Showing posts with label dyscalculia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dyscalculia. Show all posts

Times Tales Review


We started Times Tales this week.  It's only been two days but the stories seem to be sticking even more than the addition stories did.  This is a DVD rather than a book (although they have a book as well), so maybe that is why she is remembering better, or maybe the stories are better, who knows?

This comes with a DVD and another disc with worksheets and tests on it to print out.  The DVD has two parts.  First, you do Part One for a week or two and once you have those equations down, you move on to the rest.  This is only for the upper times tables which is disappointing to me because they do not have a product for the lower ones.  They start at 3 time 6.  A really needs to also learn 3 times 4 and 3 times 5 as well.  But we'll deal with those later, I guess.

Without me planning it, we moved into times tables at the exact same time Fred did in our Life of Fred books.  I have really been moving instinctively with homeschooling.  I make a plan but then go with my gut and adjust it accordingly.  I was going to move into times tables weeks ago  but decided that we should work on addition and subtraction longer. Somehow, our lessons are all overlapping.  That has been happening since we started this journey.  Our vocabulary words will have something to do with our science lessons.  Social Studies will be reinforced in a Fred story.  A book for language arts will mention something we learned in history.  You know you are doing the right thing in life when you find this type of synchronicity in what you are doing.

So back to my original thought, for dyscalculia, I recommend Time Tales for sure!   It's really the same concept as Addition Stories- every number is a character and when they get together you have a story.  Example: 8 is Mrs Snowman.  4 is a chair.  When Mrs Snowman (8) stands on a chair (4) she reaches for 3 buttons and 2 mittens.  8X4=32.  This actually works.  They go through several steps on the DVD and eventually they get to flashcards with no picture and no talk of the story but now the child knows the equation!  I do not know how or why, but it works!
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Symptoms of Dyscalculia

I have been really surprised to see how little is understood about dyscalculia.  I am also very disappointed to see that there are almost no useful strategies or teaching techniques being put out there to help people with this disability.  You usually see something like, "These people will have to use calculators," written on the learning disability sites.  Unacceptable!  We can get the math in there somehow, we just need to figure out a way in.  We at least have to try!

Here are some symptoms of dyscalculia:

* The child will usually be very good with language arts and spelling.

* Displays difficulty in grasping concepts of time and direction. Loses track of time and does not have a good sense of how much time has passed.  Mixes up left from right.  Gets lost easily.

* Forgets names.  Can't match up names and faces.

* Not good with money.  Poor planning and budgeting.  Unable to balance checkbook

* Frequent errors in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.  May know the answer one minute but then forget it the next.

* Misreads numbers, substitutes one number for another when read or writing numbers, reversals and omissions are common.

* Difficulty remembering basic math facts and in memorizing formulas or the order of operations.  For example, may frequently forget to add the right column before the left.  May seem to have a concept mastered but then fail the test.

* May have poor athletic coordination and difficulty in dance and sports.

* Trouble with strategic planning and keeping score in games.

* May have difficulty reading music or learning the fingering of an instrument.

* May have difficulty knowing where numbers belong on a clock or where items belong on a map.

For help The Dyscalculia Forum is a good place to start.  If you suspect your child has a learning disability in math request an evaluation from the school district.  They should be able to identify this and then begin to work with your child  if he needs extra help.  Of course, you may also have to work with him at home as well.  It all depends what kinds of teaching style he responds best to.
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What's It Like to Have Dyscalculia?

I wanted to post this video because I think it is important for people to understand what Dyscalculia is like for those who suffer with it. I think this young lady does a good job describing it!

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Math is Going Great!

I am happy to say that the math is going well. It's only be a couple of months but every day I know I did the right thing by homeschooling this year. My daughter is so much better now with the math. Not perfect, of course, but so much better. Some facts still seem to get lost but out of 15 or 20 problems she usually only has about two mistakes. Almost all of her addition and subtraction facts are memorized now (most of the time) and next week we move on to multiplication! She loves math now, thanks to The Life of Fred!

I have been studying up as much as I can on dyscalculia. It's such a strange disability. Sometimes you know it and other times you don't. A lot of the symptoms are the same symptoms you get with Dyspraxia which she also has- things like not knowing your right from left and having a poor sense of direction. I worry about what will happen when she goes back to school and I am not sitting next to her keeping her focused and reminding her of her tools. Oh- let me share the math tools in case there are other moms of dyscalculiacs out there :) This is taped to the desk.

 Math Tools

 * Remember what you DO know! For example, my daughter for some reason knows all the double facts. These have always been a breeze for her. So, if she is stuck on 5+6, if she takes the time to remember that she does know 5+5, she can figure out 5+6 from there.

