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Joined: Oct 2006
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I attended the parent seminar at my son's CTD class this past weekend. The speaker was Dr. Noreen Winningham, who is at the Univ. of Chicago where they developed "Everyday Math" also known as Univ. of Chicago Math or sometimes called Chicago Math. Does anyone have any experience using this curriculum?
Dr. Winningham spoke about what parents should expect from a math curriculum and emphasized the child's ability to converse mathematically. Focus should be on process, not just procedure. She suggested Everyday Math for us to use in homeschooling, but there is no specific format for homeschooling  it is designed for group instruction and requires teacher training.
She also suggested Singapore math, but NOT the US version. Also mentioned Trailblazers. Anyone have thoughts or comments on any particular curriculum, especially used for homeschooling?
Sidenote: Dr. Winningham HATES Saxon Math  says it is all procedural and the kids don't learn how to think. That pretty much confirmed our thoughts (DH and I). I doubt that our son will return to the school's math program until perhaps high school.




Joined: Dec 2005
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Hi Debbie, Math is a bit of a political issue right now. My son used Trailblazers and I liked it  provided that he could have been radically accelerated it would have been very fun and useful. I am not sold on this "procedures bad, communication good" view of math. I think that procedures, communication, and memorization all have their place in Math. Where does this leave you?
My advice is to try some different approaches and see what works best for your son. Don't worry about what the experts are saying at this time, just "feel around" and you'll know when your child is engaged and learning. I really like experts in general, but it's important to recognise when a battle that doesn't really concern you is being fought, and to steer clear!
Best Wishes in all your endeavors! Trinity
Coaching available, at SchoolSuccessSolutions.com




Joined: Jun 2006
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Rite has used both Everyday Math and Saxon Math. Neither were very good, ime. They do a lot of repetition and very little in developing critical thinking skills, ime, too.
Mite did the Dive Into Math Saxon cd program. It worked to some degree, but it was strong on rote and repetition.
Both boys are excellent in concept, but poor in rote memory. So, these programs were not helpful to them.
Willa Gayle




Joined: May 2006
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Willa Gayle,
My DS7 is also excellent in concept but poor (impatient with) in rote memory. Have your boys used anything that was a good match for this?




Joined: Dec 2005
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Remember the idea that the other children are bunnies, happily crunching on blades of educational grass, while your child is an elephant, starving, educationally, if it can't gobble down whole trees?
I figured out for my son, that if I want him to eat the grass (memorise math facts) then I had better make garlands of it and string it on the trees that he is inclined to much on, so he'll digest them and never know it!
Best example is: Needing to firm up the math facts  I introduced him to a long hand multiplication of triple digit numbers. He got to practice the math facts (blades of grass) while chomping on the triple digit mulitplication problems (tree.) Just make to teach him short hand multiplication as soon as possible!
Another way of saying the same thing, is to try to get the upper level thinking to create a need for the rote memorization.
And  There's always computer games! Of course, in an idea world, I'd like to get the kid to program their own math drill game, then use it one themself! Perhaps possible with powerpoint, but I never pulled that off! Trinity
Coaching available, at SchoolSuccessSolutions.com




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Jill  my kids use their dad!!! lol Trin  those are good ideas. I've been having some success with that with Mite with addition and subtraction. His other limitation is that he KNOWS and has a lot of it in rote, but sometimes he'll still fall back on the fingers. Then his little fingers don't move righthe counts them against his chinand he'll double count 1 or drop 1 in the process and get it all wrong.
We let him use a multiplication chart while munching on the trees. He still likes square roots and DH has given him lots of things to do with those.
But still, wouldn't it be nice if we could just plug them in and charge them up!!!
Willa Gayle




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Thanks! I've got him figuring out the prime factorization of the number of the day for school (instead of making up an addition problem), which does encourage him to practice the multiplication facts. It sounds like a similar approach. On the topic of making your own computer games... DH recently started teaching DS7 to program in a language called KPL  Kid's Programming Language. For more info see: http://www.kidsprogramminglanguage.com/DS7 is absolutely captivated! The program he wrote last week is half way there to usable as a drill program. I calculates mutiplication facts instead of asking for the correct answers. Hmmm... I see a programming project in his future.




