Tagged: math

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Math must be the subject I second myself on the MOST!!

My 3rd grader has done CLE math for two years. He was thriving other than the lessons got to be too long for him. So, I switched him (and almost everyone esle) to MLFLE. (I tried just crossing off some problems in CLE but then he thought I should cross things off in every subject!)

He is struggling….and MLFLE is behind CLE. I don’t know what to do. He keeps forgetting to carry and is just not thriving in math this year. He’s very bright. I am so clueless as to what to do.

Any ideas?

We just love Teaching Textbooks. We hit a wall with Rod and Staff half way through third grade and made the switch. The lessons are short and concise and there are only 22 practice problems per lesson (my son got bogged down with the length of the R&S lessons). It has lots of review built in. My son isn’t naturally “mathy” and this has been a great fit. He’s doing the Grade 4 now and its great. It’s available online only but we buy the discs used on ebay so my daughter will be able to use them in a few years. Even for a non mathy kid, my son is done with math within 20-30 min every day. It auto-grades and the gradebook is easily printable for his portfolio (PA, ugh). Anyway, can’t say enough good things. Good luck!

There are also interactive examples during the “lecture” portion, so if he forgets to carry or borrow he will get a gentle reminder.

I hear ya! It’s difficult to choose math when they are struggling.

We settled on Singapore math Primary Math Standards Edition. Even though it is known as advanced, the way they explain things makes sense to my kids and me. I took two free classes on The Well Trained Mind Academy that taught me the method, and now I am comfortable teaching Singapore math.

My advice is teach whatever curriculum you understand and can teach well. Math is meant to have struggles, so supplement when needed.

Someone here recommended Mathtacular DVDs as a supplement. My kids love them, and it gives me breaks as needed.

I hate it too!

I do think for my older kids I’ve found the repetition in Saxon works great! I keep hearing how there is no hands on on but both of my sons have manipulatives they’ve had to make, like fraction circles or a protractor/compass or measuring the room with steps, so they enjoy that part. And The lessons are much shorter than CLE! there are 25-30 problems in math 5/4-7/6 with 6-8 practice problems of the new concept so less than 40 total. I love the 2nd and up editions because every problem tells you what lesson the concept was learned so you can go over it if needed. I really, really like it a lot.

PS My son did all CLE the mlfle too but when we switched to Saxon he has done so much better! He remembers stuff he kept forgetting now :0)

Shantel, my oldest is doing Saxon and loves it…and I always said I’d never use Saxon! I have every one else doing MLFLE. And for 2 of them, it seems fine. But my 3rd grader is more of a natural math guy, like the oldest and I just don’t think it’s enough for him.

So funny, MissusLeata, I always said that Saxon would be my preferred program. I used it for two months eight years ago and never again since. 😉

For the past several years we’ve settled into Teaching Textbooks, although my older kids now take their Alg I/Alg II, etc. at an online charter school. They are naturally more math-minded and have been successful with that.

Yeah, CLE math lessons got long for my daughter too. I finally let go of doing a lesson a day and set the timer. If she worked steady the whole time then we’d stop math for the day and pick back up where we left off on the next day. If she wasn’t working steady and got to goofing off with the cat or something, then I would set the timer for a few minutes more. 🙂 But really the timer trick worked. I just had to let go of getting that years worth of math done in that year. I did that for one year. The next year I switched to ACE school of tomorrow Math (the last thing I thought I’d ever do LOL). I had a few other reasons for doing that, and even thought I’d made a mistake in choosing it but she herself said that it really helped her ( like remembering to carry and other areas she was weak) But for this new school year she was adamant she wanted to do CLE again. and wow! She is doing really well with it and has been completing the whole lesson in a much shorter time. We have not had to do the timer or anything. She is completing the lessons in a very reasonable amount of time. I really don’t know what changed it for her…. the year with the ace math she did very well getting her work done which surprised me considering all the addition and subtraction on the page(s) I know she got really weary by the end of the year with it. CLE looked really good after that! :))

A few math thoughts.

1. Curriculum hopping can make for big issues in math. Do your research (aka. find samples online and spend a few weeks having the child do them, actually take and follow the placement test guidance, etc). Then stick with a company’s math and slow down or supplement with extra practice ideas where needed. It is not a race.

Our history – oldest did 3 years of Saxon in K, 1, 2. We set it aside in 3rd grade and started completely over with the first level (Alpha) of Math U See. Then we stuck it out for Alpha through Algebra 2, until the last 2 years of high school, where she chose to do a year of Consumer Math from Abeka (really old textbook) and a year of working on weak areas as ACT prep using CTC Math Online (didn’t love it for some of the upper levels, but as a senior, she just needed something to do).

The other kids have used Math U See. Last year while oldest used CTC math I had my then 7th and 8th graders use CTC Math too. It was ok, I wanted them to have one more year to solidify math skills before tackling Algebra 1, so anything would work. This year they are happily back to Math U See and moving through Algebra 1 just fine. The rest of the kids have only use MUS and I don’t foresee them using CTC math at all.

