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Can someone compare Mr. D and Derek Owens Algebra?


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I have two sons in Mr. D. Algebra and they are both getting burnt out. This is probably the fifth math curriculum they have tried in the past 2-3 years (and I've been here many times trying to troubleshoot math among other things), and the bottom line is that they just don't like to do work. I'm not sure if they will ever find one that they actually like, so it may just be a matter of telling them to suck it up and do the dang work. Which is basically what I've been telling them so far this year.

However.

Listening to what they're saying, they both seem to express a similar sentiment that the Mr. D. videos take so long to explain a concept that they can't maintain focus. They check out, and then actually miss important bits of what was being presented. They then have to rewatch the video to find out what they missed, resulting on having to spend MORE time on it---the last thing they want to do.

It is possible that Mr. D moves too slow for them. This was certainly the case with CLE math when they were younger, causing us to steer away from it even though I loved its thorough, incremental approach. Formal testing on one son (by a member here who could be reading this for all I know) revealed that he is highly gifted, and the other son, though not formally "diagnosed" as gifted, may well be. We have been advised (hello, Farrar) to do something more appropriate for gifted students, like AOPS or Derek Owens, but thus far my sons have resisted. They both CHOSE to do Mr. D (older son because that's what he had already been doing and he doesn't like change; younger son because he wanted a change and I guess he wanted to try what his brother was doing), despite my efforts to steer them toward something else. I think they are now at a point of being willing to be steered.

This morning I started to show the younger guy one of the Algebra 1 sample videos from Derek Owens. 25 seconds in, he declared he wants to switch. I think this is based on his observation that the video is 3 minutes long, vs. Mr. D which is about 30 minutes long. I explained to him that this was just a sample, and that DO might be covering a lot less ground in the 3 minute video than Mr. D does in his 30, but I actually don't know. He said he "can just tell" that DO will be better. I don't think he even heard a word of what was said, though---he just locked in to the fact that the video was so short.

So I guess my question is...would DO be a better choice in terms of presenting the concept concisely and moving on into getting the work done? We need bang for the buck here; my boys do not tolerate unnecessarily long, drawn out explanations.

I feel like the stakes are high here. We've switched curricula SO many times and have had so many false starts. So if anyone has insight into whether another switch would be worth it, I would love to be enlightened. 🙂

FWIW I should mention that both programs have a live online option and my sons do NOT want to do that.

 

 

Edited by chilliepepper
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I haven't used either, but I've heard far better things about Derek Owens. 

Also, you really might want to try something like AoPS on the side, even if they resist. Have you ever thrown harder questions into the mix? And by harder, I don't mean harder computations, but more theoretical and abstract. Ever done any math contest questions? 

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Just now, chilliepepper said:

Update: Having to send in their work to be graded by a person seems to be a deal breaker with both of my sons and Derek Owens. Ugggghhhh I am so frustrated.

First of all, I know he has a self-graded option. Secondly, I would absolutely NOT let them set their terms here. What exactly does it mean that it's a dealbreaker that someone else grades them?? Why do they get that choice?? 

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I hear ya. Guess I'm trying to gauge buy-in before deciding. We have many battles and I've lost a lot of ground with them by waffling around on how much choice I let them have in their educational path. It's definitely a problem.

Edited by chilliepepper
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13 minutes ago, chilliepepper said:

I hear ya. Guess I'm trying to gauge buy-in before deciding. We have many battles and I've lost a lot of ground with them by waffling around on how much choice I let them have in their educational path. It's definitely a problem.

I'm sure he has a self-graded option, though. People say you have to write him about it. 

ETA: I'll wait for people who actually used it to chime in 🙂 . This is just what I've read about on here. 

Edited by Not_a_Number
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We are Mr D Math users . . . we have never used DO, though we considered it. As to the videos . . . we do the live classes, so there is one class for an hour one time per week, and my kids have RARELY every watched any other videos. The class has taught the material well and they just do the coursework and quizzes for the rest of the week. They only watch additional videos when they get stuck. 

From what I have read DO is "more rigorous" and probably more advanced. However, as of this point (halfway done with Algebra 2) -- Mr D seems on target. Perhaps a more average track, but seems sufficient. And my kids like it -- but I do think the live classes make a difference in their interest in the classes -- they definitely feel more connected and invested in the live classes. 

At some point, math is just hard work. 

