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Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 6,145
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Posts: 6,145 
Hi all! I know I'm always singing the praises of Singapore Math for home/afterschooling, but...
As we finish up Singapore book 2B, DS6 is bored with math. Frankly, so am I. It's been so easy, so basic, so concrete that we've been doing a unit per day (so that's doing a semester's worth of work in about 9 days!). There's just not enough actual THINKING. I looked through 3A, and it seems like more of the same stuff we did in 2B, even though Singapore is supposed to be MUCH better than most about not spiraling through the same curriculum over and over. But if you can add and subtract 3digit numbers, then adding and subtracting 4digit numbers is not exactly a challenge for an HG+ kid...and that's what's coming up. The whole 3A book, actually, seems pretty <meh> that way.
So, my question:
What would you do to jazz up math for this kid?
Limiting factors: DS6 has learned how to multiply, but at the advice of MANY people who should know, including 2 different psychologists (not to mention my own intuition on the subject!), I'm not pushing him to memorize the multiplication tables yet. We worked on it a little, and it just made him hate math time. He'll get there when he gets there, and I'm okay with that...
Also, I am not a math person. I took all the way through college calculus, but it was definitely something I did because I had to. I do not love math. I do not want to pass on my blase'ness to my son.
What I'm thinking/doing so far: I'm getting my hands on the British Scholastic book club's series called "Murderous Maths," and I'm hoping those will form a lesson plan or two for us. They're things like codes, fractions, averages, trig, formulas, etc., and they're presented in a fun way, so I'm hoping they will appeal to him.
I'm also checking out every book on geometry that I can, since that seems to be the math that most fires him up. I may even go so far as teaching him how to do proofs, since he loves rulebased stuff. (If proofs are a flop, it will be a onetime experiment and we'll move on...but it seems worth a try.)
Any other suggestions for teaching a very bright, very verbal 6.5yo some offroad math?
Any topics in math that you think might be winners?
Other curriculum ideas are welcome, though I probably won't go with a Saxon/Kumon/etc. style program, since I am generally very happy with Singapore. We just need to jazz it up a little for a while.
I think what I'm really looking for is something more conceptual. I feel like 3A is (and 2B was!) just too concrete for the kid. I want some higherlevel thinking skills in action, as I think that's what he's craving.
Thanks, everyone! I appreciate any help you can offer!
Kriston




Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 2,231
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Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 2,231 
Hi Krison,
DD7 just tried a free trial from Aleks math. I actually became aware of the website through this forum. It's an online self adjusting math program that she can do herself. We just recieved an email to try it for one month for free as a result of utilizing the free 48 hour trial. We will take adavantage of this as I was ready to start paying for it anyway.
If you are interested in checking it out you can go to Aleks.com and look for the free trial.
Incog




Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 902
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But if you can add and subtract 3digit numbers, then adding and subtracting 4digit numbers is not exactly a challenge for an HG+ kid...and that's what's coming up. I know what you mean. Looking through the next few Singapore math books it's obvious that DS can already do quite a lot from the next few levels. I kind of like it DS is at 3A as well, I think there are only one thing he doesn't know in 2B are gallons, pint, ... one of these days we will look at it. The really new thing in 3A is multiplication of big numbers such as 287*7 and long division. If your son doesn't know the table than taking break from Singapore sounds like a good idea, otherwise skip things he can obviously do or let him choose what he wants to do (that's what we do, we leave books of different levels lying around he is free to do what he wants or nothing if that's his choice). This week I got Primary Grade Challenge Math by Edward Zaccaro and it looks like a good book. There are things my son knows really well, but there are a few concepts which will be new to him. Level 4 problems look pretty nice, challenging, but doable. Life of Fred Fractions by Stanley Schmidt is a nice funny book. Lots of multiplication and division though, but you can always help your son with that and worry about the concepts only.
LMom




