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Rapidly catching up in math (advice?)


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Hi, 

A friend is planning to put her child in a classical school next year. The child will be a rising 7th grader, fairly motivated, very bright, no learning disabilities. He'll have to take a Saxon placement test sometime this summer (it can be later though), and according to the one he just tried, he's somewhere early in 4th grade math-wise. Mom has a huge lack of confidence in her own math skills/math education, which is kind of how this happened. This semester she put him with an online tutor, but she feels they're just reviewing instead of trying to catch him up. 

I'm going to try to help him. I can probably see him in person twice a week, and I am sure we could zoom a few more times. I am trying to figure out the best course of action. I have taught my 6th grader with Singapore all the way through since pre-K, and looking at the Saxon placement test, she'll easily test into Algebra 1/2 when she takes it (they are going to the school together) , even though she's not even close to finishing Dimensions 6 B yet. 

The goal is for him to be able to test into at least Saxon 6, though 7 would be better.

I am trying to figure out what to use with my friend's son. I am leaning toward Math Mammoth because of what I have heard about it being written to the student - that even if I am not there he could conceivably help himself learn a bit, but I am concerned if it will rely too much on the Singapore method he hasn't been taught to this point? I do like that they have an option for books though that are arranged by topic, good for filling in gaps. 

Any thoughts?

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MM would be my first choice, though I'd also look into being able to assign some Khan Academy.  And I'd only split it like that because I think the online videos and practice would be a good supplement, but I'd want the kid to really practice math on paper, too.  Plus, you can set up a class on Khan where you can assign specific tasks and see how he does.

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I don't think a goal of testing into a particular program by a particular time is a good idea. The kid should work with people at the level he's at, and then be placed correctly according to what the kid can do. Otherwise, his foundation will be shaky, I think. 

Edited by Not_a_Number
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There is no option for him to join this program and take math below a 6th grade level. He would have to take it without a math component and that would leave mom at odds again on how to get him caught up and progressing in math. He is a smart kid and I think/hope we can do it. There isn't an option that lets him go to any kind of school and just continuously stay over two years behind in math (he is on grade level in other subjects), nor does he want that. 

The foundation is just going to be shaky for a while. The entire extent of the math he has gotten is basically self-directed from barnes and nobles workbooks. I will shore up concepts as we go, and will be available to continue doing so through the next couple years, since our kids will be in the same program and we spend a lot of time together. I just saw your screen name and realized who I was talking to. 😄 Hi. I know how you feel about math, but any idealized idea of what should happen is not possible. If it were my kid I would literally start back in kindy just for the concepts and progress from there as quickly as I could without sacrificing understanding. But there are money issues, there are time issues, there are huge barriers to mom or dad being able to help with this at ALL. He needs to be in a learning environment where a math teacher is teaching him and it needs to happen as soon as possible because the math situation is not going to improve. 

HomeAgain I was thinking the exact same thing. Especially since the videos would mean he wasn't coming in cold, and then checking the quizzes would let me know very quickly which concepts needed more work and which were good. I have never actually seen Math Mammoth...do you think it will be navigable with help for a child who has only been exposed to algorithms, and has not had the conceptual foundation of Singapore? I think I'm going to try it regardless. Amazon has one day delivery...

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27 minutes ago, Sk8ermaiden said:

There is no option for him to join this program and take math below a 6th grade level. He would have to take it without a math component and that would leave mom at odds again on how to get him caught up and progressing in math. He is a smart kid and I think/hope we can do it. There isn't an option that lets him go to any kind of school and just continuously stay over two years behind in math (he is on grade level in other subjects), nor does he want that. 

He doesn't have to stay continuously two years behind. I just don't think time-limited goals will serve him well in the long run. I expect he can absolutely catch up by the end of high school. I don't think it's a good idea to catch him up by the end of the summer. 

There's no way he could just work with a tutor until he catches up? That'd be my personal preference. 

 

27 minutes ago, Sk8ermaiden said:

The foundation is just going to be shaky for a while. The entire extent of the math he has gotten is basically self-directed from barnes and nobles workbooks. I will shore up concepts as we go, and will be available to continue doing so through the next couple years, since our kids will be in the same program and we spend a lot of time together. I just saw your screen name and realized who I was talking to. 😄 Hi. I know how you feel about math, but any idealized idea of what should happen is not possible. If it were my kid I would literally start back in kindy just for the concepts and progress from there as quickly as I could without sacrificing understanding. But there are money issues, there are time issues, there are huge barriers to mom or dad being able to help with this at ALL. He needs to be in a learning environment where a math teacher is teaching him and it needs to happen as soon as possible because the math situation is not going to improve. 

Hmmmm, got it. That's too bad that you can't just work at his level, since I think the outcome from that would be optimal 😞 . 

