Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 19
  1. #1

    Default "Buddy" math: when do you let go?

    We've dealt with all kinds of math phobia in this house. DD has mild dyscalculia (and like everything with this child, it's not full-blown and imminently problematic). She's simply had difficulty with some aspects of math, which, of course, has led her to throw the math-baby out with the proverbial bath water ("I just don't like math" "I am not good at math" etc.). It manifests itself with the inability to quickly recall even easy math facts, like multiplication or quick addition/subtraction problems, especially mentally. Math, therefore, has historically been a foot-dragging subject here.

    But I have recognized, too, that she understands math concepts, really quickly (she's actually really smart if I can say that without sounding like a braggart my-special-snowflake freakmom), so we've moved her steadily forward and have NOT hammered math facts to death. I have met some resistance of this from the hubs, not that he advocates torturing her, necessarily. I am of the school of "she'll get it when she gets it," I guess. I also make accommodations (cheat sheets: PEMDAS, times tables, etc.) and let her use a calculator if the math is especially torturous.

    We have always, however, done what I call "buddy math" (not that I made up that term, I probably learned it from here somewhere). We read the lesson together, I ask her if she has done something similar to it before, and THEN we proceed to solve a problem or two before I set her free to solve the rest of the problems. I also really try to hit the idea of spiral math pretty hard with her (we go over the operations with percents/fractions/ratios/GCF-LCD whenever I think she's starting to lose the concept of "how" something works) so we do go off-script for days at a time if the book's lessons gloss over something.

    So my question of you parents with kids older or more math-gifted than mine is this: when did you pull way back and let the kid try to handle the lessons AND the problems all by themselves? I am wondering when to step back and let her, basically, fail or fly. Yes, I am a bit gunshy about letting up, as I don't want her back to the cycle of "I suck at math" if she's called to stretch her abilities too far...we've been there, it takes a lot of work for her to regain her confidence. But she's getting older and is better able to take stumbles without it turning into something more dramatic.

    FYI: she's in 7th grade and doing algebra with the Arbor Algebra products which she loves (they run prealgebra through some geometry with their Jousting Armadillos-Crocodiles & Coconuts-Chuckles the Rocket Dog series, which follows Harold Jacobs' Elementary Algebra as its guide; they, as you can kind of tell by their titles, are fairly engaging for this age group), and it's my plan to continue the series (completing it maybe mid-late 8th grade?) before embarking on high school work (online, maybe?).
    Eclectically homeschooling 8th grade dd, who likes science as much as art...

  2. Ratings Request Leaderboard
  3. #2

    Default

    The Arbor books are so cool, aren't they?

    As far as I know, Denise Gaskins of the Let's Play Math blog originated the term "buddy math."

    I don't think you ever back off teaching and helping. I mean, at some point, once a child has mastered a topic, you may want to test for understanding without being right there intervening (allowing a child to use "cheats" like having PEMDAS posted on the wall wouldn't count for me as an intervention by you). I like the Arbor school book tests myself, actually. But at what point should a student not need instruction? There is no point, IMO. I mean, some kids do thrive by working independently, but I don't think that's most. Even calculus students need teaching and help to learn.

    I'm curious how you buddy math with the Arbor School books. I couldn't figure out how to do that with them honestly. There simply weren't enough problems for me to do many myself. I mean, I like the way Linus breaks down the initial problem or two in the set to utilize a discovery method (it's almost like he's buddy mathing that one for them), but then the sets are just so small - six problems or eight or something most of the time. It's not enough that I feel like three is enough practice, honestly. I ended up pulling out our Dolciani Pre-A and finding problems there, but they're so different that sometimes it was tricky.
    Want to read about my homeschool?
    http://farrarwilliams.wordpress.com
    Children's Books, Homeschooling and Random Musings...

    Want help homeschooling or sending kids to college?
    http://simplify4you.com/

  4. #3

    Default

    Yeah, thanks Farrar, that's what my experience has been too, which is why I mentioned my detours. I pull my other algebra books down (extracurricular study books like Fisher's No-Nonsense Algebra, Barron's Algebra the Easy Way and a college math book called Introductory Algebra (Bittlinger)) and do the same thing you do to search/find more problem sets. Sometimes we hit some of the same road blocks you mention (things don't quite line up). But sometimes those other books are even easier.

    I guess I am not saying, necessarily, that I am going to go off in a corner and let her do school by herself (though some days that is quite tempting). It's more like I feel I am really her math crutch. She doesn't "need" me with her other stuff the way she does with math. Is this something she might grow out of? Maybe. I do hope so, anyway. But I think maybe she's just not that interested in the topic (math) at all, at least not enough for her idle curiosity to kick in the way it does in science, say, or history, where she'll gladly, randomly, pick up the encyclopedia and absorb what's on the page. Or go explore something on Crash Course or whatever. Not math!
    Eclectically homeschooling 8th grade dd, who likes science as much as art...

  5. #4

    Default

    Yeah, I think I would have been better off in my math career if someone had buddy math'ed algbera II and up for me. I would have gone much farther, much faster, and been much happier. I think some topics are such that you develop pegs for them (this is an old concept of developing knowledge - pegs to hang the new information on). So history is definitely like that. Once you have enough background information, you can start diving into anything and learning it because it builds. Math builds too, but it's a skill, not a content thing. Some people are good at picking up skills independently, but I don't think most people are. I think every new math topic is, in a way, a whole new thing. It's all algorithmic.
    Want to read about my homeschool?
    http://farrarwilliams.wordpress.com
    Children's Books, Homeschooling and Random Musings...