Joined: Dec 2005
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I like this card game set: Primepak, although DS10 is cool on it: http://lawrencehallofscience.stores.yahoo.net/primepak.htmlfor addition and subtraction, my family has always used the card game called "Casino." Except we let the jack equal 11, Queen =12, King = 13, and Ace = 1 or 14 Trin
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Great resources! Thanks to everyone. I really need to start a list somewhere. The postits are cluttering up the computer area! I have a hard time remembering what I like/don't like about different links.
Anyway, I have gotten some really interesting feedback on the whole math thing. I guess I didn't realize how controversial the whole "math reform" thing is. I'm really just looking for a "system" that works for our son to learn what he needs to know. Here's what we've got going so far:
1)I have ordered the Singapore program to try as a basic structure. 2)We have a bunch of workbooks, from 1st to 3rd grade level, (basic skills, math games and problem solving, time/money/fractions type books) to pull from as needed. 3) We still have access to ALEKS with a program in place. 4) I've ordered Ed Zaccaro's book Primary Math Challenges for supplement ideas. 5)DS absolutely LOVES Math Blasters  which is a great way for him to build his computation skills/speed. We have a chart set up where he can put stickers on as he masters each level in each subject area. Oh, and 6) I am armed with the NCTM's list of what a child needs to learn in math.
So, I'm thinking we are covered for homeschooling in math. Heck, we learned about congruency and symmetry while sitting in McDonald's over the weekend. I'm taking advantage of the flexibility!
I'm also planning for the long haul. I doubt that DS will be able to return to our local school for math until HS. Maybe. Time will tell.




Joined: Dec 2005
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You will get there Debbie! Just remember to keep an eye on your son! That will make the rest fall into place. Sounds like your preliminary plan is very good.
Trinity
Coaching available, at SchoolSuccessSolutions.com




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I was just watching myself do an addition problem, and for the record, when I see 5 +7, I think  7= 5+2, so 10 + 2 equals 12. My 8 + 7 goes: (2x7)plus 1 = 15.
So for all you Moms pulling your hair out over your kid's wacky math, ((shrug)) it seems to be ok. I'm guessing that many of us have never "memorised" our math facts, just gotten really really fast at our own workarounds. If you can get your child to automatisity, I think it's worth doing, but....
((wink)) Trinity
Coaching available, at SchoolSuccessSolutions.com




Joined: Feb 2006
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My few cents, for what it is worth... Whem my son started taking class at The Art of Problem Solving, he suddenly realized that he needs to know square and cube roots of single digit numbers right off the top of his head, just to be able to come fast with an answer. And while he is the last person to memorize math (he needs to understand, otherwise gets really antsy), he is memorizing it ;) Ania




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Since starting to really look for math education information, I have come across such a broad range of opinions and methods  it's amazing and overwhelming!
But one piece that has really stuck with me is how some gifted kids can handle the abstract typically way sooner than they have mastered the computation facts. And that many of those who are naturally gifted mathematically, who "think math" I guess you could say, will often realize as they start to do the higher level stuff that having the computations memorized would make things go faster. So then they do like your son, Ania, and memorize it when it is relevant.
Others, like my husband, and perhaps Trinity ;), are skilled at that mental math and don't need to memorize because they are so good at the mental computation. My husband always amazes me by how quickly he can multiply or divide fairly large numbers. But he does it in his head kind of like how Trinity describes it. While I'm still computing the standard algorithm in my head, he's already got the answer! Which seems to be what some of the "reform math" programs are trying to teach. But I would question whether it can be taught. Is that mental math capability a natural talent that can only be developed if the person already thinks that way? Or can you teach a child how to do it, even if they aren't inclined to think way?
I personally was the math computation whiz in grade school, great at those timed tests because I could memorize so easily. But then when I got to high school I didn't have the mental math flexibility to really understand how I was applying it all. Failed miserably in higher level math classes. My husband was the exact opposite. Failed miserably on anything timed  but excels at the abstract stuff! I see DS heading in the same direction! Last night he got all upset because the new version of Math Blaster we just got has a timed game. He was so upset that he started crying about how much he hates timed games! But I'm going to use it to help him understand how effort pays off. He needs to learn that soon  things being too easy all the time end up with such a twisted idea of how things should be all the time. Hopefully he will learn to love a good challenge AND be great at mental math!