I think what I would do under these constraints would be to take a look at the placement tests and figure out a couple of areas to get solid and not worry about the other areas until very close to the test. That way, you might at least be building something solid to build on. I'd worry about trying to shore up everything simultaneously. 

Is there any chance that would work, you think? Do you know what concepts he needs help with the most? 

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1 hour ago, Sk8ermaiden said:


 I have never actually seen Math Mammoth...do you think it will be navigable with help for a child who has only been exposed to algorithms, and has not had the conceptual foundation of Singapore? I think I'm going to try it regardless. Amazon has one day delivery...

I really do.  The explanations are very clear and you can backtrack easily if need be. 
My other workbook based go-to would be CLE because it's more of a parent-comfortable format, but not all parents are okay with a religious text. And, we did find a few sticky points in the 500 series where something had been taught, but because of the booklet style the kid didn't have the full explanation when he needed it again and I wasn't with him.  To be fair, I probably should have backed him up to about the middle of the 300s, just to shore everything up, but that would have put him at an impossibly behind place in middle school.

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2 hours ago, Sk8ermaiden said:

HomeAgain I was thinking the exact same thing. Especially since the videos would mean he wasn't coming in cold, and then checking the quizzes would let me know very quickly which concepts needed more work and which were good. I have never actually seen Math Mammoth...do you think it will be navigable with help for a child who has only been exposed to algorithms, and has not had the conceptual foundation of Singapore? I think I'm going to try it regardless. Amazon has one day delivery...

 

37 minutes ago, HomeAgain said:

I really do.  The explanations are very clear and you can backtrack easily if need be. 

I agree that MM should work fine.  You said you were concerned about it relying too much on Singapore methods that he'd have no reference point/foundation for, but it explains things very incrementally.  DD has been able to work through pretty much the whole series herself (starting when we switched over at level 4).  It's really good at giving a concrete model for things and then transitioning to the abstract/algorithm.  Keep in mind that the woman who wrote MM said that it contains more practice than most kids will require, but she wanted to include plenty for those kids who need extra practice.  DD did about half of the problems to prove mastery.  Also, there are a lot of intro pages for each chapter, offering websites and online games for the skills in the chapter.  These can be great extra resources.  Mostly I tell you this so you realize that it won't take you as long to go through each book as it might first appear.  Good luck!

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Tutoring is expensive and at once a week, it is hurting them financially while not actually getting him anywhere in math. I can't think of any situation that would allow her to slowly catch him up over years that doesn't involve her being the teacher. They are not wealthy, and she is not confident beyond early elementary math, so a school with very small classes and a helpful family friend is looking like the best option. 

Thanks guys. I got a look at his placement test. The things he's missing from 4th grade/before look like multi-digit multiplication (I think he has the idea but needs more practice), long division, decimal place value (but whole number place value is fine) and I think he's learned basic geometry but needs a refresher. To be honest, I believe he missed several other questions because he did not read the question carefully. (For example, he gave the next number in a pattern when it asked for the 7th number in the pattern.) I am going to hit the ground running with him on Tuesday and hopefully we can make a lot of progress this summer!

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58 minutes ago, Sk8ermaiden said:

Thanks guys. I got a look at his placement test. The things he's missing from 4th grade/before look like multi-digit multiplication (I think he has the idea but needs more practice), long division, decimal place value (but whole number place value is fine) and I think he's learned basic geometry but needs a refresher. To be honest, I believe he missed several other questions because he did not read the question carefully. (For example, he gave the next number in a pattern when it asked for the 7th number in the pattern.) I am going to hit the ground running with him on Tuesday and hopefully we can make a lot of progress this summer!

Oooh. You know, those aren't so bad. For multiplication and division, maybe do them with place value disks or something like that for a bit until he gets the idea and then he ought to be able to pick it up fast?? 

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Yes, I think with a little shoring up, multiplication and division should be fine. His addition and subtraction are good with a few carrying mistakes. I don't know that he's seen long division at all. I'm sure he hasn't learned how decimals equate to fractions and therefore why it's a tenth, hundredth, etc, but his understanding of basic fractions seems to be fine. Overall I really think he will pick up quickly.

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20 minutes ago, Sk8ermaiden said:

Yes, I think with a little shoring up, multiplication and division should be fine. His addition and subtraction are good with a few carrying mistakes. I don't know that he's seen long division at all. I'm sure he hasn't learned how decimals equate to fractions and therefore why it's a tenth, hundredth, etc, but his understanding of basic fractions seems to be fine. Overall I really think he will pick up quickly.

Actually, this sounds quite good to me 🙂 . I bet you can manage. 

Sorry, I thought he had conceptual issues, not algorithm issues!! He sounds like he has the basics very much down to me. 

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Maybe just do the MM topic books in the areas he is weak.  If you could do a homework support session every week or two next year as well it would be good.

