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Need advice from HS mom's that have BTDT.


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We are officially at the half way point through Horizons 3 with my DD. Every day is a struggle. She hates math. The last two weeks have been horrible and each lesson has taken almost 3 hours to accomplish. The TM is no help at all and I feel like it's my fault that I'm not able to explain the concepts to her in a way that she can understand..... plus she hasn't memorized her multiplication facts cold yet and her lessons have already started on division. There have been way too many tears (from both of us) so something has got to change. Ug.


Soo, any advice on how to get her memorization facts memorized?


Do I ditch Horizons and start looking for something else? She breezed through (abeka) math in 1st and 2nd grade (small private Christian school). This is our first year homeschooling so I'm not super confident yet. Do I go back to Abeka since it "worked" before? Is it me? Which math program can you recommend that basically spells everything out in the TM?


I have a BSN in nursing and 3rd grade math has beaten me.:D

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I haven't BTDT. We've only been homeschooling for a month. BUT, we use Horizons 3 for my dd and I really, really dislike it. My daughter is already bored with it. The teacher's manual is pretty much useless. I'm going to go out on a limb and say it's the curriculum. I personally do not plan on using Horizons again.



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I was going to suggest that you get one of Cathy Duffy's books from the library when I realized where you lived. Hmm. Her website may help you to determine your dd's learning style. Her books are great for help in determining dc learning style and then saying which programs are better/worse for that learning style.


We have used MUS from K and are now in Algebra. You can read my lengthy review here.


FWIW, I never made ds learn mutliplication facts cold. With time and practice, they will get memorized, imo.


Good luck!

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Been there. My dd became math phobic over a program that didn't work for her.


I don't know Horizon's math, but it did choose another program over it for the sake of previous reviews that said it was difficult in level 2 and up and the TM offered no help. That's not saying it's not a good program, but those are the reasons I didn't choose it.


Do you think it's your explaining? Saxon offers scripted lessons. The reason I chose it was because of the scripting. If you need help in that area the scripting helps w/grade level explanations, something I can't do. I'm not telling you to change, but that could be the problem.


Until you can access the real problem, whether it be your teaching or her learning language, take math down to 10-15 min a day. I did this for my dd and it worked wonders, but I also switched programs. I had used Rightstart. Rightstart uses abstract facts, as well as Singapore and if your child's brain isn't ready for abstract (studies show some aren't ready till 4th-5th grade) it will be a real bear to teach it. We returned to Saxon w/great results. There's a ton of review, but I like that it's there and can skip it if I want. Plus it has age related explanations.


Horizon's may move too quickly for your child. Math is funny, because it really causes alot of stress and frustration if you don't find what works.


I suggest either back up and review and shorten the duration (set a timer if you have to) or change programs. Horizons is known to be a bit above grade level. If Abeka worked for both of you in the past, then I'd return to it. We used Saxon in K which is why we returned to it.

Edited by alilac
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Did you give her the placement test for Horizons before you bought it? She may be misplaced.


Going back to abeka might or might not help. It's been a year, so she might not go back into it neatly anyway. And she might not like the later levels of abeka. But what you could do that would be practical and something to do immediately is get the Abeka Tests and Speed Drills books. Was she doing them in her cs? You could ask her. They're pages with 4 sections, one to do each day, then a spiral review test on Fridays. The drill sections don't take long, just a few minutes, but they're very good. If she wasn't doing them in her cs, then I'd suggest backing up to the 2nd gr book. If she has already done the 2nd gr book, then get the 3rd gr one. I'd do that and Flashmaster every day for a while and give her a break from Horizons. That should help speed up her math facts, doing the Flashmaster diligently for a while, then you can decide what curriculum to go into. It might be that if her facts were faster or she were placed back a book, Horizons would work for her just fine. Or you could go back to Abeka. Or you could look at BJU (which we use and like) or any of the other fine options. But for right now I'd pause, take a breather, and work on facts using the Flashmaster, the Abeka Tests and Speed Drills books, and fun games, whatever you can find.


PS. Definitely agree with lilac's suggestion to shorten the time. If you take a break and do those alternative things for a while, you can shorten math down to 15-20 minutes a day (set a timer) which would be good. Then go up to 30-35 when you find a curriculum you can live with. Math shouldn't take more than 30-35 for that age, 40 max. My dd just wilts when it's longer.

Edited by OhElizabeth
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I dumped Saxon Math for a couple of weeks and tried Horizons. I went back to Saxon because of the scripted lessons. It gave me the ability to acutally "teach" math in a way that was thorough and concise. My dc really know math, not just filling out worksheets.


FWIW, in the next few weeks, I'm going to be supplementing with Singapore's Challenging Word Problems, just so they will be used to math from another angle.

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For memorizing math facts, you can try the free online resource at math u see :



Teaching Textbooks will have Math 4 ready in March 2009. If you can stumble along till then you will probably find that she is ready for it - TT does a lot of review of the previous grade in the beginning.


The explanations are excellent !!


I switched ds to TT Math 5 half way through his 4th grade year - he had been struggling with another program. I now never need to explain any math to my ds - ever.


It is computer based - a voice goes over the lesson while the child watches the lesson on the screen. It has a grade book so I can track his progress.

No teaching or explaining is needed from me at all.



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And here's an idea for when you start school again after the New Year, and which would also give you time to decide what route to take (whether placement test/slow down Horizons or research/try a new math):


Whenever our math struggler "hit the wall" with a math concept we would set our "spine" math program aside for awhile and do other things for math:

- Fridays were math "fun day" with math board/card games

- math computer games can be very painless way to drill math facts and to keep math concepts fresh in a fun way

- booklet with manipulatives can either keep older math concepts fresh, or be a fun way to learn a new math concept

- a math supplement program helpful in seeing math in a completely different way.


