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How much is too much for math?


Janeway
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My daughter does not like math and used to drag her feet to try to get out of it. She is on grade level, as in, if she went to public school, she could handle the average track math class likely. But, she does great in all the other subjects and most kids where I live are on the "preAP" track. I have big regrets that I allowed my now 19 yr old to take a bad attitude toward math. He is regretting it big time because he has a job in a research setting and has found that he loves it, but his math skills are too weak to do a science major. And he is already a sophomore in college and earning almost all A's (and has dropped remedial math twice so has never completed math) in all his other subjects, and is in the honors college. He is kicking himself and wishing he did better. I want to head off this problem for the future. 

Daughter is motivated to catch up in math. She is in 6th grade, but an older 6th grader. She is about to turn 12 yrs old. I would like to do a lesson each day in math and then also have a second assignment where it is review or polishing what she already knows. For example, today she has a lesson on prime factorization so do that entire lesson, it is from a 5th grade book. But then also do the lesson for adding and subtracting fractions with unlike denominators, something she can do but struggles with. However, this means that basically, we are doing two lessons in a day. The goal is to be solid on arithmetic and be ready for algebra by 8th grade. 

Is this just a recipe for burn out? Or is this a good idea? I know a lot of families around here have their children in school during the day and then the kids do to extra math class after school and/or on the weekends and during the summers. 

 

 

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My young kids have always done two math lessons a day, but that is because 1) I keep both of the lessons quite short (10-15 minutes), and 2) only one of the lessons is arithmetic and the other is "problem solving". So, up through about 4th grade my kids do one lesson in Math Mammoth, and then also one lesson of Hands on Equations (and before that Balance Benders, Zaccaro, etc.).

But when they start algebra around 5th grade, they are ready to consolidate both of their math lessons into one session of ~45 minutes. This is typically structured as 5-10 minutes of teaching time, ~20 minutes of independent work, checking and grading their independent work, 10-15 minutes of correcting mistakes.

So, in your situation, my kids wouldn't be happy about doing two lessons that were both fairly dry and boring, especially if one of them was hard for them. And they wouldn't be happy if each of the sessions lasted more than ~20 minutes.

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1 hour ago, Janeway said:

He is regretting it big time because he has a job in a research setting and has found that he loves it, but his math skills are too weak to do a science major. And he is already a sophomore in college and earning almost all A's (and has dropped remedial math twice so has never completed math) in all his other subjects, and is in the honors college. He is kicking himself and wishing he did better. I want to head off this problem for the future. 

However, this means that basically, we are doing two lessons in a day. The goal is to be solid on arithmetic and be ready for algebra by 8th grade. 

Is this just a recipe for burn out? Or is this a good idea? I know a lot of families around here have their children in school during the day and then the kids do to extra math class after school and/or on the weekends and during the summers. 

 

 

I'm very sorry about your son's regrets re: math.  

Do 2 math lessons take 2 hours or 30 minutes?  Are there tears or is she happy and gaining confidence?  If you think burn out is a possibility, can you check with your daughter on a regular basis and remind her that if it's getting to be too much you can reduce the load?  

And if you don't mind, I sometimes encounter folks who tell me their kids don't need to study math because they are going into a non-quantitative field. Or they argue that if they need to learn math, they'll pick it up later when they are motivated.   What would you tell them?  What kind of lab is your son working in, and what specifically does he use math for?  Is it not an option for him to remediate before continuing college?  (Thank you and I'm sorry for the OT questions!)  

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1 hour ago, Janeway said:

He is regretting it big time because he has a job in a research setting and has found that he loves it, but his math skills are too weak to do a science major. And he is already a sophomore in college and earning almost all A's (and has dropped remedial math twice so has never completed math) in all his other subjects, and is in the honors college. He is kicking himself and wishing he did better.

Advice for your son is there isn't some sort of end date for learning. So he can learn the math, if he so chose to. I get the not being able to fit it into the graduate in 4 years college schedule and I'm not saying he must or should fit it in now. 

In terms of taking this and helping your daughter, I may take a different approach. To give her more review and practice with math she knows already (but  just isn't totally fluent with), try giving her that math in a different context. See if you can work those skills in as part of her history lessons, science, lessons or everyday life stuff. Students who are good at math get exposed to these experiences because we feel oh they are good at math we pour into giving them more fun STEM things, which increases their fluency and comfort in math. For remedial or regular students we tend not to give them STEM things that involve too much math because we feel they aren't good at it, but (my own thoughts) maybe it'd help if we tie potential fun stuff with math.  

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35 minutes ago, daijobu said:

I'm very sorry about your son's regrets re: math.  

Do 2 math lessons take 2 hours or 30 minutes?  Are there tears or is she happy and gaining confidence?  If you think burn out is a possibility, can you check with your daughter on a regular basis and remind her that if it's getting to be too much you can reduce the load?  

And if you don't mind, I sometimes encounter folks who tell me their kids don't need to study math because they are going into a non-quantitative field. Or they argue that if they need to learn math, they'll pick it up later when they are motivated.   What would you tell them?  What kind of lab is your son working in, and what specifically does he use math for?  Is it not an option for him to remediate before continuing college?  (Thank you and I'm sorry for the OT questions!)  

I have never had the idea that kids don't need math because their career goals are not math heavy. In the case of the older child, he was in ballet 30+ hrs a week. And he would simply refuse to do math. We did algebra 3 times. He did it one time in public school, one time with me, and one time with Derek Owens. By 3 times, I mean 3 full years of it. Then he did geometry and algebra 2 in public school. Then he brain dumped. At college, he started with business math. The university put it all online and the professors have no contact with the students. He dropped that a couple weeks in. He freaked out over equations with compounding interest. I begged him to at least do the placement exam that was offered by the university for math and he refused. So then, he enrolled in basic college algebra, which is considered remedial and he would basically not get credit for it. He started but then froze and would not even do it. He started it but the software was very glitchy and the professor did not answer any emails until after the class was dropped. He completed the entire first chapter and then it skipped to the end of chapter 3. It also then deleted all his progress for chapter 1 so it showed he never did it. I sat with him to do it so I know he definitely completed it. We manually got him back to chapter 2 but then figured he would have to repeat chapter 1 so as to not get a zero in chapter 1.  It was not dropped until the last day when a class could be dropped.  But, on that note, son did not even get around to doing his online introduction to the class. Funny how he would be graded on doing an online introduction which has to be done in the first days of the class, but the professor cannot even be bothered to answer any emails for much longer than that in to the class. Now, this son has an extreme math phobia and flips out over having to do any math at all. He gets to the point of emotionally crashing and has such an extreme mental health crisis over math that it has led to a potential hospitalization. I do NOT want a repeat of this in any child. But none of this happened due to my lack of anything. I just want to double up or whatever it takes to make sure this never ever happens again. I am actually started to build the anxiety just typing about how bad his phobia is. 

 

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58 minutes ago, daijobu said:

I'm very sorry about your son's regrets re: math.  

Do 2 math lessons take 2 hours or 30 minutes?  Are there tears or is she happy and gaining confidence?  If you think burn out is a possibility, can you check with your daughter on a regular basis and remind her that if it's getting to be too much you can reduce the load?  

And if you don't mind, I sometimes encounter folks who tell me their kids don't need to study math because they are going into a non-quantitative field. Or they argue that if they need to learn math, they'll pick it up later when they are motivated.   What would you tell them?  What kind of lab is your son working in, and what specifically does he use math for?  Is it not an option for him to remediate before continuing college?  (Thank you and I'm sorry for the OT questions!)  

He is working in a science research lab. He cares for the animals. He says he would not so much like biological research but wishes he could still do research or even an engineering type job where he would be doing hands on and interactive work.

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Just now, daijobu said:

I'm really sorry, I totally missed the mark here.  

Oh..no need to be sorry. Don't worry about it. I appreciate the help. I have been trying to figure out non-math majors that would still leave him in the science research, hands on, type environment. But honestly, I have been so traumatized by what has happened with him and the fact that he digs his heels in and makes this my problem, that I want to do whatever I can to prevent this from happening again.

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23 minutes ago, Janeway said:

Oh..no need to be sorry. Don't worry about it. I appreciate the help. I have been trying to figure out non-math majors that would still leave him in the science research, hands on, type environment. But honestly, I have been so traumatized by what has happened with him and the fact that he digs his heels in and makes this my problem, that I want to do whatever I can to prevent this from happening again.

I think at this point it's on your son to get it together to get what he wants. It's not on you and it's not your problem to solve; it's his problem. I also don't think his math phobia is on you either. 

He's been through the ringer with terrible math classes in college. If he really wants to fix this issue he might look into getting a private tutor whether he takes a math class through the college and they help him through that or he figure out what he wants to know and they can tutor him in that. 

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When I wanted to get my son “up to speed” on math because I did feel he was behind, I used Christian Light Education (CLE) and did it year ‘round for a couple of summers. He was able to complete 3 years of math in under 2 years.

Why that worked:

CLE math is broken up into 10 workbooks per school year, so the student constantly feels a sense of ending something old and starting something fresh. It’s a little emotional boost for them.

There were two quizzes and one test in each of the workbooks, which were intended to be 3 lessons. I skipped those. I saved 30 days of lessons a year by skipping those (which is 6 school weeks per grade level.) 