Edited by kiwik
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If the school uses Saxon, use that program to catch him up.  Since he's a bright kid with no LDs, it's pretty easy to accelerate Saxon (do every other problem set, for example).  He can use Nicole the Math Lady's teaching videos and then you can work with him a couple times a week to check in and offer whatever extra help he needs.

Edited by shinyhappypeople
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I also think that using Saxon is a good idea.  (But, if you look at my signature you will see that I am a bit biased about this.) 😉

I think it might help him to get used to the way Saxon teaches and the terminology used. 

When he took the placement test, was it the Saxon placement test?

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I’m going to second CLE.  I’ve had to do this with my own kids.  Every time I’ve switched away from CLE we always end up back to it, but behind where they should be.  We just start wherever they place in CLE and just move forward.  We skip quizzes and tests, that eliminates almost 40 lessons per level.  As we go I find lessons that can be skipped or combined.  We keep going through the summers so we also skip the 01 workbooks, which is another 17 lessons from each level.  If he’s willing to do 6 days a week he could get through 2-3 work books a month.  If very pressed for time the 10 level could be skipped or very compressed.  
 

Edited by Cnew02
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I wouldn't go to Saxon right away, at least not while shoring things up. MM allows you to pinpoint the specific concept and do just that. Saxon introduces a small piece of a concept and then reviews a lot of prior concepts. That would be fine eventually but it would be too hard to focus on just the areas that are weak. Once he's gotten fairly well caught up, you could transition to Saxon to show him how it works.

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I am extremely nervous about my ability to teach from another program. 😬 Especially a program as different from PM as Saxon. Especially someone else's child who I'm attempting to catch up. Maybe it's silly but I am just so used to how Primary Math does things and I am nervous I will waste time floundering to figure out the program. I even opened up the long division section of the dark blue book of Math Mammoth and went, "What the everloving heck am I looking at?" (I still don't know. I've never seen long division presented like that.) And I could get the teacher's guide and figure it out, I'm sure, but I feel like that's wasting time...

Maybe I will catch him up using programs I know and then look at Saxon for the 5th/6th grade stuff. We'll see. I've assigned him every end of unit test from 3rd grade Kahn Academy to make sure there are no holes before we look at 4th.

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Somehow I missed this before I replied.  Just practice the areas he's weak in.  "Teach to the test."   Saxon books have many lessons of review at the beginning. This will work in his favor.  If you shore up his specific weak areas prior to starting,  he should be fine.  I do think a subscription to Nicole the Math Lady would be helpful once he starts school so he has that as a ready resource in case he has questions.  

16 hours ago, Sk8ermaiden said:

Tutoring is expensive and at once a week, it is hurting them financially while not actually getting him anywhere in math. I can't think of any situation that would allow her to slowly catch him up over years that doesn't involve her being the teacher. They are not wealthy, and she is not confident beyond early elementary math, so a school with very small classes and a helpful family friend is looking like the best option. 

Thanks guys. I got a look at his placement test. The things he's missing from 4th grade/before look like multi-digit multiplication (I think he has the idea but needs more practice), long division, decimal place value (but whole number place value is fine) and I think he's learned basic geometry but needs a refresher. To be honest, I believe he missed several other questions because he did not read the question carefully. (For example, he gave the next number in a pattern when it asked for the 7th number in the pattern.) I am going to hit the ground running with him on Tuesday and hopefully we can make a lot of progress this summer!

 

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41 minutes ago, Sk8ermaiden said:

even opened up the long division section of the dark blue book of Math Mammoth and went, "What the everloving heck am I looking at?" (I still don't know. I've never seen long division presented like that.) And I could get the teacher's guide and figure it out, I'm sure, but I feel like that's wasting time...

I don't have the dark blue version, so I'm not sure specifically what you were looking at 😉, but in the light blue version (4B) she starts gently by introducing the idea of a remainder conceptually (so that when they do the first division they know to subtract and get the remainder, the first step in long division). She uses color pictures of animals and objects for this. Then for long division proper, she does what she often does with a big topic: she teaches it two or even three different ways, usually starting with a highly concrete/pictorial idea (e.g., using pictures of hundred blocks, ten rods, and ones and asking kids to make even groups, to show division and remainders for kids who need that kind of thing) and then usually ending with an algorithm/abstract method (or what I think of as "normal" method I learned in school). My experience is that kids usually learn well with ONE of those methods, and you can skip the other lessons to prevent confusing the child. For some kids, it doesn't click without rods and pictures etc. For other kids, like my son, we usually touch on the pictorial stuff to make sure he's not just memorizing an algorithm, but honestly we don't really get down to the business of cementing the skill until the algorithm is fully introduced. 

Here's some screenshots on my phone - the first is intro of a remainder. Then where you "put" the remainder in the columns and how to subtract it. Third, the concept of long division using rods and making groups (which I grant may be very confusing for some kids, and you might skip if they don't need it - she's trying to make sure the kids understand the place value). And finally, now we're fully in the simple abstract long division algorithm. 

