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Thread: Math Frustration. Need help Please!

  1. #1

    Default Math Frustration. Need help Please!

    A little backstory . . .

    My younger DD, who turned 12 in August, is a struggling learner. Once it fact is locked in her brain, it is in. BUT it is kind of random what facts make it in her brain to stick. For example:

    * she still struggles with left and right, but can tell you without fail that there are 5280 feet in a mile BUT can't remember that there are 12 inches in a foot
    * she knows her basic facts pretty well - probably ready for some review drills, but overall knows her addition and multiplication.
    * she knows how to divide and subtract but often leaves out steps
    * she knows her basic fraction operations, but mixes them up from time to time
    * she still struggles with place value - especially anything over 1000


    We have done Math U See since Primer. She really struggled with the Epsilon book and ended up going through it about 3 times.

    She does not work independently at all. She needs me to coach her through each problem.

    I am agonizing over this decision. We just started MUS Zeta and are already struggling with the place value for decimals/fractions. Do I take it slow and continue to work through? Do I figure we have enough emotional baggage with MUS after Zeta and switch? Our Co-op is switching to Saxon next year. I was looking at the placement tests for Saxon and have no idea where it would place her. The repetition of Saxon MIGHT help her, but I'm not sure. We went through Life of Fred over the summer and enjoyed it, but the fraction/decimals books are too much for her.

    I am at a loss and really struggling with this today. Feeling pretty discouraged. Thoughts? Ideas?
    Married to DH for 22 years & counting!
    Mama to G (17), M (14), E (12), R(12) , C (5)

  2. #2
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    Does she like video games? Can she do online math work for a little while? I can't think of a particular game to practice, but I bet some of our FIAR mamas can.
    You have indeed been called into ministry. Be careful that you don't scorn it in persuit of something bigger or better in the world's eyes. -- Lis in Maine

  3. #3
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    Hi, Faith,
    I know how you feel. Going through the same thing. Have you looked at Right Start Math and Touch Math?
    Wife to Music Man for 24 years; Mom to two miracles, dd, 17 and ds, 15
    "The LORD will fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace." Exodus 14:14 KJV

  4. #4
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    Try Khan Academy. It's online and free. The video lessons might help explain things in a different way. They offer little badges for completing problems and make it fun.

  5. #5
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    FWIW Delta & Zeta are the 2 hardest books in MUS.
    I even know tutors who use them with kids & say, "Just stick it out & once you get over that hump.."
    & That includes special needs children too as I know another tutor who's used MUS for a few children in that category.

    Another thought, if she needs more repetition you might want to do A, D, B, E, C, F, Test rather then doing the pages in alphabetical order. That way the child gets the constant review {D-F} & also has time to focus on the new concept. If it were me, I'd also set a timer & not rush, but work through what you can & then put it away for the day. Yes, it means things are going to take longer, but I've yet to have a struggling math student who can accomplish more.. when their fatigued, they are fatigued & pushing for another 5 minutes or 3 problems just isn't gonna happen, kwim?


    Personally, if your child is struggling with math I don't know that I'd consider Saxon. The lessons are LONG even for a mathy kid. They also move quickly {in some books} with introducing new concepts. We used it prior to MUS & I had one student in 7/6, I was pretty shocked by how often they were introducing new concepts..when we needed to pause over long division it felt semi-hopeless trying to catch up. I find, teaching Delta yet again, that at least if I have to pause in that book I can still pull out tests & sheets from the website to review previous skills & not feel like I'm losing ground or will need to play catch-up.

    Just a thought to consider.
    Kendra, wife of Lawrence, mother of three.

    I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.

  6. #6
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    I agree with Kendra ' s assessment of Saxon. If she is struggling with MUS, Saxon might be overwhelming. Does she struggle in areas besides math?
    Mom to Grace (14), Sarah (12), and Hannah (10)
    Using my college degree in ways I never imagined....