    Want help homeschooling or sending kids to college?
    http://simplify4you.com/

  6. #5

    Default

    For us, there is an ebb and flow. DS is like that when he thinks that he is not good at math (or anything for that matter) and then he can't do it. I show him how to do a couple of problems, the light-bulb goes on and away he goes.

    Sometimes he asks me if he can do it on his own and sometimes he wants me there. This semester we have a new deal going on. I teach MW and originally I was going to do work with him on the weekends, but DS completely rebelled. So I made a deal that he could do some work on his own. I make sure that he can easily do it without supervision. He is so proud of his progress now. He will show it to me when I get home from work. Now he doesn't want to do it that way all the time, but he is now demonstrating a little independence.
    A mama, who teaches college writing, as well as help her 11-year-old in
    choosing his own life adventure. Using Global Village School to support our desire to develop a sense of social justice and global awareness.
    I also share free and low-cost educational resources at
    http://chooseourownadventures.blogspot.com

  7. #6

    Default

    I guess I did a version of "buddy math" all the way through high school level courses. Up through middle school we would sit together, I would show them some example problems and explain the concept. When high school rolled around, I would set up topic notes that they would have to use their text to complete. These also had some partially worked out examples. My son was able to do these mostly on his own, but my daughter liked me to sit with her and help her when needed to complete these. Each lesson took about 10-15 minutes. I figured I was their math teacher at that point,so....teach them math. It also helps that is what I did/do as a profession as well.

    My son still calls me for math help once in a while, now that he's in college. Mostly it's to talk out concepts or problems. I mostly just go "yup" or 'uh huh" on the other end of the line.

    I don't think buddy math is a bad thing at all if it's just to give your daughter a bit of direction, IMO.
    Carol

    Homeschooled two kids for 11 years, now trying to pay it forward


    Daughter (22), a University of Iowa graduate: BA in English with Creative Writing, BA in Journalism, and a minor in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

    Son (21), a Purdue University senior majoring in Computer Science, minoring in math, geology, anthropology, and history

  8. #7

    Default

    I will say the timing of my question is funny, considering I am at my boss' house working today, and she just told me how much she pays for her son's (8th grade) and her daughter's (10th grade) tutors, via Skype...her kids are in boarding school, too! On top of their helicopter parenting. On top of tuition. Yeah. $90/hr. 3 hrs/week. Each.

    okay, I will continue to be the kiddo's math and whatever else she needs buddy!

    I agree, if I had had a math buddy, it sure would've made high school easier...
    Eclectically homeschooling 8th grade dd, who likes science as much as art...

  9. #8

    Default

    $90 / hour?!? Obviously I am in the wrong profession. Or I need to start picking up side work.
    A mama, who teaches college writing, as well as help her 11-year-old in
    choosing his own life adventure. Using Global Village School to support our desire to develop a sense of social justice and global awareness.
    I also share free and low-cost educational resources at
    http://chooseourownadventures.blogspot.com

  10. #9

    Default

    I'm in the right profession but obviously not charging nearly enough!! Is the boarding school on the east coast by chance?
    Carol

    Homeschooled two kids for 11 years, now trying to pay it forward


    Daughter (22), a University of Iowa graduate: BA in English with Creative Writing, BA in Journalism, and a minor in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

    Son (21), a Purdue University senior majoring in Computer Science, minoring in math, geology, anthropology, and history

  11. #10

    Default

    Cranbrook, Carol. Going rate $75 to 100 depending on the class or if it's test prep!
    Eclectically homeschooling 8th grade dd, who likes science as much as art...

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
About us

SecularHomeschool.com was created to provide information, resources, and a place to share and connect with secular homeschoolers across the world. Secularhomeschool.com aims to be your one-stop shop for all things homeschool! We will be highlighting information about wonderful secular homeschool resources, and keeping you up to date with what is going on in the world of secular homeschooling. But that is only the beginning. SHS is your playground. A place to share the things that are important to you. A place to create and join groups that share your interests. A place to give and get advice. There are no limits to what you can do at Secular Homeschool, so join today and help build the community you have always wanted.

SecularHomeschool.com is a community and information source where secular homeschoolers ARE the majority. It is the home for non-religious homeschoolers, eclectic homeschoolers, freethinking homeschoolers AND anyone interested in homeschooling irrespective of religion. This site is an INCLUSIVE community that recognizes that homeschoolers choose secular homeschool materials and resources for a variety of reasons and to accomplish a variety of personal and educational goals. Although SecularHomeschool.com, and its members, have worked hard to compile a comprehensive directory of secular curricula, it does not attest that all materials advertised on our site, in our newsletters, or on our social media profiles are 100% secular. Rather, SecularHomeschool.com respects the aptitude of each individual homeschool parent to fully research any curriculum before acquiring it, to ensure that it holistically meets the educational, personal, and philosophical goals of each homeschooler.

Join us
"Buddy" math:  when do you let go?