 

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1 hour ago, Sk8ermaiden said:

I am extremely nervous about my ability to teach from another program. 😬 Especially a program as different from PM as Saxon. Especially someone else's child who I'm attempting to catch up. Maybe it's silly but I am just so used to how Primary Math does things and I am nervous I will waste time floundering to figure out the program. I even opened up the long division section of the dark blue book of Math Mammoth and went, "What the everloving heck am I looking at?" (I still don't know. I've never seen long division presented like that.) And I could get the teacher's guide and figure it out, I'm sure, but I feel like that's wasting time...

Maybe I will catch him up using programs I know and then look at Saxon for the 5th/6th grade stuff. We'll see. I've assigned him every end of unit test from 3rd grade Kahn Academy to make sure there are no holes before we look at 4th.

For what it's worth, I would never use a spiral approach to introduce long division. He'll get confused is all. Maybe if it was all carefully scaffolded, sure, but not if you're trying to save time. 

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It's a bit worse than I thought. He's working through the 3rd grade unit tests from Khan and instead of a mid-late 4th grade level like thought, I'd say he's closer to early 3rd. He can add multi digit numbers, but it's clear he's never seen the idea that, say, 492 + 253 is the same as 400+ 200 + 90+ 50+ 2 +3. He's missing every understanding or conceptual question. I'm not sure how he got the fractions questions on the Saxon test, but it's clear we need to start over. I'm starting with third and just going to go as quickly as I can while being sure of understanding, and at the end of the summer, we'll just see how he does on the placement test. I'm not as certain that we can get to 6th grade anymore, but we'll see, maybe he's mathy and doesn't know it yet. 🙂

Maybe we can find a way to keep this going through next school year if he needs another year of remediation. We love them and I want to help, and she is making it worth my while and then some in services (she is giving my daughter private lessons in one of her sports $$$), our schedules are just so hard to match up and it will be even more so next year. 😕

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On 4/11/2021 at 10:27 AM, Sk8ermaiden said:

This semester she put him with an online tutor, but she feels they're just reviewing instead of trying to catch him up. 

This right here would make me concerned.  I doubt an experienced tutor would just be reviewing unnecessarily with a kid who is way behind, but lots of parents without much math understanding don't understand that a kid who is lacking foundational skills will only struggle more and more if pushed into higher grade work instead of going back to remediate.  I would be concerned about entering a situation where Mom is going to be dissatisfied if she isn't seeing ds moving up quickly through grade numbers, when what kid needs to be successful is to go back to an earlier level and learn it thoroughly before tackling his current level again. 

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10 minutes ago, Condessa said:

This right here would make me concerned.  I doubt an experienced tutor would just be reviewing unnecessarily with a kid who is way behind, but lots of parents without much math understanding don't understand that a kid who is lacking foundational skills will only struggle more and more if pushed into higher grade work instead of going back to remediate.  I would be concerned about entering a situation where Mom is going to be dissatisfied if she isn't seeing ds moving up quickly through grade numbers, when what kid needs to be successful is to go back to an earlier level and learn it thoroughly before tackling his current level again. 

Yeah, that also made me wonder what was happening here. 

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3 hours ago, Sk8ermaiden said:

I'd say he's closer to early 3rd. He can add multi digit numbers, but it's clear he's never seen the idea that, say, 492 + 253 is the same as 400+ 200 + 90+ 50+ 2 +3. He's missing every understanding or conceptual question.

This sounds like a real challenge! I don’t know if the people involved would be open to this, and my situation has less time pressure, but I have been getting some good progress with my kids recently doing practice with counters to get them to explain all the operations using place value. The counters make it way easier to see what is going on conceptually and are easy & cheap to get.  I got this idea from @Not_a_Number, it takes a bit of practice, but I think it would help with the problem you have described in the quote.

Edited by Eilonwy
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3 hours ago, Sk8ermaiden said:

It's a bit worse than I thought. He's working through the 3rd grade unit tests from Khan and instead of a mid-late 4th grade level like thought, I'd say he's closer to early 3rd. He can add multi digit numbers, but it's clear he's never seen the idea that, say, 492 + 253 is the same as 400+ 200 + 90+ 50+ 2 +3. He's missing every understanding or conceptual question. I'm not sure how he got the fractions questions on the Saxon test, but it's clear we need to start over. I'm starting with third and just going to go as quickly as I can while being sure of understanding, and at the end of the summer, we'll just see how he does on the placement test. I'm not as certain that we can get to 6th grade anymore, but we'll see, maybe he's mathy and doesn't know it yet. 🙂

Maybe we can find a way to keep this going through next school year if he needs another year of remediation. We love them and I want to help, and she is making it worth my while and then some in services (she is giving my daughter private lessons in one of her sports $$$), our schedules are just so hard to match up and it will be even more so next year. 😕

Oh no 😞.  I missed this update -- glad I saw a quote from it below. This is not sounding good. What program were they using before, if any? 

