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Jenny in GA
08-12-2009, 01:12 PM
Last year I tried starting my daughter, who was then five and in "kindergarten" in MUS Alpha. (I thought she could handle it because she already seemed to know a lot of addition facts and she seemed to like math, talked about numbers a lot, etc.)

She watched the Alpha video lessons with me and her older sister (who was seven and doing Alpha) and seemed to understand it and enjoy it, but I got total resistance to her doing the actual lessons.

After a few days I packed the book up. She continued to watch the lessons with us. I tried again in the spring and it was not much better, so after a couple days I packed it up again and figured we'd wait until "first grade."

Well today was our "first day at first grade." We picked up where we left off, and she immediately balked; literally within seconds of opening the book together.

We're on the lesson where you color the blocks and add zero. First, she didn't want to color them, and she walked out of the room. I steered her back and gently prodded her to do it. She could easily identify the blocks and colors. When I started asking her, for example, 4+0= , she repeatedly gave me wrong answers.

I figured okay, I'll just have her do the matching the problem to the answer, but when I asked her to do that, she started deliberately scribbling in silly things.

I finally said, "Why are you acting like this?" and she said, "I don't like this." I tried to get her to tell me why, and she said, "It's too easy. I already know it."

So I asked her:
8+8
4+4
7+8
and a couple others, and she got them all right. Although I wasn't surprised.

So now I'm wondering:

- Should I skip all the first lessons and skip to the subtraction part? Or does she "need" the lessons?
- Should I expect her to just get a better attitude, and do the lessons whether she likes it or not?
- Should I use something other than MUS? (Which would be annoying since I already paid for it, and what if I pay a lot of money for something else and the same thing happens?)
- Should I just put it all back on the shelf for another few months (although I don't expect things will be different then.)
- Should I just play math games with her for a while? If so, since she just can't play math games forever, where should we start up again?


It feels like, on one hand, it's too easy for her (because she knows the facts) but on another hand it's a little too hard (because she still writes her number backwards, can't sit and write for very long, etc).

Any thoughts? Thanks!

Kelly K
08-12-2009, 01:27 PM
If you think she really has it, you might try printing out a couple of the additional worksheets of the MUS website and see if she does. If she really can do all the addition stuff, I'd skip it.

I would be at more of a loss if she doesn't really have it and really what she's got is an attitude. You might could look at Wal-mart workbooks for a cheap alternative. . .

Gail in NY
08-12-2009, 01:49 PM
no advice here -especially since you tried the wait-and-see approach. MUS didn't work for us. :no:

Alice
08-12-2009, 01:57 PM
I'd move on. I find my son gets more difficult if he is bored with something. He hates to color in general so any workbook page that has coloring I let him skip. (He likes to draw his own pictures, just hates coloring something in a book.) My approach with his age is that there are certain things he has to do and he does need to learn to have a good attitude...for example doing school in general or doing a reading lesson. But if it's something that I think is boring or too easy or if it's a specific task that I can easily alter to make it more engaging for him I try to do that. It can't always be fun, but if it's reasonably possible to make it more interesting I try to do it.

What I'm doing with my own son who sounds at about the same age, although we use a different curriculum, is to keep moving forward but to use math games to cement the facts. So we're doing harder concepts since I know he knows the concept of addition but we play the games as sort of drill (although it's fun so he doesn't think of it as drill). If you don't have it check out Peggy Kaye's Games for Math. It's got great ideas. I made two games from there, Fast Track and Double It. Both drill the addition (and you can add in subraction) facts. He loves to play them and would play as much as I'm willing. There are also ideas for math checkers and some math solitaire games with cards.

Jenny in GA
08-12-2009, 02:01 PM
no advice here -especially since you tried the wait-and-see approach. MUS didn't work for us. :no:

Hi Gail (or anyone else), do you mind sharing why, and what worked better?

Robin(CA)
08-12-2009, 02:06 PM
I don't make my kids do the coloring. In your case I would skip to the part of the book that she doesn't already know. For math lesson each day you could give her the tests (one per day) and if she passes, the next day she gets the next test. When she doesn't pass, that's the lesson you start with.

Present the tests as "this is an opportunity to show how smart you are!" :thumb:

ETA: Give her the tests if you don't know where to place her -- if you do know, skip right to that lesson. That's the great thing about homeschooling, no reason to waste time studying what you already know!

Kisha
08-12-2009, 03:31 PM
I don't make my kids do the coloring. In your case I would skip to the part of the book that she doesn't already know. For math lesson each day you could give her the tests (one per day) and if she passes, the next day she gets the next test. When she doesn't pass, that's the lesson you start with.

