Math Facts - How much to expect

Julie in MN
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Location: Minnesota

Math Facts - How much to expect

Unread post by Julie in MN » Fri Oct 24, 2008 9:40 pm

BHelf wrote:Okay, forgive my inexperience here. :) This is our first year homeschooling and I am sort of at a loss. My DD "gets" addition (and apparently easy subtraction) but I can't figure out how to go about memorizing the math facts. Sometimes I'll ask her something that I know she knows and she spouts off the answer without thinking and other times I'll ask the same question and she has to pause and count her fingers (or whatever). It's sort of frustrating because I know she knows it. She is very bright and loves the math part of school--especially the Complete Book of Math workbook.

So what are some really good ways to get her to memorize these math facts? Ideas other than using flashcards? She gets really bored with the games because she gets the concept--it's mainly the memorization we need to work on. And should I work on memorizing facts for 1 number at a time before moving on? Like 3+1, 3+2, 3+3 etc or should I work on all +1, all +2, all +3 facts etc? Feel free to link me if this has already been addressed.
Thank you!
Okay, I'll feel free to link :o)

Here are a bunch of great ideas (2 pages, in fact):
http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php?t=1141

At our house, it helped to have a set way to drill in place, but to drill a different way each day of the week.

I wouldn't expect 100% retention for a couple more years still. But your method of checking the same facts again at different times is a good one. In other words, memorize, but then review because the memorization may fade off.

I'm sure others with little ones will have more great ideas!
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

cbollin

Unread post by cbollin » Sat Oct 25, 2008 1:32 pm

Lots of great ideas on that link that Julie found. I'll have to re-read that whole list to see if musical facts were suggested. My kids liked having some math songs. Some were cheesier than others though. <grin>
Julie in MN wrote:I wouldn't expect 100% retention for a couple more years still. !
I just want to echo that statement. From your sig line, I guess you are talking about your 6 year old. It will come with time. (hug)

You don't have to have mastery of the facts at this point before moving on. You'll be working all year and next on this too. In the 1st grade manual, Marie gives us that assurance too that some kids will not master all of the facts and memory in first grade. Understanding concept is more important right now.

Classroom teachers use charts, so it is ok to have a chart of some of the facts on the wall. That way she can see them at random times in the day. Your child can even refer to the chart with the right answers so that she is not guessing the wrong answer. nothing wrong with that.

Don't fret about the counting on fingers thing at this age. Her mind is probably very busy and she just needs a way to think about it. I know it is frustrating for us as teacher/moms (and dads) when they can't recall a specific fact. But it's ok for them to take a moment and think about the answer.

You asked about order to try to teach those facts and all of that. I don't know if there is a one better way or not. But, on p. 17 of the 1st grade manual there is a suggested order for it. It's page 17 in my older copy. It is the page right before the detail instructions for day 1 of the program and is in the section called Addition and Subtraction Activities. So, that might be a nice order to try. And remember that this goal of memorization can carry over into the second grade.

I tend to teach addition facts for a few days, then do it the Singapore Math way and teach the same facts but from the subtraction side of it. So, if we just learned 3+ 1 =4, 1+3=4 then we cover 4-1 =3, and 4-3=1

I encourage you to let your child use some kind of manipulatives (food, blocks, dry beans, toy pieces) to be able to use more than one sense while learning the facts and doing worksheets and things. They can touch the manipulatives, and see them, and say it out loud. And they can even repeat the correct answer after you say it for when they get stuck.

-crystal

cbollin

I need a math life line.

Unread post by cbollin » Thu Nov 20, 2008 1:05 pm

TammyB wrote:We are stuck in math. Again. Having tears. We are in Singapore 2A and just finished adding two digit numbers with renaming. Eight year old son gets the concept, but.....

He still doesn't have all of the addition and subtraction facts down cold. Obviously, we can't move on.

We've done addition songs, flashcards, drill sheets, oral review, made up little jingles....... He is doing the daily tears thing again. (It is not a behavior issue.) Honestly, I'm not sure if math is just hard for him or if I just don't do well teaching it.

So, what to do about the two following issues:

1. getting the math facts memorized
2. the Singapore issue -- I know it is the MFW recommendation. I'm trying my best, but my kid is in tears.