Can you give me an example of a conceptual question he's missing? I might have suggestions. 

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2 minutes ago, Eilonwy said:

This sounds like a real challenge! I don’t know if the people involved would be open to this, and my situation has less time pressure, but I have been getting some good progress with my kids recently doing practice with counters to get them to explain all the operations using place value. The counters make it way easier to see what is going on conceptually and are easy & cheap to get.  I got this idea from @Not_a_Number, it takes a bit of practice, but I think it would help with the problem you have described in the quote.

And I'm going to blog about how it works shortly 😄 .

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3 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

Oh no 😞.  I missed this update -- glad I saw a quote from it below. This is not sounding good. What program were they using before, if any? 

Spectrum workbooks from the store, without parent guidance. 

I 100% realized what was going on with the tutor once I saw the results. Regardless, once a week was not going to make a substantial dent.

She will be understanding of whatever we get to. She trusts me, I am not beating around the bush about what is going on, and she knows my daughter's math education has been good. She is realizing how far this situation has gotten and has already put her next child (1st grade) in outsourced math so it doesn't happen again. 

I have him reviewing a few of the topics on Khan, and I've bought and downloaded the Math Mammoth 1-5th grade fraction book for when I see him Monday. All we can do is what we can do.

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5 minutes ago, Sk8ermaiden said:

Spectrum workbooks from the store, without parent guidance. 

I 100% realized what was going on with the tutor once I saw the results. Regardless, once a week was not going to make a substantial dent.

She will be understanding of whatever we get to. She trusts me, I am not beating around the bush about what is going on, and she knows my daughter's math education has been good. She is realizing how far this situation has gotten and has already put her next child (1st grade) in outsourced math so it doesn't happen again. 

I have him reviewing a few of the topics on Khan, and I've bought and downloaded the Math Mammoth 1-5th grade fraction book for when I see him Monday. All we can do is what we can do.

Let me know if you want any suggestions for what to do with place value.

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Can you use a combination of Khan Academy and another program?

like have him start at the basics with Khan, the earliest level. And that would be the program he’d do daily, on his own. Then you have access to his Khan account to check daily.

using the info from what he is doing with Khan, Target your instruction...whether it be place value or “carrying” or what ever topic. 

Im drawing a blank on these college level remediation books...but they are to remediate from the very basics. And you can buy old editions super cheap, like a couple dollars each. So cheap, you and he can each have one. But if you could find a book like that, then you could use it to do Target what he needs

Also, Saxon “levels” are about a year behind standard math levels. So if he needs to test into Saxon 7, if he has a thorough grounding in everything through a normal grade 6 program, he should be OK

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14 minutes ago, pinball said:

Can you use a combination of Khan Academy and another program?

like have him start at the basics with Khan, the earliest level. And that would be the program he’d do daily, on his own. Then you have access to his Khan account to check daily.

using the info from what he is doing with Khan, Target your instruction...whether it be place value or “carrying” or what ever topic. 

Im drawing a blank on these college level remediation books...but they are to remediate from the very basics. And you can buy old editions super cheap, like a couple dollars each. So cheap, you and he can each have one. But if you could find a book like that, then you could use it to do Target what he needs

Also, Saxon “levels” are about a year behind standard math levels. So if he needs to test into Saxon 7, if he has a thorough grounding in everything through a normal grade 6 program, he should be OK

Quoting myself...

 

i was thinking of Lial’s Basic College Math

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Regarding the possibility of failure—I think you’re doing the right thing in shoring up the holes.  But if he is really very behind, and can’t get into that program, he can catch up by the following year using Saxon much more independently than many other programs.  This is because the DIVE DVDs teach each lesson’s material in a different way than the book, so if he reads and tries to understand the book and then does the DIVE lesson, or vice versa, he will have two runs at the material, neither of them involving his mother.  So he could do at least 6-7 lessons per week if he worked daily, and migrate through the material faster than a normal school year, working through the summer that way as well.  Then, because Saxon does a lot of review early in each book, he could skip a fairly significant number of those early lessons and move straight to the newer material, and cut out some time that way also.  It’s not difficult to finish 3 Saxon books in two years that way.  And that would get him a solid grounding to build on.

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On 4/14/2021 at 2:07 PM, pinball said:

Can you use a combination of Khan Academy and another program?

like have him start at the basics with Khan, the earliest level. And that would be the program he’d do daily, on his own. Then you have access to his Khan account to check daily.

using the info from what he is doing with Khan, Target your instruction...whether it be place value or “carrying” or what ever topic. 

