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Teaching Textbooks and other online math


My4arrows
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My DS is currently Using MUS which works well but because of changing circumstances we are looking for something online for him to take on the go.   I’ve been looking at Teaching Textbooks for him. He’s an average student and math is not his strong subject so he needs good instruction. Is this a good transition?  What other programs should I look into?

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I like it for my not mathy kid. She does well, but it teaches the way I (and likely you) were taught in public school. So it's not strong in explaining why math is done the way it is, it just teaches you the method. 

For example, you're just shown the algorithm for doing long division - not why it works. So my kid can do long division in her sleep, but not explain why it works in any capacity. That's fine with me, but might not be for you.

Also, you have to adjust the grading settings imo to get an honest look at how they're doing. It's set at getting 2 chances per problem, which let my kid coast by without understanding. I had to change it to get an honest look, and she's been forced to be more careful about self checking, which is great. 

 

 

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I use TT as a secondary program for my daughter with learning disabilities and ADHD.  Like the above commenter mentioned, it's very algorithm based.  It teaches how but not always why.  This can be great for kids that just aren't capable of deeper conceptual understanding and just need to learn how to get by.  That may also be great for review or remedial students.  I hesitate to reccomend it for average to above average kids.

Another thing worth mentioning is that even besides the hint feature (which can be turned off if you are saavy enough to do so) and the second and third chance feature (again can be turned off) it's just plain easy to cheat this kind of online program.  If I had a dollar for every kid I knew who skimmed by a year or more of TT before their parent realized they weren't learning...  So I always reccomend at least the quizzes be printed and completed on paper.

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36 minutes ago, Coco_Clark said:

I use TT as a secondary program for my daughter with learning disabilities and ADHD.  Like the above commenter mentioned, it's very algorithm based.  It teaches how but not always why.  This can be great for kids that just aren't capable of deeper conceptual understanding and just need to learn how to get by.  That may also be great for review or remedial students.  I hesitate to reccomend it for average to above average kids.

Another thing worth mentioning is that even besides the hint feature (which can be turned off if you are saavy enough to do so) and the second and third chance feature (again can be turned off) it's just plain easy to cheat this kind of online program.  If I had a dollar for every kid I knew who skimmed by a year or more of TT before their parent realized they weren't learning...  So I always reccomend at least the quizzes be printed and completed on paper.

Thanks this is great to know. Were trying the 15 lesson trial and it seems like a good fit BUT I’m still hesitant for the reasons you mentioned and the paying for a year per level. I’m currently not sure it’ll take him a year for the currently level. He is the kid who needs to algorithm though and doesn’t care why. 

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I'm just curious... in what situation would one need to know the algorithm but not why it's done that way? Is it for testing where you don't have a calculator? Because it feels like in day-to-day life, calculators are better than memorized algorithms that aren't in any way understood. 

Edited by Not_a_Number
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56 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

I'm just curious... in what situation would one need to know the algorithm but not why it's done that way? Is it for testing where you don't have a calculator? Because it feels like in day-to-day life, calculators are better than memorized algorithms that aren't in any way understood. 

For our situation it's because learning disorders (ADHD, fetal alcohol and meth exposures, and PTSD officially) make conceptual understanding not attainable. Prefrontal skills like abstract thinking, cause and effect, logical thinking, and so on are incredibly difficult.  

But, at the same time, I don't want her tied to a calculator in daily life (estimating your bill for a grocery run, adjusting recipes, ect).  Not to mention to use a calculator you need to at least learn what to do with said calculator.  Nor do I want to decide in elementary/middle school that she's never going to be a high school graduate or college bound (a honest suggestion from several therapists- just stop teaching math).  This girl has surprised us time and time again.  

Learning algorithm based math, tbh the exact same math I leaned in the 90s, keeps educational doors open.  She CAN do grade 7 math, even if her conceptual understanding petered out somewhere in 2nd grade.  It also gives her the skills to live her day to day life without a calculator, especially handy since said disorders mean she will not have a cell phone while under any control of mine.

