Mar 12 2006, 05:15 PM
I'm still working out next year's material. The Well-Trained Mind, which I tend to agree with, recommends Spelling Workout. What can you tell me about it?

How are the lessons arranged?

What types of activities do they have them do?

About how long does your child spend on this (a day or week)?

What parts do you like and not like?

What can you tell me about Level A vs. Level B? Well Trained Mind suggests doing both in 1st grade, but I don't have a lot of money to spend on this. So far for spelling we have just been working on words that my daughter has trouble with in her writings, doing word family (-an, -ay, -ight) activities from ABC Teach, and Dolch Lists (sight words). Do you think a more formal program like Spelling Workout is better?

Thanks for your thoughts.

Mar 12 2006, 05:48 PM
We are using Spelling Workout. There are 36 lessons in each book, and each lesson is four pages long. One page is a little article about some generic topic using some of the lesson's spelling words. Three pages are full of little exercises. Book C, lesson one has exercises titled: Syllables, Puzzle, Rhyming Words, Proofreading, and Writing a Descriptive Paragraph.

My son would knock out a whole book in a week if I let him. My daughter does one page a day, and also writes her words once a day. We test on Fridays.
The jury is still out on whether or not this program is beneficial - Ds is a natural speller and doesn't need the extra practice to begin with, and Dd still misspells an alarming number of words, even though she makes an 100% on nearly every spelling test.

My kids hate the writing assignments. I don't blame them - the topics are lame. They do enough writing in other areas that I feel comfortable skipping most of them. I don't remember the difference between levels A and B. I do remember thinking that Ds could have skipped A and that I was glad I didn't have Dd skip A. That isn't much help to you, though!

Mar 12 2006, 07:17 PM
Excellent review Melanie,
We're using level B. They are arranged by spelling rules as well. I like it for my youngest as she is still learning the rules of spelling. She likes the activities. She also writes her words three times each , every day as she needs the repetition.

Mar 12 2006, 08:04 PM
We are currently doing B........the girls are doing great with it. They do 1 lesson per week...... although they could easily do more. I don't make them write out the words beyond what is in the workbook......but I do write the words up on the dry erase board and they look at them everyday. We like it and will continue with it..........I've already purchased C and D.


Categories ,


Jul 3 2005, 11:27 PM
I have just finished scheduling out my kids spelling. I have two questions.
1. Do you tell them which prefix to add to which word or do you tell them to add prefixes
until they find a good word. Looks like the book tells them to add the prefixes on their own. I
would think this would be too hard.

2. Vocabulary. I am always asking what the kids do in public school. They have to write 20 or
more definitions for their spelling words each week. I can't tell if this is to make sure they
know the meaning or to make sure they know how to use the dictionary. I think it would be a
waste of time to ask the student to write the definition if he already knows it. I was thinking
of telling them to write the definitions for the words I know they don't know and forget the
rest. What do you think?
Thanks for the help.

Jul 4 2005, 06:00 AM
You could teach them what each prefix means, so it will be easier for them to use the right
prefix with the root word.
I personally like to teach that the dictionary is a valuable resource that makes our lives
easier. If we make kids do busy work with dictionaries, then, negative feelings about using
the dictionary can develop. So, I agree with you about only making the kids write definitions
for new and unfamiliar words. You can always do a mini lesson on dictionary skills. Also, if
kids regard the dictionary positively, they will be more apt to use the dictionary. Then,
teachable moments will naturally occur.

Please don't feel that you have to have your kids do "what the kids do in public schools."
Often, ps teachers assign busy work to occupy their students while they work with the kids
who need extra help or grade papers, etc. As hs'ers, we are blessed not to have to use this
tactic to occupy our students, so learning is less likely to seem like a drudgery.

Jul 4 2005, 06:28 AM
I love dictionary skills and my kids always groan!
Depending on your children's ages, (I am sorry, I forget!) I like to make them put things in
A, B, C order and look up the words. Reason being, it is an invaluable tool. You not only look
things up in a dictionary, but there are other areas that you can benefit from having those
skills. Example: Phone books and encyclopedias. On the other hand, it is a bear to hear them say, "but I know that word! It's just wasting my
time!" Which can be true? I am not sure about not writing the definitions they don't know. There could be a different
definition, that they didn't know about for that word. So it could end up being a learning experience.

For prefixes. Couldn't you give them a list of them at the top of the page and have them put the correct one or ones down? That makes them think a bit.
Just a suggestion! Happy Planning!

Jul 4 2005, 07:01 AM
=QUOTE (hsbeliever @ Jul 4 2005, 07:00 AM)
"You could teach them what each prefix means, so it will be easier for them to use the right prefix with the root word."

