View Full Version : At what point

Amanda in RI
11-14-2012, 01:35 PM
do you just give up and say "this child is not a 'math' person, and neither of us should have to struggle so much to get through algebra"?

Maddie is 14 years old, in 9th grade. She has always struggled with math. We switched to Math-U-See a few years ago, and she is finally 'caught up' to her age/grade level.

She is doing Algebra I at home and at our co-op. She struggles with just about every concept, and then when she is getting that, she's forgetting everything she's ever known about addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, decimals......

She's like Drew Barrymore in Fifty First Dates--every day is like the first day she's seen math.

How much is enough?

Every mom I seem to talk to here in RI seems to say, "Well, you KNOW, if she wants to go to college, she really needs to go through Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II."

We will kill each other. I cannot take this.

WHAT DO I DO????? *sob*

Rachel Jane
11-14-2012, 03:11 PM
Get a tutor? Barter for tutoring?

If you plan to do algebra 1, geometry and then algebra 11, won't don't you do business math the rest of this year? Do all sorts of real life things like checkbooks, % off for clothing purchases, both real and imagined, multiplying recipe fractions...
Give her brain a break from X and Y and then try again next fall. If she needs a tutor then, get her one ASAP.

I have heard that you know when your child is ready for algebra because s/he has hair under the armpits. :lol:
That said, my guys are late bloomers physically and handled algebra from 9th grade on.

Rachel Jane
11-14-2012, 03:12 PM
Has she tried Life of Fred?
Before my kids did the algebra, the read the books through the stories, without doing any lessons. This gave them the lingo before they needed to do the math.

laurie in ok
11-14-2012, 03:17 PM
I'm afraid I'm going to be right there with you. :sad: You may want to check into the requirements for community colleges and junior colleges. I believe they have different requirements. They may make her take a remedial math class, but most of them don't have a minimum ACT requirement to get in. That alone can help you not worry as much about her retaining. I know for us, we may just have to keep pushing through knowing that she's not really getting it, but getting the credit for doing it. When she doesn't do well on the math portion of the ACT - well, we may have to start with a junior college if she chooses to go to college.

Also, you might want to contact any university close to you that has an education program. They usually offer tutoring for very reasonable rates. Last year, we used a college girl to help my dd get through an exceptionally rough patch. It was $10/hour.

11-14-2012, 03:41 PM
Try a tutor.

And just to give you some hope, I struggled with Alegbra, understood Geometry, and finally "got" Algebra in my first year if college- so much so I seriously considered minoring in math.

Her brain just might not be ready for it.

Amanda in RI
11-14-2012, 10:05 PM
I appreciate the input! Thank you!

11-14-2012, 10:09 PM
Lots of new community college students start with basic math. They have math labs in college, and more motivation to do it! Sometimes having a math geek explain it to you really is best!! :lol:

If it makes you feel any better, I was an honors student but I struggled in algebra in high school, my only C. The went to college algebra and got a 98 average!

Like Karen said, I think it is a brain thing.

11-14-2012, 10:59 PM
Try a tutor.

And just to give you some hope, I struggled with Alegbra, understood Geometry, and finally "got" Algebra in my first year if college- so much so I seriously considered minoring in math.

Her brain just might not be ready for it.

I did not "get" algebra until I watched videotext algebra with my oldest student. It took me until age 35 to understand it!

Amy Joy
11-14-2012, 11:17 PM
Let me know if you figure it out!! :lol: My dd is 12 and only in Epsilon in MUS. She is on lesson 12. We've been doing in since the beginning of September. Her 10 yo brother is almost finished Delta and I'm quite sure will catch up to her. She took many months to get through Delta last year and he has 5 lessons left in Delta.

11-14-2012, 11:59 PM
DEFINITELY a brain maturity thing involved with Algebra, but if she has struggled with math all along that may not be the only thing.

One other think to think about so far as college goes. In public school, you only have to pass the class to get the credit on your transcript, NOT get an "A". "Passing" means everything above "F". And they may just want to see Alg 1 and Geom, not necessarily Alg 2 unless the child is considering a math-heavy major.

