no thinking skills in math-want to give up :)

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Gwenny
Posts: 750
Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2011 1:07 pm
Location: Texas

no thinking skills in math-want to give up :)

Post by Gwenny » Wed Nov 18, 2015 3:16 pm

So, I'm back with more woes from my 13 yo daughter and her math struggles. She is 3/4 of the way through 4B. For the most part, once she has struggled through a new math concept--learning a new formula or how to do longer multiplication, etc, she can get the "regular" equations done. She will still miss quite a few due to careless writing or adding/subtracting. Word problems?? Forget it! Unless it is a one-step straightforward problem--Sally had 16 in of string and cut it into three equal parts-how long were the parts?--she can't figure it out. We go over and over them. Same concepts, over and over, and once we go to a new exercise and the details of the word problem change, she doesn't get how to do it.

The most recent ones that came up 2 days in a row and she missed them both--even after detailed instruction the first time. A box of 6 chocolate bars weighs 2 lbs. The box weighs 4 oz. how much is each chocolate bar. She draws pictures, like I've told her to do, but the pictures usually have little to do with helping because she doesn't know what to draw. :) She drew a box and put 4 oz under it (I'm making up the numbers) then she drew 6 chocolates bars and put 2 lbs under it. Then she divided the 2 lbs by 6. When I asked about the box and the 4 oz she said that was just extra info they put in there but didn't mean anything! So, I tried to get her to understand without telling the answer. Took forever and finally had to tell her. Next day, new problem just different contents and weights. Did the EXACT same thing!!!

Pretty much, on the practice or review days, she misses 2/3 of the problems. On time, the question was something like, 3 hours 20 minutes x 2. She tried to do it just like a multiplication problem vertically--including the words hours and minutes!

This is not just math--she can not think through any problems and make a decision. Recently, she was supposed to wash 2 bags of grapes for me. (she asked to help, so it wasn't that she didn't want to do it) She rinsed them in a colander in the sink, then picked up the bunch and stood there trying to figure out what to do with them to wash the next bag. She asked me what she should do. She wanted to just put them on the counter but that's been drilled into her to never put food on the counter without something under it. So, she stared at me and I asked her to think what she could do with them. She started to put them back in the bag--I said no, it's dirty. I said, "what else could you do with them?" She literally could not think of anything! I was flabbergasted. I wouldn't tell her and then finally she said, "get a bowl?" I said that was a great idea but she hesitated as to what to do with the grapes. I said to put them back in the colander while she gets a bowl. --btw, a miracle was happening and I was not showing frustration with her. This is how many things go.

Anyway, I'm venting. I want to never have her do another word problem ever and just constantly work on multiplication and how to work a calculator. I know I shouldn't, but I can't imagine how she will ever move on in Singapore!
I
Nancy
Dd29 married (w/2 sons 1/2/14, 5/24/16), ds27, dd25 married (w/dd born 8/9/16), dd25, dd22
Dd 19 HS in special ed
Dd14 RevtoRev
Ds12 RevtoRev
Ds 9 Preparing
Dd 5 LHFHG

rumkimom
Posts: 253
Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 6:25 am

Re: no thinking skills in math-want to give up :)

Post by rumkimom » Thu Nov 19, 2015 6:09 am

My daughter (age 14) can't do word problems very well either, but it is due to her language problem. She generally has no problems with other math unless it entails several steps such as figuring out the area of a cone or something like that (she is a perfectionist and if she gets any wrong she is in tears). Does she have problems with language or is it just a math thing? Maybe she needs another math program? Has she been tested? Singapore never worked for my kids so I gave it up years ago.

2 of my kids struggle with math....the oldest (age 17) has never completed algebra as she just never understood it. She got stuck in pre-algebra and repeated that for about 3 years. She is trying algebra this year as she knows she needs it for college. My older son (age 9) just does not get it either....he can't remember addition facts and has to figure them out each time he does a problem so is still working in 1st grade math <sigh> so I completely understand your frustration! Using math cubes has made a big difference for my son.
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Wendy C.
DH-Owen
Emily (19 - graduatated from UCC spring 2018, Fashion Design Program)
Melody (17 - Rev 2 Rev-unit 21, IEW for writing, grammar, completed math)
Steven (12 - CTC, IEW for writing, grammar, spelling, TT Math)
Clarence (10 - PS)

Hope
Posts: 36
Joined: Sat Sep 12, 2015 8:35 pm

Re: no thinking skills in math-want to give up :)

Post by Hope » Thu Nov 19, 2015 8:58 am

((Hugs)) I remember your other thread about your challenges with your two adopted daughters last month. I wanted to tell you that you are doing an incredible job with a difficult task, and may the LORD bless you in your giving to Him through your love and teaching and giving to your precious children. You also obviously have immense experience as a mom and much wisdom. You really are doing a great job with them.