My kids will have a list of prefixes they have to learn. This list will be kept at
the front of their spelling notebook.
I have decided to give them the prefix and tell them to add it to such and
such words. Then give the new meaning and parts of speech. That will

"Please don't feel that you have to have your kids do "what the kids do in public schools."

I never thought that my kids had to do what the kids in public schools do. I
always ask what public schools are doing to see if I need to add something,
delete something, or thank God we are not in public schools.
Thanks for the help.

Jul 4 2005, 09:58 AM
Michelle, congrats on getting your spelling planned, and considering Natural Speller, I know
that was a big job.

=QUOTE "I was thinking of telling them to write the definitions for the words I know they don't know and forget the rest. What do you think?"

That's better than having them write definitions for all of the words. This made me think though, I don't think that I ever made mine write definitions. But when they were older and if they used a workbook the workbook required it, they wrote definitions then.

Jul 4 2005, 01:53 PM
=QUOTE (Donna @ Jul 4 2005, 10:58 AM)
"This made me think though, I don't think that I ever made mine write definitions."

I looked at your schedule for your daughter and it said you had her read the
definition; it didn't say anything about writing. Ds needs to write and this is
a way for me to check to make sure he actually looked the word up.
Here is my schedule for right now. It will change in a month or two when I
will be adding more stuff for the kids to do.

Day 1: Pre-test, write misspelled words 5 times, Write definitions (of words
I say)
Day 2: Add prefixes and suffixes, learn the meaning of the prefixes, know
the meaning of the new word, write all parts of speech.
Day 3: Alphabetize words, identify guide words, write word in syllables.
Day 4: Identify antonyms, synonyms, and homonyms, review words for test
Day 5: Spelling and vocabulary test, write misspelled words 5 times and add them to next weeks list of words.

How does that look? So glad that is done. I already have picked
out four weeks of words. I limited myself to no more than 10 words right
now. This way I can add any words they misspell on writing lessons, or from
science or history. Probably no more than 15 words total for each week,
because they have a lot to do with the words they do get.

Jul 4 2005, 02:24 PM
Michelle your plan looks very good. I see that is has a lot of dictionary usage too. I also
like that you are having them working with antonyms, synonyms, and homonyms. We looked
up the antonyms and synonyms quite a bit and that seemed to help my kids build their
vocabulary in the way that helped them discover the different subtleties of the synonyms for
the same word and how each one slightly altered the meaning of a sentence, how some are
soft, strong, weak, etc. Gee, I really seem to like synonyms.
It's enough to say that the framework you have set up for spelling looks very well-rounded to

Jul 4 2005, 02:36 PM
=QUOTE (Donna @ Jul 4 2005, 03:24 PM)

"It's enough to say that the framework you have set up for spelling looks very well-rounded to me."
Thanks Donna. I didn't get much of a fedback from hubby . It is nice to
hear that what I have done will work.
Hmmm, I need buy another student dictionary and another Thesaurus.
Anything else I need for spelling besides a dictionary and a thesaurus?

Jul 4 2005, 02:51 PM
If you are going to venture into word families, then Webster's Speller (sold at stores and amazon) might be a good resource for you.
I did not need to use it a lot though, so it may not be necessary at all.

Jul 5 2005, 10:55 AM
Michelle this looks great!
I have Day1 as to just write each word 3 times. (Spelling is ds's weakness)
Day2 prefix & suffix exercises.
Day3 - still looking for what to do
Day4 - review words
Day5 - test
I like how you've added vocabulary. I think I'll use dictionary work like you did on day3 and add etymology to day2.

Jul 5 2005, 11:36 AM
Thanks, Donna. I'll look into it.

Jul 5 2005, 11:38 AM
I will be adding etymology later in the year. I just want ds and dd to get used to this schedule and using the dictionary before adding anything new.

Jul 22 2005, 09:33 AM
Okay dumb question what is etymolgy???

Jul 22 2005, 10:20 AM
Etymology is the study of words/word origins.
I liked the Bob Jones did the vocab.
Colleen had to keep a vocab notebook. There was a list of words that cropped up in her reading.
She was to pick 5-10 words and in the notebook she had to keep the following:
1. Definitions
3. All parts of speech
4.Write down at least 2 examples of antonym and synonym for the word
5. Then I made her use it in a sentence for the various parts of speech.
We actually did this together and it was alot of fun.

Jul 22 2005, 10:51 AM
Sounds fun....I am going to think if I want to add this now or next year...she is still young... never hurts to start early though

Mar 28 2006, 10:02 PM
Hey Applie, how has this worked for you? I am reading through all the spelling posts for ideas and I like the sound of Natural Speller. I was wondering though if this schedule has been effective for you this year? And do you mind if I "borrow" it?

