6 y/o struggling with Elementary arithmetic book 1

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  • lannahoffman

    Hi! My 6 year old and I have been going through book 1 of the elementary arithmetic series and she has done wonderfully doing math with numbers 1-10. She caught on quickly and loved doing it, said it was her favorite lesson time of the day. She’s even quick with doing it in her head. However, moving on to money has really got her stumped. We’ve been at it for weeks and she just can’t seem to grasp it. She’s starting to click that 1 dime is the same as 2 nickels and 10 pennies but as soon as we start trying to do math problems with it, she gets frustrated and discouraged and shuts down. I can almost feel her tense up when the coins come out. As of now I’ve just put the nickels and dimes away and we’re just working with pennies, but even then I see her forgetting how to do the addition and subtraction and she just seems to panic and starts guessing random numbers. She is my oldest and this is our first time hitting a wall, so I’m not sure what to do and I don’t even want to get math out at this point because I feel like I’m trying my best to help her but we just don’t know what to do. Do I stick with the pennies and just go REALLY slow with money until she gets it, go back and just review 1-10 more, or skip money for now and keep moving with higher numbers and manipulatives? Any suggestion would be helpful!

    Karen Smith

    She may not be ready for the money part yet. At her age it is not uncommon for a child to get “stuck” after doing well on a section of math. Children in the young school ages are still growing rapidly and sometimes they need a break from some of their schoolwork to allow for maturity. It is important that you move through math at your daughter’s pace. Pushing on when she is not ready, will not help her grasp the concepts and you will both end up frustrated. Because she is so young, it is better to put formal math lessons aside for a few weeks and allow her to mature a bit before continuing lessons. Always teach the child, not the curriculum (or the expectations of others.)

    While formal math lessons are on hold, you can still have her practice math in every day situations, such as when setting the table for a meal (“We have 3 forks on the table, but we need 6 forks for the meal. How many more forks do we need?”), folding laundry (You had two pairs of pants and four socks in the laundry. How many articles of clothing did you have altogether?), and playing store (You have 3 oranges that cost 2 cents each. How much do the oranges cost?”)


    That was really encouraging because that is what I was leaning toward and wasn’t sure if I should trust that as instinct or if I was “giving up”. I actually asked her that exact fork question before dinner tonight 🙂 Thank you so much!

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