Math - Roadblocks & taking a break

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Math - Roadblocks & taking a break

Unread post by LizCT »

This is a suggestion that I am humbly offering up for anyone who is having trouble with their child hitting a "roadblock" with math.

When my dd starting having a hard time with a topic in Singapore 1B, I have put that book aside for a while. (I picked up the 1A intensive practice book and the Challenging Word Problems 1, and worked out of those.) Then I go back to the previously difficult topic in 1B, and she is having no problem.

It seems like backing off the tough topics and going back to work on "easier" topics at a deeper level is helping a lot.

I have very little experience with this - it is our first year using Singapore. In the event that this is helpful to someone else, I thought I'd toss it out there, as it is helping us a lot.


Unread post by TurnOurHearts »

Thanks for sharing this, Liz. We hit a road block or two in 1B/2A this year as well. We shifted gears, just like you mentioned. We would work on something already covered, get out the flash cards for a few days, do a timed workbook, etc.

Each time we did this, when we returned to our "regularly scheduled program," we seemed to move right along. Something about shifting gears? Thanks again for posting this. :)
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Unread post by henryteachers »

Thanks for this tip! We've been struggling a little in 1B right now.

We decided to skip it and move onto a different topic in 1B--telling time. Already in one day, the change to something different has been good.

It sounds wonderful to hear when you do come back to it that it is not as difficult and you can move right along. Thanks!
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Polish the skills for a while

Unread post by kellybell »

caod wrote:I am really wondering if we should put math away until she is 10 and try again and see what happens.
Posted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 1:52 pm
You are wise in knowing that changing curriculum is not a good answer. Actually, I like your idea of putting it away for a bit.

But, don't give up on math. Perhaps you can spend a little time doing math games with her. Just try to NOT move forward but try to polish the skills she has. And, don't get exasperated. Just play a math game or two each day, even if it is just War with cards.

I really like the book (and I've plugged it here before) Games for Math by Peggy Kaye. It has some fun games that are just great reinforcements to learning math facts, understanding multiplication, practicing subtraction, etc. If you get the book (try it at the library before you buy it), try Double It! That one is one of my kids' favorite games. You work on subtraction, addition and doubling (ie. 4 doubled is 8) while you race around a game board. My kids focus so much on where they are on the board ("oooh, I'm five ahead of you!" "Oh, I just passed you up.") that they forget that they are doing math. It's a good day when we get out the Double It! game.

My kids also like doing Quarter Mile Math (which is overpriced, but oh well). They compete with themselves, so Jamie is trying to beat Jamie's best time. They have many, many drills for all grades. Not all kids like this and since you are alone and focusing on math, it might not work. My kids do better with a friend (or sibling or mom) and a non-math focus when it comes to games.
Jenn in NC
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Unread post by Jenn in NC »

Posted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 2:31 pm
We did something similar to help my (then) 2nd grade son. Our tester/evaluator suggested that we drop our official daily math time down to whatever our son could easily handle. Even if it was just one problem a day, then that's what he suggested we do. He told us not to worry about the tests at the end of the year, just to focus on what our son needed. The idea was to make math seem doable again, to help him see some success and build from there.

Anyway that was a year ago, and he is now in 3rd grade. I don't think math will ever come easily to him but he is doing much better now. I still never have him do an entire lesson at once. We go slowly. But he is up to 20 or 30 min a day at one stretch (most days). And for him that is phenomenal!

I am not saying you should do exactly what we did, the answer for your dd may be entirely different -- just wanting to encourage you about the possibility of dropping or reducing math for your dd. We had several people last year who thought we were crazy, but b/c we had a "professional" telling us to go that route, we were brave enough to go with it. I am so glad we did -- it has made all the difference for my ds.

Unread post by cbollin »

Posted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 3:02 pm

Would it help if you made a chart for her to follow the steps and let her refer to it as much as needed? Then also model it for her. She can say the steps out loud if needed.

Lisa M
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Unread post by Lisa M »

Posted: Fri Feb 15, 2008 7:20 pm

I have a daughter who is now 13 1/2 and was convinced she wasn't good at math, with a math superstar younger brother breathing down her neck.

But, here is the key for us, she is NOT bad at math. She can do "real world" math just fine: double, triple, or 1/2 recipes; work with multiplying money; etc. Her problem is in reading something in a math book and then thinking of it in a real way to solve the problem. She still struggles with it, but is understanding now that her usual way of thinking is more global and broad. She needs to teach her mind to slow down and focus on the details of the problem. As she grows and matures, she is getting a better understanding of how she thinks and can make adjustments.