I want to add that my son is highly perfectionistic. Thanks in advance for the help!
uh, I am not sure that is an obvious issue. and I don't think it is the case. He is early 3rd grade, right??

This isn't so much about Singapore. He could be in any program and still struggling with facts and memory and would probably be upset based on what you are saying.

My 9 y.o (4th grader) still does not yet have all of her math facts 100% memorized and down fast. She sometimes needs to think a moment. It's ok. Time is needed. Not frustration. Sometimes it is patience that wins the battle. many times it is when a concept in Singapore is harder or a word problem has multiple steps. Her brain is processing. it's ok.

You can put the math books away for a little bit (a few weeks or days). I tend to put Singapore away for 1 week at the end of each book. But pick it back up. The B books are a lot of fun.

Here are my suggestions to help your child when his brain freezes on some of those facts. Take the pressure off of having them 100% memorized.
*Make a chart of math facts and let him look up for harder answers. Tell him it is ok to do that. The more often he looks up harder ones, the more practice he will get and it will stick.

*keep the chart visible during the day. That way he sees it during non math time too.

*circle the tough problems to make it quicker to find.

*when you do out loud drills, or flashcards, have him repeat the correct answer instead of guessing a wrong answer. Have him say "I forgot" and then show and say the right answer all the way through. 7 + 6 = 13 and keep those missed flashcards to the side. Let him refer to them when he is stuck.

*is there really any harm if they uses fingers as a manipulative at this age? My 9 y.o doesn't count on her fingers, she uses them to help her keep track. In other words, when her brain freezes on 13-5, she starts with 13 and counts backwards 5 numbers while tapping 5 fingers. Is it socially cool?? no. But sometimes in Singapore the concept is tough for her and her brain freezes on facts and she needs to figure it out. She does not have to do this with each and every problem, just a few that are still tricky. And she needs it less and less.

*practice a bit with Number Bonds as they were taught in 1A. Write them on a dry erase board and practice out loud in both directions.
8 + 5 = 13
5 + 8 = 13
13-8 = 5
13-5=8
and say them out loud.
with your hand (or with his hand), you can cover and uncover the hidden fact as needed.

As you can tell, I don't hold back help from those facts. The speed comes with time. I'd take a week off and start in book B. I'll bet you are doing a fine job in Singapore. Remember -- use the concrete stuff, then talk with the pictorial guides (thought bubbles and pictures) and then abstract.

-crystal

TammyB
Posts: 87
Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2006 10:27 pm

Re: I need a math life line.

Unread post by TammyB » Thu Nov 20, 2008 1:37 pm

Oh, Crystal! Bless you! Big, big help. :)

I thought he needed to have the facts memorized before moving on. I could just cry. I feel so relieved. (This has been a big stresser recently.)

I never thought about the chart. Now, that is an awesome idea. I will definitely do that. He can move on without having so much frustration. That just may do the trick.

I am so not math phobic and have always done quite well in math. Good grief, I have actually taught it in public school (not my main content area...I just had to teach one class of 7th graders one year.) I even taught GED math to adults for three or four years.

Teaching my own son elementary math....Oh my word. It is so much harder for me. What in the world is up with that???!!!!

Thanks, again!

Jenn in NC
Posts: 144
Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2006 2:00 pm

Re: I need a math life line.

Unread post by Jenn in NC » Thu Nov 20, 2008 1:43 pm

cbollin wrote:I don't hold back help from those facts. The speed comes with time.
I think this is absolutely key when trying to help a kid not become overly frustrated with math. Patiently and gently working towards the goal of automatic recall of the facts, and giving as much help as needed.

My all time favorite math drill program is Math-It, and it really encourages the kids to look at the answers as often as they need to... we have had very good success with this approach.

I like the chart idea.
mommy to four boys & two girls... and another boy on the way :)
completed K, 1st, ADV, ECC, CTG and RTR
2009--2010 Enjoying Exploration to 1850

PaulaA
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Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2007 2:07 pm

Unread post by PaulaA » Thu Nov 20, 2008 3:39 pm

This board is great for help isn't it?! You have some very good ideas already so I won't offer anything different except to say that we went through a very similar situation. My oldest is also very easily frustrated and a bit of a perfectionist. His strenght is math concepts-- his weakness is memorizing facts.

