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momto2js
06-21-2015, 05:46 PM
My 8 year old son is a raising 3rd grader. On the journey to his ADHD diagnosis, the educational psychologist found that although DS has a very high intelligence level he has very low processing speed. She recommended that one of the accommodations he may need is additional time for assignments and tests. Despite spending the better part of the last year working on basic math facts, he still struggles to produce solutions quickly enough to be considered fluent. He understands higher grade level math (such as subtraction the requires regrouping) but struggles with 14-9 type problems. He eventually gets the answer, but it usually involves much kicking and screaming (sometimes on both our parts) before it occurs. At what point do we just move on?

At this point he has the multiplication chart committed to memory but I think it is going to be a while before is anywhere close to just being able to tell me that 3x7 is 21. I gave the ITBS and he did manage to finish the computation part in just under the 20 minutes allowed and missed just one problem. Is it time to reject all the curriculum developers advice not to move on until basic skills are recalled in 3 seconds?? Or is it worth continuing to try to meet a threshold that my indeed be unattainable in the short term?

Mariam
06-21-2015, 05:55 PM
I don't advocate speed. IMO, if they can complete the problem, they can move on. If I had to have speed to move on, I would still be in the 3rd grade.

The way I handle it is if DS shows understanding, I move on. We will check again later and see if he retains the information and I will provide some additional review if he needs help, but then I keep moving forward, especially with concepts that are not necessarily important to move forward. For example we were doing addition, I didn't worry about the mastery of all the different ways to do addition. He understands addition and subtraction, but not fact families. I don't see that as a problem. I may discuss fact families in the future, but I won't emphasize it.

In the end DS gets bored doing the same thing over and over, so for us it works to move around a bit.

aspiecat
06-21-2015, 06:10 PM
How about online fun math games that don't require a timer to get to the next level?

Math Games that Give your Brain a Workout! (http://www.mathplayground.com/games.html)

Cool Math Games - Free Online Math Games, Cool Puzzles, and More (http://www.coolmath-games.com/)

Check to see if there are timers in any of the games - they can cause too much stress when all a kid is meant to be doing is having fun (well, apart from learning something, of course!).

Aspie

Elly
06-21-2015, 08:18 PM
This is really interesting because I can see my DS having similar problems. I also am aware that I never mastered my times tables, despite trying for years (and I went on to get a Masters in Engineering and work in the space industry!). So I'm a bit ambivalent about an emphasis on speed and memory, even though I got there mostly. I find with my son that the stress over speed completely wipes out his ability to do work he can understand under less pressure. I'm trying to balance moving on conceptually with some drill and work around that number sense (I'm aiming to spend some time on the Right Start games in a few weeks to try and work on that).

Elly

ejsmom
06-21-2015, 11:03 PM
My child had vision issues which clouded learning math for awhile. He got stuck and couldn't move forward because he could NOT line up columns in a straight line. That was eventually resolved with vision therapy, which took about a school year (3rd grade year.) Then it was a year (4th grade) to go back and reteach everything because it all was "new" in that it all looked different to him after vision therapy than the way he learned it originally. So for 5th grade we were actually working on 4th grade math. That brings us to the present time, and he still struggles with remembering basic facts of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Though, he totally gets more advanced concepts. And he excels at complicated word problems, and can solve them in his head, and can't explain how - but if we give him the same problem written out in numbers as an equation, he's stumped. We just had testing done and are awaiting results to see if there is some sort of learning disorder or processing issue. I just printed out a times table chart and laminated it. I can't work on basic fact memorization with him for yet another year. It's holding him back, when he is more than ready for more advanced concepts.

I think your child is doing just fine for 8 years old. I would move on, even if you have to print out a cheat chart for him. One thing I've learned is that too much pressure just isn't going to help these type of kids learn math.

LKnomad
06-21-2015, 11:30 PM
Both my sons learned their math facts in public school and our school was obsessed with timed tests. Even with this obsession a child was not expected to be perfect but the end of second grade. The timed tests continued through fifth and kids kept trying to get faster week after week. In second they worked on addition and subtraction. In third they added multiplication and division but kept going on the adding and subtracting. But fifth they were testing all four once a week.

HawaiiGeek
06-22-2015, 09:05 PM
I hate timed tests. I don't think it teaches kids math any better and for my DS13 just gives him anxiety. I just don't believe in fluency. I memorize things very easily and passed through all of this in grade school without any problem, but now I can't remember all of my tables because I just don't use it and so I add up from whatever table I can remember. I like that there is emphasis on the mental math in the new math that takes away the memorization aspect of it all.

atomicgirl
06-23-2015, 10:35 AM
My daughter has a similar learning pattern and we never time anything. Ever. I find that it unnecessarily increases stress, which in turn further impacts processing speed. As a casual gauge, timing activities may give you an indication that your student has fluency, but strict adherence, with a student for whom it is inappropriate, just causes anxiety and creates a reluctance to engage in learning activities.

With my children I've found that the accuracy with facts increases when the pressure for "knowing the facts" decreases. We focus on bigger problems, that are more likely to interest them, but use the same skills, and things come together over time. It takes more work on your part to evaluate, but the results are work it (in our case).