In Mn, colleges look at the individual ACT scores for math and reading. If the student's score does not reach a cut-off, they have to take another test in that subject to determine if they will take remedial classes in that subject.

Marla in Nevada
11-27-2012, 03:27 PM
My 14 yo dd (8th grade) also struggles with math, so I feel your pain. :group: I don't know if this is an option for you financially, but this year I enrolled Moriah in a "live" online math class that meets twice a week with a credentialed math teacher, who is also a former homeschool mom. One of the many things I LOVE about this teacher is that she offers private tutorials during the week for students who need extra help at no extra charge. I'm thrilled to be out of the math loop, so-to-speak, and plan to use this teacher for my dd's high school math classes. PM me if you want more information.

11-27-2012, 06:32 PM
To me, the first question is, is she planning on going to college?

If she still isn't sure what she wants to do, that's OK. But in that case, I usually assume they will at least attend a community college, so they would need some basic understanding of Algebra. And I've also heard it say that kids who are not good at Algebra, are usually good at Geometry.

Have you thought about dropping the class at co-op and giving her a break?
Maybe she needs a different curriculum?

There is a product called Hands-On Equations (http://www.borenson.com/).
I'm going to be getting this for my ds14.

My girls both used the Keys To Algebra (http://www.christianbook.com/key-to-algebra-books-1-10/pd/53088?kw=key%20to%20algebra&event=PPCSRC&p=1018818&gclid=COm8gcmn8LMCFYZaMgod1gMA5Q) series as a pre-algebra type course. It's very user-friendly and explains things very well. ETA: Even if this was all the algebra she did, it would be enough. It is very thorough. When my first dd got stuck in the first algebra curriculum we tried, I switched to this as a review and to shore things up. She then went right into Teaching Textbooks Alg 2 without any problems.

11-28-2012, 07:36 AM
Just recently MI changed the law to make Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II requirements for graduating... there were many kids were struggling so the teachers basically broke the Algebra I books in half the first half became Algebra I and the second half became Algebra II.

Robin in Colorado
11-28-2012, 09:47 AM
I hear you, friend. A few years ago I was on here a lot, posting about Belle's struggles with math.

Thinking for a long time about math, about my own experience with learning not only math but things like sewing and knitting and building, about my experience teaching in a public middle school - and I came to a radical conclusion.

My conclusion: that certain levels of math involve spatial skills, just like several other areas of study (garment construction, anyone?); that spatial skills require physical maturation in certain areas of the brain; and that for most girls, this physical development happens after the onset of puberty.

So, for math for my daughter, who was around 10 at that time, I had her do a page or two from a workbook each day - I got workbooks from the local teacher store that finding the correct answer meant coloring in a piece of a hidden picture. When those books ran out, we just did (shocking) nothing in the way of math. I told her when she was ready to do math, to come to me.

She eventually did, and I got Singapore practice workbooks from the store; started her in first grade, and had her work through at her own pace until I could figure out where she was. I assumed she had learned something during that time, and standardized testing showed that she had indeed improved a lot.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, I took her to the homeschool conference and we poked into every math curriculum available until we found what appealed to her learning style (she has a very unusual mind :) ) Result: Right Start to fill in the blanks - she should complete working through it on her own shortly. Then she will move on to Life of Fred.

As far as college, don't sweat it. Unless she's going to study science or engineering, that is. ;) She probably won't make stellar grades in math, but she only has a couple of math classes to take. So what if she gets a D in them? She'll move on and be done. Just like a bunch of kids.

The most important thing is to find a way of presenting it that she can get it, and let her work through it at her own pace, just making sure she has mastered the basics so she can balance a checkbook, figure out the best price, and other reallife uses.

Regardless of what works out for y'all, I know you know that not everyone's brain works the same way and this might be one of those areas. It's not worth the tears. At least it wasn't for me.


Robin in Colorado
11-28-2012, 09:55 AM
Adding to my novel:

What if you take a math break for a while? And instead of doing math, work on building her spatial "muscles"?

Do puzzles - physical and verbal. Don't forget the 3D jigsaws.

Sew. Knit. Crochet.