Setting aside the spine math and doing some of these alternatives seemed to let the troublesome math concept "simmer" in the back of our math struggler's mind while doing something else -- and also let us get back a little of the joy of homeschooling (or at least stop the meltdowns! :tongue_smilie:).


Below are some ideas for you. BEST of luck! Warmest regards, Lori D.





- Miquon

Inexpensive; great for seeing math concepts from a different point of view; can pick and choose which math topic you want to go over; gentle -- not too much on a page; uses a manipulative (cusenaire rods).




- geoboards

- pattern blocks

- multi-link cubes

- cuisenaire rods

- tangrams

- balance bucket and weights

- fraction circles of bars

- dice or dominoes


- Math Discoveries With... series of booklets

- Exploring With... series of booklets by Learning Resources

- Math Activities With... series of booklets by Learning Resources





- Math Blaster series

- Clue Finder series

- Mighty Math series

- Number Muncher (math fact drill)

- Quarter Mile Math (math fact drill)







- Yatzhee

- Triple Yatzhee

- Sequence Dice

- Muggins: Knock-Out

- Mille Bourne

- Fill or Bust



- Free Parking

- Advance to Boardwalk

- 1-2-3-Oy!

- "98"* or "99"* or "100"* = see rules at: http://www.pagat.com/adders/98.html


Money/Making Change

- Monopoly

- Pay Day

- Go For Broke

- Life

- Careers

- Presto-Chango


Adding Plus Strategy

- Shut the Box

- Dominoes

- Rummikub

- Backgammon

- Cribbage

- "Pig"* = see rules at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pig_(dice)



- Roll N Multiply

- Snap It Up: Multiplying


All Four Math Operations

- Equate (like Scrabble with numbers, use all 4 math operations to score highest)

- Muggins Math Game (use all 4 math operations to equal a target number)

- Equalz (use all 4 math operations to equal a target number)

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I can only speak of our experience, but our dd8 sailed through A Beka 2, often doing more than one lesson a day and rarely making mistakes. Then about 1/4 into A Beka 3, she really started to have problems. I hear A Beka 4 is worse so I'm seriously considering a switch myself.


If A Beka worked before you could look at it again. But if you like spiral, like Horizons and A Beka, but need good instructions right in the book and support for really learing those pesky facts, I would look at CLE.


When dd8 started struggling with A Beka 3, I ordered a CLE light unit based on the scope and sequence. I did not take the recommended diagonostic test because I wasn't planning on a switch but just thinking I would give dd some time. We've been very happy with it, and I think I've come to the point that I might make an order.:tongue_smilie:


There are so many curriculums that your head can spin. I think you might just need examine both of your needs and prioritize them.


Best of luck!

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Honestly, it sounds like you're both struggling with this curriculum. I'd look for something else. It sounds like you understand what you need as a teacher, which gets you a good way toward finding the right curriculum for your and your dd. Now all you need to do is get a handle on what your dd needs in a curriculum, then (sometimes easier said than done) find the curriculum that meets both your needs. There are lots of good math curricula out there, so most likely you'll find one that meets your needs.


While you"re in the process of looking, play math games and do some of the other thing that have been suggested in this thread. Your dd probably needs a break from a formal math curriculum for a little while just so she can rediscover that math is fun.


Another option for that time between curricula is Time4Learning. A few weeks or months of it may be what you need while you figure out the next step (or you may find it's a good fit, and keep it longer-term, like we did). They have a 2-week free trial, so you're not risking a lot if you try it a short while.





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Thank you all for your incredible and generous responses. I think I've resigned myself to changing curricula. I think this is one subject I'm going to need scripted hand-holding to teach ... my DD is very straight forward and I usually take a back door approach. Having the lessons scripted from a TM will probably make a huge difference for us. If there is anyone that reads this thread and could compare/contrast Saxon and CLE for me that would be great. I think I've got it narrowed down to those two ...

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I say it's time to ditch it.


It's hard to say for sure whether your dd would do better with a process math (hands-on, using manipulatives of some kind) or a traditional math. I could never figure out what my dds' learning styles were, nor mine, using anyone's learning styles assessment (including Cathy Duffy's) so I'm not a big fan of those.


However, if your dd did well with ABeka, she can probably do a traditional math. It's just that she isn't liking the way Horizons does it.


My preference is Rod and Staff Publishers for traditional math. The TM's provide scripted oral "class time," which is vital for 1-3 gr. and optional 4th and up. Third grade and up are hardback textbooks, which weirds out some people because they think the dc will have to write out all the problems, but actually, the dc just have to write the answers for the drills.


Anyway, R&S doesn't have a Web site, but you can order on-line from Rod and Staff Books (formerly Milestone Ministries), as well as see samples.

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lots of great advice already!

I posted this fall confessing that "my name is Lisa and I hate teaching math." Several of the gracious friends here suggested that it could be the curriculum. We were using Right Start math and my littles were learning great concepts but we all avoided actually doing math. So, we switched to Horizons. My ds is breezing through 2 lessons a day and we are having fun doing math together again. It was the curriculum style that was really bugging both of us. So we switched. It was a GREAT decision!

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Our addition facts have been going much better since we got a Flashmaster. We also do a bit of oral math drill when we're in the car. Ones she can't answer, she has to repeat 3 times.


Don Potter has a link to a multiplication matrix that is easy to learn how to fill out. Once she learns how to make one herself, you could make her do a new one every day you do math and then let her use it to do the problems.


He also has some other good links that may be helpful, including some old textbooks you could print out and try a page or two of to see how they work for you.



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