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2 in 1 day...aren't you lucky?


Previous Entry 2 in 1 day...aren't you lucky? Jul. 15th, 2011 @ 03:17 pm Next Entry
This is homeschool blather, and it'll probably get long. I'll put it behind the cut so you can skip it if you're not interested (but I am soliciting math advice, if anyone wants to offer any!)

:sigh: OK. After a lot of research, I decided to go with Singapore math for my kids. It's got one of the best reputations out there, it's not too expensive, and it's Mastery-based, which means that you get a good foundation in something before moving on. Himself took right to it - he *galloped* thru 5A/5B/6A, and we're about a 3rd of the way thru 6B. Pre-Algebra. My only complaint is that it does make some big leaps sometime - the latest was when we were doing the area of circles this week. The textbook walked us thru how to figure that, and we went on to the workbook problems. The first 3 were easy...then they thru "find the perimeter of this semi-circle" with NO instructions. And let's not mention the next question: "Find the length of the wire that's making 3 semi-circles." :blink: Google to the rescue - but Himself had pretty much figured out the first one; the wire one is still giving us fits, but I digress.

Anyway - it's working for Himself. So I felt pretty confident when Herself came home. I started her in Singapore's "Discovering Mathematics" series - it's set up for 7-10th grades (but most Homeschools seem to use it as High School Math....it basically covers Alg 1 and 2, Geometry, Trigonometry...and I *think* Analtyic Geometry - but it incorporates them into the series, not as separate subjects). I looked at Book 1 when I got it - it starts off with the basics. Seriously - Ch. 1 is "Factors and Multiples"; it explains Primes, Prime Factorizations, and Index Notations in very easy, basic terms. This is stuff that Herself SHOULD have already covered - she was in Alg. 1 for pete's sake! I figured we'd breeze thru the first few chapters (Ch. 2 is all about Real Numbers, Ch. 3 is Approximation and Estimates - I mean, this is EASY stuff!)

I was wrong.

Prime numbers broke her brain. Forget Factorization - we spent 3 weeks on that before I gave up (let me back up a minute - according to Singapore, if the student gets 75% of the questions correct, it's an "A". You need to know that...) On listing factors for EASY numbers (15, for example), she got it WRONG. On listing the first 4 multiples of numbers (like, say, 2 - which is question 2a) she got ALL 4 wrong. :bangs head: I finally moved on - I don't know of any situation in real life that you need to know prime numbers or factors of a number - I mean, I can't think of a single time *I've* used either one since I moved on past elementary math. So, OK...let's go on to Ch.2.

She doesn't know how to handle negative numbers. I tried a number line - nope. I tried explaining it like an elevator - Nope. She did, at least, get 70% of those questions right, so I called it good.

This week was Ch. 2.3 - Multiplication, Division & Combined Operations of Integers. THIS IS BASIC STUFF. -6x9. (Which she said = 48. Even ignoring the missing (-), it's WRONG. And BASIC MULTIPLICATION.) Division...oh my gosh, division. 4/3. "Which number goes in the box???" :bangs head: (And...she was *serious*, not jacking around.) I got her thru *that*, and we moved on to fractions...which was a disaster.

We are currently at converting fractions to decimals. This is EASY stuff - *Himself* tried to explain it to her, and he hasn't DONE that yet. :sigh: (Or, not much. He figured it out as I was trying to explain it to her). We had a worksheet of 8 questions...the only 2 she got right were the 2 I showed her how to work. (She had no idea what I meant when I told her she needed to make the mixed numbers improper fractions first - seriously, NO idea. :sigh:)

I don't even want to TALK about squares/cubes and square/cube roots, because THAT is....it's beyond belief that a child in Alg. 1 doesn't KNOW this stuff. She carried a low B average in public school - I'm wondering if they just passed her on so they wouldn't have to deal with her again.

The only other option is that she's playing me...but I don't understand WHY she would do that - I make her do the basic problems; when she fails those, the next day we do the slightly harder ones, then, when she fails THOSE we move to the workbook and do THOSE (And then I go to the internet and print off even MORE worksheets to try and hit the magical 75%). I mean...if she'd do it right she'd move right on. :sigh:

Granted, I don't have the teacher's manuals for this series, because a)they are $29 EACH, and you need 2 books per year (so...that's $60/year, x 4 years = $240. Look - I can do basic multiplication!!! And estimating!!! :lol:) and b) this is BASIC math. The textbooks explain the process - I've glanced at the later ones (3B, if I remember right) and I didn't see anything I felt I couldn't explain.