I will say one of the biggest reasons we chose Mr D over DO was if you choose DO where they grade, you don't get immediate feedback -- and that was a big deal to me. I felt like they need to know how they did to see if they really got it or not. And I didn't want to grade it my self because a large part of the reason we outsource math is to take me mostly out of the equation. 

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Firstly, I am going to sound pretty mean here, but sometimes it makes sense to stand your ground. Since you've done a lot of switching around & waffling, I think this is a place to stand your ground.

I would NOT let them switch midstream. If they want to complete their next level of math with Derek Owens, fine. But they have to successfully finish their current level of Mr D first.

Here's why I say that. Their complaint is that Mr D takes awhile to get to the point and thus they miss things and have to research --spending more time. That is THEIR FAULT. They will certainly run into professors who are long-winded and must learn to maintain focus -- and 30 minutes isn't impossible (assuming they don't have ADHD or an auditory process disorder or the like). If they lose focus, their punishment is having to rewind and spend the extra time rewatching. It is to their advantage to pay attention the first time. They need to take responsibility for not maintaining focus. Don't  "rescue" them. They will come up with some reason why DO doesn't work for them and you will be right back here in a few months.

If they chose to switch to Derek Owens for the next level, let them know it is a full level commitment. (DO will be harder! That might be good for them. But don't let them switch now.) Just let them know they are welcome to switch to DO once they have successfully completed their current level of math.

I'd say it in a sweet voice & not fight them over it. It is just a done deal that they have to finish Mr D. No matter how much time each day it takes them.

I'm reminded of when one Hiver's kid was complaining about the math lessons they were doing (in lower elementary). Every time they complained, the Hive mom gave them an extra math lesson to complete from a separate math curriculum. After a couple of warnings/extra sheets, the kid ended up committed to two different math programs for the whole rest of the semester (or school year? I can't remember). The mom knew the kid was complaining because she didn't want to do the work, not because it was too hard. Obviously, if there was a math difficulty, that would be different. If they keep complaining, you can always offer to give them a second math program's homework to complete on top of Mr. D. ....

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3 minutes ago, RootAnn said:

Firstly, I am going to sound pretty mean here, but sometimes it makes sense to stand your ground. Since you've done a lot of switching around & waffling, I think this is a place to stand your ground.

I would NOT let them switch midstream. If they want to complete their next level of math with Derek Owens, fine. But they have to successfully finish their current level of Mr D first.

Here's why I say that. Their complaint is that Mr D takes awhile to get to the point and thus they miss things and have to research --spending more time. That is THEIR FAULT. They will certainly run into professors who are long-winded and must learn to maintain focus -- and 30 minutes isn't impossible (assuming they don't have ADHD or an auditory process disorder or the like). If they lose focus, their punishment is having to rewind and spend the extra time rewatching. It is to their advantage to pay attention the first time. They need to take responsibility for not maintaining focus. Don't  "rescue" them. They will come up with some reason why DO doesn't work for them and you will be right back here in a few months.

If they chose to switch to Derek Owens for the next level, let them know it is a full level commitment. (DO will be harder! That might be good for them. But don't let them switch now.) Just let them know they are welcome to switch to DO once they have successfully completed their current level of math.

I'd say it in a sweet voice & not fight them over it. It is just a done deal that they have to finish Mr D. No matter how much time each day it takes them.

I'm reminded of when one Hiver's kid was complaining about the math lessons they were doing (in lower elementary). Every time they complained, the Hive mom gave them an extra math lesson to complete from a separate math curriculum. After a couple of warnings/extra sheets, the kid ended up committed to two different math programs for the whole rest of the semester (or school year? I can't remember). The mom knew the kid was complaining because she didn't want to do the work, not because it was too hard. Obviously, if there was a math difficulty, that would be different. If they keep complaining, you can always offer to give them a second math program's homework to complete on top of Mr. D. ....

On the one hand, I absolutely see your point. Sometimes, you have to make it clear to the kids who's the boss, because otherwise trying to teach them gets unbearable. 

On the other hand, I wonder whether part of the issue here is that they are bored. Pushing gifted kids through curriculums that bore them can result in a serious distaste for the subject. 

Overall, though, I think you're right about the issue. There has to be some accountability in this system. 

