Question: What if *you* are feeling overwhelmed by the math? We just finished CWP 6 pages 49-54 and I am beat and barely hanging on. My 6th grader grasps the concepts a little faster than me, but I feel we could both do a repeat of this program for 7th grade. Thoughts?
I looked up those pages in the CWP book and I know why you're beat! Those types of word problems are exactly why I consider Primary Math 6 (when IP and CWP is used) to be an honors level Pre-Algebra curriculum!
You're giving your child such an amazing gift by training them to think, to organize information, to see problems from a different perspective that allows them to solve each one. But the difficulty level of these problems is exactly why I made the IP / CWP Solutions Recordings. I sincerely hope that you are utilizing those videos to help you solve and explain the concepts in the simplest way possible. I went through the curriculum cover to cover with each of my four children before I felt like I was really ready to help others to see the best way to solve the word problems. So many times they are easier than they first appear, but it takes time to develop the ability to see the simple solution.
What suggestions would I have... 1. Set a time limit for how long to try the word problems before you use a solutions recording. Maybe you (and your student) just watch the first few moments to figure out how to get started. Maybe you (and your student) watch the whole thing and then turn it off and try to do it again on your own. Maybe you watch it alone and give your child hints. Maybe you allow your child to watch it on their own and then come and explain it to you. There are lots of ways to use it. And it's not cheating to watch the recording! I'm modeling thought processes that you can learn and apply in the future. We want to give our kids the best and most efficient tools to do the job of solving word problems. Those tools are demonstrated on the Solutions Recordings.
2. It's hard on you because it's hard on your student - all of the suggestions about modifying the length of the assignments can be helpful to both of you. You don't have to do every page in every book to have a great result. You don't have to do it at the pace that I lay out in the syllabus. If Primary Math 6 is completed at the end of 7th grade and your student starts Algebra I in the 8th grade, they're still on the honors math track that prepares them to take Calculus I as a senior in high school.
3. I remember feeling heaviness about starting again with my next student, knowing what was coming and how much work it would be. (I'm just being honest!) Of course, I didn't have recordings so it was all on me to learn and explain and correct and...it's a lot of work to be a homeschool mom! But I can tell you now that I don't regret a bit of it. I'm so glad we finished strong, glad my kids have the foundation they have. I've heard it described as second-class fun. It's not always a good feeling to do it, but it is absolutely a good feeling to "have done" it.
What about 7th grade? Well, you really can stretch it out through 7th grade, slowing down so you have less to do each day and there is longer to sit-and-soak on the different concepts you're learning. Or you can do the same curriculum twice. My guess is that you could expect more independence next time through but that it would still not be simple for your student.
Let me be very honest with you. Just because you have all the support you could possibly have time to view, math will not always feel easy. That's because we're not just teaching math, we're growing the character of our children. And as a group, children like to do things that are easy and like to avoid things that feel like work! OK, maybe it's not just children who do that. But sometimes it is a good thing to intervene and help our kids find a way through the particularly overwhelming moments in their educational careers. Here are a few suggestions for helping them through the rough times in math:
1. First, you need to know that Primary Mathematics 6 is an honors level Pre-Algebra course. Students who finish that level, including all of the books that I recommend, are fully prepared for Algebra I. That means that finishing PM6 by the end of 7th grade puts your student on the honors math track with Algebra I taken in the 8th grade and being prepared for Calculus I in their senior year. Finishing PM6 at the end of the 8th grade allows a student to be on the regular math track with Algebra I in the 9th grade and Pre-Calculus as the last math class in high school. If your child is overwhelmed, consider slowing down for a bit, maybe you could make it your goal to finish one 'week" in the syllabus in 7 school days instead of 5.
2. Second, know that not all weeks are equal. In each Primary Mathematics level, there are sections where the student learns subjects like bar graphs, angles, area and perimeter. Those problems are very different than the one that require a lot of computational skills. You could work hard to finish the section you're currently working on and then move to a much less intense section in the book. Then go back and tackle a more intense section again after you've had a bit of a break.
3. Although I set the standard at my house of completing every problem in every book, it reality of course that didn't always happen. If I shortened our assignments, I sometimes had my students do every other or even every third problem in the IP word problems section. If they missed one, I had them go back and do one right before or right after the one they missed. That's an easy way to shorten the assignment AND to reward the student for accurate work!
4. If you had to, you could leave off the CWP book altogether since there are excellent word problems in the IP book. I hesitate to say that because you can complete that book by doing about 2 word problems a day. That's just excellent consistent, regular, fabulous brain-food. Teaching our kids to think logically and in an organized fashion should be a top priority. But they do have word problems in IP so I could possibly see letting that go.
5. Finally, I would refer you to another Blog post that I wrote called, "How to get the most of Singapore Math® Live." It describes for you my idea of what a week of math might look like at your house. Maybe there is something in that post that would spark an idea that would be helpful to you! You can click here to read that post.
On the one hand, it would be lovely if our kids never felt like anything was too hard for them. But I really do believe that we are giving them great life skills when we ask them to achieve something that feels difficult. The challenge - and the excitement when they achieve their goal - are all a valuable part of their educational experience. But it's also a good thing to balance that with compassion and help them learn the skills to manage their emotions during that time. Hang in there! It's not an easy task. But it's a task worth doing.