I remember taking time away from Singapore to work on facts for a bit--especially when he started into mulitiplication. It took him too long(by his standards) to do the problems. Even a short break helped his outlook.

My 9 year old is less frustrated with not knowing his fact so I let him use a multiplication chart while he does his work, but I still have him review his facts daily on a quick computer program on line.
Paula
Starting ECC in Aug. with ds 11, 9 and a 3 yold tagging along :)
http://joyfullearing.blogspot.com/

dhudson
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Unread post by dhudson » Thu Nov 20, 2008 5:52 pm

My twins are in 2B and they don't have every math fact memorized. We use the math windows from MFW and I just make them do them every day for independent work. They may not have all of them memorized but they are really quick at figuring them out. Having them memorize all the skip counting facts have been much more helpful.

We have Leapsters here at our house and there are great math games (that they like to play) available. My kids love to play them (especially my sons) and they are practicing their facts at the same time. They get to play them during rest time in the afternoons. Also, Singapore has a computer math game called Vroot and Vroom that my two play to master more Singapore math facts.

We play fun counting card games as well, Zues on the Loose is one that comes to mind but there are more. If you have the MFW1st TM they have really fun addition/subtraction games as well.

Your son will get it. I find doing all these "games" approaches really help my kids to see math as fun and inviting.
God Bless,
Dawn
http://www.shiningexamples.blogspot.com
blessed Mom of three - 16, 13 & 13
happy user of MFW since 2002

LA in Baltimore
Posts: 120
Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2008 7:01 pm

Unread post by LA in Baltimore » Thu Nov 20, 2008 7:36 pm

After all this great advice all I want to add is....
Don't Panic!!
No Math Program is perfect.
Making changes is not what a child needs (most of the time).
As moms, we tend to panic when things don't go smoothly and think "if only I switched programs, if only I taught it a different way...)
I actually have one child that took to the math facts (all of them through division) like a fish in water. She has a harder time, though, with concepts and we spend LOTS of time reviewing key concepts.
Another one is still shaky on the facts (and it drives him nuts!), but has no problem with concepts and is actually moving ahead at a faster pace than the other one. The facts will come!
Just my humble opinion. I'll be praying for you that God will give you clear direction!

LA in Baltimore
homeschooling my 4
1st year with mfw, 11th year homeschooling

RB
Posts: 87
Joined: Wed May 09, 2007 9:14 am

Unread post by RB » Thu Nov 20, 2008 7:50 pm

I can so relate to your conundrum, and I've been blessed by the responses you've received!
Just thought I'd add that I thought I'd totally messed up my perfectionist, gifted-in-language-arts oldest daughter by trying several math programs and then being "behind" in Singapore (she is not yet done with 2A). Math has been her biggest frustration over the years. But we just happened to do standardized testing last year and she did great on the math concepts part, and above average on the computation part. I was floored!!!!! We have good days and bad days with Singapore, but I think we will stick with it for a good while. I need to be more disciplined with a multifaceted approach to math facts. Most days I just say "Do some flashmaster" and it really isn't doing the job.
Oh, and I know MUS is a good program, but our experience was that dd could only do math if it was in her MUS book. If it came from any other source she went blank. Singapore has really helped her with that. I just mention this b/c it sounds like your ds and my dd might have some similarities in how they do math.
Wishing you math blessings!
R.B.
dd 15 dd 14 ds 12 ds 1
Adventures and 1st ('07/08), ECC and K ('08/09), CtG ('10-'11), RtR ('11-12), Expl-1850 ('12-'13)

kayben
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Joined: Mon Jun 02, 2008 7:40 am

Unread post by kayben » Thu Nov 20, 2008 9:06 pm

Somewhere I had seen a post about the "Seat of Knowledge".... Put the math facts poster on the wall accross from the potty (or whatever you want them to practice, like scripture on posterboard, preamble to the constitution etc.) and Maybe circle the tough ones or highlight them and there you have a few minutes of practice to hold off the boredom of looking around the bathroom.

Just a thought. I might try it...lol good luck!

RachelT
Posts: 352
Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 2:45 pm

Unread post by RachelT » Thu Nov 20, 2008 9:49 pm

Something else that I was wondering is how much time you have spent on the math facts? I just don't know your situation. Has it been just this year (3 or 4 months)? Has it been all of last year and this year (one year plus)?