Present the tests as "this is an opportunity to show how smart you are!" :thumb:

ETA: Give her the tests if you don't know where to place her -- if you do know, skip right to that lesson. That's the great thing about homeschooling, no reason to waste time studying what you already know!

This is what I do!

Melinda
08-12-2009, 03:42 PM
My oldest dd hates having to prove what she already knows. She also doesn't want to work a concept ad naseum until she knows how to get the correct answer. Basically mastery math didn't work for her. Of course I don't know if that's your dc personality, but it could just be that she's ready for a new challenge by moving on with the program.

CINDY LB OH
08-12-2009, 03:57 PM
It feels like, on one hand, it's too easy for her (because she knows the facts) but on another hand it's a little too hard (because she still writes her number backwards, can't sit and write for very long, etc).

Any thoughts? Thanks!

If she was able to answer the addition facts, from above, correctly, then YES! it's too easy. Keep up on the addition with games and move on to subraction or the next concept.

Just because she can't write the numbers, doesn't mean it's too hard. Writing is a whole different skill. Practice writing numbers during handwriting time or at the end of the math lesson. But keep them separate for now. Once she can write the numbers easily then have her fill in the numbers herself. Not being able to sit for very long or write for very long is normal, so give her short things to copy throughout the day that include numbers. Sleeping Bear Press (http://www.sleepingbearpress.com/educators/)has some great number books (based on states) you could read and enjoy, and she can trace the numbers with her finger. You could use them for short copy work as well.

Play store, domino math, start living math books from the library, etc. Make math fun and enjoyable and she'll be fine.

Lisa in the UP of MI
08-12-2009, 04:01 PM
What about playing math games to make sure that she knows the skills earlier in the book and then start up again where you notice that she is making mistakes? As a pp mentioned, you can work on number formation during handwriting time and you can do the writing during math time.

April in PA
08-12-2009, 06:44 PM
I don't make my kids do the coloring. In your case I would skip to the part of the book that she doesn't already know. For math lesson each day you could give her the tests (one per day) and if she passes, the next day she gets the next test. When she doesn't pass, that's the lesson you start with.

Present the tests as "this is an opportunity to show how smart you are!" :thumb:

ETA: Give her the tests if you don't know where to place her -- if you do know, skip right to that lesson. That's the great thing about homeschooling, no reason to waste time studying what you already know!

:yes: And don't stress about the handwriting...as was already said, it's a different skill. No need to hold her back in math just because she isn't writing well.

Robin Lee
08-12-2009, 10:37 PM
I think? you can get help from MUS. I remember either directly or through your dealer you can ask questions. Try going to their site. I will be starting Alpha soon and figured if I had any problems I would go to them.
Robin

Jenny in GA
08-13-2009, 02:38 PM
Thanks so much for all of your comments.

I dug out the Alpha Test Booklet and told her we would go through them to see how much she knew and which lesson to start out. I was originally going to do 1-2 a day, but she wanted to keep going; I think all the way through Test 6, and got every single one right!

She loved writing "100 - A+" on the top of each test, and putting a sticker on it.

She said to me, "See Mommy, I told you I knew all this."

Thanks again,

Robin(CA)
08-13-2009, 03:09 PM
great job mom! Building her confidence and letting her show off how smart she is -- what a great start in Math! :clap:

Sheryl in NH
08-13-2009, 04:52 PM
It is okay to just do the problems verbally with your dd, but if you are someone who likes to "see" her progress you could try what we did. I gave dd a package of number stickers (from the scrapbooking section of wal mart) and she was thrilled to put the correct answer on her page. Later, when her handwriting improved, she preferred to write the answers herself.

Lori D
08-14-2009, 03:37 AM
It is okay to just do the problems verbally with your dd, but if you are someone who likes to "see" her progress you could try what we did. I gave dd a package of number stickers (from the scrapbooking section of wal mart) and she was thrilled to put the correct answer on her page. Later, when her handwriting improved, she preferred to write the answers herself.

I like the sticker idea. We used number stamps-- being able to hold the stamp, get ink on it and place it on the page is a skill in and of itself, but it has worked well for my boys. I even just write the answer for them sometimes-- they tell me and point to the number on a number line, I write.

Laura F
08-14-2009, 02:50 PM
Thanks so much for all of your comments.

I dug out the Alpha Test Booklet and told her we would go through them to see how much she knew and which lesson to start out. I was originally going to do 1-2 a day, but she wanted to keep going; I think all the way through Test 6, and got every single one right!

She loved writing "100 - A+" on the top of each test, and putting a sticker on it.

She said to me, "See Mommy, I told you I knew all this."

Thanks again,

Wow! We left MUS for Horizons Math, and dd is much happier. She loves to color but was bored with coloring in blocks and didn't like the lack of colored pages. She likes the colorful illustrations in Horizons and the way the problems are grouped.