View Full Version : WTH?! So frustrated with the PS!

DD and I were doing what I thought was super simple, basic review in math this week. Ya know the multiplication table? Well we had one the same style but with adding. She had to find which problems equaled 16. Sure, she could find the 16s, but then had NO IDEA how to use the table to figure out the problems (7+9, 8+8, 9+7). This is Gr. 1 level! She's *supposed* to be in Gr. 3!

This is on top of her having no idea how to borrow in subtracting. On top of her barely being able to carry in adding. On top of her not being able to multiply past x2. What the hell have they been teacher her these years????? All of her report cards gave her Bs or even As. What we're they marking to give her those grades?!

I'm tempted to go right back to Gr. 1 and just start over. I believe in mastery. I mean, even I'm not perfect on a huge pile of math problems, but at least I know HOW to do it! She doesn't. She doesn't know how to do stuff she SHOULD have been taught in Gr. 1.

I pulled her our of PS because of bullying and various other "not liking the system" reasons. NOT because she was behind. From talking to her teachers, reading her report cards, ect... she was doing just fine! I'm so p*ssed

It's quite possible that they were not using a mastery based curriculum.

We have never used a table to find answers to addition problems. They did figure out on their own that there was a pattern, but not because it was a math problem somewhere.

In my experience, the multiplication tables were introduced in 3rd grade (for myself, my ps son and my homeschoolers). Skip counting came a bit earlier.

Actually, 3rd grade is a big year in math. I would say that most of those skills that you mentioned were ones we worked on in 3rd grade.

higgledypiggledy

02-12-2011, 12:32 AM

This might be little long, but hopefully worth the read. In my PS experience multiplication tables start in second grade. If you are concerned that your daughter is lacking foundational skills, it might be good idea to start at the very beginning. I had to do that with some components of my son's LA because he had these weird knowledge gaps. We whipped through the early stuff and found weaknesses and some skills and rules I assumed he learned in PS but never heard of before. You could do the same in Math. It sounds like time consuming but is probably less so than you realize. With whatever math program you are using, just start at the beginning and do the first review portion. In whatever areas, she doesn't meet your standard then go back into the teaching portion and work on those sections. Then move to the next review section. This way, she won't feel like she is "re-doing" the basics, just getting a quick review. The sections you work will be new or the strategies will be new. We have a little mantra at our house that says, "Everything new starts with review." You might be surprised how quickly you can move through the first and second grade years when you only focus on what she has not yet mastered. She'll also feel smart as she discovers how much she already can do and experiences the thrill of working quickly and successfully toward a goal. She will learn to use review portions to identify where she struggles and how to overcome her weaknesses. This self diagnosis skill will help her in any education environment. On the math facts front, rather than force her to use a table to solve problems, have her create her own. Its a good exercise in learning how charts work and seeing the fact patterns for herself. It is also fun to play math games, not the traditional flashcards but war, multiplication baseball etc.. you can find lots of math card games on the net. The thing about math facts is they have to be practiced everyday, so the games keep the process from getting too tedious. I found it successful to introduce one math fact family at a time and practice only those math facts until they are about 80% then add another math fact family into the mix. When the second math family is 80% I add a third. I don't drop any fmailies out along the way, so there is constant constant review until it is just second nature. To learn how to borrow in subtraction, your daughter needs a good understandng of place value. We played zerckles. I think there might be instructions on-line. If not you can private message me for them. It was a fun effective way to teach my daughters to both add and subtract as well as set the base for doing mental math. Good Luck.

dbmamaz

02-12-2011, 12:41 AM

I'll chime in. My son finished up prealgebra 1 in 7th grade, and his teacher told me he was really good at math and if he scored well on the standards test, i should move him in to algebra. Well, we started with ALEKs and Life of Fred. He got himself banned off the puter, so then it was just LOF - and he panicked and cried and couldnt do it. We dropped back to LOF prealgebra, but i wasnt checking him, i expected him to be doing it independently. He seemed ok - he called me when he was stuck. But we tried the algebra book again, and more crying. We tried getting a couple of algebra books out of the library, nothing seemed to work, and it was may and we quit math for the year.

This year I switched to singapore. I printed off pretests and realized we needed to start at the beginning of what they consider middle school (I think). As we started to work through, I was skipping a lot saying "oh, this is reveiw, you know this" . . and then when i thought we were at a good place to start . . . i was shocked what he didnt know. He didnt know how to simplify fractions. He didnt know commutitive properties. I dont even remember what else.