I became somewhat impatient at times (with our MUS), but it took us months to work on the addition facts and it's taken us a few more months to learn our subtraction facts (about a full calendar year in all). So, even if you are sticking with Singapore, I think that it's something that takes time. I do not know what kind of a time you are expected to learn them all in.

Whatever math you are working on, maybe next week would be a good week to take "off" and only do math games? Or maybe even take a complete break for the week? I've also done this a couple of times during the school year and even over summer break I worried that all would be forgotten, but it seems like after these breaks is when my ds makes a conitive leap forward and continues on more quickly than before!!

Again, I think that many roads will lead to math success. I feel encouraged by what Crystal said:
cbollin wrote:She sometimes needs to think a moment. It's ok. Time is needed. Not frustration. Sometimes it is patience that wins the battle.
Hugs!!
Rachel
Rachel, wife to Doug ~ 1995, mom to J (17) and B (15)
MFW K (twice), 1st (twice), Adv., ECC, & CtG 2006-2010,
Classical Conversations 2010-2016,
ECC/AHL 2016-17, eclectic 2017-18, WHL & US1 2018-19

http://rachelsreflections-rachelt.blogspot.com/

Julie in MN
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Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Unread post by Julie in MN » Thu Nov 20, 2008 10:45 pm

My opinion is that no math program can teach the math facts. It is simply impossible for a curriculum writer to guarantee that your child will memorize 2x2 after a certain series of steps.

All public school elementary teachers for my 3 kids taught math facts separately from the math textbook. Some years, teachers did paper drills in class for 1, 3, or 5 minutes per day, and "passed" the child to the next harder page when they were able to complete the problems within the time limit. All of them asked parents to teach math facts at home. Some sent home paper manipulatives, and others asked parents to get flashcards. I remember with my oldest, we were assigned a fact of the week. I pasted that fact up everywhere around the house. But the next week, we were assigned another fact, whether the previous one was perfectly cemented or not.

I'm sad to say but I think you just must make a plan & go ahead & try it. You can find tons of math facts materials in a catalog like Rainbow or in a teacher store (because everyone has to get through the pesky things :o) Here are some good ideas, too:
http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php?t=1141
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

Jenn in NC
Posts: 144
Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2006 2:00 pm

Unread post by Jenn in NC » Fri Nov 21, 2008 5:57 am

Tammy --

I was just thinking about this again this morning and remembered that for one of my sons I had to add some sort of reward to our daily drill time in order to elicit a bit more enthusiasm on his part. I don't remember what we did... maybe m&m's or something equally unhealthy but motivating?

Anyway I just wanted to throw that idea out there. Maybe your ds would be more of a happy participant in the whole process if he felt that he *wanted* to learn the facts and actually looked forward to drill. Sounds a little oxymoronic when I tpye it out doesn't it :)
mommy to four boys & two girls... and another boy on the way :)
completed K, 1st, ADV, ECC, CTG and RTR
2009--2010 Enjoying Exploration to 1850

TammyB
Posts: 87
Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2006 10:27 pm

Unread post by TammyB » Fri Nov 21, 2008 6:23 am

kayben wrote:Queenshomeschool has mathfacts copywork. We have this but haven't really started yet. Basically you copy the table one time (or more I guess), getting into your head the RIGHT answer (instead of guessing the wrong answer) You stick with one table until it can be recited correctly and then you move on. It shows exaclty what to write and in what order and explains the process clearly in the instructions. YOu start at the place where your child begins to have one wrong. It mentions great success for all kinds of learners on the website.
I've looked at the samples of that online but decided not to go with it since my son is so anti-writing. If that weren't the case, I would have definitely considered it. :)

cbollin

Unread post by cbollin » Fri Nov 21, 2008 6:35 am

Julie in MN wrote:Hmmm... I used MUS as an extra from gamma through epsilon, and I don't feel it insured memorization of math facts any more than Singapore did. But I just used it as an extra when needed, so maybe I didn't catch something?

