Q&A #2193

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Trailblazers Math Program

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From: Kieran Farrell

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2004011414:08:41
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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