# Dd STILL having difficulty w/ math

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• LindseyD
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My dd7.5 is still having difficulties with her math facts. A little back story: We began math with MUS Primer, and she did well. About halfway through Alpha, I started noticing difficulties and inconsistencies. Subtraction was not coming easily to her, and she seemed to be always forgetting the addition facts that she had learned only days before. At the recommendation of several, I purchased Rapid Recall, and we have been doing that for the past couple of months. At first, she was doing great and saying how much she loved learning math facts that way. She still loves the program, and we will press on and finish it. BUT, the same facts she was having trouble with before are giving her the same troubles again. And that set of facts is anything with plus 2 or minus 2.

I don’t know why she can get correct 4+5=9 all day long, but she hesitates and sometimes even guesses at 7+2.

The fact family which gives her the most trouble is the 2, 4, 6 family (2+4=6, 6-4=2, 4+2=6, 6-2=4). No matter how many times she repeats these problems, she still hesitates and gets frustrated every time she comes to one of them.

I’m not sure why 7+5=12 and 8+2=10 are so easy for her, and 5-3=2 is so difficult. Honestly, I’m not blaming the programs. MathUSee and Rapid Recall are both excellent curricula, and I have been very pleased with both. In this case, I’m saying it’s the child. I just don’t know how to help her get over this mountain.

Any ideas or suggestions are welcome!

Blessings,

Lindsey

Lindsey,

One thing that I recall in getting over a math fact hump is the reinforcing of a math fact family by writing it out (the whole fact family every day). For instance have your dd write those particular facts in different ways like on paper, shaving cream, chalkboard, go out on the driveway and write it there too with chalk. Be creative, but try to keep those facts as review until its “over learned” and retained. Even after solidly learning, have it written on a flashcard and review once a week. I have learned the important use of flashcards review, not just math but with other subjects as well.

HTH!

Misty
Participant

What about adding some different things into her days.  These are things I have done to help.  Math videos like Add and Subtraction Rock by Rock N Learn.  This has been something my son watches for fun while treadmilling.  What about looking up and holding the flash cards about her head.  I know it sounds weird but when I was learning about right and left side brain thinkers I did this with my son in multiplication and it worked.  Go figure??  Then there is the writing out the problems in say black and making the answers in bold red and hanging it in the bathroom or somewhere she will see them often.  These are just some things I have tried and have helped.  Good luck. Misty

jeaninpa
Participant

I’m a big fan of the “better late than early” educational model.  Some kids just get their math facts quickly, some get them quickly when they’re older. It’s the same with reading (and potty training and sleeping through the night, etc.)  I can’t tell you how many brick walls I’ve run into before finally figuring that out.   Sometimes if you just put it aside for a few weeks and try again, it will suddenly be easy for her.

After putting it aside for a bit, there are some things I would try….  Manipulatives, of course, but there is also a book by Peggy Kaye called Games for Math.  She has loads of fun ideas for K-3rd grade.

LindseyD
Participant

The RR system uses flashcards with white backgrounds and bold black print. She reviews these everyday, multiple times. I haven’t tried having her write them down over and over; I will try that next. She would probably enjoy writing them in shaving cream or flour. She does review her facts on MUS’s website, on the online drills application. I’m not a game-y momma; maybe I should utilize games more. I’m not sure putting the facts down for a time will work for her. I totally agree about other things (potty training, writing, etc.). My dd is a late bloomer in other areas–ex. didn’t learn to tie her shoes until this past year, and when she did, it was so easy for her. I agree with the “better late than early” model too. It’s just that math is such a big deal, and I really want to build a strong foundation for her. That’s my only hesitation with putting it down for a while.

Misty, where do you find those videos?

Tristan
Participant

What about taking those specific facts and making up stories with a little picture? Similar to Times Tales. It seems backward to add a story but it may help. Make stories that matter to her. Let me try making one up to show you:

Two birds were on a branch and four more came to sit. Now there were six.