My opinion is that no math program can teach the math facts. It is simply impossible for a curriculum writer to guarantee that your child will memorize 2x2 after a certain series of steps.
100% Completely agreeing here. Nor will using mathusee mean that you are a better teacher!!!!!!! (((hugs))) to you Tammy. Most of their DVD lessons are very quick in terms of minutes to "teach mommy" what that week's lesson is about. Then you still need to read the teacher's manual and do the lessons. Even if you repeated every step and every word that a video did, there is no guarantee about anything. You won't necessarily be a better teacher just because you can imitate a video presentation.

Tammy, honestly speaking here as someone who has used MUS with oldest from her Kindy year until the end of ZETA ( and then in middle of 5th grade switched to Singapore 4B and used it until end of 6B): please be encouraged to stay the course with Singapore.

(soap box moment)
I did not really become a “better math teacher” from watching MUS videos. I was good at doing what Steve Demme did. (I can also say the same things about IEW's videos. I learn some cool things in the videos and audios, but it didn't mean my child learned writing better or that I was a better teacher.)
(off my soap box. I feel too tall. But I'm still preaching it.)

When I used Singapore I had to learn new things. Learning new things helped me to be a better teacher. You don’t have to know everything in Singapore right now. You’ll learn as you go. Tammy, don't worry so much that you might be missing one or two little points along the way in Singapore. Learn it as you go just like I did. I'm sure I didn't learn it all either. I learned it as I needed it. I'll help you.

Feel free to ask out loud over here, or even call the MFW office for a quick out loud demo when you aren't sure if you understand the bar diagrams or something. You can email me too.

There are certain points in Singapore that are common for many homeschoolers to get confused or stuck on. Your kids aren't going to be confused, because they don't have to unlearn it like we did. Right now, I’d lean in favor of calling the MFW office so that you don’t have to read a bunch of helps. Talking helps too. (I’d offer to help you myself on any specific problem in Singapore if you’d email me. My guess, is that it is just one of the common hard problems in Singapore that get asked about all the time.)

Singapore math also has a forum for helps. So, the helps are there for Singapore so that you don't have to tell yourself that you are without help or feel hindered.

Switching programs or thinking the grass is greener with a video at this point is not the issue. You need a confidence boost that you are not a failure with Singapore.

Go get a Singapore Home Instructor's Guide (Rainbow Resource sells them) if you need some more hand holding through it.

Do you still have your MFW 1st grade manual? Would those kinds of step by step facts approach help at all?

Do you still have Singapore 1A handy? The early part of that book has Singapore's system for learning facts with addition and subtraction.

With all of that said, I agree that sometimes seeing a Singapore lesson can be helpful for certain times. But more than that, you can homeschool and teach your kids. You can do this. Using Singapore will teach you and your child new things and that will help you be a better teacher because you are learning with them. Go with the HIG if it will give you the confidence boost.

But more than that, remember that when you call on Jesus, HE will help too. I was terrified that I wouldn't be able to teach long division to my middle child with Singapore. HE made it one of our easy lessons. Singapore's pictures made it easy. I was scared, but when Jesus opened my eyes to the pictures in Singapore and how I could use it with my middle girl, well, I wasn't hindered by "lack of help"

HE is able.
-crystal

TammyB
Posts: 87
Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2006 10:27 pm

Unread post by TammyB » Fri Nov 21, 2008 6:53 am

Julie in MN wrote: My opinion is that no math program can teach the math facts. It is simply impossible for a curriculum writer to guarantee that your child will memorize 2x2 after a certain series of steps.
Hi, Julie!
It just couldn't be that easy, could it? :)

It isn't so much that I think some programs work "the magic" as much as I think some have more built in review in them and offer more guidance for the mom on how to get it done. I could be completely wrong on this, but my understanding is that some, like Saxon and perhaps even Horizons, spend a lot of time in the program itselfon memorization. Some of us, particularly those of us who are doing this for the first time or who have never been through this with a child in the ps, would benefit greatly with a little more concrete help.

Let me swallow my pride a moment and show you just how dense I can be: I actually am not completely clear on exactly what it means for a child to learn the addition facts to 18. Does that mean all the facts that add up to 18 or all the facts from 1+1 to 18+9?

Singapore has wonderful in helping me to teach the concepts of addition and subtraction. I just wish I had something as wonderful to go along with it to help me navigate through all of my uncertainty in how to get all of that information cemented in my child's head. It could even be as simple as a booklet that would walk me through the process, give me instruction on how to drill, offer suggestions for games, and tell me what level of mastery on a particular set of facts my child should have before we move on to the next.