Edited by Not_a_Number
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@Not_a_NumberOh, they are probably really bored, but they are still likely not gifted enough to grasp the math being taught without paying attention since they can't do the problems without rewatching the videos. So, I'm on Team Teach Them A Lesson. They will need to learn to pay attention to boring people. And 30 minutes is not torture. If they were willing to teach themselves the math by working through a textbook, for example, I'd recommend something different. This is a too-easily-changeable mom plus lazy kids. It won't kill them to finish their current level of math. They should be over half done if they started at the beginning of the traditional school year -- unless they live in the southern hemisphere and/or just started their school year.

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1 minute ago, RootAnn said:

@Not_a_NumberOh, they are probably really bored, but they are still likely not gifted enough to grasp the math being taught without paying attention since they can't do the problems without rewatching the videos.

I don't think one grasps math from listening to 30 minutes of lecture, anyway. Lecture-based teaching is a bad fit for math. So then insisting that they continue with this seems like it might make them hate it more. 

But on the other hand, as you say, they seem to think they can change things around as much as they like, and that's no good, either. So you might be right that the correct solution is to hold them accountable NOW, and promise that the reward for good behavior will be to figure out how to interest them more later. 

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2 minutes ago, RootAnn said:

This is a too-easily-changeable mom plus lazy kids.

Ouch! But you are absolutely right. I have a history of chronic waffling. My natural tendency is toward authoritarianism, but some reading I have done has caused me to wander over into an unschooling/TJED mentality with some things. Since I haven't embraced unschooling across the board, though, which I don't think I can ever do, the result is that they don't know what to expect and feel empowered to manipulate me. 😕

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I agree with @RootAnn (can't tag today, apparently) finish out the year before switching.

That said, DO does have a self-grade (mom-grade would be a better name) You have to email a request. It is cheaper, which is very nice of them. I'm not sure what order of progression you have been using, but recognize that self-grading Geometry can be tricky.

DD found Mr D geometry less challenging than ds' DO geometry. She decided to change providers for Algebra 2.

 

 

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7 minutes ago, RootAnn said:

 It won't kill them to finish their current level of math. They should be over half done if they started at the beginning of the traditional school year 

Actually, my oldest son (the one who is supposed to be gifted) has been working on Algebra 1 for a full year now. He started in Feb. 2020 with a Mr. D live class. Hated it and it was moving too fast (it was a compressed, one-semester course) so we switched him to self-paced. He has DRAGGED. IT. OUT. He is 15 years old, gifted, yet taking over a year to get through freaking Algebra 1. I am beyond frustrated. 

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2 minutes ago, chilliepepper said:

Actually, my oldest son (the one who is supposed to be gifted) has been working on Algebra 1 for a full year now. He started in Feb. 2020 with a Mr. D live class. Hated it and it was moving too fast (it was a compressed, one-semester course) so we switched him to self-paced. He has DRAGGED. IT. OUT. He is 15 years old, gifted, yet taking over a year to get through freaking Algebra 1. I am beyond frustrated. 

Has he ever liked any math?

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3 minutes ago, SusanC said:

That said, DO does have a self-grade (mom-grade would be a better name)

But I guess they *could* grade their own work if they wanted to compare apples to apples and make it like Mr. D except with a different person presenting and different problems to do. I could also stealth grade it to see if they were being honest (something I wonder about with Mr. D).

I'm inclined to have the older guy finish Mr. D. Algebra 1 by the end of April, then enroll in DO and take a month to "try it on" with a view to whether he would be open to going that route for Geometry next year.

 

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4 minutes ago, chilliepepper said:

Actually, my oldest son (the one who is supposed to be gifted) has been working on Algebra 1 for a full year now. He started in Feb. 2020 with a Mr. D live class. Hated it and it was moving too fast (it was a compressed, one-semester course) so we switched him to self-paced. He has DRAGGED. IT. OUT. He is 15 years old, gifted, yet taking over a year to get through freaking Algebra 1. I am beyond frustrated. 

Have you worked with him on scheduling the work? Probably you have, but my 15yods still needs a lot of schedule oversight from me for classes where he controls the place. He seems fairly mature, so i step back from being so have-on, and then i torn around and discover he has fallen weeks behind again. Argh. Then we have a schedule meeting and start over.

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1 minute ago, chilliepepper said:

But I guess they *could* grade their own work if they wanted to compare apples to apples and make it like Mr. D except with a different person presenting and different problems to do. I could also stealth grade it to see if they were being honest (something I wonder about with Mr. D).

I'm inclined to have the older guy finish Mr. D. Algebra 1 by the end of April, then enroll in DO and take a month to "try it on" with a view to whether he would be open to going that route for Geometry next year.

