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# Deciding on Life of Fred Elementary / When to Teach Long Division

Tagged: CLE, CLE Sunrise, division, Life of Fred, Life of Fred Elementary, LOF, long division, Math U See, MUS

- This topic has 11 replies, 6 voices, and was last updated 7 years, 4 months ago by Wings2fly.

Viewing 12 posts - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)

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- Wings2flyParticipant
We used RightStart math levels B and C starting in grade 1 and then transitioned into more independent math work with CLE Sunrise Light Units and Life of Fred elementary. My son has always struggled in math and has now worked his way through levels A – I of Life of Fred. He does one lesson per week on our lighter town day and does a whole book on school breaks. I am not sure how much math he has really learned in it, but it does make math a little more enjoyable since it is his least favorite subject. He enjoys the stories.

My daughter does well in math. She has used only CLE light units this year and seems to be doing well with that. So I am trying to decide if I should have her use LoF now too. She has never used it. If she does, it takes away from where she could be in her CLE math. So is it worth it? I see where there is some value to the extras in LoF and presenting topics in a different way and getting students to think critically. But I wonder if that is worth sacrificing lessons in CLE math.

Also, what do you think about the age and maturity level needed to learn long division? In RightStart, the author waits on long division until near the end of the last book, I think. She says it is because of the maturity needed to learn it, being better at age 10 or 11. This has certainly been a hard lesson for my son to learn. We also used a Math Mammoth blue unit to cover it more. But I wonder if my daughter would do okay with it since she is more math minded. She would be just turning 9 when we cover long division if we do not do LoF. But she would be closer to age 10 if we go slower with CLE and fit in LoF.

So is Life of Fred elementary worth supplementing with, taking away from regular math lessons?

Wings2flyParticipantIn RightStart 1st edition, long division is not taught until lesson 123 of level E. Quotes taken from Joan A. Cotter, Ph.D. on the RightStart Yahoo group:

“Long division is somewhat controversial. Before 1700, it was considered so difficult that it wasn’t taught until the university level. As recently as 1935, Renwick said, ‘The optimum mental age for beginning to learn long division is 12 years 7 months.’ The traditional long division algorithm is difficult to learn, is tedious because of aligning and bringing down numbers, requires erasing when estimating fails, contributes very little to understanding other mathematical concepts, and is rarely used today in the real world.”

“Before long division can be taught successfully: many other concepts must be understood and procedures mastered. The child must thoroughly appreciate place value, know the multiplication and division facts from 1 x 1 to 10 x 10, be able to subtract mentally by going up, and be proficient in short division.”

So I wonder what your experience has been in teaching long division to your children and when they were able to master it. Thanks.

TristanParticipantWe’ve not used any of those programs (we use Math U See and have Life of Fred). What about doing LOF on top of CLE instead of in place of a lesson? For example, once or twice a week assign 1 chapter of LOF to be ‘independent reading’. They get extra math in, but really, there are so few problems in a single chapter that it’s more reading time in my mind. I would separate math for the day from LOF.

I have some kids who are liking Fred and one who doesn’t. I’m wanting to nudge them through more Fred, we’ve just gotten out of the habit. 🙂

Wings2flyParticipantThank you, Tristan. While that may be too much math in one day for my son, I think it would work fine for my daughter.

What has been your experience with teaching long division in MUS? Is that in Delta? Did your children struggle with it? What age were they?

TristanParticipantDelta is all about Division. You have already spent a year learning multiplication really well (from 2×2 clear up through 23986 x 49823 and beyond). So they are really comfortable with the multiplication facts. That makes division easier because they usually can see the connection faster that division is the opposite of multiplication and they can find the missing part of the multiplication problem. For ex: when presented with 20 divided by 4 they can use the blocks to figure it out or they may remember to do the multiplication “4 times what is 20?” 4×5, which they’ve done hundreds and hundreds of times by their first division lesson.

Ages: Makayla did Delta in 5th grade, 10 years old. Joseph and Emma just did Delta last year as 4th and 3rd graders, Joseph age 9/10, Emma age 8/9. Joseph is more on the typical math track, Emma is ahead, having always done math with him, and Makayla started MUS at the beginning with Alpha in 3rd grade (switching from Saxon) and between 3rd-8th grade made up ground and will now begin Algebra 1 for 9th grade this fall, right on schedule.

nebbyParticipantIn elementary yrs we use LOF to supplement mus. IMO long division is one of the toughest math things to learn. I think waiting till 9,10,11 is fine. Esp if a kid struggles with math I wouldn’t push it.

Wings2flyParticipantThank you. I have decided to have her use LoF and take CLE a little slower. She is ahead of where she would be in ps anyways. I was reading on livingmath.net on “Long Division Woes” and it seems to be a tough concept for many children to grasp. Waiting to closer to age 10 may be better for her. I do not coordinate LoF with CLE lessons, except where long division comes in at the Honey book, and CLE 402/403. I want her to see it in CLE first, and re-inforce it with LoF. My son then needed Math Mammoth Division 2 still to “get it”.

KristenParticipantMy olders used CLE and I had my first grader using LOF along with Professor B math and some dollar store math work books. He likes the LOF books but I like the CLE and how they learn with that better. But that is just my opinion. I think I like your idea of just using it once a week or on lighter days. I don’t consider LOF a stand alone math in the early years anyway. I haven’t seen the older ages ones.

