yet another math. Every jump to a new program requires several months to adjust, and there are going to be gaps from jumping around. So I'd stick with what is working, or has worked the best so far. Especially since you mention that the 2nd and 4th graders are doing well with Horizon and Saxon respectively -- don't fix what isn't broken. 😉 But that is just my opinion (which comes from having had a math struggler,with LDs and going through 5 different math programs in grades 1-4 until we finally found what was a fit for him).

The only switch you might consider is for the 6th grader-- maybe go to Horizon, since the 6th grader has seen it before and because your 2nd grader is using it and doing well with it (so streamlining to just 2 programs for the 4 students). But also I suggest Horizon because it is a solid program and less overwhelming on the page. Saxon includes a lot of review of past concepts in every lesson precisely to help keep students from forgetting by continually bringing back past topics. So if your 6th grader is "forgetting a lot," she might be overwhelmed by too many topics (for her) per lesson in the Saxon presentation, and might do better with a more limited focus of a single topic per lesson, with some review at the end of each lesson.  

I would NOT worry about making sure a student is doing a specific higher math at a certain grade -- it's far more important that the child is absolutely rock solid on the foundational math topics and skills and problem-solving, because they will be using those foundational skills and topics in more complex ways for the higher maths. If the foundation is shaky, and you keep pushing forward anyways, it tends to catch up with you and bite you in the behind by high school, and you end up having to go back and re-do work to get solid in the foundations. Better by far to just go at HER speed, even if that means doing Pre-Algebra in 9th grade. Really, it will be okay.

Agreeing with Ellie about using a timer and just looping whatever is left for the next day. If that means having to go into the summer to finish, that can actually be a bonus, as there is less time off from math for forgetting it all, so it makes transition into the next level a lot faster/smoother.

BEST of luck in your math journey, whatever you decide. Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you both for the replies, and the encouragement to stick with Saxon. I think I am always looking for some magical curriculum to make math click- but really I just need to be consistent. 

@Ellie Great idea on the timer- I think you are right and that might motivate the 8th grader to finish sooner. Good to know too that we really do need to do every problem with Saxon. 

@Lori D. I think you’re right and I should keep the 8th and 4th graders with Saxon. The only reason I’m using Horizons with the 2nd grader is because I already had bought the books for another kid and never used them. Maybe I should switch him to Saxon now so they are all on the same program, and I’m more familiar with it?
The 6th grader has not used Horizons before (only the 8th grader has been through all those programs I mentioned). The 6th grader has only done Saxon and Teaching Textbooks. Perhaps I could keep her with Saxon, but slow the pace and use the Math U See as a supplement to help build a stronger foundation?

7 hours ago, Lori D. said:

I would NOT worry about making sure a student is doing a specific higher math at a certain grade -- it's far more important that the child is absolutely rock solid on the foundational math topics and skills and problem-solving, because they will be using those foundational skills and topics in more complex ways for the higher maths. If the foundation is shaky, and you keep pushing forward anyways, it tends to catch up with you and bite you in the behind by high school, and you end up having to go back and re-do work to get solid in the foundations. Better by far to just go at HER speed, even if that means doing Pre-Algebra in 9th grade. Really, it will be okay.

 Thank you for this- it is just what I needed to hear. (As a side note- I have learned much from your posts on here, and love your book lists). 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@square_25 Yes, I do have the time/commitment to work with them on math. Reflecting on it more, it’s really just the 6th grader who isn’t strong on the fundamentals. The 8th grader gets it, just seems to take a long time to get through lessons. There are also some health issues at play, which is why we did Teaching Textbooks for a season. So lack of energy could be part of it...however there are no issues with other subjects (all of which are mostly enjoyed by the student) taking a long time. I’m going to use a timer this week and see how that goes.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It wasn't clear in your original post whether you are you having your students just read the lesson out of the Saxon books themselves or are you teaching it to them?  If you are having them read it and learn on their own, they may need explicit instruction, either from you or  from  a video teacher like Dr. Shormann in DIVE,  Nicole the Math Lady (she has a free 7 day trial), or Saxon Teacher.

https://nicolethemathlady.com/

https://diveintomath.com/saxon-math/

https://www.rainbowresource.com/product/045882/Saxon-Math-Homeschool-Teacher-Digital-License-1-Year-Digital-Level-5-4-3rd-Edition.html?

Saxon teacher comes on CD or streaming; Rainbow resource sells both.

You can try the first 10 lessons of the DIVE videos as a sample (you have to navigate the to the product page for the particular level to find the sample link).   Here's the google doc where all the sample course links are located.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1UoiIeR1G0Q3F5gh8sz2iaMWIdCyMDALeFLejTZHmJiQ/edit

Another thought:  I know it is controversial whether or not to do all the problems in Saxon, but I'll add this suggestion from Dr. David Shormann, author of the DIVE teaching videos that go with Saxon (he has taught Saxon to homeschoolers for a long time, and does live classes for high school levels using his high school math program, which is similar to Saxon in format).  He recommends that the students do odd problems on odd days of the month, even problems on even days, and you pick 5 problems from the most recent lessons to add to that, as long as the student is getting 80% or above on the weekly tests (so they would be doing 20 mixed practice per day).  If the test scores drop below 80%, then you go up in number of practice problems.  He also recommends setting a timer, 45 minutes for younger students, and hour for older students, and stopping for the day, even if you haven't finished the lesson.

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@monalisa Thank you so much for these links! That is very helpful. I think I’m going to try Nicole the Math Lady.
My 8th grader prefers to work independently, and then work with me on anything she’s unsure of. We also go over problems that she gets wrong, and will review the concept and practice with similar problems. 
My 6th grader and I prefer to do her math lessons together, but she will often start without me if I’m still working with one of the other kids and she wants to knock math out. (I’ve been going youngest to oldest for math and LA).  I need to change this and make sure we always do it together. I just haven’t figured out how to make it click. Concepts she gets one day are sometimes forgotten the next day- or sometimes even the same day. 

Thanks too for the info on skipping some math problems. Most of the people I know in real life do have their kids skip problems with Saxon, but I know the text itself says to do all the problems. This seems like a nicely balanced method that would be good for my 8th grader. 

Edited by HazelAnne
Typo
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My daughter just finished Saxon 6/5.

I learned some things I hadn’t known when I saw her struggle/make mistakes in this program.

With a spiral, it is harder to remember how to do problems as they come up.  But, this is expected with spiral learning, and it’s believed this can lead to stronger learning.  
 

They also really don’t expect mastery with a first introduction, even though a first introduction is so important.  
 

But it’s normal to not remember something and have to kind-of re-learn it.  It’s part of a spiral curriculum.  
 

For my daughter — I think her “struggle” was normal/expected, but I didn’t know to expect it, and expected her to make fewer mistakes and need fewer reminders.  
 

I read some about “retrieval practice” and “interleaving” and — if you’re doing Saxon, it is a program with retrieval practice and interleaving, and it is expected to make more mistakes in this kind of program.  It’s expected to be part of the learning process.  

http://uweb.cas.usf.edu/~drohrer/pdfs/Interleaved_Mathematics_Practice_Guide.pdf

https://www.retrievalpractice.org/why-it-works
 

I hadn’t known this and basically — it just changed my perspective on mistakes and reminders, and helped me to work on changing my daughter’s perspective, too.  
 

I think it was borderline for being too much of a slog for my daughter, but it didn’t cross that line for her.  
 

The “demoralization factor” basically went away when I started telling her it was normal to make mistakes and would help her know what to do as she came to different problems, and that I thought it was helping her.  Very different from when I felt confusion/disappointment seeing her make mistakes.  
 

I also started cutting lessons in half to do over two days, in the latter half of the book.  Not every day, but often.  This helped a huge amount.  
 

Edit:  just to say, it’s possible your child’s issues with 6/5 are part of the learning process and not a sign of a problem.  I don’t think it definitely is the situation but it’s what I ended up thinking with my daughter.

Especially with the fractions — they really throw in and mix up those different fraction operations, and it is really hard to remember what operation to do and how to do it!  Well — this is a conscious program design decision and it is expected to result in more mistakes but — with a goal of better learning over time.
 

And, I would not say my daughter finished 6/5 proficient with multiplying and dividing decimals, just fyi.  A ton of mistakes and forgetting with that topic!  I have got my eye on it for sure, but I don’t think, right now, it’s a problem with my daughter or that it means it’s not working for her.  But I do have my eye on it!  
 

I felt like that about multiplying and dividing fractions earlier in the book but felt good about that by the end of the book.  They also jus throw in mixed-up mult/div problems pretty soon after introducing division.  But — it is different knowing it’s meant to be part of the program design and not like “wow what is going on here.”   

 

Edited by Lecka
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

With my older two students I sometimes used the Key to... series to reinforce concepts.  Often in the summer or other breaks these helped make concepts clear and easy.  These did not replace our main curriculum, only supplement as neeeded.

https://www.mheducation.com/prek-12/program/key-workbooks/MKTSP-HGH01M0.html?page=1&sortby=title&order=asc&bu=seg

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Square 25 — teaching through discrimination (the differences between two different things) is a legitimate learning strategy.  
 

It’s true it’s a sign a concept hasn’t yet been learned to mastery.  But it’s still a legitimate strategy to reach mastery. 
 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

From what I can tell the end of Saxon 6/5 is an introduction and it is all covered again the next year.

Saxon moves a lot slower with fractions than Common Core.  A lot, lot slower.  
 

When kids cover it again maybe they have some idea they need to pay attention to something here or there from the introduction the year before.

It is not at all the full coverage of the topic and then moving on 🙂

There’s still a need for mastery but I don’t believe that within this curriculum there’s a need for mastery at the end of 6/5.  
 

I have only looked through 7/6 though, I haven’t started it.

But so far I have seen things cycle through and it has worked out with what seems to be solid mastery down the road 1 1/2 or 2 books later, after things are first introduced.  
 

In Common Core fraction operations are all covered in 5th grade, though, a lot more than in Saxon 6/5 because they do not have the same scope and sequence.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don’t think going from 6/5 into a program that expects kids to have already mastered fraction and decimal operations is probably a good idea for a lot of kids, though.  It is not thorough and i don’t think it’s meant to be thorough.  
 

That’s my impression.  
 

I “feel like” with Common Core kids are supposed to do two months of adding and subtracting fractions and assume it’s learned to mastery.  Then do two months of multiplying and dividing fractions and assumed it’s learned to mastery.  That is in 5th grade.  Then moving on!  Also my impression 😉
 

I have seen my kids lose/forget things that I believed were “learned to mastery,” though, and it makes me skeptical of the old “they spent two months on it in 5th grade and it was mastered!”  I’m sure it does work that way for a lot of kids, but plenty of kids learn it at the time and then have gotten confused a year later.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 9/7/2020 at 11:33 AM, HazelAnne said:

I seem to have serious issues with sticking to a math program. We’ve used Abeka, Singapore, Saxon, Teaching Textbooks and Horizons over the years. I am about to order Math U See for everyone- or maybe just some of the kids and would really appreciate any advice. 

The year that went the smoothest was when we used Teaching Textbooks, but I didn’t continue with it as I felt like it may have been too easy, and I prefer paper and pencil to the computer. We have otherwise mostly used Saxon.

Here’s how we started school this year:

8th grader- Saxon 8/7- is taking a looong time to do each lesson. Planning to do Algebra 1 next year.

6th grader- Saxon 6/5- needs a lot of help- often forgets what was previously taught.

