New to CM: Math Placement with Special Needs Teen

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  • Johnica Aherrera

    Hello.  We have been seasonal CM eclectic learners and wondering how CM Math can be tailored to my special needs son.  My son is in a modified curriculum thru his IEP and traditionally with mastery based workbooks, there is a feeling of being stuck.  His IEP already allows him to use of open multiplication table and sometimes calculators at certain instances to help him move forward.  Since dyscalculcia among others can be one of his challenges, I am wondering how this CM curriculum can bring Math to life as my son is preparing for the road to high school.

    Johnica Aherrera

    Also when checking the table of contents of books 2 and 3, if the child has not mastered multiplication tables yet but is advised to move forward using tools (open multiplication board) what is the recommended placement in the CM Math program?  He has been doing a mixture of Saxon Math 3 with some remedial work because he is stuck in the Math U See Gamma multi-digit multiplication.  Although we have some assistance in tutoring from my son’s school, overall, it has been arduous since the Saxon Math sessions if done completely are very long.

    Richele Baburina

    Hello Johnica. Just in case you haven’t seen the placement guide, I’m linking it here.

    My initial thought based on what you’ve said would be to work the lessons on multiplying numbers by 10, 100, and 1000, & 10000 found in Book 3 as this often provides some lightbulb moments for students struggling with double-digit multiplication.

    Here are just a few ways the CM approach to math might bring life to lessons:
    The lessons are short, hands-on, and more concerned with securing a student’s understanding than memorizing algorithms. Oral work means the ideas of the math lesson aren’t overshadowed by the mechanics of reading and writing. While concrete objects are used in the early years to help a child “see” what is happening, explain ideas, and gain confidence in working, the lessons aren’t tied to them. An older student who feels manipulatives are for babies usually enjoys or isn’t put off by working with money – a tool that offers insight into our place value system, aids in understanding the 4 operations of +, -, x, / and is also an incredible help with division, fractions, and decimals.

    The three areas found in the weekly lessons of “New, Review, and Mental Math, too” allow you to tailor the lessons to meet each unique child’s needs. The questions are of an engaging nature and written in a way that lets you adapt them to match your child’s own life and interests.

    The atmosphere of a CM math lesson is one based on the joy of discovery and a right attitude toward math. Good habits are instilled through the methods used, and the mind is fed upon ideas. Not knowing everything about your son’s needs, the scope & sequence is available in the free sample downloads for each book in the series. Book 3 includes the idea of fractions. Book 4 contains a lot of work with the ruler in understanding fractions and decimals. Books 5 & 6 include fractions, decimals, ratios & percents and are meant to be taken in tandem with Practical Geometry – which provides hands-on work in handling mathematical tools like the protractor and compass.

    I hope this helps. Feel free to follow-up with additional information and questions. My apologies for taking so long to respond.


    Johnica Aherrera

    Thank you, Richelle, for your thoughtful suggestions.  My son’s Sp.Ed tutor advised me that we need to creative a supportive Math environment for him so he can feels that he is moving up and addressing learning gaps through remediation.  Your suggestions on starting on the multiplying with larger numbers & by 10s-10,000s are a great starting point.  I think switching between Math programs, mainly between MUS and Saxon, was quite taxing so I am thinking of streamlining it with an arithmetic focus and the remediation.  Thank you for sharing progress until Book 6.  Currently, my son is doing a Waldorf style Freehand Geometry, which is purely artistic and kinesthetic with some soft introduction of topics.  He is re-doing this because prior it was done at a very fast pace together with Waldorf’s introduction of Wonder of Number and Decimals, which to be honest, although beautifully presented, the topics just flew off his head.  Now, he is doing it more independently and just focusing on the freehand drawing for now.

    I noticed that you also sell number sentence cards, are the problems here different from the book or these are only supplemental practice?   We are following Jaime York’s Arithmetic Practice Level 3 and this time, he is able to complete more independently without manipulatives in a less stressful manner.  I was thinking of carrying on with these as they come with a Math Facts of the Week type of recitation with movement.


    Karen Smith

    The Number Sentence cards have 6 equations on each card focused on the tables for the four operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. While we recommend that the cards be used to keep a math lesson going if you need to step away for a moment, such as attending to the needs of another child, the cards can be used in whatever way you find helpful for your child.

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