Mar 29 2006, 12:18 AM
Hi April, I used Natural Speller off and on this year. I did end up getting a "pre-packaged" spelling curriculum and found that it was awful. The only problem I had with Natural Speller was me. I didn't plan far enough in advance. This next school year, I hope to do better.

What I did this year was use N.S. for a while. Then when I bought the curriculum (and it stunk), I would add from the N.S.
My daughter in second grade can spell my sixth grader's words. He didn't like that, so I really should use that to my advantage. A little healthy competition.
I was wondering about spelling though. I noticed that most spelling programs go to eight grade. What do you do after that?

Mar 29 2006, 02:02 PM
My DH got this in high school:
Vocabulary Builder
and I got these (which I loved):
Vocabulary Workshop
Sadlier-Oxford - the publisher's website
The workshop book has 15 units per book, with two groups of eleven words each. I used books G and H in eleventh and twelveth grades. Based on using them, what I got from them and NOT on using them as a teacher, I would recommend the Vocabulary Workshop books.


Categories ,


Apr 6 2006, 10:11 AM
How would you recommend building fluency in beginning reading?

Does this just come with time or are there things you can do to encourage it?

Do you recommend books lower than her level or at her level?

My dd reads me 3-4 books a day. She has worked out most coding rules and mastered a lot
of the sight words and phonics rules (although she still gets hung up on that silent e...
another story). She even read a page of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory last night, after
telling her we would read another chapter if she read a page! So mechanically she is able to
decode almost anything, but I would really like to help her pick up the speed.
She finds the very first readers boring. I find she predicts the patterns instead of actually
reading the words. She does better with the secondary stage, like Biscuit, Little Bear, Frog &

She is comfortable reading the higher level Dr. Seuss level books, but they take such a long
time to finish she gets frustrated. I try alternating pages, (I.e. she reads, I read), but she
doesn't like that because she doesn't think that SHE read the book then.

Any suggestions?


Apr 6 2006, 10:45 AM
When we were working on fluency, I'd pick a book that was a little higher than their reading
level and have them read it aloud. They'd read one page, and then they'd read it again, and
again, until they read it without stumbling or guessing. Then we'd move on to the next page.
We did this for 15 minutes or so every day. It worked very well. I still listen to them read
aloud occasionally so I can listen for mispronounced words.

Apr 6 2006, 11:00 AM
That is a great suggestion Melanie!
Fluency comes with time & practice and is unique to each reader. Most of the
recommendations I've read encourage reading at all levels: above, at, below. When reading
below and at level is the time to really focus on accuracy. When reading above level, let the
little errors go by....using your discretion, of course.
If your daughter is following along while you read; encourage her that she is indeed reading.
Silent reading is an important skill, too.

Apr 6 2006, 11:08 AM
Part of fluency is the mother/child conversations that can occur. Try to speak to your child
using a wide variety of words which will help build their vocabulary. I also used to take my
children on various tours about the house inside and out identifying and discussing anything
from plumbing parts to tree parts.

Apr 6 2006, 11:11 AM
I can't really add anything to what has been said already. Just read, read, read!

Apr 6 2006, 09:15 PM
I asked a very similar question just a few months ago for my twin 5 yr olds. They were
decoding very well, but very slowly. Then they were able to many words easily but still
reading word by word. Everyone encouraged me to keep doing what I was doing and it would
come with practice. And it did. Within a month, both were reading much more smoothly. And
now they read fluently at their reading level (early to mid 2nd grade). To help with fluency, I
went with much easier books. I used the Dr. Maggie books because they are cute and
colorful. They also are progressive in terms of phonics. The bob books are good too. I don't
know if your child is above that though. Anyway, they would stay on the same book until
they could read the whole story fluently with no stopping to figure out words, usually 3-5
days. Technically, I'm sure they memorized a good portion of the books. But the point is they
learned how to be fluent when reading/telling the story. They also learned how to read many
words by sight after decoding them for several days in a row. One other thing I did was have
them reread sentences that were produced very laboriously. We also worked on reading two
words at a time ("the" always read with the word following it: "the boat" instead of

The kids now like to read several series of books. They are late 1st to early 2nd grade level
books. They have some difficulty with names and larger words but generally do very well.
The series are: young cam jansen, nate the great, flat stanley, arthur, franklin. The franklin
and arthur books are great to read in one session. The first few are chapter books. We
usually read one or two chapters at a time. Sometimes we read the first couple together and
they then finish the books on their own.
hope that helps.