What will upper grades math look like, with little to no conceptual arithmetic?  I'm going to be honest and admit I don't know.  We have just started dipping our toes in algebra introduction, and it's a steeply uphill battle.  But I do know that being able to add, subtract, multiply, divide, double a fraction, ect, is useful, even if she doesn't quite grasp why we do things the way we do.

Edited by Coco_Clark
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6 minutes ago, Coco_Clark said:

For our situation it's because learning disorders (ADHD, fetal alcohol and meth exposures, and PTSD officially) make conceptual understanding not attainable. Prefrontal skills like abstract thinking, cause and effect, logical thinking, and so on are incredibly difficult.  

But, at the same time, I don't want her tied to a calculator in daily life (estimating your bill for a grocery run, adjusting recipes, ect).  Not to mention to use a calculator you need to at least learn what to do with said calculator.  Nor do I want to decide in elementary/middle school that she's never going to be a high school graduate or college bound (a honest suggestion from several therapists- just stop teaching math).  This girl has surprised us time and time again.  

Learning algorithm based math, tbh the exact same math I leaned in the 90s, keeps educational doors open.  She CAN do grade 7 math, even if her conceptual understanding petered out somewhere in 2nd grade.  It also gives her the skills to live her day to day life without a calculator, especially handy since said disorders mean she will not have a cell phone while under any control of mine.

What will upper grades math look like, with little to no conceptual arithmetic?  I'm going to be honest and admit I don't know.  We have just started dipping our toes in algebra introduction, and it's a steeply uphill battle.  But I do know that being able to add, subtract, multiply, divide, double a fraction, ect, is useful, even if she doesn't quite grasp why we do things the way we do.

Got it, thank you. I'm wondering: without conceptual understanding, how will she know when to add and when to subtract and when to do long division? Is that also entirely memorized? Most adults and college students I know who have no conceptual understanding basically just avoid math entirely, because they aren't entirely sure what the operations are FOR. A lot of them live productive lives, though 🙂 . But they are math-phobic. 

It sounds like a difficult situation, so I really can't pretend I know any better 🙂 . Your explanation does help me understand. Thank you. 

Also, when you say her conceptual understanding petered out in 2nd grade: what wound up being the stumbling block that meant that she couldn't go forward conceptually anymore? 

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1 hour ago, kristin0713 said:

Unlock Math 

Short, clear video instruction, consistent review, and an adaptable program. 

I like the look of this and it may be a good fit.  When signing up for the year, is it just for one course or if they finish can they continue on to the next level?

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7 hours ago, Coco_Clark said:

I use TT as a secondary program for my daughter with learning disabilities and ADHD.  Like the above commenter mentioned, it's very algorithm based.  It teaches how but not always why.  This can be great for kids that just aren't capable of deeper conceptual understanding and just need to learn how to get by.  That may also be great for review or remedial students.  I hesitate to reccomend it for average to above average kids.

This is exactly why and how I use TT with DD12. I pretty much could have written this post. She simply just doesn't get the why in math. I've tried everything. She very likely has dyscalculia (combined with ADHD and Autism) and we use TT to just get her to "functional" level. 

4 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

Got it, thank you. I'm wondering: without conceptual understanding, how will she know when to add and when to subtract and when to do long division? Is that also entirely memorized? Most adults and college students I know who have no conceptual understanding basically just avoid math entirely, because they aren't entirely sure what the operations are FOR. A lot of them live productive lives, though 🙂 . But they are math-phobic. 

It sounds like a difficult situation, so I really can't pretend I know any better 🙂 . Your explanation does help me understand. Thank you. 

Also, when you say her conceptual understanding petered out in 2nd grade: what wound up being the stumbling block that meant that she couldn't go forward conceptually anymore? 

I can answer for my daughter in a very similar place as the PP. She learns to add and subtract almost completely from memorization and learns the use of math by rote. Word problems are hell. We have specific classifications and rely on vocabulary to help her know whether to add or subtract. "See, it says 'altogether' which usually means addition." "See, it says 'how much more' which means subtraction." I can explain the why until I'm blue in the face and she doesn't get it. Although that's not fair. I remember when she was 5 and we were doing simple preschool problems ordering numbers. Like 15, 18, 19. Which is least? That sort of thing. She legit did not understand. I spent hours approaching it from every angle I could over a period of years. But now she understands it. I don't know when, but it is there. Somewhere along the way she's internalized it. My hope is that with enough rote and saying it enough times she'll eventually reverse engineer the "why" in math. She learned language that way. She had/has echolalia and would memorize whole sentences before she was able to come up with her own and then slowly learned to replace single words to mean what she wanted. Over time she learned enough to be able to just sound like a slightly formal kid. So maybe it is possible? But yeah, if she can successfully finish Algebra by the end of high school I will be very happy. Simliar to Coco_Clark, dd is finishing TT6, but I'd say her actual understanding of math is more 2nd or early 3rd grade, generously.

I'd say her stumbling block is probably place value. She just doesn't get it. So when she uses the algorithms, she often makes mistakes like lining up columns incorrectly. She also has no sense of what the answer should be. So it can be a problem like 326+722, and she might say her answer is 25 and not see immediately that something is wrong. I really do think it is just not understanding how to manipulate numbers.

Edited by MeaganS
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55 minutes ago, MeaganS said:

I'd say her stumbling block is probably place value. She just doesn't get it. So when she uses the algorithms, she often makes mistakes like lining up columns incorrectly. She also has no sense of what the answer should be. So it can be a problem like 326+722, and she might say her answer is 25 and not see immediately that something is wrong. I really do think it is just not understanding how to manipulate numbers.

That one is a really common stumbling block, interestingly enough.

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10 hours ago, My4arrows said:

I like the look of this and it may be a good fit.  When signing up for the year, is it just for one course or if they finish can they continue on to the next level?

They can switch the course for you at any time.  So if you pay for a year, you have a year of access. We chose the monthly plan. 

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17 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

Got it, thank you. I'm wondering: without conceptual understanding, how will she know when to add and when to subtract and when to do long division? Is that also entirely memorized? Most adults and college students I know who have no conceptual understanding basically just avoid math entirely, because they aren't entirely sure what the operations are FOR. A lot of them live productive lives, though 🙂 . But they are math-phobic. 

It sounds like a difficult situation, so I really can't pretend I know any better 🙂 . Your explanation does help me understand. Thank you. 

Also, when you say her conceptual understanding petered out in 2nd grade: what wound up being the stumbling block that meant that she couldn't go forward conceptually anymore? 

I'm still constantly figuring out what she can and can't do, and what scaffolding does and does not work.  Also what concepts and developmental steps are going to come 3-5 years "late" and which won't come at all.  

Like the other commenter, word problems and real life situations are hard and where a matter of memorizing key words.  My daughter can usually tell when to subtract, add, multiply or divide now as long as it's a single step work problem.  Multiple steps are beyond her, even in daily life (fold your laundry AND put it away).  And yes, she can't estimate or logic out when something is very very wrong.

The k-2 early math years were manageable with lots of extra review, and lots of work with blocks and counters.  From grades 3-7 it's been harder and we've run Math Mammoth in the am, with mom by her side and lots and lots of physical blocks...then TT in the afternoon for review.  We have done this year round, with no more than 1 week breaks, for all those years.  

The barrier was just a matter of math requiring more steps, more logical thinking, and more abstract thinking.  All three of those are hard for her in every part of life.  I'd say division was the first really big struggle overcome, the first one I gave up on conceptual.  She understands that division is splitting into groups, but she just can't visual it in large numbers.  She's memorized the algorithm after Herculean effort, but doesn't fully understand why the algorithm works. For a typical child it makes sense that if she understood it conceptually, she could memorize the steps faster.  I don't know how to answer that for her- the concept is plain too abstract.