The math is spiral, so a new concept was every-so-gently introduced, but then dropped for a lesson or two. If the student didn’t quite get a topic the first time around, no problem. It would show up again later, very gently. I learned not to force the issue if he wasn’t getting a new concept the first time it was presented. I learned to trust the system.

My son went from not remembering any math and hating it, to being proficient in it. Just last month, he took a placement test at the local community college. The lady in the testing center said, “I haven’t seen a score this high in a long time!” 

I honestly had thought he had dyscalculia up through about 5th grade, because his brain was such a sieve when it came to math. 

I absolutely attribute it to CLE. That’s when things turned around for him. And, like I said, we were able to get through it fast with only 1 lesson a day, because we could skip the quizzes/test and we did a lesson a day during summer break and during other breaks too. When you have 52 weeks a year to work with instead of 36 (maybe 50 weeks if you take 10 days off for vacation days), you can get through more without doubling up lessons. 

My son wasn’t happy about doing math during the summer or on other breaks, but it was just the one class a day, so he was able to suck it up and get it done. 

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1 hour ago, 8filltheheart said:

For a 6th grader I would use a remedial college math textbook that reviews all elementary math concepts in a single book, something like Lial's Basic College Math. 

This.  Or the Derek Owens prealgebra course which does this and then adds an introductory algebra element as well.

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For my math-hater I sat with her for one hour every day all the way through 11th grade.  I'm not going to say it was fun, and she does hate math, but she's proficient.  I remember that suddenly things that were challenging did click in middle school- like a brain wiring thing.  I always tried to make math a thing you just have to know to adult- no options. 

For some years we used a white board- I worked the problem, and so did she, and then we compared.   I think this really helped.  I also did a lot of talking out my thinking.  "I'm looking for surface area.  That means the area of all the sides of the object.  This object has 8 sides. (Writing out) Top, Bottom, Side 1, Side 2, Side 3.  Top and bottom are an equilateral triangle- (find area- write in correct space). "  and continue until I had every part of the problem. If possible,  I would draw a picture- that seemed to help a lot.  Slow and steady!  We just stayed on Grade level, 9th grade was Algebra 1.  That's not behind,  that's average and still gives plenty of time to learn high school math.  

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On 8/3/2023 at 1:49 PM, Garga said:

When I wanted to get my son “up to speed” on math because I did feel he was behind, I used Christian Light Education (CLE) and did it year ‘round for a couple of summers. He was able to complete 3 years of math in under 2 years.

Why that worked:

CLE math is broken up into 10 workbooks per school year, so the student constantly feels a sense of ending something old and starting something fresh. It’s a little emotional boost for them.

There were two quizzes and one test in each of the workbooks, which were intended to be 3 lessons. I skipped those. I saved 30 days of lessons a year by skipping those (which is 6 school weeks per grade level.) 

The math is spiral, so a new concept was every-so-gently introduced, but then dropped for a lesson or two. If the student didn’t quite get a topic the first time around, no problem. It would show up again later, very gently. I learned not to force the issue if he wasn’t getting a new concept the first time it was presented. I learned to trust the system.

My son went from not remembering any math and hating it, to being proficient in it. Just last month, he took a placement test at the local community college. The lady in the testing center said, “I haven’t seen a score this high in a long time!” 

I honestly had thought he had dyscalculia up through about 5th grade, because his brain was such a sieve when it came to math. 

I absolutely attribute it to CLE. That’s when things turned around for him. And, like I said, we were able to get through it fast with only 1 lesson a day, because we could skip the quizzes/test and we did a lesson a day during summer break and during other breaks too. When you have 52 weeks a year to work with instead of 36 (maybe 50 weeks if you take 10 days off for vacation days), you can get through more without doubling up lessons. 

My son wasn’t happy about doing math during the summer or on other breaks, but it was just the one class a day, so he was able to suck it up and get it done. 

I did almost the same thing with my older 2 boys except had them do the quiz/test and the next lesson. We skipped LU -01 for each level as it just reviews the previous level. Since we didn't take any breaks and did math 6 days a week, they had nothing to forget. Best decision ever for my older two boys. Give your child the placement test first and start where they place. Do not skip problems!

(Now I wish I had bought it for my 6 yr old!)

HTH!

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22 hours ago, Green Bean said:

I did almost the same thing with my older 2 boys except had them do the quiz/test and the next lesson. We skipped LU -01 for each level as it just reviews the previous level. Since we didn't take any breaks and did math 6 days a week, they had nothing to forget. Best decision ever for my older two boys. Give your child the placement test first and start where they place. Do not skip problems!

(Now I wish I had bought it for my 6 yr old!)

HTH!

I’d totally forgotten that the first workbook was all review! You’re right that it can be skipped if you’re doing grade levels back to back without a summer break.

I agree with the placement test and with not skipping problems. We didn’t skip problems either. 

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