Build birdhouses.

Build with Legos.

Design 3D cakes.

Find a park with a real climbing apparatus (as opposed to what we have around here) - one that she can climb through, and over, and under, and so forth, and have her plot her course from A to B in different ways.

Make maps of your house, your neighborhood, her room.

Start at home and have her give you directions to the local ice cream shop; follow her directions as you drive and if her directions get you there, she gets a sundae.

Get a scooter board. Put puzzle pieces on one side of the room. She gets a piece, scoots on the board using her arms to the other side of the room, repeat. When she has a few pieces on the other side of the room, she can begin putting the puzzle together. Keep this up until the puzzle is complete.

Do lots of body-brain work and take a rest from the math curriculum. Then, ease back into it with one that appeals to her, and start a little below where you left off. Probably she'll find she's stronger in her 'math muscles' and will have the confidence she needs.

mariah m
11-28-2012, 01:10 PM
Aah...thank you. I am there too. Rebekah is 13 and on a fourth grade level for math...and we just lost six weeks bc of the surgery. Her processing and short term memory are extremely poor. There are a couple of good apps for three digit multiplication and division, we are doing those now in addition to Time for Learning. I am going to get LOF when we can. I have no idea what kind of high school track to follow :eek: Will talk about that with the evaluator. We can't afford a tutor right now but hopefully soon.

Thanks for the spatial suggestions. We need to do that too.

11-29-2012, 12:28 PM
Have you ever used the "Key to" math workbook series? The books are very easy to follow and very thorough in their explanations of concepts. It is also very inexpensive. :thumb:


Heather (WI)
11-29-2012, 08:43 PM
Just wanted to say that I share your pain, Amanda (and the others who posted similar situations). :group:

12-09-2012, 11:18 PM
Right there with you all. :group: What's up w/ our '99 girls? :perplex:

12-11-2012, 09:47 PM
Amanda, I am SOOO there! With my 18yo! ~head smack~ We have been struggling with math for years. He struggles, struggles, struggles and then the switch is hit and he gets it. And then he struggles, struggles, struggles until the next switch.

He will finally finish Algebra I next week, Lord willing. ;) I promised him I would not require anymore. But if he wants to go to college, he is prepared to have to do remedial courses.

We started with MUS, we switched to Fred, we tried Keys to, a Teaching Company course lasted all of 5 lessons and then I called in a tutor. We showed her everything we had done and she thought the MUS would be the best fit for him, so he went back to that. He actually cruised along for a bit and then started struggling again. Back to the cliff, then the plateau. Ugh. So long. He hates math. HATES, HATES, HATES it. I can't say I would like it very much if I was still working in the same level for 3 years.

Oh, and it does not help his state of mind that the next two do well in math. :sad: I know comparison is the death of contentment, but try getting an 18yo male to understand that... :unsure:

Merrilee Morse
12-12-2012, 10:52 AM
Shay, bless you for posting. I feel like a world class failure. I suffer from dyscalcula myself and never got past basic math. Ryan is turning 16 next month and has been doing algebra for two years. I have tried MUS, Rod and Staff, Teaching Textbooks, you name it. It is so frustrating. What seems to have helped the most is the Khan Academy videos, but I think I am going to have to break down and hire a tutor. I hate seeing him struggle the way I did.

12-12-2012, 04:39 PM
Merrilee, :group: You are not a failure. You do the best you can and accept. This is something I'm learning. I've thought at times of having my son tested, and then he'd pulled off something amazing and I'd figure he was finally getting it! And then awhile later, I'd be back to wondering what was wrong with him. And just as I was getting ready to admit failure, he'd take off. sigh...

It's so hard. Should I have had him tested? Probably. But you know how hindsight is. I guess I could still have him tested, but if we could just squeak this by.... Seriously, I do still consider it. I've mentioned it to dh, who is also just teetering on the edge like me.

Kendra AU
12-12-2012, 06:22 PM
Can't you just switch her to business mathematics?

Kathy White
12-12-2012, 09:05 PM
I want to second the Khan Academy. It is wonderful and free online!!!!!:clap::clap::clap::clap: