Math Topics - Basic Addition

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Math Topics - Basic Addition

Unread post by doubleportion »

9yo boy struggling with!
mommyintraining wrote:My son will be 9 tomorrow. He is still having trouble with simple math problems such as 12-5, or even 1+3. I started him in Singapore 1A a while back, but stopped. I don't know what to use with him. He is left-handed, so I don't know if that has anything to do with his math issues.

Should I just start over with him in Singapore 1A, or pick up where we left off in 1A. Do the 1st grade math with him? I really don't know what to try with him next. I would appreciate your wisdom in this matter!
I can only tell you what our experience would be. If you really need expert advice call the MFW office. They are really wonderful in helping with things like that. I even called them once myself about math and talked very tearily with David. He had so many suggestions and encouraging ideas and direction.

My dd had a really hard time with math up until just recently. We had done three other math programs before we found MFW in her 2nd grade year and started with Singapore 1A. I think Singapore has been really good for her. We have taken it slowly when we need to.

For me I think starting and stopping so many different math curriculums probably contributed to her difficulties. Ever company approaches the math process differently. Whatever you decide to use, I would just encourage you to stick with it no matter what.

We are finally into 3A with my dd and she has really started to hit her stride just in the past month or so. It never hurts to start from scratch. When we started with 1A I knew my dd was about a half year behind in her math skills. She did 1A, 1B and started 2A within one calendar school year. It has also helped her that we have really stuck hard with daily math drills and I purchased the extra practice book for 3.

Math can be one of those things that just takes time to click and you just have to keep chipping away at it no matter what.

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Re: 9yo boy struggling with!

Unread post by Caryn »

Terri, I wouldn't say that your son being a leftie is contributing to the "issues" as such. My son is a leftie and a math wizz. I think, though, that lefties are generally more right-brained and process things more creatively, and sometimes that contributes to their taking a little longer to grasp math logic when presented in conventional ways.

I think with Math being a science, we really need to specialize in the way we present it to our learners depending on their learning style. I say this even though I'm not big on catering to learning styles. I believe they all need to learn how to learn in different ways. However, math is one of the more "inflexible" subjects in that it's a logical science governed by fixed laws. It is what it is. So we need to get creative in the way we present it.

My right-handed DD really struggles with math, and we have tried just about every approach under the sun. We have finally had success using Math-U-See. I wouldn't recommend jumping around too much with math, since it definitely can make things more difficult, and create gaps in the curriculum depending on when and how often you jump around.

This is one place that I think putting in a call to the MFW office is an important and valuable step to take. They are amazing listeners, and will definitely be able to steer you in the right direction with Math.


Postby Caryn » Tue May 18, 2010 9:15 am
Terri - I think your question (asking me for more details) was along the lines of, what can mom's do to help their kids grasp math concepts! I'll try to answer as best I can - it's been quite a tough journey for us!

I think one of the main things to remember is that at this young age children are very concrete thinkers and the more we can show them what we're talking about with objects, the easier it is for them to work with that concept because they have something "concrete" to recall in their minds.

I do have to say that I actually sent my daughter to a very expensive Math tutor at one point, and that actually helped to get the math ball rolling! I wasn't in the lessons, but apparently she didn't have much trouble at all, and they moved ahead quite quickly. However, when she's sitting with me trying to think of the answer to a basic math fact (like, 8 + 5) she has trouble. We're working on possible character issues like pride (afraid to give the wrong answer to mommy for any number of reasons) etc. So if there's something like that at the root, hopefully we'll get to it!

When we went through our Saxon math stage (I still like Saxon - just stopped using it when a College professor said she has to reteach math to any of her students who've used Saxon...and I KNOW that's not a reason to stop a program - I just couldn't help myself!) we got the K-3 manipulatives. There are a LOT of them because they tend to teach everything with manipulatives, which for my dd is the only way to go. So even though we're using Math-U-See with the blocks, I crack out the Saxon manipulatives. Which is exactly what Crystal is suggesting - not that you use these particular manipulatives, but that you use something concrete that can demonstrate to your child what is happening conceptually.

For addition/subtraction facts, we do everything in as many ways as we can think of. We use teddy bear counters and linking cubes a lot, and for shapes we used actual 3D shapes. I've also found it useful to set up play stations for them - a store with money and products with prices, a restaurant with "recipes" that have fractions - 1/2 a cup of pie filling + 1/2 a cup of mud = 1 cup of mud pie.

And, yes, Cyberchase helps too :D We've also used (paid subscription for standards-based curriculum including LA, Math, Science - all computer work and no Bible. Purely supplementary and only used for Math) and if you google "free math worksheets" you get a zillion sites where you can print free practice worksheets.

The coolest online math games can be found here and there are more at Apples4Teachers, including an interactive 100 number chart. Cool! You can find that all by searching "free online math games"

The best way to conquer math is to present the concepts in as many ways as possible. If your child isn't getting it one way, find a different way to explain it. Most times I find those ways online. It's especially helpful if it's a different visual approach.

I hope that all helps a little!
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Re: 9yo boy struggling with!

