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Math Curriculum

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Ds is 8 and has had a really hard time with math this year. He is still counting on his fingers and needs manipulatives to add or subtract. If I tell him " 6-2=?) He still has to count 1, 2, 3,4,5,6 and then he count 1, 2, as he puts those fingers down..then he has to count again 1,2,3,4 to figure it all out. He can't picture the number or the amount in his head.

I know that many homeschoolers use Saxon and Singapore math or just use what is in their complete curriculum.
I met someone last month with a ds who has similar learning issues like my ds and asked her what materials she likes or recommended. She suggested Bob Jones. I checked out Audiblox and Brainskills which are programs specific for learning disabilities but found them expensive and boring.

Anyone have any suggestions? My eyes are tired of internet surfing

post #2 of 13
Right Start focuses specifically on not counting. It was a hard habit to break but we are making headway.
post #3 of 13
Personally I wouldn't worry about it too much. One thing I learned with my DS... I think I pushed the math with him too much and he rebelled, he would seem to understand something then totally backslide, just not going the way I wanted it to.

We took a break from math COMPLETELY when he was 8. At the end of each year we do a standardized test (part of a deal with his dad - my ex - so that he won't complain about my homeschooling, we don't mind). The end of that year, he had improved *more* in math than any other year up to then.

Yup. Having done NO math at all, he had improved MORE than he was supposed to WITH a full year of math. He scored well above "grade level".

In other words, what I have learned, is that most math development in the primary years happens *outside* of math 'lessons'. Even "in spite of" math lessons heh...

By observing and interacting with the world, their brains develop mathematical conceptual understandings. Trying to 'teach' a math concept to them that they haven't yet figured out intuitively is next to useless.

A good book on this idea is "Einstein Never Used Flashcards". It's not a perfect book but the section on how math comprehension develops is fantastic.

Anyway, once we stopped 'worrying' about math, he made huge strides. We tried getting back to book-math last year with Saxon, it was okay for awhile but he didn't really like it. Took another break, and now we're back into it again.

He's now almost 10 and is doing grade 6 math (Teaching Textbooks), and loving it. His little brain has developed the right comprehension skills now, so he enjoys math and is actually very good at it. He's developed some really neat ways of figuring things out by not having pressed "standard algorithms" from the get-go. That's mathematical thinking, not just regurgitating facts and formulas.

Another neat thing to know about early math learning is that experience in a Sudbury-Valley-type school. The details are online somewhere... anyway, there was a group of kids who had done NO formal math at all and were now 'grade 6' age. They decided they wanted to learn math, so they made a math class. It was intensive, but they learned the *entire* 6-year curriculum in a matter of weeks.

Anyway... if you STILL decide that you MUST do some kind of formal math, I'd probably suggest something more manipulative-based like Math-U-See or Miquon, more about the exploration than about rote problem-solving. That's what will help him develop real math skills.

And frankly, I don't see the problem with counting. They have to understand what numbers mean, what subtraction means, etc, before you can even think about "memorizing" the facts. There's lots of time for that later.
post #4 of 13
If he knows what the process is try some "drill and kill" to help him memorize the fact. You can make it fun. Find games, make races, et. Playing games with dice and dominoes.
post #5 of 13
As hard as it sounds, I completely agree with tankgirl. Sometimes the more we stress this kind of learning, the more a child (or any person) will just *stress* and not concentrate, and the lesson is a loss before it's off the ground.

Give him room to breathe, room to see math in the everyday world on his own (you can gently point it out here and there..."So two of these candies are 10 cents, because each one is five cents," and so forth).

Good luck.

/btw, we use DK math (a Doring-Kindersley math book), and a set of base-ten pattern blocks and a set of counting bears---- we just happened to have chosen bears, you can use anything to count with). The DK books are labelled by age, you might want to start (if you choose not to give math a "miss") with the 4-5yo book.

Good luck! And remember, they often learn in leaps and bounds. One day he has trouble subtracting by 1, the next day he's doing addition with carrying.

love, penelope
post #6 of 13
More ideas:

If he learns by seeing/doing/manipulations, try Learning Wrap-Ups...they're fun in the car, too! We have them in all kinds of subjects.

Board and manipulative games are a great idea. Dino Math Tracks is a good one, so is S'Math (we love this one for its versatility) addition bingo, subtraction bingo, etc.