 

I wouldn’t do self-grading. Why do they want that?? That makes me pretty suspicious of their motivations.

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1 minute ago, chilliepepper said:

But I guess they *could* grade their own work if they wanted to compare apples to apples and make it like Mr. D except with a different person presenting and different problems to do. I could also stealth grade it to see if they were being honest (something I wonder about with Mr. D).

Yes, but given your troubles keeping him on schedule, I'm guessing that he might not be diligent about really understanding his mistakes?

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2 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

Has he ever liked any math?

Not really. He got all angsty about it after being "behind" for a year (that's a whole 'nuther story) and never "catching up."

I actually think that there is a math genius somewhere in there but we haven't found it yet.

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Just now, chilliepepper said:

Not really. He got all angsty about it after being "behind" for a year (that's a whole 'nuther story) and never "catching up."

I actually think that there is a math genius somewhere in there but we haven't found it yet.

Have you ever tried math competition math or anything like that? Anything that’s less like drudgery?

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4 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

I wouldn’t do self-grading. Why do they want that?? That makes me pretty suspicious of their motivations.

I share your suspicion. Which is what attracts me to Derek Owens. Still...in the scenario of trying to get them on board for switching...if their main objection is that they want to keep self-grading, then we could keep that in place temporarily to give them a chance to see if they like DO's teaching style better.

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4 minutes ago, chilliepepper said:

I share your suspicion. Which is what attracts me to Derek Owens. Still...in the scenario of trying to get them on board for switching...if their main objection is that they want to keep self-grading, then we could keep that in place temporarily to give them a chance to see if they like DO's teaching style better.

Honestly, I’d do it the other way. I’d end the “self-grading” option today. Now. It’s not really an acceptable option in my book. 

Then I’d have a choice between two options, NEITHER of which involves grading oneself. 

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32 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

On the one hand, I absolutely see your point. Sometimes, you have to make it clear to the kids who's the boss, because otherwise trying to teach them gets unbearable. 

On the other hand, I wonder whether part of the issue here is that they are bored. Pushing gifted kids through curriculums that bore them can result in a serious distaste for the subject. 

Overall, though, I think you're right about the issue. There has to be some accountability in this system. 

15 year old boys are known to game the system a bit. With gifted kiddos, I have found "boring" to be a code-word for "I don't immediately know how to do this and I don't want to risk looking dumb."

I say grab an algebra text book to self-study and give them option to test through each chapter at 90% correct. Set a pretty tight time table for each chapter. If they can't do that, then they need to stay the course with Mr. D. DS is going to be behind if he doesn't get through Algebra soon.

We've had two math streams going for years- regular and fun. Finally at Calculus, "regular" is also "fun".

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4 minutes ago, MamaSprout said:

15 year old boys are known to game the system a bit. With gifted kiddos, I have found "boring" to be a code-word for "I don't immediately know how to do this and I don't want to risk looking dumb."

Oh, I’m sure. These kids do sound like they are gaming the system! But they might also find the material uninspiring. It doesn’t have to be one or the other.

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14 minutes ago, MamaSprout said:

15 year old boys are known to game the system a bit. With gifted kiddos, I have found "boring" to be a code-word for "I don't immediately know how to do this and I don't want to risk looking dumb."

I say grab an algebra text book to self-study and give them option to test through each chapter at 90% correct. Set a pretty tight time table for each chapter. If they can't do that, then they need to stay the course with Mr. D. DS is going to be behind if he doesn't get through Algebra soon.

We've had two math streams going for years- regular and fun. Finally at Calculus, "regular" is also "fun".

Thank you. I love this.

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26 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

Oh, I’m sure. These kids do sound like they are gaming the system! But they might also find the material uninspiring. It doesn’t have to be one or the other.

Yes and no. If they were in a public school doing uninspiring things all.day.long. I would agree that it could be damaging. In this case (and at this age), the lesson of staying the course is more important, especially for a kid who has been told he's gifted and is probably afraid of looking "dumb" because he is a little behind. And a 15 year old boy (I've had a few of those alien creatures through my house). Love those hairy man-boy-sons, but they generally need a nudge or a firm hand now and then.

My youngest kiddo used to game me the same way. She had do so some very uninspiring stuff, but she still loves math AND she knows how to do hard things that she doesn't really want to do. She told me earlier this week she wishes I had forced her to stay the course earlier than I did. She's loving calculus and wishes she had gotten to it earlier.