Joined: Sep 2007
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Thanks for the comments! I appreciate the help!
'Neato: Is Aleks really any different than Singapore, aside from the fact that it's online?
I know other people using it who love it, but I'm not convinced that it's really going to be any more conceptual. I trust you though, so if you think it's more conceptual, I'm willing to give it a try! Thank you!
LMom: I was thinking about Life of Fred. I checked out their website and everything, but it didn't seem any more conceptual, just more verbal. What do you think? We really do need more ideas, not just more words.
I haven't heard of the Zaccaro book, but I'll look into it. Thanks!
***
Another question: Would I be a bad teacher if I let DS use a calculator some of the time (not all) so that we can move on to more challenging problems? "Yes, you'd be bad" is a valid answer.
I think I'll give DS6 the Singapore placement test for 3A. If he knows it all already, we'll just skip it. If he knows most of it, I'll teach just what he misses on the test and nothing else. And so on with each placement test until we get to one that he really needs. I guess I'm looking for those gaps...
Tonight at dinner, DHwho is an engineerand I sat trying to think of typical elementary school math concepts that DS hasn't been exposed to yet, and we came up with a precious few. I'm now checking online as I write this to add to the list, and I see that he needs to know multiplying and dividing fractions (we've covered adding and subtracting them and finding a common denominator), long division, multiplace multiplication problems, the more complex geometry (like figuring the area and circumference of a circle [though he knows Pi r squared, the Pythagorean theorem, and some of the other common geometric formulas aleady], rays, measuring angles, etc.), probability, negative numbers (though he's picked up some of this already), X/Y coordinates, and we could do some computer programming. But without knowing hs times tables, some of this is going to be hard to do.
Hmmm, now that I've written that, I'm thinking we should do probability, geometry, X/Y graphing, negative numbers and computers. Huh. That might constitute the rest of our year now that I think about it...
...Or it might be a week's worth of work if we go through it as fast as we've been ripping through Singapore. I really am trying to go "deeper, not faster," but we seem to be failing that.
*Concerned and tired sigh*
Anyway, thanks for indulging my confused ramblings/musings! It's helping me a ton to have your thoughts and comments!
K
Kriston




Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 797
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I remember that we enjoyed "the adventures of Penrose the Mathematical Cat" at your son's age. I think there were a lot of concepts and projects in there. We passed the book on to a friend so I can't check.




Joined: Sep 2007
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Thanks, acs. I'll check on it!
Kriston




Joined: Dec 2007
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I think you may like the Zaccaro book. It covers lots of different concepts and you can do whatever your son is interested in. It covers probability, negative number, square roots, circumference and area, decimals, logic, percents, fractions, ... It has no geometry though. It's word problem oriented and has 4 levels of difficulty.
Fred is funny. It's a nice reading and you get to laugh a lot. It introduces new concepts but it may be going little too fast. You know not really enough practice.
You could also get the next few Singapore books and do whatever part he is interested in. Like I said DS does what he wants to and once I think he knows everything from a given level (regardless of what he did or didn't do in the workbooks) I give him the placement test just to make sure. You could also try the Singapore Challenging problems.
I think you can let your son use the calculator. Concepts are much more interesting than pure counting. Let's face it how many adults really use long division? Of course he will have to learn it one day but it shouldn't keep him from enjoying the more interesting topics. We usually help our son to do the calculations on the paper, sometimes it's us writing it down and commenting on how it's done and asking him simple questions. That way he is exposed to it and will learn it when he is ready. I think it worked quite well for the multi digit multiplication, long division will probably take more time.
LMom




Joined: Sep 2007
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I think you can let your son use the calculator. Concepts are much more interesting than pure counting. Let's face it how many adults really use long division? Of course he will have to learn it one day but it shouldn't keep him from enjoying the more interesting topics. This was my thinking exactly. Plus, as visual as DS6 is, he might actually learn the multiplication by accident if he sees the calculator spit out the same answers to the problems each time. That would be ideal. I just don't want to handicap him, to make him unable to do the calculations when he needs to learn it, you know? I don't think that would happen, but I'm certainly no expert on this! The Zaccaro sounds good. We do use Singapore "Challenging Word Problems" and the "Intensive Workbook." They help slow things down a bit. But he's still pretty bored with it all if he's not learning new concepts, which seems like it defeats the purpose of home schooling! Gratefully, K
Kriston




Joined: Aug 2007
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We have a fair sized library of narrative style math books. My kids have always tested way out there conceptually and I give credit to the math books they have read for fun. I also like the Zaccaro book, though we only have experience with the next level book, I have heard nothing but good reviews of the primary book. Here are some books that DS might enjoy: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art28465.aspand here is my review of Life of Fred: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art25135.aspBTW, my kids have gone back and forth between Singapore and several other programs because they seem to do well with a little novelty. It's ok to play around with different programs and even take a break from formal studies for a time. I don't like to leave math out altogether, but there are many ways to incorporate it into the day without workbook or problem sets. hth




Joined: May 2006
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Kriston,
I've been curious about the Johns Hopkins CTY math series or Stanford EPGY for elementary students. JHU at least is bright and fun looking.
Let me know what you end up finding. My DS6 is doing 4th grade math at school, but I'm not sure how much is being covered. They have ALEKS at school, but again, I'm not sure how often he does it.