Oh, and as for the silent -e. That's apparently very common. My two had a really hard time
with it. Still confuse it sometimes. But the more they have read, they easier it becomes.
They also learn to use context on the fly, which is a good reading strategy.

Apr 9 2006, 08:49 PM
Thanks for the replies. I haven't tried having her read the same book over and over. She is
very good at memorizing. She memorized her whole Frog & Toad collection from listening to
them on tape. I wasn't sure if it was really helping since she was just guessing at the words
since she knew the story.

I guess we'll just keep doing what we are doing. She actually appreciated reading Father
Bear Comes Home alternating pages today. She really wanted me to read the book, and I
told her I really wanted her to read it, so she thought alternating pages was a good
Thanks for the help. If anyone has any other ideas, please send them.

Apr 9 2006, 09:29 PM
My son was reading each word phonetically and driving me nuts, so we would take turns
reading. He would read, then I would read, then we would read together. That helped us a

Also, what Donna said was good. Talk, talk, talk to your kids. I used to explain everything to
the kids. I'd be so tired at the end of the day.


Categories ,


Jan 21 2005, 11:49 AM
I use Rod and Staff for my 4th grader and I really like it. I was just wondering, from those
of you out there that use it, how much writing do you make your children do from it? We
usually just do the lessons orally. My son loves that, but it really takes up a lot of my time.
But the whining and moaning I get from him if I make him write it is so painful to my ears!
Is there a good balance? I like the worksheets, and that helps to get him to work on his
own some. Any ideas?

Jan 21 2005, 01:20 PM
We are using 5th grade. We also love it (I should say "I" love it ). We do the oral, orally
and all written work is done, in writing by, the boy. He also hates to write and sometimes I
let him type his lessons on the computer. That might be something you son could do.

Jan 21 2005, 01:42 PM
I just ordered the 4th grade grammar book from Rod & Staff, but now I have questions I
should have asked before I ordered it. Does the program only do parts of speech, or will it
take the child through sentence and paragraph construction, punctuation, and all the rest? I
guess what I want to know is, will my son get lessons in how to write clearly? And, how
much time will this take, and do you do a new lesson every day, or do you split it up?

Jan 21 2005, 04:59 PM
Melanie, yes they cover everything.
As for writing clearly, they expect all answers given in full sentences. Ex. What is your
favorite color? The student is not allowed to say "red". He must say, "My favorite color is
red". They also give examples what is clear and what isn't.
We do one lesson a day and daughter also has to do the worksheet, if there is one for that lesson.
If there is a review and a test, we do the review one day and the test the next. This last time
we did the review twice, because son all of a sudden forgot when to use commas .
I will be ordering 2nd and 6th for next year.
Hope this helps.

Jan 21 2005, 06:10 PM
Thanks! I think I do need to get him to write more of the writing parts. I really think
that it would help with his general writing. Plus, it would give me more time with the other
kids. I think typing is a good idea. I just let him type his last paragraph and he liked that. I
never thought to let him do it for his lessons. Maybe I will have him write every other day for
awhile as a compromise.

Jan 21 2005, 07:55 PM
Thanks for the information! I'm glad it covers everything - I can quit worrying now.

Jan 24 2005, 08:35 PM
I just received the Rod & Staff package today - it's exactly what I needed. I'm so excited and
I can't wait to start using it!

Jan 24 2005, 09:01 PM
Where do you purchase Rod & Staff? I've been searching for grammar help for my 3rd grade
twins. Is there any curriculum for 7th grade?

Jan 24 2005, 09:16 PM
Rod & Staff publishers do not have a website. Their # is 1-606-522-4348 and they are very
nice. You may ask them for a catalog and also ask them for the curriculum guide for the
specific grade levels you want to look at. There is also a website that sells R&S called
Milestone Ministries. Both of them ship quickly in my experience.

Jan 24 2005, 09:25 PM
Thanks Sherinova. I've heard so many good things about them. I will check out the website
and give them a call tomorrow

Jan 24 2005, 09:53 PM
I also like it very much and will continue to use it. I'll also be getting some
of their other subjects.

Jan 25 2005, 07:28 PM
This is my second year using the grammar. I purchased the spelling this year for my
daughter. The content is so good for the price. I love their prices! And they have great
customer service.

Jan 25 2005, 09:05 PM
I was surprised at the price, too - such nice, hardcover books that can be
used by both of my kids, and then resold or traded!
My son did the first lesson in the 4th grade book today, and really wanted
to do more, but I decided to just take it easy. So far, so good!

Some Course of Studies

We also follow The Well-Trained Mind approach but I think this year I am going to change my history a little.