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Self-grading is not an option I would go with in this situation.

They sound like they need accountability (schedule & grading). DO graded by mom won't give the former without Mom stepping up and enforcing a schedule. DO graded-by-DO would give the latter but not the former.

Maybe a conference with each kid with a Mr D schedule to see how much they have to get done each week to finish by a certain date. They figure out how much that is & you hold them accountable.

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42 minutes ago, MamaSprout said:

My youngest kiddo used to game me the same way. She had do so some very uninspiring stuff, but she still loves math AND she knows how to do hard things that she doesn't really want to do. She told me earlier this week she wishes I had forced her to stay the course earlier than I did. She's loving calculus and wishes she had gotten to it earlier.

Yeah, I have a kiddo who thrives with the more abstract stuff, too. I've generally done a mix of "yeah, tough luck, you HAVE to do this" and finding novel approaches to things she finds boring. It's possible I should have pushed her more, and we're trying to work on that now (she's only 8 and a half), because sometimes she DOES give me way too much attitude about things she doesn't want to do, and I'm pretty sure this is related to me having let her set the topics before. 

On the other hand, DD8 does love math and likes being able to pick her direction to a fair extent. It's been a tricky balance for us.

My main experience teaching teens one-on-one is my currently college-aged sister, who's kinda my bonus kid. But she was always at school, so I've never had to navigate that balance. 

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I'll be mean too. This sounds like time for mom to decide what they are doing and enforce it. Once they get on the program and are responsible, then they get a say in what they do. The more responsible and cooperative they are, the more you listen to their input. But the maturity to make that decision themselves needs to be displayed by doing their job as it is at the moment. 

Math has been the biggest hurdle in our homeschool. We ended up with outsourced live classes. My dc are fine if they are in a live class where they need to pay attention because they could get called on and when they have due dates set in stone. So, I'm really reluctant to go with a video based program. My current senior is doing Derek Owens Calculus this year. He started in WTMA math in 7th grade and this is his first non-live math class. He is doing well but he is very mature and in all other college classes. He would likely not have been able to handle the freedom of DO when he was younger even though he is really strong in math. 

Balking at live classes and anyone else grading sounds like maybe that is just what they need if they can't get it together for Mr. Ds. I think now might not be the time for asking their opinions but rather for you to tell them how it is. 

Wow, that sounds really mean. But getting your kids on track in math and removing this source of frustration is actually pretty kind, really. 

 

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9 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

First of all, I know he has a self-graded option. Secondly, I would absolutely NOT let them set their terms here. What exactly does it mean that it's a dealbreaker that someone else grades them?? Why do they get that choice?? 

This. They get some input, sure, but parents make the decision. Grading by someone else is lovely and takes the pressure off you. And holds them more accountable. 

My high schooler works harder for classes graded by someone who is not me. And never has late work for them either!

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I've used both. I have one kid in Mr. D's right now and one in DO. Like@By Grace, we have used the live option, which is much better in my opinion. The kids interact with each other in the chat (if it's Mr. H anyway) and the teacher goes through the work with them. It doesn't feel as slow as the videos.

Mr. D's is lighter - the algebra I is pretty light from everything I've seen, but it does get a bit more challenging as it goes on. The precalc is pretty solid from what I can tell, though I'm sure it's still easier than some other options. I'd say somewhere between Teaching Textbooks and Derek Owens.

The Mr. D's allows students to self-grade the homework. The quizzes and tests and review checks are graded by the computer. With DO, they grade everything.

My kid who needs a lighter schedule is doing Mr. D's. My kid who needs more challenge is doing DO. Right call for both of them. One thing I do for my Mr. D's student is print out and bind the printed work 3-4 chapters at a time so that it's all in one place, like a central workbook. It makes it easier for me to spot check that it's getting done and easier for him to have it organized.

On one level, I agree with everything @RootAnn and others are saying. Just buckle down and get it done. On the other hand, knowing the situation a little... when you've got gifted kids, sometimes they need more challenge and the more its drudgery, the more they'll just double down and resist, which makes any boundary setting pointless. I do wonder if he might do better with a much, much harder class. In fact, I would steel yourself and definitely make that happen next year. Maybe he should take the placement test and just start math at the community college, for example. For this year, how you finish out... I think you just have to make a call and then really stick with it. That call could be to change it up or stick with it. Either way, I'd agree to make that call and stick to it until summer break. Then re-evaluate having given whatever you chose your full emphasis.