Would it surprise you to know that I've learned a lot over my 16 years of homeschooling? But as a former high school math teacher, I was shocked to find that one of my earliest lessons was "How to Think Mathematically." While working through the Singapore Math® Primary Mathematics series during my early years of homeschooling, it became clear to me that i had been taught to "do math" but not to "think mathematically." Teaching my four children with the Singapore Math curriculum over a 15 year time span has changed the way I approach math at all levels.
Singapore Math® curricula helps students to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills that prepare them for success in upper level math courses. Each of the Barnett children is very different in personality and giftedness, but they all have extremely high math scores and one of them is a National Merit Scholar. Through completing the Textbooks, Workbooks, Intensive Practice, and Challenging Word Problems books, they developed exceptional skills, both "doing math" and "thinking mathematically." It has/is serving each of them very well as they continue their years in academia.
Singapore Math® Live is essentially the same plan that we used in our home. This unique support program will allow you to do an even better job than I did! You'll have a comprehensive plan, daily instructional support, and ready-answers for the difficult problems. I am passionate about helping your family excel in math., Let's work together and watch your children soar!
When I was homeschooling my elementary-aged children, I loved the feeling of knowing that we were completing enough today in order to accomplish our year-long goals. So when I created SML, I started with a syllabus which lists the pages to complete in each book for each week. Following this plan will allow you to finish the set of books in 34 weeks. It's not broken down by day - just by the week so you can fit it into your schedule in whatever way works for you.
In our house, each day we generally did one exercise, one or two pages in Intensive Practice, and one page in Challenging Word Problems. By working a little in each book on most days, your children will have exposure to a couple of word problems each day which will, over time, increase their critical thinking skills and give them a whole lot of problem solving strategies to store in their tool box for future use. Here's a bonus - since the assignments come from different books, you don't have to do all of the day's math in one sitting.
The Class Recordings are a crash course for the teacher. Plan a time each week that you can watch the recording from start to finish. The concepts from the Workbook and the Intensive Practice book are explained and demonstrated. When your children have questions - you'll be prepared to answer them!
After watching the Class Recording, use the Syllabus to plan your child's week by deciding what your child should accomplish each day and varying the assignments so they do a little from each of the books on most of the days.
Each day that a Workbook exercise is assigned, your student can sit at the computer with their textbook in front of them and watch a "Student Recording." I'll use the Singapore Math terminology and strategies to teach them what they need to know before starting that exercise. You can watch it together if you like, or you can send them to the computer to finish that part on their own.
The Intensive Practice book is divided into two sections per unit - practice problems and word problems. When your child is doing the practice problems, you'll use what you learned from the Class Recording to help them if they get confused. This practice is quite a bit more difficult than the workbook - but you'll be ready to help since you've seen the Class Recording!
The word problems are my favorite part of the Singapore Math curriculum! They really make you think. Many people write to tell me that although they can solve the problems, they have to resort to using Algebra skills to do it. When they watch the CWP and IP solutions recording, they see how to solve them in a much simpler way. The beauty of the word problems is that although they seem so complex, they are solved quite simply by organizing the information and using logic. The solutions recordings help you and your child to solve the word problems the easy way!
So, at the first of each week, Mom watches the Class Recording and uses the Syllabus to plan the week. At the beginning of each day that has a Workbook exercise assigned, the student watches a Student Recording that corresponds with that assignment. And when you get stumped by a word problem, you can click on the IP or CWP link for that week and fast-forward to the problem you want to see explained and solved.
All of the help you need is at your fingertips! You CAN give your child the best mathematics education available and maximize their math potential!
Singapore Math® Live recommends that parents purchase the non-consumable Textbooks A and B (US Edition), Primary Math Workbooks A and B (US Edition), the Intensive Practice A and B (US Edition) and the Challenging Word Problems (CC Edition) for each level.
Although having your student finish each of these books requires time and diligence, I believe that it is time well spent. Admittedly, there were seasons in our homeschool when we didn't quite finish every page, but it was our goal to finish this set of books for each level. And the result has been that each of my children, although different in so many ways, all score in the upper 90th percentiles on standardized math tests.
I believe that this grouping of books provides a very solid math education for students. It is a rigorous workload, but with the support that Singapore Math® Live offers, it is attainable! Here are the reasons that I strongly suggest this particular set of materials:
1. Textbooks are necessary! Before you do an exercise in the workbooks, your student should look at the textbook and see how the concepts are introduced. This ensures that your child is not just getting an answer but they are really comprehending the concepts. That's important! Singapore Math® Live offers recordings for the student based on the textbook instruction.
2. Workbooks give the introductory level of practice after the concept has been introduced via the Textbook.
3. Intensive Practice is necessary - the Workbook problems are great introductory level problems. But in order to really master the concepts, students need to experience the harder problems found in these books. Through this practice students develop the strategies and think deeper about the concepts. Singapore Math® Live recordings give extra help for these problems so that you can help your child be successful on these more difficult concepts.
4. Challenging Word Problems - the BEST part about the Primary Math curriculum. Critical thinking skills galore! Absolutely a must-do book!! Singapore Math
Math is important! Math education should be a priority in your child's daily schedule. Students need to practice and think and work hard in order to master a concept. Using this set of Primary Math books will require about thirty minutes daily in the early years and about an hour daily in the upper years. Maximize the potential of your child's math ability by using the Primary Math curriculum with support from Singapore Math® Live.
Brenda Barnett has been a homeschooling parent since 2001 and is passionate about helping you maximize your child's math potential.