As for the math. I am sure you already noticed that she seems to have the same mistake in both problems. The background information of ounces being a smaller unit of pounds is needed to solve the first word problem. It looks like she didn't make the connection that the 4 oz. box matters since it was a different unit of measurement then the 2 pounds total. She knew to divide the 2 pounds by 6. It looks though like that background information of first converting the 4 ounces to 1/4 pound or the 2 pounds to 32 ounces was missing. Thus, the first step wasn't completed before she did the second step of dividing by 6. One question I would have is does she know, without thinking, that there are 16 ounces in a pound? Many children forget those types of facts fairly easily.

My oldest did Singapore through 4A or 4B, and they often don't put those kind of steps into the teaching since they expect students to use past information from all of the previous books. If students don't remember the back information, as my son actually did, I can see how the frustration could rise. (My son & I actually did great with Singapore, so my reasons for dropping it were different then the reasons most people drop it). All this to say I do think Singapore can be quite challenging for a lot of moms and students since many of the problems require the application of knowledge that is built upon and expected to be remembered without being reviewed much. It is a great program, and I loved it, but it does take a different type of teaching and understanding and memory level from mom and child. I have seen moms though benefit from sticking with it and struggling through the challenge of learning of the concepts both for them and their children. Singapore doesn't hand hold like other math programs tend to, but I think it can be worked around with effort.

The mistake though with the ounces is the same one I see with her minutes and hours. If she tried to multiply ignoring those minutes and hours my first question would be does she fully understand minutes are a smaller unit of hours and did she remember quickly, without thinking that 60 minutes go into one hour? Those background facts go into every Singapore word problem in my experience. Also your other thread mentioned that she tested at a 4th grade level of math. Singapore 4B though is the first 1/2 of 5th grade level math. So is she slightly beyond in books where she is really at in ability? It makes a big difference in math for kids if they are working at a level beyond where they are at and can work successfully.

my3sons
Posts: 10548
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2007 7:08 pm
Location: South Dakota

Re: no thinking skills in math-want to give up :)

Post by my3sons » Thu Nov 19, 2015 12:05 pm

Oh dear, don't give up! Singapore Math is tough, and the Practice and Reviews are really tough. I am hopeful a few of my comments from this previous thread may help...
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=16790

In Christ,
Julie
Enjoyed LHTH to USII
Currently using USI, RevtoRev
Wife to Rich for 24 years
Mother to 3 sons, ages 20, 16, and 13
Author of Women's Devotional https://www.ebay.com/itm/293355757184
Blogger https://my3sons-julie.blogspot.com/
Sister to Carrie

Gwenny
Posts: 750
Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2011 1:07 pm
Location: Texas

Re: no thinking skills in math-want to give up :)

Post by Gwenny » Thu Nov 19, 2015 2:26 pm

Hope, thank you so much for the encouragement. It helps to hear some of those things sometimes! I only see failures. :)

I was just looking through another math curriculum that I have on my shelf from years ago. It's grade 7, and she is just about done with 4B. There are only a couple of things in there that hasn't been touched on in Singapore yet. Minor things. The first thing I noticed though, in reading the lesson, they "spell out" many of the rules, thinking skills, figuring things out, that Singapore expects the children to grasp through the different exercises. Many of the things written in the lesson are things that she doesn't know or remember or never could figure out on her own. My sons get those things thru Singapore, she never has. On a question that she missed that was --a load of wash took 1 hour 40 min, how long for 4 loads?--she just multiplied 140 x 4. As I was discussing it with her, my son who is about to finish 3A, said he knew (as he was unloading the dishwasher) He gave the correct answer and I asked him how he did it. He said the 1 hour x 4 and then 40 min x 4 and changed the minutes to hours and min and added.

Anyway, that to say, that it seems that she just can't make connections like she's supposed to in this curriculum. I go through the textbook with her and we do all the word problems together and it never transfers over to doing any on her own. The other thing that's happened with her, and I think because they hadn't done any 2 digit multiplication in a little while. On the reviews each time there was a 2 or 3 digit by 2 digit problem, she multiplied both (one line under the other, remembers to put down the 0 placeholder) and then doesn't add them together. She uses the line from multiplying the 10s as the answer. I went over that with her the first day and then the next day, did the same thing. I had her do 2 placement tests today from this other curriculum and she did the same thing on there.
Nancy
Dd29 married (w/2 sons 1/2/14, 5/24/16), ds27, dd25 married (w/dd born 8/9/16), dd25, dd22
Dd 19 HS in special ed
Dd14 RevtoRev
Ds12 RevtoRev
Ds 9 Preparing
Dd 5 LHFHG

Gwenny
Posts: 750
Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2011 1:07 pm
Location: Texas

Re: no thinking skills in math-want to give up :)

Post by Gwenny » Thu Nov 19, 2015 2:29 pm

Thanks for those tips Julie. I understand what you are saying, about working with them. I do work with her. When is it that they are actually doing the problems though? So many problems I try to help her think things through and give examples or whatever--and have worked other problems with her--but at some point there is nothing but telling her how to do it.
Nancy
Dd29 married (w/2 sons 1/2/14, 5/24/16), ds27, dd25 married (w/dd born 8/9/16), dd25, dd22
Dd 19 HS in special ed
Dd14 RevtoRev
Ds12 RevtoRev
Ds 9 Preparing
Dd 5 LHFHG

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