The other point I want to pass along is that I talk with her about gifts that God gives. We talk about each child in our family and the different unique gifts they display. God has given her a tender heart, music, and a great deal of skill in working with training and raising animals. She has become OK with the fact that one of the gifts he has given her younger brother is in the area of math/strategy/logical thinking. So when he is doing her level of math, she can accept it for what it is and move on without feeling less for herself.

And, yes, pray for wisdom.
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how about dad?

Unread post by donutmom »

Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 9:13 pm

How about dad? My husband stepped in and helped. Not all the time, but when I was at the end of the rope and didn't know what to do. He would ask what the concept was and then sit and try to explain it to our son (didn't look at the book--came up with his own approach). I found it annoying actually--in a positive way! I could have spent days hoping my son would grasp something, and then my hubby would sit down in one evening and slowly the lightbulb came on. Sometimes it would take more evenings, but hubby kept at it trying new approaches.

I did set a limit on the amount of time we'd spend on a lesson each day. That seemed to take a bit of tension away--from me at least! And there were times I had to just cut the time short, for once he got stuck and frustrated, his mind seemed to hit a roadblock and the rest was a lost cause. And I found that first thing in the morning has a slight advantage over any other time of day. Maybe there's a better time of day for your daughter.

We've had to repeat over and over that God has made him exactly as He wanted him to be. We had him memorize Psalm 139:14 (not at math time, but for Bible time!), and have applied it over and over to math. We have often stopped in a middle of a math lesson to pray. God can give you the patience and guidance you need.

Ahead of the curve - needing a break?

Unread post by cbollin »

momrandles wrote:What math to use for my 6th grader?

He used Saxon 76 this year, and over the course of the year the grumblings got worse and he started detesting math. I figured I'd come here for all your expertise and helpfulness and see if anything specific has worked for you with a child who has begun to hate math.
Posted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 8:44 am
I noticed your son is now in 5th grade and using Saxon 76. I want to toss in a consideration from the "I've been there, done that" side of it. No matter what you do for math, he just may be burned out from trying to stay ahead of the curve. Saxon 76 is 7th grade math, or advanced 6th grade. Maybe your 5th grade son just needs a break for a while from any math books, or to only do math 2-3 days per week instead of 5 days. He’s very ahead of the curve.

I ended up having to do that same thing for my daughter. She's a 6th grader doing 8th grade math book. Even though it is “at her level”, it is not at her age. So, I don’t push her to get through the whole thing. She’s not falling behind in her math skills by slowing it down.

There is no rush to start Algebra I in the 7th grade for her or for your son.

Before driving yourself crazy reviewing every curriculum out there in math, perhaps you could just adjust what you are using to take into consideration his age. Or at least hold off a bit and not “have” to use Saxon 87 in 6th grade. He’ll still be ahead of the curve if he uses that book in 7th grade. He doesn't need to be in Algebra right now. Slow it down.

Posted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 1:38 pm
At first I wasn't going to add this, but I think I should.

Because my oldest daughter is so far ahead in math, she has the freedom to not do math every day right now. Instead of doing math everyday, she is able to make a few little cross stitch crafts and crochet crafts. Those crafts, along with a whole bunch of things from other people, are going to be part of a charity auction to try to raise some extra funds for a missionary.

She still does math a few times per week. But there's no need to rush to finish it this semester. She'll still be ahead.

If you decide to back off/take a short break from math as I had suggested in my earlier post on this thread, maybe your son can find something to do with his math time that can be used for God's kingdom.

just a thought from our real life, that I had to share.

p.s. she still has to do her writing!!!!!!!
Cyndi (AZ)
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Singapore 2A - first meltdown?

Unread post by Cyndi (AZ) »

gratitude wrote:Math has come easily so far for my ds8 and he is about 85% through Singapore 2A. At the end of this past week though he had his first math melt down complete with tears. He says he is tired of having to think in math! So... what would you do????

My thoughts were:
back down for a review to give him a break for awhile. Someone gave me the 2A intensive practice, and I thought perhaps the first part of the book could provide some easier review. I also have the 2A Singapore tests, which he hasn't done any of yet. I thought perhaps they could provide early review from the first part of the book.

This is my first experience with 'worn out' from math, or perhaps it is 'math is too hard today'. I would love to hear from your wisdom and experience. What does one do when they hit a road block in math?
If I hear what you're saying right, starting to get the mental picture of multiplying and dividing is causing a bit of a meltdown. That's normal. Switching the brain over to memorizing multiplication facts is a big jump, in my opinion. And when you get into Sing 2B, the 4's, 5's and 10's come at you pretty quickly. (Although 5's and 10's are nice, because most kids can already skip-count those.)