It would also be helpful to have advice on when it is safe to move on even when the child has not attained mastery. For example, in my original post I said that obviously my son could not move on to subtraction with renaming since he has not yet mastered the subtraction facts. I could foresee all sorts of tears if he moved on. When Crystal pointed out that it is fine to provide a chart for the child to look up answers, I really was quite shocked. I don't remember ever being able to do anything like that when I was in school, so that thought never occurred to me at all.

I really am just so thankful that I went ahead and posted my dilemma here. I've received so much useful advice that I have an idea on how to proceed. :)

Blessings!

Julie in MN
Posts: 2927
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Unread post by Julie in MN » Fri Nov 21, 2008 10:11 am

Tammy, I hope you are having a wonderful celebration and take a nice long break to rest your brain :o) But after you return...
TammyB wrote:Let me swallow my pride a moment and show you just how dense I can be: I actually am not completely clear on exactly what it means for a child to learn the addition facts to 18. Does that mean all the facts that add up to 18 or all the facts from 1+1 to 18+9?
This is not at all uncommon. Here's a thread on it, in fact:
http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php?t=4886
TammyB wrote:It could even be as simple as a booklet that would walk me through the process, give me instruction on how to drill, offer suggestions for games, and tell me what level of mastery on a particular set of facts my child should have before we move on to the next.
Well, you could use something like CalcuLadders. That is very clear.

Or we could "create" a booklet for you here -- that would have more variety than just one system like CalcuLadders. I think it would just involve (a) deciding on a pattern of materials & activities to use each week and (b) developing a sequence... Is there anything I'm forgetting?
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

MFW-Lucy

Unread post by MFW-Lucy » Fri Nov 21, 2008 4:27 pm

Dear Tammy,

I want to encourage you that if he has not memorized all of his facts by the end of 2a he is not off track. He is getting the concepts in Singapore which at this point is more important than having all of his facts memorized.

One of the unique qualities of Singapore Math is that it teaches the student to think about how to solve the problem, not just memorize the formula for solving the problem. Singapore teaches the student many different ways to solve the same type of problem. This thinking process makes a stronger math student. Memorizing math facts before understanding the process for solving a problem can keep a child from thinking. The earlier a child begins drilling and memorization, the more likely the child will be prevented from going through the thinking process. We recommend waiting to do math fact drilling and memorizing until the child has learned the thinking process behind the drill. For some this may be as late as the completion of 2B for addition and subtraction drill, which covers the thinking processes behind addition and subtraction. For others understanding the concepts of addition or subtraction may begin in first grade. The same is true for 3B as it relates to multiplication and division.

This does not mean that you can not gently introduce facts as you see your children are ready to learn them, but take it slowing helping them to know a few well and then move to a new set slowly continuing to over learn the old one as you introduce the new ones. This is for some a slow process, while for others it is quick. It is important to work gently and with patience when drilling facts so that our children do not feel a pressure to perform.

When it is time to drill, we recommend flashcards and games that would help them to memorize.

I am encouraged when you tell us that he was telling you how to get his answer to a problem. This shows that he is thinking mathematically and is grasping the concept.

Now a question for you. Is he struggling with the concepts or is it that he feels he should be able to work faster? What is it that you think upsets him?

If there are some concepts that he did not do well on in the final review take some time to return to those concepts and practice them again just using the textbook problems and practice pages. Once you start 2B you could do one practice problem of any concept from 2A that he needs extra help on.

Lucy

MFW-Lucy

Unread post by MFW-Lucy » Mon Nov 24, 2008 10:39 am

Jenn in NC wrote:Hi Lucy,
I want to make sure I am understanding you correctly -- you saying that mfw recommends holding off on drilling facts until I am sure the child understands the concept behind addition/subtraction, even if that means waiting till close to the end of 2nd grade (or whatever grade the child is in when working through 2b)... right? That is interesting, I didn't know that. Until that point they just use manipulatives to work out the problems?

For example my ds7 does not know what the answer to 9+8 is... but he can use the math blocks to figure it out.