For my 5th grader:
Wordly Wise 2
Rod and Staff Grammar 5th
Saxon 6/5
Real Science for Kids ( I think)
American History (but I haven't decided on a spine yet)
continue Latina Christiana 1
Piano (taught by me)

For my 3rd grader:
Rod and Staff Spelling 3
Explode the code 4 1/2 and 5
Rod and Staff Grammar 3
Saxon 3
American History
Real Science for Kids
Piano (taught by me)

I still have to decide what to do for writing. I know that Rod and Staff is considered by some to be enough writing in the early grades, but I kind of want to add something more formal for my 5th grader. I have Writing Strands but I am only so-so on that program. I like it, but I need a little more hand holding in the writing department.

A Schedule
This is what I am doing right now... but I am looking to add it up..

Our schedule:
Art/Science/Canada Studies (read FUN)
Spelling (for DS)
Reading (for DS)
Phys. Ed (for both)

I start off with Bible for both DC. Each story has a picture page. The page is colored as the day goes by when I am busy with the other student.
Then its penmanship... Son does A reason for Handwriting, DD does some work in her Adventures with Books or Counting with Numbers from Rod and Staff.
Then Phonics, both are in Explode the Code. Son basically does his own work, but I mark each page as he goes and decide if he does another one or fixes up the work he has done. I am particular! He does one lesson a week. I want a well laid foundation. DD does various activities and workbook pages.

Math is Math...
Art/Science/Canadian Studies is basically fun hands on moving around stuff, rotated through the week.
Spelling, Son is working on McGuffies lists off the internet.
Reading, Son is working on Pathway's Reader Days Go By and its comprehension workbook. DD and I sit at the whiteboard and work on small three to four letter words that start with the letter of the week. Then she does a few more pages from Everywhere and Finding books from Rod and Staff.

Then we work on phys. ed.
The whole process has been taking us about 2 - 3 hours depending on moods and such. If it is going really poorly, I stop send them outside and we start again in half an hour. I am thinking about getting DD a reader from Pathway as well. She is doing amazingly well.




Mathematics Discussion - Teaching Addition

Posted by: JessicaN Jan 20 2006, 08:51 AM

I'm having a very hard time supplementing Justin's math. The teachers have taught him to add the tens column before adding the ones.

+ 11
+ 6

Which is starting to look more like long division more than addition. I've already started subtraction with borrowing with Justin too, I just don't know what's going to happen to him when they introduce some weird way to subtract. Shouldn't they tell us this BEFORE school starts?? I'm quite certain half of the parents in school started some simple math before school got around to it. (carrying the ones) Now Justin is just confused. He finds the carrying easier, so that's the way we did homework last night. I think it may be a boy thing, and too much writing, he can never cram all those numbers into the itty bitty spaces they have on worksheets so it's illegible anyway.

I was just wondering if anyone else has run into this problem with their math books or what, the only thing I can do it tell Justin to disobey his teachers and do it the way that works for him. I don't really like telling him to disobey his teachers, but as long as he's getting the right answers, what difference does it make?

Posted by: hs4hmom Jan 20 2006, 09:01 AM

I've heard of this. I can see where it might be easier for some kids--not on paper but in their heads it makes better sense. But still, if basic math facts are truly known I can't see this being any better help.

When my dd was in 2nd grade the math they were using (Saxon) wanted them to add these types of columns as dimes and pennies. It was very confusing. For some reason adding numbers was fine but put a dollar sign in front of it (or calling it money) would throw the kids off. I taught her tens and ones at home. Fortunately, the teacher said: whatever works.

Talk to the teacher and see if it's a problem. I can't see why it would be. Again, whatever works.

Posted by: CelticMuse Jan 20 2006, 09:03 AM

some teacher's get angry when a child does it their way. I've so been there with my older kids.

I've yet to see a book that teaches tens before ones. It just doesn't make sense. how will one carry over if you add the tens first?

Posted by: mtbriere Jan 20 2006, 09:21 AM

I could not imagine teaching a child to add 10's before 1's. But I'm assuming this is to make mental math easier. dunno.gif

I think I would call and talk to the teacher. Maybe he/she could explain the lesson to you so you could help Justin. dunno.gif And then you won't have an issue with obedience to the teacher. Explain to the teacher that he just isn't getting it & could you teach him the traditional way. dunno.gif

Posted by: Again Jan 20 2006, 09:23 AM

That's not new math.....that's confused math! So weird! omg2.gif

Posted by: JessicaN Jan 20 2006, 09:28 AM

QUOTE(CelticMuse @ Jan 20 2006, 09:03 AM)
It just doesn't make sense. how will one carry over if you add the tens first?