Unread post by 705emily »

Hi Terri,

I don't have a lot to say--just want to give you a "HUG" and let you know you're not alone. My dd (just turned 9) has also struggled with math. I stressed about it earlier--and I think that stressed her out. I also tried several programs--but this year I stuck with the same curriculum and went slower when we needed to. She seems to be understanding math so much better--and while she's not a "mathy" kid--she is holding her own! I would second Edie's recommendation of daily drills! It'll come! :)

Irmi Gaut
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'And my God shall supply ALL your needs according to his riches in Glory!'

Re: 9yo boy struggling with!

Unread post by cbollin »

Teaching tips for a lot of this is much easier in person or at least talking to another person.

so, I doubt my typing will help either.

Like others have said, some kids will not struggle in math and it has nothing to do with the math program you are using. Some kids will struggle and changing programs will not solve the problem either. Some kids need to change programs.

A lot of this will depend on how he is being taught and where the real struggle is.

Is it that he is just not able to recall specific facts and therefore isn't very fast with math problems? Or does he not have a clue what 12-5 means to do? What other struggles does he have in school work? Have you checked developmental vision? What else is going? Is he on the normal side of just taking longer, or is there a bigger issue?

If speed of recall is the issue -- there are certain answers to help on that. it will involve creative teaching methods as well as allowing for helps to look things up that get his brain stuck. Remember too, that even on the SAT/ACT, they allow you to use a calculator in case your brain freezes under time pressure. So, if a test that is that important allows that level of help, it is certainly ok to let our younger children use something to lean on to gain security while learning new things, then gradually wean them away while increasing speed. It's a lot like me learning how to be an exercise instructor. I have to go slow on the steps on the DVD, watch them over and over, practice slowly, then in class this morning, I should be ok at regular speed on that one song.....

if concepts are an issue for your 9 y.o son -- use real life objects to let him work the problem while you do it with him. Set out 12 lego bricks (or unit blocks) and then take away 5 of them. What is left? that technique is not specific to any math program -- it's just how you teach elementary children. very concretely. I think all programs in math encourage that. But do we really let our children do that and take the 5 minutes with them to do it?

My leftie is my strong math student.(my oldest) anything would have worked with her.

My middle daughter (11) has mild brain damage and still does well in Singapore with help and gently encouraging her. For years I let her use her fingers to help her brain get on track with "rote memory" skills of math facts. It helps anchor her thoughts to have a quick way to focus. She doesn't need it for every thing, but some facts were just hard for her brain to recall. She'd literally count it off, or use skip count songs to help focus. She had those skip count multiplication songs and knew how to use her fingers the right way and whether it meant multiply or divide. We really worked on concepts for a long time over rote facts. So using Singapore Number Bonds (math fact families) was a big plus for her. I'm really seeing it pay off this year with long division and how we think Singapore did that. I wish I had a way to make a video to show that.

so basically, I don't object to my struggling child using her fingers as one manipulative out there to make her brain click in gear. I don't have a problem letting a child who is honestly struggling with looking up facts on a chart. I find ways to help her get faster. It's been a slow process with her with her physical issues. so keep on! She also is allowed to watch Cyber Chase. I know you'd never allow that show in your house, but I do. It's been very helpful for my child to see concepts taught in a fun way.

youngest - 8. autism. what's math? well, count me among those who emailed MFW office with my phone number and asked them to think about my situation and call back. It was nice that they did call back and brainstormed. I got a lot more out of those 7 minutes on the phone than it takes to type for 7 minutes. (it took me a lot longer than 7 minutes to type all of this).

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Re: 9yo boy struggling with!

Unread post by BHelf »

I knew I couldn't be the only one. :) There are things I don't like about Cyber Chase, but since I started letting my DD watch it, she now finds math in EVERYTHING and thinks it's fun!! And she is starting to understand things I haven't taught yet.

Just had to chime in there. :)

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Re: 9yo boy struggling with!

Unread post by mommyintraining »

Thanks so much ladies. I think I am just expecting too much at this point. We will just keep plugging along :)

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Re: 9yo boy struggling with!

Unread post by RachelT »

Hi Terri! I wanted to "pop in" on this discussion. I think that with any math program it is really important to use something that they can work with in their hands and see (manipulatives, blocks, teddy bear counters, etc.) to practice. Even when they say "I don't want to use the blocks", I make them use them for new concepts until I feel like they are "getting it". Then I work with them on flashcards or other math drills, after they have use something concrete.

It also helped my children to find (or you could make) flashcards that have one side with the equation and one side with the equation AND the answer. We are all such visual learners that it seems to really help looking at the solved equation with the answer at first and then later we quiz with the side that does not have the answer on it. I tell them to take a picture of it in their brain, especially with the ones that are not as easy to remember and we say them out loud.

As we have worked through learning the math facts in a systematic way, sometimes my kids have needed a "brain break" where they just use the blocks while they work their math equations and review what they have learned so far. My dd was ahead of schedule in her math book this year, but two or three different weeks I just allowed her a few days to review and practice what she already knew without presenting new material. Then, she seemed ready to conquer a new set of facts.

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Re: 9yo boy struggling with!

Unread post by saed75 »

I just wanted to add that my almost 9 yr old dd really struggles with math, too. I've just checked out a book from my library called Games for Math by Peggy Kaye. It has some really interesting games to play that are easily and cheaply made at home. They seem like they would be fun and still teach needed concepts. I haven't tried any yet, but I can't wait to see how dd responds. HTH