Seems to me that every math textbook has an interminably long "review" period. I would understand where a teacher, new to a class of 26 or so students, would need to go through a time of review to ensure that all the children are up to speed before proceeding with the year's work. I also imagine that most textbooks are written with the public schooler or new homeschooler (who might need a review period before embarking on new material) in mind.
But I'm noticing especially now that Emperor is getting close to beginning pre-algebra that the seventh grade textbook is following a pattern of 1) long review period, 2) regular work, normal pace, 3) crazy-paced advanced "additional topics" section.
Right now, we're in the crazy-paced advanced "additional topics" section. It's nuts. Within a week, the kid learned exponential notation, Pythagorean theorem, working with inequalities and using negative numbers in basic algebraic equations. It just seems an odd sideways jump from probabilities and tax rate calculation, though I'm sure the textbook makers know what they are doing.
Much of Emperor's trouble, I'm discovering, is his difficulty in SLOWING DOWN long enough to write some basic information down. He still can't seem to take a minute to line up his numbers before multiplying. He was ok doing much of this in his head, but now we're at the point where (with decimals and whatnot) we really, really need to write our numbers down. Apparently copying the problem onto another sheet of paper (lined, turned sideways so we can have "columns") is too much work. It's better just to type answers into the computer without checking anything! I guess "just knowing" the answer has worked for him up until now, but he had a period there where he would totally bomb grade-wise. About three lessons have grades of 62-75.
I cannot IMAGINE setting this boy off on a multiple-choice test. I know him. He would fill in circles just because. I made him back away from the computer (and hence, the permanent gradebook) and fill his answers into the notebook. Then I checked them. I was expecting a huge number of errors... but I didn't find them. I guess getting away from the keyboard made him slow down?
I'd be interested to hear what other teachers (homeschool or classroom) think and how they've worked to solve similar problems.