 Fractions has been the next.  She has to draw a pie every. single. time. in order to remember that 1/3 is smaller than 1/2.  Every time. There's been a lot of memorizing in fractions.  She CAN add, subtract, and multiply them but she barely understands comparing fractions, let alone adding unlike.  

The decision for us what sit and hit our head in these blocks, OR move on with the algorithm and see if concept catches up (or doesn't).  Or I suppose listen to her neuropsychologist and put her in public school special ed where they never really move beyond basic arithmetic at all.

Edited by Coco_Clark
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14 minutes ago, Coco_Clark said:

I'm still constantly figuring out what she can and can't do, and what scaffolding does and does not work.

Like the other commenter, word problems and real life situations are hard and we're a matter of memorizing key words.  My daughter can usually tell when to subtract, add, multiply or divide now as long as it's a single step work problem.  Multiple steps are beyond her, even in daily life (fold your laundry AND put it away).  

The k-2 early math years were manageable with lots of extra review, and lots of work with blocks and counters.  From 3-7 it's been harder and we've run Math Mammoth in the am, with mom by her side and lots and lots of physical blocks...then TT in the afternoon for review.  We have done this year round, with no more than 1 week breaks, for years.  

The barrier was just a matter of math requiring more steps, more logical thinking, and more abstract thinking.  All three of those are hard for her in every part of life.  I'd say division was the first really big struggle overcome, the first one I gave up on conceptual.  She understands that division is splitting into groups, but she just can't visual it in large numbers.  She's memorized the algorithm after Herculean effort, but doesn't fully understand why the algorithm works. For a typical child it makes sense that if she understood it conceptually, she could memorize the steps faster.  I don't know how to answer that for her- the concept is plain too abstract.

 Fractions has been the next.  She has to draw a pie every. single. time. in order to remember that 1/3 is smaller than 1/2.  Every time. There's been a lot of memorizing in fractions.  She CAN add, subtract, and multiply them but she barely understands comparing fractions, let alone adding unlike.  

 

I’m so impressed with your persistence and patience. (And hers too, of course!) 

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3 minutes ago, Masers said:

I’m so impressed with your persistence and patience. (And hers too, of course!) 

She is a fighter for sure.  We have always pushed that she can do whatever she wants, she just has to work harder for it.  Homeschooling has been a huge blessing for this child.

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1 minute ago, Coco_Clark said:

She is a fighter for sure.  We have always pushed that she can do whatever she wants, she just has to work harder for it.  Homeschooling has been a huge blessing for this child.

For sure, that’s so awesome. I’m glad she has that opportunity...I know she wouldn’t get that anywhere else!

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27 minutes ago, Coco_Clark said:

She's memorized the algorithm after Herculean effort, but doesn't fully understand why the algorithm works. For a typical child it makes sense that if she understood it conceptually, she could memorize the steps faster.  I don't know how to answer that for her- the concept is plain too abstract.

It kind of sounds like place value might be tripping her up, too?

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4 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

It kind of sounds like place value might be tripping her up, too?

I don't think so.  Place value was the first thing we tacked post adoption.  For like, a year, lol.  I have enough other kids I recognized it right away.  Decimals have actually been a breeze because it's just a continuation.  

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25 minutes ago, Coco_Clark said:

I don't think so.  Place value was the first thing we tacked post adoption.  For like, a year, lol.  I have enough other kids I recognized it right away.  Decimals have actually been a breeze because it's just a continuation.  

Hmmm, interesting. For us, long division requires a really deep understanding of place value as trading. It was hard. 

My kid obviously doesn’t have the same challenges, but I was surprised what a struggle it was.

Edited by Not_a_Number
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