Im drawing a blank on these college level remediation books...but they are to remediate from the very basics. And you can buy old editions super cheap, like a couple dollars each. So cheap, you and he can each have one. But if you could find a book like that, then you could use it to do Target what he needs

Also, Saxon “levels” are about a year behind standard math levels. So if he needs to test into Saxon 7, if he has a thorough grounding in everything through a normal grade 6 program, he should be OK

I am noticing the scope and sequence is behind Singapore for sure - we're barely into Dimensions 6B with my daughter, but she's covered everything up to (and much into) prealgebra on the Saxon placement test. And good news!! He only needs to test into Saxon 7/6. so I think I only need to get him through 5th grade math. 

Based on his third grade Khan results (he only passed measurement and single digit multiplication), I have assigned him the lessons and exercises for different units and so far as he is going through them, he is getting 80s and 100s on his quizzes, which is heartening. After looking at Math Mammoth, I have ordered him 3B to start with. I am fairly certain there are gaps in understanding of basic concepts from before third grade, but I feel comfortable remediating those as we find them.  

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15 hours ago, Sk8ermaiden said:

Based on his third grade Khan results (he only passed measurement and single digit multiplication), I have assigned him the lessons and exercises for different units and so far as he is going through them, he is getting 80s and 100s on his quizzes, which is heartening

How did you get Khan results? I have not used this at all but was looking at the website.  Is it the Course challenge section?  

His quiz results are quite encouraging, maybe he is actually mathy and just never had the tools to learn effectively. The results will also help to encourage him, I hope. 

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You set yourself up as the teacher, and then you can put in however many students. I had my daughter in there already but I added him. You can assign them different things. I assigned him all the Grade 3 end of unit assessments, and then when those results rolled in, started assigning the full units with instruction and practice. From my portal I can see his score on every exercise and quiz, as well as how he answered each question. I can see how much time he has spent on the website working and how far he is in his assignments. 

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I'm trying to do the same thing with my son (move through math at a faster pace to catch him up).   For us it involves less practice but building in review.   If you look ahead in the book and see that upcoming math uses that same concept, than at the first point they seem to get it, move on, because those upcoming problems will act as review.   That's my only tip so far.   Early on I spent too long practicing things that didn't need a lot of practice because they would be practice by more use later.

 

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On 4/12/2021 at 6:31 AM, shinyhappypeople said:

If the school uses Saxon, use that program to catch him up.  Since he's a bright kid with no LDs, it's pretty easy to accelerate Saxon (do every other problem set, for example).  He can use Nicole the Math Lady's teaching videos and then you can work with him a couple times a week to check in and offer whatever extra help he needs.

This exactly.  A child can be very bright and have math issues, so tread carefully there as you try to sort this out. It’s not something to worry about, just have on your radar.  Long ago (she’s now 19) I tested a theory with my third homeschooled kiddo.  I’d read a child can basically have a great environment, virtually no formal math, then pick up a sixth grade text on sixth grade, and be successful.  They were spot on for MY kid, and she isn’t even particularly mathy.

 

First, did you give the child a Saxon placement test? When you say fourth grade, I assume you mean Saxon 5/4? Is the goal to get him into 6/5 or 7/6? The term “sixth grade” is not useful for Saxon because of how their texts are numbered.

If it were me? I’d start at Lesson 80 in 5/4 for two weeks - right beside the child for the ENTIRE lesson and work everything side by side.  Kind of, “I got four.  What did you get?” Anything he’s unclear on, you work together. Two weeks should get him basically up to speed, maybe three. Nicole the Math Lady after that with emails coming to you.  Go over EVERY missed problem with him - SAME day. If you start now, by mid May, he’s utilizing Nicole. There is about 120 lessons in Saxon 5/4. By the end of May, test for 6/5. He should be able to transition and likely skip the first dozen or so lessons of review. June, July, August is 90 days, less roughly two dozen days for weekends. That will get him halfway through 6/5. 7/6 would be a rough jump from there, but repeating the sit right next to and work together approach for the first three weeks of the school year. It’s doable but bumpy. You would need to be really committed to consistency. Also I’d have him work through Xtra Math (website) to be sure of his fluency with basic math facts.

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On 4/13/2021 at 5:03 AM, Not_a_Number said:

For what it's worth, I would never use a spiral approach to introduce long division. He'll get confused is all. Maybe if it was all carefully scaffolded, sure, but not if you're trying to save time. 

When you use the mm dark blue books the lessons are grouped together for several grades.  You therefore end up with a cumulative layout father than spiral.

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We would like to get him into 7/6. I mean, 8/7 would be amazing, but it isn't realistic in the time we have. He did take a Saxon placement test. His fluency with math facts is his one strong thing.

Saxon looks like it's a full year behind the Singapore-method stuff. I just got Math Mammonth 3B in the mail, I went through and made a plan and assigned problems based on his placement test and Khan results. We're skipping measurement, and large parts of multiplication and division (focusing on the concepts and the word problems but he doesn't need a lot of practice on the actual mechanics), hitting place value, geometry, fractions, and the intro to long division pretty hard. 