So we went back to the very first chapter, and went over every example problem together, and had him do . . .usually every other of the first dozen problems, but none of the really hard ones. THere's no point, this guy is just NOT analytical, he has processing issues. If we needed more practice than that, we used the practice book too. Its been painful, pulling teeth, repeating myself pateintly ad nauseum and making it clear that, if i lose my patience, thats my fault, not his. I need to keep repeating it until he gets it.

This week has been great. THis curriculum does part prealgebra, part algebra. part geomtry and part stats in a year. We are on the last algebra chapter and i"m making him do EVERY problem in the practice book. He is doing them all, getting them right, and not needing me there - for the first time, really.

The important part is to let go of expectations, let go of blame, and just start at the beginning and teach her what she needs. There is really no race. Oh, and for both kids, i used the pretests as our math work for a few days to asses them, before buying anything.

painful, but worth it.

higgledypiggledy

02-12-2011, 01:31 AM

I love Singapore. Even when my kids were still in PS, we were supplementing at home with Singapore. I could easily see their PS math curriculum stunk. I appreciate that Singapore does not have lots of distracting extras in the books. The focus is on the math, using a great strategy to model and solve problems. I agree that you should not worry too much about where she "should" be but more that she is successful where she is. When she has a strong foundation and feels confident, she will move forward with confidence.

Kylie

02-12-2011, 06:16 AM

I'm curious about 'zerckles' googled it but couldn't find anything?

Hampchick

02-12-2011, 10:34 AM

Haven't read the other responses, but I don't think kids do multiplication until 2nd or even 3rd grade. In first grade DS did mainly single and double digit addition with very little subtraction. They did stuff like geometry (finding area) and patterning, number lines etc. Honestly it doesn't sound like your daughter is behind based on typical PS standards. The important thing is that you identify where she is now, meet her there and go forward.

lynne

02-12-2011, 10:51 AM

My son is naturally good at math but his school was behind most schools. He was introduced to times tables at the end of 3rd grade and mid-4th grade most of the class still didn't know them. He did...we worked on them here and he mastered them at the beginning of the year. When I pulled him out of school in December I started right with double digit multiplication and then triple digit and he mastered them fairly quickly but he has always been good with borrowing. So we were able to move on to division and we are about to begin long division. I'm sure he is way ahead of where he would be had I kept him there.

Language arts is a different story. He is at about a 2nd grade level. We're doing work that he should have learned in 2nd grade and every day I find new things that he doesn't know, like how to pluralize words, capitalize proper nouns, use apostrophes correctly. And his spelling is really bad. He did some writing yesterday from our history lesson and misspelled 5 words. So I've been doing what others here suggested and recording those words to create his spelling list.

He had good grades too so I had no idea he really wasn't learning anything. I guess they just coast along. I'm glad I figured this out now because he is making amazing progress and he's proud of himself. I love seeing the improvements in the content of his writing and he loves moving at his own pace in math since he had to wait for his class to catch up in PS. This is what makes homeschooling so rewarding.

alexdk

02-12-2011, 03:17 PM

I just want to say that our first year of homeschooling, my daughter was technically grade 3, but I had to go back a couple of grades for math. She was lacking basic math skills. She was completely lost! I have never regretted doing that. Those basic skills are so important.

higgledypiggledy

02-12-2011, 06:07 PM

zerckles isn't a curriculum but a game to learn how base systems work in math. You start by making a two coloumn mat. Nothing fancy, just take tw colors of contuction paper and glue them together. Then you need counters and a few dixie cups and my daughter liked using a dinger bell. We started with a binary system. In the "ones" column you could have zero or one, anything above and beyond was a zercle. You start counting at zero and then when you "fill"up the alotted amount in the ones column the kids yells zerckles, dings bell dumps the counters into a cup and moves it to the "zerckles" column. Then you count one zerckle and zero, one zerckle and one and repeat. Now you have two zerckles and... They'll have the idea down pat in a quick binary session. Then we did base 4. Let your kiddo make up a nonsense word for the "tens" column. We used all z words. After mastering base four, move to base five. From base five you can move to base ten. the whole time you are trying to get you child to recognize that the number in the left column-number of cups- is more than just one, it represents a larger quanitiy. At base ten start with a nonsense word. Once they have the place value concept mastered you can introduce the idea of how our math is a base ten system. There are some great kid library books out there that talk about differing base systems used around the world. We read one when we change from nonsense words to "real" math. Once the concept of place value meaning is cemented and they are thinking of numbers in terms on 6 tens and 4 ones its is easier to manipulate borrowing and carrying. Instead of being rote processes, they have meaning. Ou words were base 2=zappo, base 4=zooties, base 5=zithers, base 10=zerckle. We also mess around a bit with base twelve since as Americans we are stuck with a weird measurement system. base 12=zefties. In additiohn, the game is extended with bell dinging or buzzing whenever we carry over. To borrow in subtracting, we "break" the the zerckle by dumping the counters out into the ones column, turning the paper dixie cup upside down and smashing it. This helps reinforce why one does something instead od rote learning the proceedure. It never required much work for my kids to extend their understanding of place value when we moved on to hundreds and thousands. They also understood how and why long division worked because they understood place value well. Hope that is a good explaination.