That's my problem, had printed out some generated math worksheets one night, and we ran into that we got through the adding the columns, but when we added THOSE sums, we were left with an odd number out, where it should have been carried, but you're adding left to right???? the only thing I can figure is that first you add left to right, and then you add right to left, or you add the columns all over again????? to me it seems like a huge waste of effort and paper.

I was going to sit down to day and write a letter to the teachers, asking what we're supposed to do??? I just called a good friend of mine whose son is in the same grade, but different district. She's also a college math professor.... she said that their school had "math night" where the parents were all invited in to 'learn' the 'new' math. She said if I had trouble with addition, wait till we get to multiplication. That even she (math professor) couldn't understand it. I told her at least they TOLD you what to expect..

I think this is twice as frustrating for me, because I know we'd be avoiding all of the confusion if DH would just let me homeschool...
user posted image

Posted by: chocolatechic Jan 20 2006, 09:37 AM

QUOTE(JessicaN @ Jan 20 2006, 08:51 AM)
I'm having a very hard time supplementing Justin's math.  The teachers have taught him to add the tens column before adding the ones.

omg2.gif I have heard of this, but I have never found a way that it makes sense....

Posted by: 2Bgracious Jan 20 2006, 09:57 AM

That's not even "fuzzy math"...that's just wrong.

Yes, let's cause more students to fail. I almost think there's an agenda to keep the majority out of the running. Okay, going to go bang my head over the stupidity. Math is based on natural laws, natural laws don't change, argh!

Posted by: Nana Jan 20 2006, 09:59 AM

That is how they do it for mental math and it gets harder as far as I am concerned; because later they will add hundreds before tens and then the ones..

Teach him a way HE understands it is my thought.. but DEFINITELY talk to the teacher.... maybe set up a meeting and take the books you plan on using if you have them with you and lots of paper so you can see what it is she/he is teaching and be able to help....

ALL Parents with children in ps should know what their child is learning and how it is taught. ... (My thoughts any way)

I hope it all gets straightened out for you and especially him.


Posted by: gsmp Jan 20 2006, 10:20 AM

I have all my kids doing their math work on graph paper. It is so much easier...I realized won't be able to do that.....I'm sure his teacher would have a fit!!!

That doesn't make any sense............... dunno.gif

Posted by: tabv Jan 20 2006, 10:41 AM

There's a man on our church homeschool list, and he also is an advocate of what he calls adding significant digits first, the big numbers... the tens, hundreds, etc, which he says makes more sense to do it that way, but it's harder to teach and that's why so many balk at it. I still will always and forever add from right to left...

I'm kind of doing both, the easier way to teach but for estimating answers, showing the kids that the ones don't matter in estimating... if that makes sense...

So hopefully they're getting the benefit of both without confusing too much.

I agree, I don't like how little they explain things in schools, and expect parents to help out (or don't, who knows).

Good luck!


Posted by: Melanie Jan 20 2006, 01:36 PM

My son and I practiced it that way, but only orally. I'd ask him to double 4908, for example, and the process would go like this:

Double 4000 (8000) + double 900 (1800) = 9800 + double 8 (16) = 9816.

This is also how he learned to double check the bill at diners and such.

For "regular" work book math (like Saxon) I showed him how to do it on paper with carrying, then went over to the Math-It method, which is just making a line through numbers adding up to 10 or more, then adding the number of slashes to the next column.

I think it's great to show kids different ways to do things, but I know their teachers don't always feel the same way. dunno.gif

Posted by: three2camp Jan 20 2006, 02:23 PM

My son had Everyday Math in public school and that was just crazy. His third grade teacher did, however, try to use real math, but she did it that way. Addition/subtraction is bad enough, but we spent a P-T Conference with her trying to teach me how to do it with multiplication. She actually managed to show me how to do it and how it could make sense for younger ones, it kind of tied into estimating and stuff too.

Everybody does math differently, including my son now. We're using Math-U-See to get back to basics, after three+ years in PS, he was totally messed up on math. I hope this helps him find his way.

Posted by: Donna Jan 20 2006, 02:37 PM

Math ought to be taught in the way the causes the child to understand what it signifies. That path to understanding is different for different people. Must be why PS changes how they do things, one way never fits all but no matter how many times the way is changed, it still will not fit because it is still a one way.

Posted by: Melanie Jan 20 2006, 03:47 PM

QUOTE(Donna @ Jan 20 2006, 02:37 PM)
Math ought to be taught in the way the causes the child to understand what it signifies. That path to understanding is different for different people. Must be why PS changes how they do things, one way never fits all but no matter how many times the way is changed, it still will not fit because it is still a one way.

yes.gif I love being able to experiment with different methods so we can find the perfect match for each of the kids.

