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Q&A #2193

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Trailblazers Math Program

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From: Kieran Farrell <kieranfarrell00@hotmail.com>
To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2004011413:08:41
Subject: Re: My son can't do math thanks to trailblazers

Trailblazers almost sunk my son.  We found a solution - without
pulling out of public school.

Background:  My son is a bright kid and was failing at Trailblazers
last year in 4th grade.  After a half hour attempting the irrational
homework of Trailblazers, he was totally frustrated and so was I with
our district to allow this “New Math” into the system.  He had no
confidence, couldn’t do standard simple math fact problems, and just
felt bad.  Our 4th grade teachers didn’t think the students needed
multiplication fact memorization.  I’m still mad.  His language arts
were just hold at average.

Solution:  We decided to pay for a private math program ourselves and
remain in public school for the other benefits.  The program is Kumon
math.  (check the web – there are about 80,000 schools worldwide)

It’s a Japanese system for teaching traditional math.  The commitment
is 10-15 minutes a day at home for the student and a half hour a week
at a local Kumon center with teachers.  My son has been doing the
Kumon program for just under a year.  We told him to still try
Trailblazers at school, but to use any way he knew for the tests.  He
is in 5th grade now and has gone from the bottom, last year, to the
top of his class in math this year. He handles the Trailblazer word
problems fine.  His confidence is sky high.  He’ll remain in Kumon and
parallel the public program at least until high school.  

If the New Math educator geniuses think my son may just be a math
facts robot – forget it.  He sees math everywhere looks and thinks,
science, nature, calendar, music, etc. 

Note: The beginning phase of Kumon is a little frustrating.  The
student is tested and then usually begins below grade level.  My son
is coming up on a year and has just past current school grade level. 
If you try it, give it a year.  Most students finish middle school 2
to 3 levels above.  

Hope this helps… good luck. 


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