Are you struggling to teach an older child who is behind in math? Did you recently transition from institutional school to home education and realize your child doesn't know the basics to be in an Algebra class?
You are not alone. Many parents are discovering that schools have pushed children thru without really teaching the concepts – or, they spent so much time "teaching to the test" that students don't learn anything other than how to keep guessing until they get the right answer.
Parents of children with special needs are especially frustrated. Teachers are packed with more and more students in their class, and are not trained to teach to varying levels. They teach one grade or proficiency level, yet studies consistently prove that most people learn math at a different pace. Students who can't keep up are either ignored, failed, or sent to a "special" math class. If you have ever spent time in the remedial math classes, it's often an even worse situation.
When I was in middle school (in the 70's), I got pretty good grades in math until I reached financial math and pre-algebra, then things got tough. When I look back, there are certain skills that were not emphasized as important when I was preparing for high school. One of them is word problems. All of my teachers – ALL of them – had a policy that if the students did well on the "regular" problems (usually 50-60 equation drills of some sort) then we were permitted to skip the word problems. BIG MISTAKE!
When students prepare to take the ACT, the SAT, or other college entry exams, you can bet that every single math problem on those tests is a word problem. If a student has little experience with word problems, it's like reading a foreign language. For visual students such as myself, financial math and equations with x's and y's were confusing and pointless. Does this sound like something your child would say?
When it came time for me to teach my kids, creativity was essential to not only help them understand but so that I could finally understand. I was able to discover numerous methods to engage them, and later used those same methods to teach other kids. I have helped a number of students to adequately prepare for Algebra, and they have gone on to do very well in higher maths.
I have spent a great deal of time with expert math instructors who are equally frustrated with the school textbooks and the "new math" that administrators are making them teach. This is primarily because the new math is trying to teach math in illogical order.
They explained to me the EXACT order that math needs to be taught for the best possible outcome and to properly prepare them for higher math and college. The list is highly accurate, and I have used this method to remediate many students who were struggling because they didn't have the basics. I would even be as bold to say – if you use my list, and then google free resources for worksheets, you will never have to buy a math curriculum. Ever.
I have placed this amazing resource in the member Toolbox. It is available for all membership levels, including our Basic (free) level. Simply login with your member credentials, and the Toolbox link will appear in the navigation menu at the top of the website. Click on the Math section, then Pre-Algebra and take a look!