Comparing it to the Saxon placement test, after completing Math Mammoth 3, he would test into Saxon 6/5. And I *believe* everything he needs to test into 7/6 is covered by the end of 4th grade in Math Mammoth or Singapore, so I'm breathing a little easier. I think it's possible IF they're willing to put in the daily work. Sitting next to him every day while he works is completely impossible. They live 30 minutes away, and we have very busy (and opposite) schedules. I am praying for twice a week to teach and review and the ability for him to video call when he has questions. Plus Math Mammoth is EXTREMELY user friendly and written to the student. 

There's no way I can pick up an unfamiliar curriculum and confidently accelerate a kid with it. Especially a program that seems exactly opposite of how I teach and my kids have learned. Math mammoth looks fantastic for the job. (I am kind of starting to think I should opt out of math and the school and keep DD with Dimensions until high school. 😳 I know lots of people love Saxon but the more I learn the less it seems like a good fit. )

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I don’t doubt the fit. My concern is this: Is here in Math Mammoth now? And he’s going into Saxon in the fall?

 The short of it is, you’re hoping a kid under pressure can learn 1-1.5 years’ worth of math in four months and no one can sit beside him and he can have teaching twice a week? And start a new curriculum in the fall at a new school? I’m worried about the kids more than the math. Familiarity with the curriculum he’s going into might make this less overwhelming. 

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7 hours ago, BlsdMama said:

I’d read a child can basically have a great environment, virtually no formal math, then pick up a sixth grade text on sixth grade, and be successful.  They were spot on for MY kid, and she isn’t even particularly mathy.

Interesting! I do tend to believe those stories. What happened, if you don’t mind me asking? Did she have trouble with anything at all?

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4 hours ago, Sk8ermaiden said:

You set yourself up as the teacher, and then you can put in however many students. I had my daughter in there already but I added him. You can assign them different things.

Do you find it useful for your daughter in addition to Singapore? How do you use it with her?

8 hours ago, Sk8ermaiden said:

There's no way I can pick up an unfamiliar curriculum and confidently accelerate a kid with it. Especially a program that seems exactly opposite of how I teach and my kids have learned. Math mammoth looks fantastic for the job.

Your approach seems really logical, especially in combination with the Khan videos and test prep opportunities.  It sounds like your goal is not a smooth transition to Saxon, but to pass that test, which is quite different.  There are some different approaches to math, but I haven’t heard that Saxon is so different in terms of content that another program, with adequate understanding, wouldn’t transfer. 

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Just now, Eilonwy said:

There are some different approaches to math, but I haven’t heard that Saxon is so different in terms of content that another program, with adequate understanding, wouldn’t transfer. 

When I look at the placement tests for Saxon, DD8 would easily place into either Algebra 1 or Algebra 2. And our approach was totally the opposite from Saxon. 

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18 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

When I look at the placement tests for Saxon, DD8 would easily place into either Algebra 1 or Algebra 2. And our approach was totally the opposite from Saxon. 

I looked at the middle grades  placement test just now, and pretty near everything that my oldest has covered, she’d be able to do. There didn’t seem to be much with unusual format or funny tricks. We’ve never used Saxon or similar programs. 

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6 minutes ago, Eilonwy said:

I looked at the middle grades  placement test just now, and pretty near everything that my oldest has covered, she’d be able to do. There didn’t seem to be much with unusual format or funny tricks. We’ve never used Saxon or similar programs. 

It's very standard math, and I think it's actually easier than the placement tests for other stuff. I've also occasionally given DD8 tests from Singapore and the AoPS "Are you Ready?" tests, and those require considerably more creativity. 

When I look at Math Mammoth, there's a lot she wouldn't be able to do because the words are all really different from what she's used to. So that's more specialized. 

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7 hours ago, BlsdMama said:

I don’t doubt the fit. My concern is this: Is here in Math Mammoth now? And he’s going into Saxon in the fall?

 The short of it is, you’re hoping a kid under pressure can learn 1-1.5 years’ worth of math in four months and no one can sit beside him and he can have teaching twice a week? And start a new curriculum in the fall at a new school? I’m worried about the kids more than the math. Familiarity with the curriculum he’s going into might make this less overwhelming. 

I'm about to start him with Math Mammoth. He's not in anything now. Eilonwy is right below. My goal is to shore up his elementary math and get him into Saxon 7/6. Then he will have a proper math teacher he will have daily access to, if not daily instruction by, and I will have his mom get him access to that online math tutor that keeps popping up in this thread. AND he will still have access to me for homework help. While I don't want to attempt picking up a Saxon book and remediating a very behind student under pressure, helping with homework is a totally different issue. There is no perfect option here, but the bottom and very firm line is that he needs to be in a full time, outsourced math program as soon as possible. After considering everything I do think using a program like Singapore or MM is my best chance of getting him here. 
 