sallymae

02-12-2011, 09:00 PM

Math is big in 3rd and 5th grade. My suggestion is to get workbooks from 2Gr level and start there to see where she is at by asking can you do that till she says no idea. Don't worry about she will catch on and catch up. She probably just needs to learn some study skills. Flash cards for addition, subtraction and multiplication tables. My daughter had timed test in 1st grade on addition, subtraction in 2nd and had to memorize multiplication tables in 3rd. Good ole division 4th, and lots of compbined math in 5th with touches of algebra and geometry.

It's quite possible that they were not using a mastery based curriculum.

We have never used a table to find answers to addition problems. They did figure out on their own that there was a pattern, but not because it was a math problem somewhere.

In my experience, the multiplication tables were introduced in 3rd grade (for myself, my ps son and my homeschoolers). Skip counting came a bit earlier.

Actually, 3rd grade is a big year in math. I would say that most of those skills that you mentioned were ones we worked on in 3rd grade.

I'm sure they weren't using a mastery program, most schools don't. It was just the fact that some of the things she didn't have a clue on. From what I've seen (both in DD's school and other locals), multiplication and division (basic) should have been covered in Gr. 2. I've never heard of an addition table either, but it happened to be in a workbook we have. I really don't care if she never uses a table, but the fact that she didn't even know how to use it to find the answer surprised me.

If you are concerned that your daughter is lacking foundational skills, it might be good idea to start at the very beginning. I had to do that with some components of my son's LA because he had these weird knowledge gaps. We whipped through the early stuff and found weaknesses and some skills and rules I assumed he learned in PS but never heard of before. You could do the same in Math. It sounds like time consuming but is probably less so than you realize. With whatever math program you are using, just start at the beginning and do the first review portion. In whatever areas, she doesn't meet your standard then go back into the teaching portion and work on those sections. Then move to the next review section. This way, she won't feel like she is "re-doing" the basics, just getting a quick review. The sections you work will be new or the strategies will be new. We have a little mantra at our house that says, "Everything new starts with review." You might be surprised how quickly you can move through the first and second grade years when you only focus on what she has not yet mastered. She'll also feel smart as she discovers how much she already can do and experiences the thrill of working quickly and successfully toward a goal. She will learn to use review portions to identify where she struggles and how to overcome her weaknesses. This self diagnosis skill will help her in any education environment.

Thanks, I am planning to "return her to Gr. 1" for math. I know she'll get the basics of Gr. 1 quickly and we'll go more in depth for Gr. 2 level. I think that's where the school dropped the ball. She does love doing review style work cause she is so happy to say this is easy!

The important part is to let go of expectations, let go of blame, and just start at the beginning and teach her what she needs. There is really no race. Oh, and for both kids, i used the pretests as our math work for a few days to asses them, before buying anything.

painful, but worth it.

I understand letting go of the blame, but I feel that DD was cheated while she was in school. I'm certainly not mad at her, I'm mad at the school. I've told her that too. They dropped the ball, they SHOULD have taught her these basics and didn't. Thankfully with my eclectic curriculum, we can drop all math right now to go back to the beginning.

I just want to say that our first year of homeschooling, my daughter was technically grade 3, but I had to go back a couple of grades for math. She was lacking basic math skills. She was completely lost! I have never regretted doing that. Those basic skills are so important.

I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one! I am getting sadder and sadder at the state of our PSs every day :(

StartingOver

02-12-2011, 09:57 PM

The beauty of homeschooling to me is meeting a child where they are at, and watching them blossom ! HUGS Do what you need to do Momma !

melhoen

02-13-2011, 09:32 AM

Since bringing my 5th grade DD home in January I discovered how truly far behind she was in math too. In her case though, I don't entirely blame PS--for a lot of things I do--but it's not their fault entirely. DD would have needed an hour of one on one everyday to get those facts, eventually, something she'd never get in a PS setting. We've gone back to 3rd grade and she's actually happy because she hates that she doesn't know what everyone else knows. But then, despite the stupid PS ideas, I KNOW in my heart that she has a learning disability. So memorizing facts and sight words just won't ever happen. She will most likely always struggle.

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