Posted by: alisonamsb Jan 20 2006, 03:53 PM

I've heard it done this way before and for mental math in lower numbers (up to 100) or in rounded numbers, it works well. Let's you figure the problem out fast. But for daily math exercises like worksheets, which they make you write all the work out anyway, it is just silly. However, I wouldn't advise letting your son disobey the teacher before first talking with the teacher. Often times, teachers don't care if a child gets the right answer. It's the process they are looking at and if the child can't show the process then he doesn't "know" it. My guess is that the teacher will simply say something to the effect of "well, that's the way we are teaching it now and he is just going to have to learn it this way. Besides, it will be good for him to learn various ways - it will help him understand better." Still, I'd have the talk anyway. I have to imagine that the other parents aren't thrilled with the idea of the "new" math. Or whatever they might be calling it...


Posted by: JessicaN Jan 20 2006, 04:03 PM

Today we got home a sheet about how they're going to start multiplication and division..... [but] We haven't figured out how to add yet.user posted image

I know the rational thing to do is not let Justin see how upset I am, and to continue to practice with him at home in whatever manner HE'S comfortable. Then on Monday I'm going to send a note to school and request a conference with his teachers so that they can maybe explain all of this to me. But I have to be honest with you ladies... inside? I feel like this.....user posted image I really really want to cry. I couls see if this was ONE way they taught the kids, but it's the ONLY way they teach him.

Does anyone else have a program in their state "No Child Left Behind" I'm afraid they're just cramming this (&$#@&*^*( down their throats and are going to push him into 3rd grade without understanding it. Now what happens to the children whose parents are too ignorant, afraid, what-not to get involved. Because frankly I'm overwhelmed. What happens to some child who's parents just say "well I don't understand, so I'll leave it all to the school system, they must know what they're doing...."

I really want to cry....

Posted by: JessicaN Jan 20 2006, 04:11 PM

QUOTE(alisonamsb @ Jan 20 2006, 03:53 PM)
However, I wouldn't advise letting your son disobey the teacher before first talking with the teacher. Often times, teachers don't care if a child gets the right answer. It's the process they are looking at and if the child can't show the process then he doesn't "know" it.

You're right, I shouldn't be encouraging him to do it a different way on his homework, and up until last night, we were completing homework "their" way. But when last night rolled around, and he sat there for 10 minutes looking at 6 problems, I finally just asked him, "is it easier to add the way I showed you?" he said yes, and I told him to go ahead and do it the way he felt comfortable. After months of "their" way, and he still looked at it confused, and knowing that when we go over sheets that I print off, he gets them done in a timely manner and always at 80% or better. I felt bad for him. So basically I was just trying to teach him in the way that *I* knew how to add, and figured that they would eventually teach it the 'old' way too. I can see where it's useful in mental math, or estimating, but this is the only thing they are giving him for addition in general.

Posted by: MomofBunbun Jan 20 2006, 04:17 PM

I have a stepson who is older (20) but when he was is high school. I couldn't help him with his math because the teacher told him that he couldn't do it "that way" (meaning my way) even if he got the same answer. I couldn't for the life of me figure out what they wanted him to do so I couldn't help him. dunno.gif

Posted by: three2camp Jan 20 2006, 05:59 PM

QUOTE(JessicaN @ Jan 20 2006, 04:03 PM)

Does anyone else have a program in their state "No Child Left Behind"

Yup, but it's just another slogan. Schools have lots of kids in each classroom so it doesn't matter if YOUR Johnny isn't scoring well, it's time to move on. The backwards math program that was adopted by our previous school district ended up embarrassing them big-time on the state assessments. They then instituted math-minutes where they drilled the basics, then tried to keep up with the weird math while also driving them to do multiplication. At his old school they were even dividing children into different groups and the kids would go to other 3rd grade rooms for math depending on how they were doing (Accelerated, assisted, regular, whatever).

My dh wonders about the math program I've chosen since we're still doing basic times tables and he's supposed to be doing more advanced math. But we moved last summer and the two different math programs combined with all the word problems had him so messed up that I felt we had no choice.

PS now makes kids in 3rd grade not only do the math, but they have to write out the steps they used to solve it. My son has terrible problems with handwriting, can you imagine having to basically write a story about how you decided John and Jane made 75-cents from their bake sale?

Posted by: Sammi Jan 21 2006, 01:30 PM


A friend of mine had this same problem. Her daughter, who is in ps, who she after schools, was already taught how to add and subtract at home, but now they are teaching it at school...and teaching this funny way. So the child is confused. badday.gif

She called and chatted w/ the teacher, who told her to stop working w/ her at home and only do it how they do it.