Just wanting to clarify as I was just starting drill work with him, and now I am thinking I should perhaps wait a bit. Technically (for reporting purposes) he is halfway through 2nd grade but really he just finished mfw 1st grade. He is in 1a, and seems to do well -- but is slowed down during a lesson by not knowing the drill facts.
Dear Jenn,
Yes, you are understanding correctly that understanding the concept is the first goal and then memorizing facts. In the first grade manual you will see that the progression starts off with +1 facts. It may be that a child can easily learn these but is not ready for +9 facts, but with a lot of practice of taking one from the other number to make 9 become a 10 and then adding what is left over (ie. 9+8 becomes 10+7) will be easier once they understand that concept. So you do not have to wait until they understand all addition concepts.

It is fine to let them work with the blocks to help get the answers. You may want to get him to tell you what to do and have you move them at some point or have him tell you what he is doing while he is moving the manipulatives around. Verbalizing can help solidify the thinking process. Eventually you want him to be able to think in his head how to make the 9 a 10 and add the left over. This will come with lots of practice.

The first grade manual talks about some of this on pages 16 and 17 and also assures you that the goal of learning the facts can be carried over into the 2nd grade. For some students this may mean a completion of learning the addition and subtraction facts in 3rd grade. Once they grasp the concept then memorizing will be much easier.

So, as you see that they have a concept such as 3+1 then you can begin working on the +1 facts. You want them to be over-learned so once you move on to the +0 facts you still will want to keep practicing the +1 facts. As they have learned both sets then you can mix them up.

I hope this has helped to clarify. Please let me know if you have more questions.

Jenn in NC
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Unread post by Jenn in NC » Mon Nov 24, 2008 1:27 pm

Thanks Lucy! I think I am understanding now. We haven't stressed memorization of the facts yet b/c his brain has been pretty saturated. I actually think he is picking it up as we go along though. Anyway thank you for clarifying all that for me :)
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Julie in MN
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Math question again

Unread post by Julie in MN » Thu May 31, 2012 7:25 pm

secondchance wrote:I am planning on doing Singapore Math like MFW suggests, but I have heard that I will still need to plan on practicing basic facts w/ them.

Does anyone have any ideas on a good resource? my one son especially is in dire need of learning basic facts. I need something that I can do w/ no prep time. I would rather spend a little money for a good resource that will help us to do this consistently than to try to devise my own system and only be hit or miss. thanks!
My youngest really liked having a variety. So I tried to set up a pattern - Mondays do Quarter Mile Math (a computer program that actually focuses on drill), Tuesdays do flashcards, etc.

Lots of ideas here:
http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=1141
http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=8429

Julie
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secondchance
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Re: Math question again

Unread post by secondchance » Thu May 31, 2012 9:01 pm

Thanks for the links, Julie. So many awesome ideas there. I am going to work on coming up with my math plans over the summer, and hoping for an early Aug start. But I plan to work on math facts all summer, hoping that will make things go smoother for us when we actually start our hs'ing year at summer's end.

Do you (or does MFW) recommend doing an actual speed drill each day, or just practice the facts each day? Seems like there's two separate things: practicing/learning the facts ( flashcards, computer, games, etc) and timed drills for evaluating mastery.

They don't really teach the basic facts too much at our kid's school. They are expected to learn them at home. They are generally covered in a chapter or two of the book and a few review problems at the bottom of the homework page. But after all the homework in other areas, my ds was usually too burnt out to spend time working on math drills in the evening. When I was a kid I remember having to write them in school. And we drilled orally everyday in math class.

Thanks for the suggestions. I will return to this post again in the near future as I plan.
Blessings!
Debbie

gratitude
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Re: Math question again

Unread post by gratitude » Thu May 31, 2012 10:14 pm

Calculadder is a great program. It costs only a little, and gives math fact practice. The one challenge for my ds8 this year has been that his hand writing isn't as fast as the times given. It only gives 2 minutes for a page of math facts. They start off very easy like 1 + 1, 2 + 1, etc. They do 10 pages of the exact same facts to build speed.

Recently I started doing it orally for a different type of practice, and I have found that it makes doing it within the time frame given very doable. I think it has helped.

The other thing we have used is Xtra Math Facts on the computer. It puts up flashcards on the computer and then gives the answer if they don't answer it within a minute. They then have to type in the correct answer before it goes on. It is free.