Also, keep in mind that "processing" isn't just about the memorization. Processing involves all of the "processes" involved in answering a question. One has to understand the question, dig up the information, decide how the information relates to the question, format the answer, and communicate the answer. Breakdowns happen all along that line, and it's exhausting, especially for a kid smart enough to realize there are breakdowns. With everything, (reading comprehension, history facts, science theory, etc.,) I find that throwing out a question and then waiting quietly for a few minutes (I often knit, crochet or make chain maille while instructing to keep myself patient) results in really interesting answers that would have been lost in most environments.

I also agree with HawaiiGeek: Teach him to recognize what he does know and build on it. Don't know 12-7? Well How about 12-5? Ok, substract 1 more and then 1 more again. There you go.

momto2js
06-23-2015, 06:48 PM
"Also, keep in mind that "processing" isn't just about the memorization. Processing involves all of the "processes" involved in answering a question. One has to understand the question, dig up the information, decide how the information relates to the question, format the answer, and communicate the answer."

This is the problem that I am struggling with. The publisher asks "does he know his math facts in 3 seconds" well no. But he might know them in 10. Their answer is then you need to review them again. We will and the problem will still be there. He takes time to process everything, except then the ADHD kicks in and he is mentally chasing a butterfly and has forgotten the original question.

And he is indeed smart enough to know it take him time and he is a competitive beast so it all make him, MAD!!! I think I'm going to go ahead an move on, but will keep our enrichment stuff focused on those stupid facts!!

Norm Deplume
06-26-2015, 09:17 AM
My 8 year old son is a raising 3rd grader. On the journey to his ADHD diagnosis, the educational psychologist found that although DS has a very high intelligence level he has very low processing speed. She recommended that one of the accommodations he may need is additional time for assignments and tests. Despite spending the better part of the last year working on basic math facts, he still struggles to produce solutions quickly enough to be considered fluent.

My son also has low processing speed. I decided that drilling math facts was only going to make him hate math, so we kept a multiplication chart out in front of him while he was doing math work. (He knew the facts more or less, but the pressure to pull them out of his head was really stressing him out.) He's a rising 6th grader now, and does much better with his multiplication facts, even when the chart isn't available.

murphs_mom
06-26-2015, 08:08 PM
My 9yo was diagnosed with a processing lag when she was 4yo. At the same appointment, she was also labeled as gifted. Nothing like having a negative crossed out by a positive. :rolleyes: DD understood the math concepts when she was little, but she was pretty slow coming up with the answer sometimes.

I decided to focus on building her speed for the basics by doing simple games. And I resorted to bribery. I'd use peanuts, M&Ms, pennies, LEGOs, whatever small incentive I could find. I'd put one on the table/bed, put a plus or minus sign next to it and then put a couple more on the other side along with an equal sign (I made the signs out of card stock and laminated them). If she could tell me the correct answer, she got to keep them. This was when she was maybe 3yo. As she got older and faster, I skipped the visual queues and just did a verbal, "So...what's 2 plus 4?" If she got it right, I would let her count out that many items from the pile. By the time she was 5yo, she was getting pretty stinkin' fast with the answers for problems like 14+15 or 100-85. We started doing really simple worksheets (problems like 3+8) that had maybe 20 problems on them as a warm up to her regular math homework. After she got bored with just doing them (which happened pretty quickly, TBH), I added a stopwatch component. She LOVED that. She thought it was great to see if she could beat her previous time. After doing that for nearly two years, (we stopped doing the add/sub when she hit 7yo, but still did mult/div for another year) girl could get through all 20 problems in about 3min with 100% accuracy. She still has her lag, but the repetition definitely helped speed up her recall.

She kept asking why I was giving her 'baby problems' all the time, and I told her the truth. I told her that eventually she'd get to a point that she'd automatically know what 2+3 was and that, when that happened, it would make it WAY easier to do the bigger problems like 25,142-10,158 because you're just working with the same individuals numbers when you solve the problem. It took her a while to see my point, but now she agrees that it helped her.

There are ways to work with processing lags, but I can honestly say it doesn't happen overnight.

squares
07-21-2015, 12:06 PM
Since your son knows his facts, I don't see any value in going crazy trying to speed him up. If you have more details on why that is important, I'd be interested. I'd just let him work at his own speed.

My DD does not know all of her facts, though I certainly believe that memorizing the facts is vitally important. I am just letting her work at her own speed in that regard, but I don't let that hold her back in learning higher concepts.

I let her use a multiplication table, though I try to encourage her to think about the easier ones before looking. For addition, she knows most of them but there's still about 10 basic facts that she hasn't yet mastered. If she's doing a problem and she asks me "what's 8 plus 6?" I'll just tell her. Won't that just make her rely on me forever? I've found that is not the case, she is increasingly answering questions on her own without asking, and she feels proud of herself when she doesn't need to ask. A year ago, she did not have the confidence to do this and would ask me questions very frequently, which would be frowned upon by most educators, but I was meeting DD where she was. She was not being lazy, she just needed more time.

I would not have this luxury in public school, but I have it at home and I am finding it to be the right choice.

If you think the extra time needed is causing a lot of stress, such as math taking three times as long as it should and being stressful for both of you as a result, I'd do something like this: tell him he gets 10 "free" questions per session. You can keep a tally as you go. So he's doing a problem and the problem involves 13 minus 6, and it's not just right there in his head, he can ask, you tell him 7, and he moves right along. If you limit the questions he can ask, he will still practice plenty but just get a few freebies along the way so you can focus more on the concepts without drowning in the facts. If he has a limit, he won't waste them on ones he can remember within a a second or two.