I don't know what to do. I printed off some square root worksheets from....homeschoolmath.com, IIRC. She actually *aced* those - and they really weren't harder than what Singapore is asking (after a lot of complaining and whining and arguing. I had to stand over her while she did them, but she did get 85% correct on them). She bombed the prime factorization again.....but, again - I don't know that she needs to know how to do that....except that I suspect that the books will keep coming back to it. :sigh:

I can not afford to try a different curriculum, and I really don't want to - I LIKE Singapore. I like how they present things, I like the layout...the leaps are a bit disconcerting, but hey - it's OK. I just...I'm at my wit's end here.

I've already gone online and printed off a BUNCH of math charts - multiplication tables, sheets with the formulas for finding area/perimeter, sheets on order of operations, etc - to put in their notebooks, to see if that'll help her. The problem is, she'd have to make the effort to LOOK in her book for them. :sigh:

And, for the record, it's not just math - it's every subject. We fight over EVERYTHING - today was History. I'm pushing her there - 1 chapter per week - to get her caught up to Himself. We sat down to review it before the test - which I do NOT do for Him, but I'm trying to help her succeed, here - and she had done NOTHING in her notebook. No vocabulary, no notes, nothing. :bangs head: That was 30 minutes I'll never get back.....and she ARGUED with me when I started going thru the book to help her get her book filled in.

Science is just as bad - she's fine if there's experiments to do, but if it's just reading and note-taking, she fights me. I just....I don't know.

I've already told both kids how things will go this year. They will be doing school AT THE SAME TIME - right now, she "won" the right to do her school after Himself finishes his. I've told them that they will be doing History together, as well as Music Theory and Appreciation, Art Appreciation, Bible (and whatever other subjects I can do together - it'll save time and shorten the day.) She wasn't happy with that - in her mind, she should get to goof off all morning while he's getting his work done. :sigh: She's also tried to dictate in what order we do things...but I didn't let her get away with that. (Himself can choose - but he does his work without complaining, because he knows he's got it good here. He won't be doing that this year, though)

Now, I don't want you to think that Himself is a little angel - we've had battles over writing. MAJOR battles. I've taken him back to narration and copywork to try and get him to write......yesterday was the first time he voluntarily WROTE something by himself. It wasn't great - but he did it, and he met my requirements, so I passed it. I forsee many more battles there, though.....:sigh: They've both been told that there will be 1 research paper this year, on a subject *I* choose. I'm not looking forward to it, but it's gotta be done. Herself was actually happy about that - she likes writing. (Thankfully!)

So - hit me with advice, please. How do I make sure she's got a solid grasp of math facts? Right now, she won't meet the TX graduation requirements (4 credits of HS math...which HAVE to include Alg1 and 2, and Geometry. I....have doubts. IF she makes it thru all 4 Singapore books, she'll HAVE met the requirements...but right now? That doesn't look possible.) I honestly don't know what else I can do, here.....because I don't know how big her gaps are. Or in what areas.

Current Location: command center
Current Mood: aggravatedaggravated
spin a yarn
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From:Ali Snowdale
Date:July 16th, 2011 12:30 am (UTC)
Let me tell you a little story about my sister.
In my family there is a brother four years older than me, me, sissy is 2 years younger than me and mike is 13 months younger than her. Sissy always struggled in school. Our older brother was great in school and me and the little brother were smart enough to always be bored and in trouble yet get good grades. Everything was easy for us. And everything was a challenge for sissy. She was classified as hyperactive in 2nd grade (?) and given ritalin. She would also have emotional meltdowns. Our dad is a machinist - so a very mathmatical mind there.

anyhow I see some of Sissy when I am teaching danny. What used to happen is she would be doing math - let's say long division - and she would be confused and dad would come over to "help" then she would get nervous, he would get frustrated, she would cry, he would yell. It was awful. In the end she felt stupid and helpless.
Danny does the same thing - he doesn't care if it takes him 5 minutes to work on a problem but once someone is in his face, he can not think anymore. Basically once the emotions are turned on, the brain is turned off.

Later in life my sister got a really nice math teacher that had a dozen different ways to explain how to do ANYTHING. And she never lost her patience. My sister did not get to higher math, but she was happy to get the basics down.

Also prime numbers and factoring *are* important. They are the foundation math of all higher math. just because we don't realize we use them. Aw man I gotta cut this short, if I think of more I will get back later :o)
(spin a yarn)
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