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Debbie  What a laugh! Trying to teach someone to do math like me  when I sure think my way is "wrong."
But seriously, it sounds like you are one the right track. I think tht learning to enjoy a challenge is more important than almost anything else. The good news is he's younger than most, and so has an excellent chance of "getting right". My son didn't get the chance till age 10. The bad news is that to their minds, a week of "too easy work" is probably all it take to start twisting their baseline. So you will hear the shrill sounds of the mind untwisting as you apply the "supported push." And it is n't pretty. Nescessary, but not pretty. If you can give him a big picture overview once in a while, I believe it will help.
Best Wishes, Trinity
Coaching available, at SchoolSuccessSolutions.com




Joined: Mar 2007
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The person who you spoke to clearly had little knowledge of math programs. I do agree that Saxon math is not very good. It is especially bad for gifted children. Everyday Math is often held out as an example of a bad math program. It has even been in the news it is so bad.
Singapore Math, the US Edition, is exactly the same as Singapore Math the 3rd edition (nonUS edition) except that the US edition has some added chapters to cover US measurements. If you go to the Singapore Math website, it shows you exactly where the differences are. I use Singapore Math and have both editions. Page for page, the books are exactly the same, with the exception of some Americanized names and the added chapters. Nothing has been removed for the US editions from the 3rd edition.
Dr Winningham was clearly pushing Everyday Math because she works for the place that makes it. Think of her as the advertiser. She is working for the company that produces that product. You would be making a huge mistake if you bought in to this.
I am not familiar with Trailblazers.




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My daughter completed two years of the Everyday Math program at her school and it was awful! The program is too big picture. Skips concepts or does not require a "mastery" of a concept becuase it is taught again several chapters on or at the next level. For example students are introduced to geometry in second grade and asked to do basic calcualations but no instruction on what those calcualtions mean or why one would want to find the area of a circle until the next year or twos level.
Yes speaking and understanding mathematically is crucial, but so is understanding how to do the procedures. In my opinion an excellent math program should incorporate both the importance of procedure as well as the global understanding of math.




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I appreciate all the feedback I've gotten about math curricula. Thought I'd update you all on how we are doing!
We are using Singapore Math as our primary curriculum/guide for moving our son through topics. We supplement with games (tabletop and computer) to encourage basic skill mastery/computations as well as develop problem solving. We are also using those "teachable moments" to capitalize on his own intrinsic desire to learn and connect math to everyday activities. An example would be this past weekend when he was excited about having his friend come to sleep over and wanted to know how long until he would be at our house. We had a 10 minute math lesson on time and he didn't even "know" he was learning!
So far my husband is doing the formal homeschooling in the morning 34 days per week, about 30 to 45 minutes, and I supplement with the teachable moments and weekend stuff. We have a chart with stickers to encourage him to master different levels on Math Blasters, with a reward at different levels of completion (shopping trips for toys are the big motivator right now!). We stopped with ALEKS as we just don't have the time to sit with him and he isn't independent enough right now with the program. We found he likes the tabletop stuff better than the computer tutorials.
We are happy with how things are right now and hoping to continue fostering his interest in math. I'll look forward to more info on this and other threads.




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Oh Debbie  He sounds so happy! Well done! Trin
Coaching available, at SchoolSuccessSolutions.com




Joined: Apr 2007
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My 4th grade daughter uses Everyday Math in school and she is accelerated one grade. I agree that it does gloss over math facts and calculations, but I like that it teaches the big picture. It introduces some advanced concepts early. For example, I remember (in K or 1) they taught matrices early. This made it very easy to talk with my daughter about square roots, geometry concepts, etc. The same with algebraic concepts.
I also like the way it spirals (covering a topic then reintroducing it again and again at more difficult levels). It keeps it more interesting so kids aren't stuck with the same types of problems for weeks and weeks.
I did think, however, that the K curriculum was pretty much a joke. It was too easy and not just for the smart kids.




