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  1. #11

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    I am not sure how many problems you are asking him to do. Do you think he is resistant to so much writing? You may want to consider either giving him fewer problems or saying that he needs to show his work, neatly, for X number of problems. That way he can be as messy as he wants but for a few problems, he can demonstrate he knows the process and you can read it.
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  3. #12
    Senior Member Enlightened
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    I have been having the same issues with DS11. He does work in the margins, but not right in the space below the problem. Or he does work on a separate sheet, but all over the place. He will even erase work that he did under a problem, so he only has the answer to show. If he can do it in his head, he doesn't see the point of writing anything. He would literally sit there doing one problem for 10 min. juggling numbers in his head instead of writing down the intermediate results and getting done in a fraction of the time.

    In our case, I think it is a left-over public school issue of rebelling against stupid Common Core problems that wanted him to justify why 3+2=5. Also, there was no effort in school to teach kids any mathematical organization skills. They had no textbooks, but were "allowed" to bring their notes home to study for tests. His notes were just random numbers from who knows what problems scribbled sideways and upside down on paper.

    Things have gotten a little better recently when we did longer order of operations problems where there was too much to remember. It's still a work in progress. He still doesn't quite write it out as nearly line-by-line as I would like. Maybe as we get into algebra problems, he'll see the point of showing his work and I can help him stay better organized.

  4. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Miriamhokie View Post
    I have been having the same issues with DS11. He does work in the margins, but not right in the space below the problem. Or he does work on a separate sheet, but all over the place. He will even erase work that he did under a problem, so he only has the answer to show. If he can do it in his head, he doesn't see the point of writing anything. He would literally sit there doing one problem for 10 min. juggling numbers in his head instead of writing down the intermediate results and getting done in a fraction of the time.
    This is exactly the same behavior as mine exhibits, except that he will randomly put his work for a page in the workspace provided.

    Having a sample size of n=10 is a lot easier to get understanding from than my experience, n=1. So Im going to think that my son is in range of normal for "showing math work".

    Now for a solution....
    (Im doubtful that its too much writing... since he often writes, just not in an organized manner.)
    Homeschooling DS11, DS5.

    Atheist.

    My spelling and typing are fine, its my keyboard that doesnt cooperate.

  5. #14

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    My 14yo's work was soooo messy even a couple of years ago. She has never been homeschooled. She's in a Jr level math class as a freshman and has nothing else to deal with like dyslexia or ADD.

    It was hard to read, she'd skip steps, and a teacher (or my daughter) could not follow it easily to find where mistakes were or to give partial credit.

    I did three things - first, I explained the importance of partial credit

    Second, I showed her how it was hard for her to check her work if she didn't write her steps down. She wouldn't know where she went wrong.

    Third, I modeled a few problems for her where I showed each step, organized.

    It helped her to box off the part of the page she used for each problem, make the problem number really big and circle it, and to box off the answer. At least then it was contained chaos.

    Over the last two years she matured on her own - I did nothing else - and her work looks very clear and neat.

    And yes, I think showing your work is important!

    My other kiddo, who is HS, is 10, has dyslexia, and maaaaybe ADD but we're giving HS a while longer to see if just settling down and destressing helps that out.

    She is one year ahead in math. She does everything in her head and writes the answer down. Drives me nuts. She gets most of it right, giving me little street cred when it comes to "checking your work" or needing partial credit.

    Still, though, now that she's getting into pre-algebra I make her show her work on at at least ... 1/4 (?) to 1/3 of the problems each problem set, and help her structure them neatly. I know it's a bit torturous for her, but she's also getting better at it and I have to remind her less.

    I also model some for her every now and then just as a reminder of what completely showing your work looks like. It helps that she *wants* to go back to PS in a couple of years, so she knows that she's to got to eventually please more than just me

  6. #15

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    I think it's normal for this age. Showing math work is a learned skill and will become essential once math problems become more difficult and take up several pages to solve. We insisted our son show his work and he then learned how after a few months of practice.

  7. #16

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    As an update, since BhamGal wrote...
    When we migrated into a "big kids" math book - one where the answers dont just go in the space... he accepted that work and problems needed to be well-organized on the page.
    So I guess my advice, based on n=1, is to not worry about it, that as soon as answers need to be written on a separate sheet, the work may clear up.
    Homeschooling DS11, DS5.

    Atheist.

    My spelling and typing are fine, its my keyboard that doesnt cooperate.

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Difficulty showing math work