We did have most of the Life of Fred series years ago but my kids didn’t like it.

2. Next thought to share: keep one main curriculum and when you have a child stuck on a concept do 2 things. First, try presenting it a different way (look online for free ideas/websites/worksheets/videos). Second, move into a different math concept for a while and review the stuck area once a week. Kids ‘math brains’ are all different. One will find a certain type of problem easy but struggle with a different type. Others will be the opposite. (Ex: Spatial/3d/Geometry may make sense to them while they struggle with simplifying equations that need factoring, while another child can simplify and factor easily but can’t grasp geometry concepts quickly.)

3. Have them narrate their math process. Sit with them and see what they are doing/thinking/how they progress through a page of math work. You said they were taking longer on a page so you switched. Taking longer can be a matter of not having basic facts mastered so they get bogged down by multi-step problems that require multiple smaller problems to be solved along the way (ex: a 5 digit division problem becomes difficult when you struggle to remember basic division facts – stop and master those!). It can be a matter of difficulty remembering the order of operations or the steps to solving a multistep problem (can you give them a written page with formulas and step by step guides?). It can be a matter of the child being distracted by sounds, smells, things they see, daydreaming, etc. I have one son who will suddenly comment on conversations happening in an adjoining room between siblings while doing math. He has to wear noise cancelling headphones like you would wear at a shooting range to stay focused on math. Taking longer can also simply be a matter of a curriculum having too much assigned – instead of crossing off problems, only assign one side of the page, or one or two sections of the worksheet today and the next two sections tomorrow. Or it can be natural – math increases in difficulty the older you get.

I think so many people get stuck thinking Charlotte Mason promoted short lessons and forget that as a student gets older their lesson length naturally increased in most subjects. In other words, ‘short’ lessons for a 2nd grader are not the same amount of time as ‘short’ lessons for a 5th, 8th, or 11th grader. And in the end, the lessons are not ‘short’, they are focused and longer quite naturally as the child progresses to more mature ages. Math would be an area a child spends more time in as they get older, while something like picture study would not take more time.

Tristan, sometimes I wish I had just stuck with MUS! The reason I switched this child from CLE math was that he was in second grade and the lessons were like 5 pages long. He was overwhelmed. But, he got the concepts and did well. Now, he seems to be forgetting concepts (like when to borrow!) MLFLE doesn’t always have a lot of practice, but I’m starting to think it might be best to just give him extra practice and stick with the curriculum…at least for now. If I sit with him and read the problem, saying, “if you have 5, can you take 8 away?” he remembers that he needs to borrow. But if he does it on his own, he writes that 5-8 is 3.

Thank you, Tristan, for your wisdom.

Livingmath. net is a good place to ask questions of math teachers and homeschool parents, when you need ideas of how to teach a concept another way,

I always swore I would NEVER use Saxon I hated it as a kid (I realize that for me my issues were not saxon specific but the lack of parent involvement completely ;0)

Anyways my 10 year-old did exactly what you’r saying yours does he knew how to borrow and was actually quite good at math but mlfle really made him regress. I would try flash cards of the facts for sure. Then do the practice sheet like you said if he needs it, but I would also try doing more than a days lesson at a time, maybe skipping what he knows and focusing on what he doesn’t.

Ultimately for my 10 year-old I had to switch to Saxon because there was too much of me finding things to supplement mlfle. I LOVE those books, I really do, so it was hard to stop but maybe had I tired a few hacks sooner i could have stuck with it.

Good luck!

MissusLeata,

We were in the same boat with borrowing. My daughter had the exact same issue with borrowing. We’ve used MLFLE for almost 2 years now and actually love it. But I tried CTC Math because it was on sale and I was feeling desperate to try something new to help her.

She did a few lessons with CTC on borrowing and it has clicked. CTC has been so amazing so far. We’ve only used it for about a month.

I have noticed that CTC Math is more advanced than MLFLE. I am keeping her MLFLE 3 book to maybe supplement with, since we used it for 7 weeks- but I don’t think we’ll need it. CTC has been so great. Math has been so much easier and smoother since we switched. I hope this helps.

I wish I could afford CTC math. I hear really good things about it. I want to love MLFLE and all of the Masterbooks material. I love the idea. I love so much of what they do. But I just don’t think there is enough practice for it to stick in their heads. I ended up buying a supplement to give more practice. I hope that helps!

I found using manipulatives has been immensely helpful with borrowing, but you have to be using 10 bars and units to demonstrate. So if you are borrowing from the 10’s column physically move a 10 bar over into the units (or ones) place. Then your child can see what is actually symbolized by borrowing. Rather than just writing a small 1 they now get it that the 1 is actually one 10 bar that has moved over. My daughter had to do this and explain what she was doing and why many times before she understood but once she did she had no problem just writing it.

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