(I once read about a family whose son learned his multiplication tables by reciting them -with mom's help- while he did jumping jacks. You could do this with math facts, too..."One plus one is two, etc.)

love, penelope
post #7 of 13
I'd be a little concerned about a child who couldn't "see" that four fingers is four fingers without counting them at age 8, only because my kids have all developed that sort of "number sense" quite early and I confess I sort of expect that it would be secure long before age 8. That's not to say that your ds isn't totally on-track for his own developmental timetable; just that I think I'd be worrying, just like you're worrying -- whether the worry is justified or not.

It sounds like what he hasn't got down yet is a sense of "the four-ness of four" and "the five-ness of five", a sort of appreciation of the inherent value of those basic numbers and the relationship between them. It's no wonder he's having difficulty with addition and subtraction. In fact it sounds like he's come up with some amazingly brilliant strategies for solving simple equations in spite of not having the 'number sense' that is usually a prerequisite skill for these operations.

I totally agree with the suggestions for manipulatives. I think the RightStart AL-abacus might be a brilliant direction to go, and cuisenaire rods would probably also be extremely helpful -- in large part because they'd encourage him to notice relationships between numbers, since it's rather difficult to use rote-counting as a computational strategy with them. Plenty of play and games with both of these would probably be helpful, as would board games with dice, snakes & ladders and such.

Personally I would de-emphasize work with symbols (i.e. most arithmetic that uses written numerals) and just go with manipulative-based work.

post #8 of 13
Mastering Mathematics by Letz Farmer is incredible! It took my child from the point where your child is at to now being able to add, subtract, multiply, and divide with confidence in 2 years. It is really an incredible curriculum. I still need to email the author and tell her how much we sing her praises daily!

My other child uses Horizons math - it is advanced but you could go back a year and start in 1st or 2nd. It is A Spiral method, not mastery though. Sounds like you need mastery.

Also, get a book called Two PLus Two is not Five from the Times Tales people! It teaches tricks to learning math facts and has worksheets to practice the facts everyday! It is what finally cemented the +/- facts in my kids heads! Plus, they LOVED the tricks!

Hope that helps!

We no longer cry over math! We all love it now!
post #9 of 13
there is a sticky called "lets talk math" that may help you out too
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the suggestions as It took me a while to see your posts ..sorry.

I know he will eventually "get it" and master the concepts so I am not worried at all. I expect him to have some difficulty with his LD's. I would like to be able to keep him fluent on practice and hope he is not too annoyed at that lol. '

I checked out math-u-see and I actually have the DK math book "K" that we used here and there because I forgot I had it.

Honestly spending a chunk of change for addition and subtraction skills seems kinda silly in a way. I like the board game ideas and dice would be easy and versatile. The learning wrap ups seem like something to keep the fingers busy while he counts=thinks..might be good.

I printed out a dot math page from dotmathtripod.com and we puff paint foam numbers and glue them on a sentence strip.

The two plus two is not five has lots of good ideas that are easy to do on our own for now. When I was in school I had a few tricks that I used as most memorization was dull.

Thanks again!
post #11 of 13
You might find some fun practical ideas on my math page - Go Figure! - in the articles and underneath the articles in the annotated links to good math sites. Lillian
post #12 of 13
I haven't posted in a while, but my son and I used to struggle with math. I found that most manipulatives just distracted him from actually thinking about the concept. I ended up using less manipulatives and switched to Developmental Math. It was wonderful!

I would give him a number line if he needed it but he rarely needs it anymore. The books are logical and cost effective. I spend like 10 dollars/book through Rainbow Resources. Each books covers a concept. The first book is very concept based on reading numbers. The next book is adding one digit numbers, the next book is subtracting one digit numbers (they throw in some adding here and there). Trevor (6.5) is on the 4th book, which is adding tens with no carrying. He does two pages a day. they aren't fancy with lots of stories or pictures. Very straightforward and uncluttered.

We went from lots of frustrations and a lack of ability to visualize numbers to whipping through the two pages a day. I'm not saying my son is a math whiz now, we still struggle with some concepts, but I feel the books are a life saver for us! HTH.
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Lillian J View Post
You might find some fun practical ideas on my math page - Go Figure! - in the articles and underneath the articles in the annotated links to good math sites. Lillian
Thanks I went on a wild math tour through the links and played my morning away lol
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