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I’d have them finish the year on a tight schedule. Math not done = no movies, video games, whatever. What summertime carrot or stick can you use? Math needs to be completed by May X in order to go to camp, work at X, whatever. 

I’d seriously consider enrolling them in live online classes next year. And that’s something to think about now bc the demand is high and good classes will fill fast. 
 

Hard work is something kids need to learn to do. Just part of growing up.

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13 minutes ago, Farrar said:

On the other hand, knowing the situation a little... when you've got gifted kids, sometimes they need more challenge and the more its drudgery, the more they'll just double down and resist, which makes any boundary setting pointless. I do wonder if he might do better with a much, much harder class.

Yeah, that's kind of my take. Boring gifted kids can really backfire. So I'd probably first try to find something that might actually interest them, and THEN enforce order. 

But either way, no more grading themselves, lol!! 

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7 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

Yeah, that's kind of my take. Boring gifted kids can really backfire. So I'd probably first try to find something that might actually interest them, and THEN enforce order. 

But either way, no more grading themselves, lol!! 

Please stop. Kids do need to be bored sometimes. This isn't aimed specifically at you Not a Number, but in a general attitude that pervades gifted learning. There are different kinds of boredom. Some of it is very healthy. 

In your case, with an 8 year old and a 4 year old, there is definitely a benefit of engaging materials that give students "hooks to hang" things on later and inspires a love of learning. Perfect. With older kids, doing hard (boring) work is a skill. They can be proud that they got through it, much the same a person would who just ran a long race. Teaching a single subject in a less-than-perfect way is okay. Really. Sometimes there are greater things to be learned here. 

I'm speaking as a university professor, teacher, tutor and parent of 4 kiddos who range from a little above average with mild LDs (but hard working- finishing her MBA right now) to quite gifted (could do high school math in their head while riding around in the grocery cart). The most important skill any of our kids have learned is.... Perseverance. 

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1 hour ago, MamaSprout said:

I'm speaking as a university professor, teacher, tutor and parent of 4 kiddos who range from a little above average with mild LDs (but hard working- finishing her MBA right now) to quite gifted (could do high school math in their head while riding around in the grocery cart). The most important skill any of our kids have learned is.... Perseverance. 

And I’m speaking as a former gifted kid who has plenty of college teaching experience and a PhD of her own. I didn’t say that they should never be bored or never work hard — that’s the opposite of what I try to teach my kids. But if they are already disliking math, then yes, I might want to find them something more innately engaging than what they are doing now. But if that “more engaging” thing generates as many complaints, I’d certainly tell them to suck it up and deal with being bored. 

There were things in high school I simply never bothered to learn because I mulishly decided they weren’t worth my time, and because I could absolutely choose to learn nothing and still get good grades. Forcing me to take classes without any buy-in has generally backfired. Am I sorry about that now? Definitely. But I’m not sure that the right thing for me would have been stricter rules.

I guess I think that both a carrot and a stick are possibly in order. And yes... either way, they will need to learn to manage being bored. I do agree there.

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My take is that if they've gone through 5 programs in 2 years they've had abundant time to find something that they like.  My kids (and I as a student) understand that there are things you just need to get through.  I do everything that I can to get buy-in from them - we discuss options when I first plan our schedule for each year and they have a say in scheduling (everything every day?  Long blocks for some subjects and daily for others? Do all of MCT vocab and then poetry or alternate each a few days a week?).  But, there comes a point where everybody just needs to buckle down.  Perhaps a more challenging program would be good, but does the student actually want to start over with a new Alg program?  It's not going to be easy to just jump into something mid-year, picking up at where it seems like the new material starts, and I certainly wouldn't recommend starting AoPS mid-year if they aren't used to doing work.  

I occasionally get students like this in my bio classes.  Most students, whether dealing with learning challenges, average, or gifted, do fine.  But, there is a group who just won't do the work.  They are intelligent enough to easily pass the class and their parents are pulling their hair but the kids insist that it's impossible, boring, or a mix of the 2.  It is almost always boys.  Some will go months barely turning in any work.  The only thing that ever helps is when I put an absolute deadline - the 'if we have not made arrangements for more time because you had surgery during the semester, you need to turn everything in, I will quit grading anything in the course and your zeros will stand'.  Then most are suddenly able to get through at least the minumum; some don't and earn an F.  I actually struggle with this when I teach - I am very accommodating of life circumstances (I've had students with physical illlness, depression, surgery, hurricanes, moves) and none of those kids are an issue, but that group of 'boring and impossible' students will drag things out far beyond what is reasonable and leave me sending an email that basically says 'The semester ended over a month ago, all other grades have been calculated for 2 weeks, and I am done'. 

