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What To Do If Your Student Is Not At Grade Level in Math- A Learn Math Fast System Review


What can you do if you discover your 4th grader is barely passing 2nd grade math or your 6th grader is all over the place with his math skills -in some areas he is advanced but others is his behind? You see high school looming and you cannot figure out how your student is going to possibly make up years missing math concepts by next year. These are not unusual places to be, especially if your student has been learning by a hands-on or living math method or if your student has learning disabilities or is gifted.

I know the first instinct is to make your student spend more time with the math books or drill the concepts, hoping that the skills will begin to come. This often leads the struggling student to hate math, and the battles begin. I would like to suggest an alternative.

Don't push your struggling math student to hate math.

If you have been following my blog for very long, you know that I have heartily endorsed a hands-on and living books style of math instruction, and I still do like it for a foundation in math concepts. But what do you do if you have completed Math Their Way, Mathematics, A Way of Thinking and Living Math and your student still is lacking the necessary math skills? If you have been in my shoes then you might have experienced the difficulty of presenting a math book at their level that is obviously for younger students because of the pictures and the subject matter discussed.

What do you do when you feel like your child needs to start over from the beginning?   

We faced this problem this year and I am happy to say that I have found the solution. I found The Learn Math Fast System and I was so impressed by what I found on the website that I, uncharacteristically of me, emailed the author and asked if I could have a sample to review. I was sent the whole set of four volumes and a geometry kit. When materials were sent, I was told by the author that the program is designed to be read from page one, which starts with first grade math, all the way through to the end of book four, getting your child caught up to eighth grade math in about a year. I must admit that I was a bit skeptical that my struggling students could catch up that fast.

But we began to get moments in which the math concepts that they had been struggling with for so long became clear for the first time. Quentin had his first "a-ha" moment when we were going over fractions. The program approaches each topic in many different ways so even though in the beginning he had that confused look, his face suddenly cleared and he exclaimed, "Now I understand!" He answered all the remaining questions correctly.

There are no manipulatives, so it is not hands-on. The graphics in the book are fantastic, however, and they are simple and straight-forward, nothing cute or dumbed-down. This gives it a hands-on feel to it, and makes the more simple concepts not seem too babyish. It is written in a tone that is lively and engaging, which helps to take the fear out of math. The program gives lots of mental math tips, practice and timed tests (although we have opted out of the timed tests due to learning disabilities and anxiety.) The math facts are taught using a systematic approach to ensure that all gaps are filled in, giving students a solid foundation and understanding of math, preparing them for high school math. Part of the reason that the system works so fast is that it focuses just on math concepts. For this reason, there are a few topics that you won't find in these books. For example, learning to tell time, Roman numerals, tally marks, and the days of the week/year are not included in the Learn Math Fast System.

It can successfully prepare your child for high school math in about a year.

This approach has worked well with both my struggling 4th grader and my 6th grader who was advanced in some areas and less so in other areas. My 4th grader has advanced to grade level material in just a few short months and my 6th grader is now ready for the third book, Pre-Algebra. I believe it would work well, also with an advanced math student because it leaves out all the fluff and the student can gain the math skills he needs quickly and efficiently, satisfying the advanced learner's desire to achieve. 

The program is very inexpensive. The first four books can be purchased for $149 (with free shipping), which is much less than most programs materials for first to eighth grade math. I am sure we will be purchasing Volumes V and VI, which cover Algebra I and II, which cost $49 each (and $10 shipping).

What is inside each book, sample pages and a placement test can all be found at the Learn Math Fast System website. So whether you have a struggling math student, an advanced student or a student with a mixed level of skills, go over and take a look, and see what you think. It is the best no-nonsense math program I have ever seen.

Disclaimer: I received this product free through the company owner in exchange for my candid review. A positive review was not required, nor did I receive any further compensation. All opinions expressed are mine. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC regulations.


  1. Intriguing - the girls are a both a tad behind - not about a grade for K and about .5 a grad for C. It is frustrating but I think we are getting there...but if things ever stall out, we will definitely consider this. We sometimes to Life of Fred but it is terribly expensive.

  2. Wow! I guess I didn't proof my comment - I am amazed you understood it. You are a good friend and resource. Melissa.

  3. Thanks for this, Phyllis. We still haven't found "the" system for my 9 year old son, and his maths skills are quite uneven.. It's good to know there's something out there should we need a catch-up later on. I completely agree about the importance of preserving a love of maths.

  4. This does look like a great system. I've pinned it because I'm sure it can help somebody else get further along (I'm gonna stick with what we're using for now, but I'll keep this in mind for if we ever need more help).

  5. Greetings
    I am thinking about implementing maths their way for my 9 and 6 year old can you point me in the direction of some ideas and resources for getting started.I'm unclear what a regular lesson looks like how often and for how long.Were pretty eclectic and creative, its not a strict seclude that i want more a look at what someones maths their way week looks like and getting started. Any help you can offer would be great
    Thank you Emily

    1. Here is a lesson plan for a classroom. http://www.center.edu/MTW-book/14-AppendixClassroom.pdf Since your school only has two students, you won't need to split them up into groups, but it should give you an idea of what a week's activities should look like.


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