I would let him take a break from the books if it were me. Get out the manipulatives and start building every problem he works through with blocks. Nine blocks are three sets of three, etc. Do it over and over. I used money with my dd, too -- if you had 5 pennies in ONE pile, how much money do you have? If you had TWO piles of 5 pennies, how much money do you have? (Maybe it's the female shopping gene, but it helps her understand. LOL)

I wouldn't keep pushing at that stage. He's "ahead" enough to take a little break until math is fun again. I had to do it when my dd hit multiplication, and I was glad we stepped back and got the concept before memorizing the facts.
Last edited by Cyndi (AZ) on Sun Jan 29, 2012 10:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Julie in MN
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Re: Singapore 2A - first meltdown?

Unread post by Julie in MN »

gratitude wrote:At the end of this past week though he had his first math melt down complete with tears. He says he is tired of having to think in math!
I used to stop for a break during those times. And my youngest had a LOT of those times. We might have game day(s), or math literature, math drill, or I even purchased another math program to use when ds was having a meltdown. Singapore was primary, but we had the other program when we needed it.

I should mention that I was okay, though, with getting "behind" in math for the sake of letting things sink in for my son. He only got to Singapore 5B at the end of 6th grade. He still always did math, always used Singapore as the core, and always tests very well. But if this is the first time it's happened to your son, my experience may not happen at your house at all.

Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
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Re: Singapore 2A - first meltdown?

Unread post by gratitude »

Thank you Julie and Cyndi for the reminder that letting him take a break is OK. It is what he is needing. A break to let the material soak in.

I am doing MFW1 math with ds6. I think letting him do some of ds6 math with him might be a great break, and a time to continue working on the basics with some hands on activities, counting pennies into nickels, etc.

Thank you for the help that I needed. :-)

[Editor's note: See the rest of the story below]
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1st grade math

Unread post by mandolin »

Miriam wrote:My daughter is struggling with math. She is frustrated and hates math. Before it was her favorite subject. Now when I tell her it is time for math she complains and says that she is too tired. I'm not sure whether to just do the hands on activities with the MFW math or continue with MUS and do lots of review? I feel like I have failed her. She is struggling in so many areas. But she always enjoyed math. HELP ME PLEASE!
I have five children and my youngest can be whiny if I let him. I have 2 who like to do school and finish easily,
and three that I have had to make do certain subjects. We talk about what the Lord wants in our attitudes and that there will be consequences for negative attitudes. Some days, it is very hard, but right after I am firm with them the next day is usually easier. They all have off days and math comes easier to some than to others. I thought my 17 year old would never learn math facts ( he did by 6th grade!) He is doing Algebra in high school and passing!

Maybe you could slow down and let her be where she's at in MFW 1st. Take the extra time to do math games and smaller sums till she is very confident. I did many different activities with my oldest to reinforce the math.

Check your own attitude about the math as well - ask yourself if you are putting pressure on her to get it before she is ready. We have to watch our own drive getting in the way! I was always an overachiever in school and I had to learn not to put that expectation on my kids who were late bloomers in the schooling department. To me an A and approval of my teachers and parents meant the world to me. Some of my boys would rather be playing in the yard. :) I am speaking of myself, so please don't hear any criticism. I pray the Lord will show you the best path for your own daughter.

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Julie in MN
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Re: 1st grade math

Unread post by Julie in MN »

If you are using MFW-1st, then can you just do the math included in the 1st grade program and let go of the rest? Even the Complete Book of Math in MFW-1st is partly games and such, and it's just an optional supplement.

I admit I'm a better-late-than-early gal, but my belief is that kids learn math *better* by doing the kinds of hands-on that are included in MFW-1st, and that workbooky or worksheety-math at a young age is mostly memorization and not the best way to understand mathematics. So I give you *permission" to just do the hands-on math for 1st grade :-) and let your little one's brain wait on any more abstract symbols/numerals until it starts sounding interesting again ;)

Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002+)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

Re: 1st grade math

Unread post by cbollin »

Some ideas: if she doesn't know, then show her. Do not ask her to do it on her own. Model it.
do not let her guess math facts..... if she knows the answer she gets to say it.. .If she doesn't know it... let her know she can say "I don't know." Then, you say the answer, show the answer. model it about 4 times and ask her to repeat it while seeing the answer. dont' worry on this.....

personally? I'd go back to MFW 1st grade games and activities. I was so glad I backed off with my middle gal in math. She needed more time. She is doing fine in Saxon 87. She did fine in Singapore math too...
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Re: 1st grade math

Unread post by Miriam »

Thanks for the advice. I do think I put too much pressure on my dd this fall when I switched. She is very creative and would make up her own math games with the math bags. I asked her this evening why she is not enjoying math as much any more. And she said she finds the math problems boring and wants some fun again! I need to let go of the idea that you can only learn through worksheets. Because she is not a work sheet girl, which is stretching this work sheet loving momma. So...we will do some fun math learning tomorrow after a week off of math. Hopefully she will love math again.
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Re: 1st grade math

Unread post by spaldingclan »

My dd has struggled in math this year as well (she is also in MFW1). Honestly, I haven't pushed it at all until this past month or so. I realized that everything else in school is really easy for her so it seems reasonable to get the Math out and really start putting some effort into it. It's really the only area she struggles at all. So...I pulled out my CBOM and we are working through the worksheets. She is a worksheet kid...loves them, and I am a worksheet mama. Love them! So that works out quite well for the 2 of us.

