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 http://www.time4learning.com
(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!