View Full Version : Maths Help Please

Stella M
05-12-2011, 10:42 PM
Some of you might remember that my dd11 is going to school next year and she's been working really hard to get up to grade level in maths before she goes.

We are getting there as far as working together with maths. I explain, she gets it - eventually - :) She completes the work, I correct it, we go over any corrections together.

The trouble is, she tends to forget how to do something easily. We just did a whole review of the last few weeks work and she had trouble with easily 50% of it.

So, longer term retention and also thinking mathematically seem to be a problem. Any advice ? She works on maths daily - about 45 min/day - and I sit with her as needed.

I can now see that a spiral program isn't a good choice for her but it's a bit late in the day to try starting a mastery program - she only has 6 months of h/s maths left.

05-12-2011, 11:31 PM
I wouldn't think it's too late to switch to a mastery program. I mean, if there are skills she needs to master, then that would seem to make sense to me. Why keep spiraling around topics when she doesn't retain them enough to build on them for 6 mos instead of trying to get whatever skills you can get solidly implanted first, even if it covers fewer things than the spiral, surely it's better to build a smaller foundation of rocks than a bigger foundation of straw? Of course, the cost of a new program, the time to switch, all that may make it practically too hard, I suppose.

I love math(s). I'm rotten at most of it, but I do enjoy it. Remedial math was one of my favorite things I taught back when I was a middle school teacher. Are there things that help her with it? Puzzles, projects, word problems, manipulatives, etc.? What's she working on that she's not getting?

Stella M
05-13-2011, 01:55 AM
I guess by the time I research something else and buy it, there's another term gone, kwim ?

Some things are sticking - her arithmetic type skills are better than they were. Things that don't stick - she forgot things today like place values in a decimal, how to change an improper fraction into a mixed numeral, couldn't convert tonnes to kilograms, find 20% of something - despite being able to do them all when we were actually doing them. And word problems send her head spinning...

She understands at the time if I sit with her and guide her through the work but doesn't always retain. So is that just not enough practice ? Or would she not really be getting it first time around ?

Recommendations for mastery programs around a 6th grade level ? And if I was going to focus on 'just' mastering a few things, what would be good to focus on ?

05-13-2011, 02:38 AM
You might want to look into the Key to... series (http://www.rainbowresource.com/prodlist.php?sid=1305268084-1916049&subject=10&category=2225). Topics covered: Measurement, Metric Measurement, Percents, Fractions, Decimals, Algebra, Geometry. You can buy all topics, pick just the ones she needs, or pick the specific books that cover what she needs from each topic. Each topic has a set of books that cover it. Decimals, Fractions, Measurement, Metric Measurement each have 4 books plus the answer key. Percents has 3 plus answer key & Algebra & Geometry have 10 & 8 plus answer keys, respectively. Each book on a topic covers a different aspect of the topic. For example Fractions book1: Fraction Concepts, book2: Multiplying & Diving Fractions, book3: Adding & Subtracting Fractions, book4: Mixed Numbers. They're pretty inexpensive & would be good for extra work in areas she needs help.

05-13-2011, 09:57 AM
Math Mammoth's single topic books might work - they go up to 6th grade. They're inexpensive and downloadable so there's no wait there or issue finding something. They have one just about place value. My experience with place value is that it's something many 6th graders don't actually understand and that it hurts their understanding going into algebra, yet many people are really dismissive of it, as if it doesn't matter in the age of calculators.

Accidental Homeschooler
05-13-2011, 10:12 AM
Maybe more computation practice/exercises? I took intermediate Algebra a year ago and that was the only way I could learn it, lots and lots and lots of practice problems before anything would stick. It is tedious but it sounds like going back and repeating is getting tedious also. Good luck!

Stella M
05-13-2011, 06:09 PM
Yes, older dd isn't a maths whiz but she had a good understanding of things like place value and she is doing fine with her beginning algebra. Keys to look good but not available here but I'll check out Math Mammoth - thanks all. Yes, lots more practice needed, I'm treading a fine line between getting dd up to speed and seeing her last year ( possibly ) at home vanish in a blur of maths sheets.