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Thread: Need to chat about high school math...

  1. #1
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    Feb 2007
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    Default Need to chat about high school math...

    Jacob needs a whole lot of hand holding through some lessons in Algebra, though not as many as I expected! This is where I need some input. Do we just keep doing a math lesson until he can do it independently before we move on? Or do I "hand hold" through the sections we need to survive and move forward? We're doing distance word problems at the moment.

    He's gifted with an LD in math, just FYI.

    How do I grade this sort of lesson where it would be a 0% if it weren't for my intervention?
    Melissa, Five in a Row Staff - Community Manager
    Robert's my man. Jacob, 13, and Mattie, 9, entertain me and keep me on my knees!
    "Once your enemy, now seated at your table. Jesus, thank you!" ~ Sovereign Grace Music

  2. #2
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    I have one who needs "hand holding".. he's considered high school where we live & up to pre-algebra type maths. I watch the lectures with him, & guide him through the first few practice problems if he's confused. For my child isn't not about not knowing, it's about lack of confidence. He's scared he'll do it wrong & thus fail. So we work through things together for a couple of days. Then I circle a few problems for him to do pointing out if he gets them right ON HIS OWN he can put the book away, but if not we'll do more to review..

    As he's getting further through the book I'm noticing that it's taking far less time for him to feel confident. In our home, however, it takes us about a week to complete a math lesson. One doesn't move on unless they can tell me, or show by doing, how to do the math problem on their own. There's just no point, imho, for a student to progress to another lesson to flatten that confidence level more. It only stresses student & mamma out. Yes, there are times I wish we'd just push forward, but I've made that mistake before & learned that it generally results in having to go back & repeat lessons.
    Kendra, wife of Lawrence, mother of three.

    I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.

  3. #3
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    Are you using a spiral program (one that has "new" problems and review problems)?

    If my kids get stuck, we stop until they've mastered it -- it may not be perfect, but I'd say they'd get at least 80% of the problems of that type correct before we move on. In my experience, everything builds on each other, so you may have a basic algebraic problem that two lessons later gets more complex and five lessons later gets even more complex, etc. It's typically all building blocks, and if they don't fully understand step 1, step 2 will be even more confusing, and step 3 will be even more confusing.....
    Wife to Jim and Mama to Katie (1/01), Mattie (9/02), Cale (4/05), and Ben (8/08)

  4. #4
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    Agreeing with the others that we stay with something until its understood. I don't think you helping him to understand is a problem. That's really the goal. You are a great mama!

    I have one that really struggles with applying math to word problems. Really struggles. He just doesn't see the real world application, though he can do the math if he knows "what to do" in the situation. Lots of hand holding there - and we aren't even to Algebra yet with this one.

    Leslie Nelsen, Family Room Moderator
    Wife to Roger, Mom to Christopher (23) married to Emily, Rebecca (20), Joshua (16), Isaiah (14) and Daniel (12) and Eliana Joy (9) and several waiting in heaven

  5. #5
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    My current algebra student needs this as well. I back track until he masters it and then I revisit it. He lacks confidence but also has problems identifying when to use some of the skills he knows. Just when I think we need to start over, he shows that he does know it.

    Consistency and continuing to challenge is what we are doing.
    Heather wife to Dan and embracing the independent nature of homeschooling with our fantastic four (18 ds, 16 dd, 14 ds, 11 ds).

  6. #6

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    I agree that "hand-holding" isn't necessarily bad and we do it here as well. I have one who used to love math and then it got harder. Now she HATES math and is her own worse enemy. Yes, we are doing a lot of math together, but we don't move on until she CAN do it independently.

    We aren't dealing with LD issues, but it seems that makes it more imperative that he does understand before moving on. Dealing with a LD and "not quite" understanding would grow problems exponentially later on, in my humble, not very experienced opinion.
    Shay, wife to Rod and mom to Nathaniel(22), Benjamin(19), Nicholas(16), Rebekah(14), Julianne(9), Jonathan(6)and Joshua(2)

  7. #7
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    In agreement with the others. I think that (regarding math) mastery is really important. If hand holding is needed, go for it. I have three in high school math (Geometry, and two taking Pre-Calc) and one just finishing Pre-Algebra. For my crew, a lot of it is more confidence building than skill building. My daughter who is taking Geometry has been preparing for her final for 6 weeks. EEKS. She's just not ready to take the final but she has the skill set. Since it's early March and the year doesn't end until June...I've just been letting her practice and practice. She's going to be REALLY GOOD at Geometry. lol. Where math is concerned, I think that the mastering the journey is equally (if not more important) than the final destination. And that's just my two cents. HOWEVER..my perfectionist, "world's gonna end if I make a mistake" eldest daughter did very well with all of her undergraduate math classes so all of my hand holding (and sipping tea or water instead of verbally responding sometimes) paid off.
    IN THE END, ONLY KINDNESS MATTERS
    Mom to 5 girls and 5 furry kids too

  8. #8
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    Thank you all! We've gone back to redo the unit. He seems to grasp now how much it matters that he pays attention to detail. I think this math level sort of caught him by surprise.
    I've learned with him that he can remember how to stuff for one lesson, but he doesn't actually commit anything to true memory unless I work with him on that. We're using VideoText, which is video driven, and I'm learning the same thing I learned with Teaching Textbooks in 3rd grade... he just needs a live teacher and a video driven program just can't be done the way it's designed. Bummer.
    Melissa, Five in a Row Staff - Community Manager
    Robert's my man. Jacob, 13, and Mattie, 9, entertain me and keep me on my knees!
    "Once your enemy, now seated at your table. Jesus, thank you!" ~ Sovereign Grace Music

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