I don't know how a mom needs to implement this in a class that she is running, especially if the kids won't believe that they can't just keep dragging it out.  Daily requirements?  Weekly?  A date at which it must be done?  I'd even be fine with letting them go back to a previous curriculum for the subject - they can pick but then it needs to be done.  They can even use a test-out option - if the work is boring, let them take a test showing that they already know it and they can do less homework.  It's an option I've offered to students in the past - if it's boring and easy, just take the exams and we'll do 'credit by exam' without the homework to pull your grade up.  Nobody has ever taken me up on it because most recognize that they don't actually know the material, but it's a valid option.  

Edited by Clemsondana
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4 minutes ago, Clemsondana said:

I don't know how a mom needs to implement this in a class that she is running, especially if the kids won't believe that they can't just keep dragging it out. 

This is where having someone else grade these kids seems like the right move... they don’t want that? Tough luck. That’s how it is now.

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29 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

And I’m speaking as a former gifted kid who has plenty of college teaching experience and a PhD of her own. I didn’t say that they should never be bored or never work hard — that’s the opposite of what I try to teach my kids. But if they are already disliking math, then yes, I might want to find them something more innately engaging than what they are doing now. But if that “more engaging” thing generates as many complaints, I’d certainly tell them to suck it up and deal with being bored. 

There were things in high school I simply never bothered to learn because I mulishly decided they weren’t worth my time, and because I could absolutely choose to learn nothing and still get good grades. Forcing me to take classes without any buy-in has generally backfired. Am I sorry about that now? Definitely. But I’m not sure that the right thing for me would have been stricter rules.

I guess I think that both a carrot and a stick are possibly in order. And yes... either way, they will need to learn to manage being bored. I do agree there.

I'm also speaking as a former gifted kiddo who was bored in school. In school. We're talking about homeschool here, generally.

I'm not going to get into a one up contest with you. You spend a lot of time telling people with teens your opinion. When you have some BTDT, please do that- you will have a lot to add. In the meantime, please put the megaphone down. Yes, share your experiences, but please keep it in that context.

Boredom and stress have a lot in common. A little of either is good. They motivate. When it is the constant, eroding kind of either, it can be very damaging.

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13 minutes ago, MamaSprout said:

I'm not going to get into a one up contest with you. You spend a lot of time telling people with teens your opinion. When you have some BTDT, please do that- you will have a lot to add. In the meantime, please put the megaphone down. Yes, share your experiences, but please keep it in that context.

Recently, I was mostly just agreeing with Farrar, who does have teens. I think I’ve been pretty upfront about what experiences I do and don’t have.

I’ve taught college kids and my sister (she’s kind of a bonus kid), but I haven’t homeschooled my own teens, obviously. I’m not sure I ever will, because our current plan is to send her to high school. 

Edited by Not_a_Number
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I'll also add that there is sometimes a weird dynamic with teen boys when they won't ask for help so they have a bunch of other reasons why they are doing poorly - boring, unreasonable expectations, etc.  I've had parents say that their boy wouldn't ask a question (in class, privately after class, by email) because then I'd think they didn't know the answer.  I pointed out that I grade the work...I already know that they don't know the answer, but they'd be better off asking for help and getting the explanation that they need.  In 10 years I've had maybe 2 girls like this but often have 2 boys/year.  i sometimes think that learning to work through these issues is far more important than any content that they get from the class.  I deal with some of this with online students but a lot of my understanding comes from the co-op kids because I know their families, chat with the moms, and have often taught multiple kids in the same family so I can separate out what is a family thing and what is a kid thing.  

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10 hours ago, Farrar said:

My kid who needs a lighter schedule is doing Mr. D's. My kid who needs more challenge is doing DO.

What about a kid who is gifted in math but a lazy worker who tries to find shortcuts for everything and does not want any schoolwork to take a long time? 

I'm considering both DO and Mr. D for my almost 13yo DS for next year.  He will be in 8th grade and doing Algebra 1.  He definitely works harder for other instructors than he does for me -- he has demonstrated this in outsourced writing and science classes. 

He does as much math as possible in his head, and usually he is spot on.  It has been a struggle to get him to write out any work in Pre-A. I keep telling him that the problems will get more complicated and if you don't write it out, you won't know where you went wrong.  He is probably headed for a STEM career.  But he has an aversion to working hard and an uncanny ability to find shortcuts and loopholes and patterns.  

OP, sorry to derail your thread!  

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3 hours ago, kristin0713 said:

What about a kid who is gifted in math but a lazy worker who tries to find shortcuts for everything and does not want any schoolwork to take a long time? 

I'm considering both DO and Mr. D for my almost 13yo DS for next year.  He will be in 8th grade and doing Algebra 1.  He definitely works harder for other instructors than he does for me -- he has demonstrated this in outsourced writing and science classes. 

He does as much math as possible in his head, and usually he is spot on.  It has been a struggle to get him to write out any work in Pre-A. I keep telling him that the problems will get more complicated and if you don't write it out, you won't know where you went wrong.  He is probably headed for a STEM career.  But he has an aversion to working hard and an uncanny ability to find shortcuts and loopholes and patterns.  

OP, sorry to derail your thread!  

NOT Mr. D's in my opinion then. DO will make him show some work and won't let him weasel out of homework by putting the onus on him to check and enter the grade. I mean, you can do that part instead, of course. You can check it and enter the grade as you have control of the account too. But if the goal is to take you out of it... definitely DO. Or look at somewhere like Blue Tent.

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5 hours ago, kristin0713 said:

What about a kid who is gifted in math but a lazy worker who tries to find shortcuts for everything and does not want any schoolwork to take a long time? 

I'm considering both DO and Mr. D for my almost 13yo DS for next year.  He will be in 8th grade and doing Algebra 1.  He definitely works harder for other instructors than he does for me -- he has demonstrated this in outsourced writing and science classes. 

He does as much math as possible in his head, and usually he is spot on.  It has been a struggle to get him to write out any work in Pre-A. I keep telling him that the problems will get more complicated and if you don't write it out, you won't know where you went wrong.  He is probably headed for a STEM career.  But he has an aversion to working hard and an uncanny ability to find shortcuts and loopholes and patterns.  

OP, sorry to derail your thread!  

Well, since you pretty much just described my second son to a T, I don't consider this to have derailed my post at all! 🎯

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5 hours ago, kristin0713 said:

What about a kid who is gifted in math but a lazy worker who tries to find shortcuts for everything and does not want any schoolwork to take a long time? 

I'm considering both DO and Mr. D for my almost 13yo DS for next year.  He will be in 8th grade and doing Algebra 1.  He definitely works harder for other instructors than he does for me -- he has demonstrated this in outsourced writing and science classes. 

He does as much math as possible in his head, and usually he is spot on.  It has been a struggle to get him to write out any work in Pre-A. I keep telling him that the problems will get more complicated and if you don't write it out, you won't know where you went wrong.  He is probably headed for a STEM career.  But he has an aversion to working hard and an uncanny ability to find shortcuts and loopholes and patterns.  

OP, sorry to derail your thread!  

This is exactly why I chose DO for my son. He’s working through Algebra 1 (1st semester) now and he will do it again when re-enrolled in PS for the fall. The DO grading helps him see exactly where he went wrong and why it’s important to show his work. No amount of cajoling could do what those graded HW emails do.

Edited by Sneezyone
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I have a kid struggling through DO Algebra 2.  It would have been easier for him if I had picked  a less rigorous class but self check means just not doing it. So DO  was the better option from the perspective of actually getting said child to do the work!

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Since Mr. D's has gotten a bit of a bad rap in this thread, I feel somewhat obliged to defend it. The live class really does help and the work level is just right for my busy dancer in his full time program. Making it work for my kid who does like to take shortcuts has meant I do need to spot check the work periodically and check in that it's getting done. However, once we had a routine down, it has mostly worked pretty well for him and me. I feel like he's progressing and understanding and it's fine. He's not a very academic kid, so I feel good that he'll be able to go through calculus before the end of high school and we'll probably have him finish out math at the community college next year. When he was mostly done with Mr. D's Algebra II, he placed into college precalc when he took the Accuplacer (which, it's a really cruddy test, but still, I felt fine about that) so I feel reasonably confident that he'll be able to place into calc after the Mr. D's precalc course for next year. 

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