I teach the upper grades in my school, yet I continue to see kids who do not even have basic algebra skills in place. As a parent, I'm very aware of what my own children are learning in school. For the most part, I've been happy with their progress, but as they rise in grade level, I'm starting to see more emphasis on a loose understanding of the concepts and less emphasis on skills__particularly skills with arithmetic of fractions. The main problem with what I see with my students and my own children is that kids are taught "concepts" and are not taught skills__unless they're lucky enough to have a teacher who knows better. Most particularly, children are not taught mastery of arithmetic with fractions. Unfortunately, virtually all of their future math education depends on being able to do fractional arithmetic.
Step 3: Flashcard Ward I have my son in a competition against my husband. I write the problems on flashcards. Whoever answers it first, gets a point. Off course my husband takes his time and makes sure to just stay within a point or two of my son. This is honestly the most effective step for my son. He tries so hard. I started offering prizes for the winner. Nothing big, you have to see how hard an eight year old will work for a cookie. When we complete these steps, he is ready to go! It has been extremely effective for Cameron. He started the school year with a 2 out of 4 as a math skill grade. His last report card just came and he is now on the 4 out of 4 level. I hope it helps you too!