Get this....she did it the normal way on a test, so the teacher marked it wrong! bomb.gif

Posted by: allbyfaith Mar 7 2006, 09:49 PM

My thoughts( and they do not always count for much biggrin.gif ) Ask his teacher to show you their way to work the problems then work with him at home and help him understand the "real" way to do it. Add to your lesson, with him, what the school is teaching and ask if he sees both ways. If the one way is just not making sense, request that he be taught the way you are teaching at home. Because honestly you are the parent and have the final say. Within another year or two, the school will have a "new" way to teach once again. I was at the receiving end of change throughout my school years and it caused great confusion for me. Also my children struggled because of all the changing in just 5 years of elementary school. As a HS mom now I have spent 2 years trying to undo the damage done by the PS. I hope it works out for you.

Posted by: Sherinova Mar 7 2006, 11:52 PM

I'm was thinking that it might be easier to explain this with paper money.

$24 (2 tens and 4 ones) + $12 (1 tens and 2 ones) = $36 (3 tens and 6 ones)

Posted by: JessicaN Mar 8 2006, 08:26 AM

Luckily, he has picked up both methods.

He can do the school's method fairly well, well enough that it's not a concern to school rolleyes.gif

And he can do it the 'real' way for me consistently. I just gave him a sheet of 30 ##+##=? questions (double digit +double digit, w/ & w/o carrying) he got 100% for me. So he actually has a better grasp on 'real' addition that the school's method which makes me happy, lol.

I had another thread about the note we sent in, and the response

editor note: The thread mentioned above is as follows ...

=====Portion of related topic begins=====

"Partial Sums Method"

Posted by: JessicaN Feb 3 2006, 12:03 AM

Our note:
We were the ones who told Justin to finish his homework by carrying the ones.

He gets extremely frustrated with the partial sums method.

We would like to know why he can not complete his math work in the method that works for him?

Kevin and Jessica N

Teacher response:

Thanks for the note. This is a common question. As the children progress through upper grades they will be taught to carry the tens as you have shown Justin. At this point, especially when the directions state "partial sums" we need the children to add using that method. Here's why:
The Everyday Math program and New York State want the children to be able to use words to explain how they got their answer. By using the partial sums algorithm there are age-appropriate steps which can easily put into words - either verbally or in writing. For example

First I added the tens and got 20.
Next I added the ones and got 7.
Finally I added all the tens and ones together and got the answer 27.

+ 13
+ 7

Second graders have difficulty putting "carrying" into words because although they understand the procedure, the don't understand the why behind it.

Justin did some partial sums problems for me today + was able to do them without difficulty. He's also been able to do them correctly on his Math Boxes for about the last 2 weeks. I was curious why he had difficulty on his homework, so I asked him. It turns out he was frustrated with the addition (at least that's what he explained today). that may explain why you saw something at home that I haven't been seeing in school.

I hope this answers your question. I really appreciate the support you give him with his homework. It's great that he has such a caring family.

OK, so I'm glad he has a caring teacher who wrote me a nice, long note, but that shot my plan in the foot, lol. I was hoping they were going to come back with a "just because" answer and I could add that to my list of reasons to HS whistling.gif

Anyway.... Kevin told me that he thinks the NYS board of regents is a little messed up in more than one way too. Still a mark in my favor... yes.gif

And if this is their way of thinking, wouldn't it still be wise to teach them to add from right to left?


so that when they go back to teaching them to carry the ones, it's natural for them to start with the ones?

And if Justin were simply frustrated with math in general, how come when we switched to the carrying method he finished his work in 3 minutes when he had been struggling with the partial sums method for 15????

I'm curious what you all would take away from that explanation?

Posted by: quiltinmommy Feb 3 2006, 12:10 AM

I thought the note was very nice...but I still think it's silly to begin teaching something and then to expect it to be changed later. My personal feeling on it is they are prepping these kids to take standardized tests..... why else would they need to be able to put in words what they have done as she illustrated.

Posted by: Tressa Feb 3 2006, 12:27 AM

For me she said it all right here.."The Everyday Math program and New York State want the children to be able to use words to explain how they go their answer." I just don't understand why kids need to be able to explain the answers from their math in writing. dunno.gif I am of the mindset that if they get the problem right, they understand it.

I think her note is very nice. She really took the time to respond to you. I agree with Barbra-Sue, though. They are prepping the kids for the test. I think it is confusing because they are going to have to teach the kids a different way in a couple of years. That is just heartache in my opinion.

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