That being said, the hands on projects have really helped her when she is stumped by a concept. I have really loved the over all gentle approach to learning in these early years that My Father's World promotes. There is a ton of learning going on, but it isn't forced at all. I would agree with Julie...better late than early! Ease back into the hands on stuff for now to restore some confidence and work through a road block. All the best!
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Re: 1st grade math

Unread post by gratitude »

My ds8 loves math, and it has always been easy. About 3 weeks ago he hit a math wall and had his first math tears. The ladies were so kind on here to suggest a different approach for a break. [ ... 519#p82497]

He is in 2nd, so I didn't have the easy switch to MFW1 math that you do. What I did do though is bring him into some of the easy activities to include him into for MFW1 math with his younger brother. I also started a review using a Singapore book of tests for 2A, which is the book he has almost finished with. It has worked like a charm. He is getting the very needed mental break he needed. Reinforcing basic foundational skills both in the review and with his brother. Between the two he seems confident, mentally rested, and is once again loving math. Some times switching gears and resting is the very best thing you can do.
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Re: 1st grade math

Unread post by MelissaB »

Hi, Miriam,

We love Math-U-See, but took a break from it this year to do MFW 1st grade math. We're really glad we did. She's learned so much in MFW 1.

Each child is different, so I'll say a prayer with you that He will show you exactly what your sweet daughter needs to do. :-)
Much Love, Joy, Peace & Strength in Him alone,

Posted Tue Jul 24, 2012 9:30 pm by MelissaB
We switched to MFW math in 1st grade, too. Our daughter hated math and loved MFW 1st - and she learned a lot! By the end of the year, she was counting money, understood place value, adding, subtracting ... it was a whole new world.

The rest of the year is just as good - Enjoy!
Melissa B. (Arkansas)
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Re: 1st grade math

Unread post by Miriam »

Thank you for your advice. We have been doing lots of hands on activities, and she is loving math again. She is even enjoying worksheets in the CBOM, and she normally does not like worksheets. But we have changed things to mostly hands on activities and she is loving it and learning lots.
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Re: 1st grade math

Unread post by asheslawson »

AKellner wrote:Oh my goodness, I wish I had known about this board about seven months ago!! I echo this question/request! My first grader has been struggling with math all year. And I only recently remembered all of the math guides, etc. in the teacher manual. This is our first year homeschooling with a curriculum. We have absolutely LOVED this curriculum except for the daily tears with math. Sigh.

Any advice to finishing out the year? We are about to order Adventures for next year and going to order Singapre 1A/1B. I gave her the 1A test and she did better than I thought she would; a very shaky 76%. It's been hard seeing her struggle so much with this when her reading is about a year ahead of where her peers are. We also have a Kinder girl who is ahead of her in math skills. Definitely keeps my days interesting (and relying on the Lord)!
Do you have the 1st grade edition with the yellow math sheets in it? My dd loves the 'games'. She loves creating a store and writing checks for us after our meal. She also loves cooking with me. She has really learned so much from this hands on style of learning that it seems to make her have a much easier time in math. It was her fav subject too, and now that the math has started having more problems on some pages toward the end of the workbook, she complains a little, but she still does really well. She is doing math that our public schoolers are tackling in 2nd grade, but she's doing it on her own in 'games' she likes to play - so I love that. She also sometimes studies the items on a shelf at the store and figures out how much 2 items would be if I bought them both and things like that. Since she is doing this on her own - I am thrilled!

Another thing that seems to have helped her is playing board games that have counting and sequence in them. We love Skip-bo, which teaches numerical sequence, and she's gotten so good at that she can often beat us. A great game for counting money is Allowance, which we got at Toys To Grow On (.com). She even plays Monopoly pretty well, but ugh....I just grow so weary of that game! Dominoes is another good one we do for learning to count the dots to find out when we have groups of 5's! These games - along with us keeping things light and fun - have really helped her math so much. It is so easy for me to get a bit over-bearing and demand that they work harder, but I've learned that will not help my child do better, it will make them dread it. Hope this helps.
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