4th grader- Saxon 5/4- does well with math.

2nd grader- Horizons 2- going well

I feel like the MUS approach would help strengthen my older two kids’ understanding of math and wish I had been using it all along (which is why I plan to switch my youngest to Beta). I regret switching curriculum so much and am hoping to find something we’ll stick with through high school.  
I think my 6th grader really should go back to Delta with MUS, but I don’t want her to get behind to where she isn’t able to do pre-algebra in 8th grade. (Or does that not really matter?) My hope is she would be able to do 1/2 of the next level this year also? 
What about my 4th grader? I could see her wanting to do something with math/science later on, would MUS prepare her well for that? 

And the 8th grader? Switch to MUS pre-algebra? Stick with Saxon but not do every single problem? Any thoughts on MUS in high school?

Saxon takes forever.  My eighth grader is doing algebra 1.  (We skipped the last bit of 1/2 though and he’s been fine).  Most people I know in real life recommend skipping half the problems.  Of course Ellie and others on the forum say you have to do every single problem so I went back to that model.  I was ok with DS taking longer than a year to do it but he decided himself that he doesn’t want to “get behind” so have taken to doing an hours homework to keep up.  There are honestly some problems he could skip - most of the geometry and percentage ones he literally never gets wrong and they do a million easy unit conversions which are stupidly easy for him.  He does need the extra repetition on the algebraic stuff though (forgets to multiply the sign outside of brackets correctly when expanding, often ends up not hitting the lowest common multiple with adding algebraic fractions etc).  If we’re hitting close to the end of the book I’m going to cross out a tonne of problems I think he doesn’t need so we finish it.  
 

anyway just some thoughts.  When I do the problems myself many of them take 3 minutes or a little longer.  There’s 30 problems in a lesson plus all the new reading and practice problems which means there’s probably 90 minutes work minimum and often more.  And if you have a student that’s slower or struggles to focus it is a lot to get through in the year . Plus some of the ways they teach stuff is really drawn out.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 8 months later...
Posted (edited)
On 9/7/2020 at 5:03 AM, HazelAnne said:

I seem to have serious issues with sticking to a math program. We’ve used Abeka, Singapore, Saxon, Teaching Textbooks and Horizons over the years. I am about to order Math U See for everyone- or maybe just some of the kids and would really appreciate any advice. 

The year that went the smoothest was when we used Teaching Textbooks, but I didn’t continue with it as I felt like it may have been too easy, and I prefer paper and pencil to the computer. We have otherwise mostly used Saxon.

Here’s how we started school this year:

8th grader- Saxon 8/7- is taking a looong time to do each lesson. Planning to do Algebra 1 next year.

6th grader- Saxon 6/5- needs a lot of help- often forgets what was previously taught.

4th grader- Saxon 5/4- does well with math.

2nd grader- Horizons 2- going well

I feel like the MUS approach would help strengthen my older two kids’ understanding of math and wish I had been using it all along (which is why I plan to switch my youngest to Beta). I regret switching curriculum so much and am hoping to find something we’ll stick with through high school.  
I think my 6th grader really should go back to Delta with MUS, but I don’t want her to get behind to where she isn’t able to do pre-algebra in 8th grade. (Or does that not really matter?) My hope is she would be able to do 1/2 of the next level this year also? 
What about my 4th grader? I could see her wanting to do something with math/science later on, would MUS prepare her well for that? 

And the 8th grader? Switch to MUS pre-algebra? Stick with Saxon but not do every single problem? Any thoughts on MUS in high school?

Oh, I would also like to start taking some courses. I'm very bad at math. Ever since school, it was difficult for me to complete any assignments, now I found information resources, for example https://plainmath.net, and it became a little easier for me. Still, I would like to really practice and improve my knowledge.

Oh, I would also like to start taking some courses. I'm very bad at math.

Edited by Patricia J. Miranda
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...