I tried the flash cards and they never worked for us.

TriciaMR
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Re: Math question again

Unread post by TriciaMR » Thu May 31, 2012 10:50 pm

Lots of stuff out there. I have found with one of my kids that we can do it in the time allotted, if I hold the pencil and he tells me the answer. Being able to write fast is challenging for a left-handed dyslexic kid. We used to rotate between lots of different things, but I like xtramath because I get progress updates each week, and can see how they are progressing (and they do progress). I also drill with flashcards each day.

But, first you have to teach them the answers (once they understand the concept). So, I would focus on 5 or so at a time. The first day, just say the problems with the answers, showing the answers. Then, the next day hide the answers and see what they remember...

-Trish
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Julie in MN
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Singapore math questions..

Unread post by Julie in MN » Wed Jun 11, 2014 6:54 pm

Joyhomeschool wrote:I'm using 1A with my 2nd grader. We use Fast Facts addition each day before starting Math and he is attempting more math problems each day. But... how do you go about memorizing Math Facts taught in a lesson? We have learned several and I'm not sure there is enough practice to get them memorized.
Hi Vicki,
I want to be sure I understand what you are asking.

You are using the Fast Facts, for what is traditionally called "drill," i.e. committing to memory the math facts 1+1, 2+2, and so on?

You'll basically be working on these as a separate subject until they are known (in my case, we went up through committing to memory some of the fraction conversions in 7th grade). You can add other methods to the Fast Facts, like the MFW flashcards.

Then there are math concepts taught during your Singapore lessons. Is that what you are wanting to commit to memory as well? The thing is that Singapore's whole method of learning is different than we grew up with in the U.S. The Singapore method is to understand that there are many ways to solve math problems, and to build up the number of tools in the toolbelt. However, the kind of memory work that you use for math facts might lead to the opposite result in learning math concepts -- the opposite being the idea that there is one way to do something.

There is automatic reinforcement built into math. I mean, you continue using addition at times even during calculus. Singapore builds more and more reviews in the upper levels. I think concepts will be reinforced as you go along, but if you feel the need to "hover in place" at times, that can be done just by stopping and spending more time on a concept (building the problem with legos, for instance, or even using other math things you have). Or, you can wait until it comes around again.

Does that help at all?
Joyhomeschool wrote:So you're saying in Singapore Its not so much about memorizing Math Facts as it is about knowing the how of Math? So is that why the MFW lesson plans don't mention drilling facts? In 1A that is.

Just for background. We come from Math U See, are using 1A with a 2nd grader, 3A with a 4th And 4A with a 6th grader. In the older boys it does say to review facts so I've been using the Fast Facts with all the boys each day before starting Math. I let my 1A child do as many problems as he knows. Which is mostly +0, +1 and some =10 that he's learned so far. Some times the older k uses a Singapore CD Rom (rainbow rock or something) I found at a used bookstore. It says for primary 1 and 2. anyway. I'm just coming from from a mastery program and am not sure what to do.
Vicki,
Yes, Singapore and MUS are very different programs, it would take a long time to put that into words LOL.

I am not at home with my manuals, but MFW does have math facts on the grid some years, and MFW does include Fast Facts and math flash cards in some packages (the 1st grade program has +/-). I believe all manuals and lesson plans do mention doing drill? But the lesson plans are primarily for the Singapore portion of math so not sure they include a lot on the added drill portion; someone who's using them more recently can chime in or I'll try to check later when I'm at home.

Drill can be included in math programs, but math teachers in public schools know that what the program spells out does not mean every student will master math facts after the exact same amount of practice. Some are ready to move on much earlier while some need much longer. Most public schools also expect parents to be doing a lot at home, and they know that varies. Many if not most Asian students who might use Singapore or other successful Asian math programs are also doing math facts at after-school centers and at home. Scheduling math facts practice can be a good reminder and you might add it to any grids that don't include it, but the level will vary with each child, and doesn't necessarily match the child's math concepts progress.

P.S. The Singapore CDs are fun Singapore concept practice but not so much math facts drill. Computer games like Quarter Mile Math are more exclusively math facts, with a focus on speed and accuracy.

HTH,
Julie
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

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