Wings2flyParticipantI am at a real lose of what to do for my son, age 11. We took a break from CLE at the end of last year and did Math Mammoth Division 2 unit. I thought he was starting to get it. Then we had a summer break and when we started back to school, he read some living math books for a few weeks with written narrations. Now that he is back to CLE Math, I see that he still doesn’t get it. He struggled today with 79 divided by 2. He keeps wanting to answer something like 31R1. I have helped him more on other days, but he doesn’t seem to understand the next time. Should I try something else? Do Math Mammoth Division 2 unit again? Switch to MUS? Supplement with something? Wait longer? I feel he is just getting more and more behind because he can’t do long division. And his younger sister will pass him up soon, so I have the problem of them both using the same curriculum and it makes him look/feel bad to be behind his little sister. If one of them was using something else, it would not be as noticable. I think my dd could be successful in any math curriculum, as this seems to be a strong subject for her. LOF is going well with her now too.

petitemomParticipantMy first child was like that, he is now in a private school in high school and is surprisingly doing well in Math. We went through very challenging time. We were doing MUS, he got stuck in long divisions, then fractions. I thought the problem was the program so we switched to LOF which IMHO was a total waste of time. Don’t get me wrong, I think LOF can be a good supplement for a kid who loves math but not for a kid who struggles w/math. Just my experience. He asked me himself if we could drop all the story stuff (LOF) and just do math (MUS)!

I am not familiar w/the other programs you use but they might not be the problem. Some kids just don’t get math as easily. My son would learn something and forget it the next day. All the time.

We ended up being really behind for him to start high school. Had to work really hard all summer (am I glad this is over!) and work w/a tutor.

If you have a chance to find a good tutor I think that would make a big difference. Finding someone who can explain a different way, sometimes that is all they need to get it. We had to try a couple, the first one was making him more confused (he came only once) but the second one seemed to help.

I don’t know that there is scientific evidence to this but I was told that boys learn math better from a male teacher.

All the best to you.

retrofamParticipantI am not a math expert, but I have dealt with several struggling math students. There are several options. I think I would continue with CLE, doing practice pages, maybe repeating parts of a Light Unit if needed, but also present the material a different way. You could use blocks, etc. or ask for ideas on Livingmath.net

I have dealt with a younger sister passing a brother, or even doing the same material with the older brother and it hasn’t been a problem. I repeatedly point out to both of them that we are all different and excel in different areas. My son was very helpful, well behaved, and had great spiritual insights. It didn’t seem like a big deal to us that he took longer to learn math. He knew that I didn’t care what number was on his math book. His sister helped him where she could, and wasn’t mean about it. He graduated last year.

Next summer, do some sort of math most of the time. This will help in many ways. We do six weeks of “summer school” for all, which includes math for those who need it.

I switched math curriculum an embarrassing number of times, and recently landed on CLE. Part of it is that I can teach their style confidently, which is not the case with many others I tried.

Math-U-See was frustrating for my struggling math learners because they spent a whole year on something they were struggling with vs. many different topics in CLE. It worked fine for my others.

It sounds funny, but try not to worry about how behind he is, and relax and enjoy the time with your son. You will both feel a deep satisfaction when he finally learns basic math, graduates, and surpasses your expectations.

You can do this 🙂

Wings2flyParticipantThank you both for the encouragement. We are just going to use what we have already, although I am thinking to switch to MUS much later down the road at pre-algebra, when he is ready for it. I think we may need to look at lowering our overall math goals though, since he has always struggled with it. I don’t think he will be getting to calculus. I am thinking we need to focus more on the practical living math of day to day, like budgets and bank accounts.

“It sounds funny, but try not to worry about how behind he is, and relax and enjoy the time with your son. You will both feel a deep satisfaction when he finally learns basic math, graduates, and surpasses your expectations.”

Thanks, retrofam. I needed to hear that.

Show him in a different way….this worked. I kept trying to help him work through each problem in CLE. But by going back 1 1/2 books in LoF to Honey lesson 7, it helped him to see it all in steps on there. So now if he gets stuck, I will direct him there to refresh his memory. He is going to work through the rest of Honey and Ice Cream a second time now, but if I repeat a CLE Light Unit, I’ll have to order one. So I am trying to just supplement to get him caught up to work well where we are at in CLE now.

Also I used to be in the habit of playing Mathtacular DVD once or twice a week for 10 minutes. I had not used it in a while. So I got out disc 3 and the teacher, Justin, showed a simple problem and then added one more place value, like this: 18 divided by 3. After Justin worked through the steps and subtracted to get 0 remainder, he worked another problem: 185 dvided by 3. Justin worked it from start to finish, which was just like the prior problem except at the end, he brought down the 5: divide, multiply, subtract, remainder of 2. And finally, he did 1,854 divided by 3 from start to finish, showing that after the remainder of 2, bring down the 4, then divide 24, multiply, subtract, remainder of 0. We stopped the dvd after this and I had my son work these same problems in his math journal notebook (narration), plus 79 divided by 2. He got them all correct!

He also seems to be slow in his fact recall, even though we did xtramath before. So I am going to have him play some RightStart card games for help with recalling facts sooner, which I think will help with the long division.

Thanks again for the help and encouragement ladies!

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