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mary FL View Post
    Hi, Faith,
    I know how you feel. Going through the same thing. Have you looked at Right Start Math and Touch Math?
    Touch Math is awesome! Smash Subtraction is great! Lego Learning really helps as well... You can find a lot of it on Pinterest. It's tough..I understand.
    Eva~ child of God, wife to James, and homeschooling, ASL using, IEP advocating, encouraging Mama to my Special Lovely Blessings :Beauty 10, Bubbles 8, and Baby 6 via the miracle of adoption.

  8. #8
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    We've used all the major programs mentioned at some point through the years. Both boys had very different journeys through math. Both boys also had problems similar to what you described. Both have LD that include trouble with sequencing, so multi-step things like long division were hard to conquer. Ds2 also has a VERY hard time with memorization.

    John used MUS from K-about 7th (not sure when we quit). He did wonderful in it using the original format (one book for grades 1-3, another for 4-6) By the time he was in the middle of the 4-6th book, he was a year ahead in math. Then they put out the revisions. Following MUS's recommendations for switching versions, he went from being a year ahead to being a year behind! VERY discouraging!!! He also got very frustrated with the fractions and decimals part where Steve teaches a long, drawn out process that is supposed to give understanding of the process. John would struggle for weeks over these unnecessarily difficult logarithms, FINALLY get them down pat, and the next lesson Steve would teach the shortcut method that we usually use, which John would master quickly making all the weeks of struggle a waste of time. Finally switched to Teaching Textbooks for a year, then Fred came out, which John did very well with and used through high school.

    Tim used Right Start from beginning to end. I loved it, he did fine with it. When finished he switched to Fred and struggled. Fred did not have enough repetition, and Tim had a hard time sifting through the story to learn the math. He did the pre-Alegebra books, but had a really hard time in Algebra 1. We finally put it aside and looked at other things. He used Kahn Academy for a while, but didn't like it, and we had some issues with the way it's set up. The program requires 100% before moving on, and Tim would miss one out of a "challenge" and fail the challenge. He was stuck on the same thing for SO LONG, and stupid little errors in how he typed in the answer would keep him from passing. This year we started over again with Saxon Algebra 1. He doesn't do an entire 30-problem lesson each day. He does the lesson problems, and I select 10 of the review questions based on what he has struggled with and what he hasn't done for a while. It does give a new concept every day, but it moves in baby steps, and has those problems reviewed every day for weeks. In the review problems, every single problem has the number of the lesson where it was taught, so it's very easy to look back if the child gets stuck on a problem. Also, it blends the geometry into the algebra books, so by the time you've completed Algebra 1 & 2, you've also completed a Geometry credit. Since we are now behind (Tim is doing Alg 1 in 11th grade) the ability to squeeze in that extra course is a huge advantage.

    My daughter used Saxon way back when it was brand new, and I find it interesting that we have come full circle.
    Last edited by WendyW; 10-25-2016 at 11:03 AM.
    Wendy, wife of Retired Air Force hubby Sid. Mom to school teacher Virginia, 28yo; Son-in-law Mark; Homeschool graduate and Graphic Artist John, 21 and remaining student Tim, 15.
    I can only do one thing well...You pick: Homeschool the kids, or Clean the house.

  9. #9
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    Have you had her tested? It sounds like she has some type of learning disability. My guess would be a Math LD with possibly ADHD. My daughter who has a math LD did not do well with MUS. We did a couple of years of it, but I dropped it. We now use masterbooks living math, and it is working very well! I would recommend that whatever you do curriculum wise, that you review and double review areas that she is struggling in. From what you are telling me there are gaps in her mathematics education. Sit down and write out what all of those gaps are and then fill them in. You can pull from all sorts of inexpensive or free resources online to fill in those gaps. That is where I'd focus my energy.

  10. #10

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    I agree with Melody to get her tested. I have known several families who have children who can't cross midline. That messes up math big time. You can do a preliminary test at home. Can she take her arm and go diagonal across her body? If you put something on the left side of her body in front of her, can she reach it with the right hand? And vice versa? If so, she probably doesn't have that but it doesn't hurt to check. Also have her eyes been checked recently?

    Jill in Monrovia

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