1 hour ago, Eilonwy said:

Do you find it useful for your daughter in addition to Singapore? How do you use it with her?

Your approach seems really logical, especially in combination with the Khan videos and test prep opportunities.  It sounds like your goal is not a smooth transition to Saxon, but to pass that test, which is quite different.  There are some different approaches to math, but I haven’t heard that Saxon is so different in terms of content that another program, with adequate understanding, wouldn’t transfer. 

I never used it until this year, but I have begun using it if I feel a lesson hasn't stuck, or possibly that I have not explained it well. If she has forgotten something since last semester or year, I will send her back to do the video lessons and exercises as a refresher. 

1 hour ago, Not_a_Number said:

It's very standard math, and I think it's actually easier than the placement tests for other stuff. I've also occasionally given DD8 tests from Singapore and the AoPS "Are you Ready?" tests, and those require considerably more creativity. 

When I look at Math Mammoth, there's a lot she wouldn't be able to do because the words are all really different from what she's used to. So that's more specialized. 

Yes, all the Saxon questions are very straightforward. It did drive me a little crazy that a few of the MM terms were different or missing (numerator and denominator for example but I assume that will come next year), but I wrote him notes all through the book, to remind or refresh him on things I will have taught. Next to these I wrote "Most books call this carrying," etc and will hit that in person as well. The vast majority of the terms seemed the same as Singapore though? And I don't see any terminology on the Saxon test that my daughter wouldn't know coming from 7 years of Singapore. Or are you talking about if they're trying to test *into* MM?

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7 hours ago, BlsdMama said:

I don’t doubt the fit. My concern is this: Is here in Math Mammoth now? And he’s going into Saxon in the fall?

 The short of it is, you’re hoping a kid under pressure can learn 1-1.5 years’ worth of math in four months and no one can sit beside him and he can have teaching twice a week? And start a new curriculum in the fall at a new school? I’m worried about the kids more than the math. Familiarity with the curriculum he’s going into might make this less overwhelming. 

Also, yes, I'm worried for him too for more reasons than just math. It's a very rigorous program, with most if it being completed at home and it's going to require a lot more consistency and discipline than they've had. But he has made it clear he wants to be in a school of some kind, and a public school isn't an option to them at this moment. If there is such a thing, he is a kid who is used to nothing ever being the same, and being thrown into totally new situations, so hopefully he'll be OK. Better to try now when he has time to adjust and the grades don't have long-term implications, than later down the road. 

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29 minutes ago, Sk8ermaiden said:

Yes, all the Saxon questions are very straightforward. It did drive me a little crazy that a few of the MM terms were different or missing (numerator and denominator for example but I assume that will come next year), but I wrote him notes all through the book, to remind or refresh him on things I will have taught. Next to these I wrote "Most books call this carrying," etc and will hit that in person as well. The vast majority of the terms seemed the same as Singapore though? And I don't see any terminology on the Saxon test that my daughter wouldn't know coming from 7 years of Singapore. Or are you talking about if they're trying to test *into* MM?

Oh, I was mostly just affirming your sense that you can use anything you like -- Saxon is very standard. And then I was musing that if we did a placement test for MM, we'd have more trouble. But that shouldn't be a problem the other direction -- going from MM to Saxon! I apologize for getting off-track. 

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On 4/15/2021 at 10:20 PM, Sk8ermaiden said:

I am noticing the scope and sequence is behind Singapore for sure - we're barely into Dimensions 6B with my daughter, but she's covered everything up to (and much into) prealgebra on the Saxon placement test. And good news!! He only needs to test into Saxon 7/6. so I think I only need to get him through 5th grade math. 

Based on his third grade Khan results (he only passed measurement and single digit multiplication), I have assigned him the lessons and exercises for different units and so far as he is going through them, he is getting 80s and 100s on his quizzes, which is heartening. After looking at Math Mammoth, I have ordered him 3B to start with. I am fairly certain there are gaps in understanding of basic concepts from before third grade, but I feel comfortable remediating those as we find them.  

That’s some good news! 

I feel like every concept that can be solidified is a great thing. So many times when kids are behind, the progress to “catch up” looks so daunting and insurmountable. Because of this, it’s easy to get discouraged and (perhaps) give up.

SWB has her “nibble away like ducks” analogy that she used to describe attacking grammar, esp. for boys. Each nibble is progress! Same can apply to math...or anything, really.

With that in mind, I’d like to suggest triangle flash cards, done daily for both addition/subtraction and then multi/division. Five to seven minutes a day until mastery will benefit him the rest of his life. And it will also ensure that he won’t be making basic errors that can derail him when he gets to prealgebra and algebra.

best wishes to you both!

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