* Remember the characters! (This is referring to the book we used called Addition the Fun Way Book for Kids: A Picture Method of Learning the Addition Facts , where each number was a character and each equation told a story. If she can remember the characters the story will come back to her. For example: 3+6. Well, we know 3 is a bee, and 6 is sick, what happened when they were together? Oh yes! The 3 bee brought a 9 sign over to 6 so he would not be disturbed!)

* Try to reverse it. We don't know why, but sometimes she has no idea what 4+3 is but she has no problem knowing 3+4.

* If it's a +2 just skip a number.

* If it's +9, add ten instead and take away 1.

* Draw a number line or a picture.

We started this year with first grade math.  It's less than two months later and she just finished the fourth grade units of addition and subtraction.  In essence, she caught up!  Now we will back track a little to get the times tables memorized but I am confident she will catch up here, too!

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Two Great Resources for Dyscalculia


If your kid has a disability in math, I highly recommend the two products I am using: Life of Fred and Addition the Fun Way.

Now, my daughter is in fourth grade.  One of the things that scared me is that with math I have opted to pretty much just start over from the beginning.  She does not know her basic facts- neither multiplication nor addition.  I know in school they are doing high level work, but there is no way she can do this if she cannot even tell you how much 4+3 is.  Still, knowing this, I was still afraid that I was somehow doing "the wrong thing."

Now that I have used these two products for a couple of days, I feel much better.  I feel better because they are WORKING.  My daughter is 1) retaining the information, something she has never been able to do with math before (except for doubles for some reason- she knows all the double facts). and 2) she actually loves math now!

Life of Fred- The writer Stanley Schmidt would have been my favorite teacher if I ever had him back when I was in school.  You can just imagine how he would be.  He doesn't just teach math, he teaches everything and everything is amusing and makes you laugh.  When you laugh, you tend to remember why.

The book of Fred is a story book.  Within the story there is math, but kids barely know it, and they don't mind it either. At the end of each section is a "Your Turn to Play" with just a few questions, nothing to get worked up about.  Some of the questions are just fun or silly, which mixes things up a bit.  There is a lot of repetition in the stories- like, for example, within several chapters you are told that 5 an 2 make seven.  You are told in lots of different ways and it comes up in several different scenarios. Eventually, you remember.

You are also told about ancient philosophers, geometry, geography, the Greek alphabet, and much more. If you think this book is simple and talks down to kids at all, you're wrong.  I learn a lot reading this book as well!

This series is perfect for my daughter.  She has great reading comprehension and excellent language arts skills.  Learning math by reading a story is working for her. When we have extra time she asks me to do more Fred.  She hated math before and said she was bad at it.  Now she loves it and it's only been three days.

The only thing that worries me is that even when I finish the elementary set she will not have covered what fourth grade has covered (but she will  have touched on things they haven't.).  We may be able to get further than this set though because the books go a lot faster than you think.  We will be done with book 1 by the end of this week!

Addition the Fun Way- Here is another great resource for kids with dyscalculia. Here is how it works.  Every number is a character.  For example, 3 is a bee and 6 is sick. Now for each addition fact there is a story. For example: Sick Six was trying to take a nap but kept being bothered.  The Three Bee wanted to help so she made him a Nine Sign that said Do Not Disturb.  The stories are a bit longer than that and more memorable, but you get the idea. I read each chapter several times before moving on to the next one.  Then, when my daughter sees the equation she can recall the story. So if she sees 3+6, she knows 3 is a bee and 6 is sick and she just has to remember what happened when they were together and she'll have her answer.

I can say this is working.  We have only done 3's and 4's so far but it works!  Once in a while, I see her trying to count on her fingers instead (she is unable to count on her fingers correctly so it is of no help when she does this) but then I prompt her to remember the story.  She will take a few seconds to remember it and then she will have the correct answer.  Some equations have already become automatic.

Fred gives kids a deep understanding of why and how math works. It provides the needed basis for kids who just don't get it the way most others do.  Addition the Fun way is good for memorization when drilling does not work.  

Our math routine is reading whatever chapter we are working on in Addition the Fun Way and possibly taking a quiz to see how much we are retaining.  Then we do Life of Fred.  My original intent was to do three chapters of Fred per day and to split them up throughout the day.  I was going to do this so I would not give my daughter who hates math, too much math at once and also I thought she might retain it better if it was reinforced throughout the day and in shorter spans so there was less chance of her zoning out.  However, we have wound up doing three or more chapters all at once because when a chapter ends she asks me to please do another and as long as she is enjoying herself I will keep on going.

I find so little out there on dyscalculia.  I don't think even the experts understand it. But the way I see it is, if your brain rejects math, trick your brain and disguise the math as something else.  If you are explaining something and it is not getting through, your explanation needs a new mode of transportation and a new point of entry. My daughter's strongest areas are her language and reading skills.  So, the math is going in through that door,

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