The key to it really is the picture though – you would draw a branch in the shape of a “6” for all these birds to land on. Then your birds can be birds or numbers with wings and beaks (two shaped like 2’s, four shaped like 4’s). Under the picture goes the caption 2+4=6.

Then you can build on this story for the subtraction. The ‘#2’ birds flew home for a nap. How many are left? Just the 4’s. 6-2=4.

Okay, seems silly, but sometimes silly with a visual and story helps.

Rebekahy
Participant

Lindsey – any chance you know if she is right brained.  My dd is and it is typical for these kids to struggle with math facts – while she doesn’t have all of her math facts memorized she is very capable of “solving” them in her head which means that she does GREAT at multiple step story problems even though it comes more slowly because she doesn’t have them memorized – I know Steve Demme would cringe.  I’ve allowed my dd to move on regardless.  I don’t want to torture her with something that she can find the right answer to easily – I am also right brained and still don’t have all of my math facts down like I know MUS requires you too, but I went all the way through Calculus in high school – so I’m not too worried about my DD.  For more info about how right brained kids deal with numbers check out Dianne Craft’s website – we’re using her program to help with a writing glitch in my DD and it seems to be helping.

LindseyD
Participant

Tristan, not silly at all. I’m sure she would love something like that!

Rebekahy, Interesting. How does one go about finding out whether their child is right- or left-brained? I know I am left-brain dominant, but that’s because my chiro performed some office tests on me to determine that.

2flowerboys
Participant

it is the strangest thing but my ds8 can add in his head like crazy! He beats and sometimes almost beats my dh in adding quickly…dh is a math professor! But ds does not do as well on paper!! My dh who is left brain and very logical says it is because he/ds is right brain. DS is also musical too!

So, maybe Rebekahy has something 🙂 I too have just realized that I will have to let ds do it in his head then write the answer. I was frustating him by asking him to regroup and carry!! When all along he can figure it all in his head!

My dh doesn’t have the math facts down either!! And he is a very intelligent math professor! He would blush is he read this! LOL

2flowerboys
Participant

Lindsey Right brain thinks this way

• Recognizing faces
• Expressing emotions
• Music
• Color
• Images
• Intuition
• Creativity

Left brained

• Language
• Logic
• Critical thinking
• Numbers
• Reasoning

HTH!

Rebekahy
Participant

I used an article similar to this to identify that my dd is rightbrained (technically you probably have to do a brain scan or something!), but they have similar traits that are easily identifiable.  http://hslda.org/strugglinglearner/sn_checklists.asp

Sara B.
Participant

She may really benefit from math games rather than flash cards.  Right Start sells just the Math games book and cards separately from the program itself.  I know some moms who use it as a supplement.  My own kids LOVE the games, and they hardly even know they’re doing math.  🙂  Just a suggestion in addition to the others you’ve gotten.

melindab72
Member

I’m so glad this is being discussed. We are in MUS Alpha, on the threshold of beginning subtraction. My kids rely heavily on the manipulitives. They get every answer right, but not without the block or fingers. I’m not sure if I should move onto subtraction yet, but they are 8 and 10, I’m anxious to move forward.

We have flashcards and the game Sum Swamp, but don’t use them very much. Maybe we should just drill for a couple of weeks with those exclusively and then move on? They do fine with their worksheets and even the word problems are easy for them. It’s just the fact that they haven’t memorized them yet.

Jenni
Participant

And now for something completely different…

We don’t write down most math. While my older dd does Life of Fred, mostly we do math mentally and verbally. We do math in the car, in the bathtub, in line at the store. We do play lots of games, too. Take Ten is a favorite right now. My dds are 8 and 5; dh and I are more concerned with their practical ability and mastery than we are with rote memorization. We simply want them to “get it”. DH is an engineer – he “gets’ math. He thinks “math”. I don’t, not at all, not even a little bit. I’m still doing long division by ‘air-writing’ a problem (hey, that’s the original cloud) to figure things out. Embarrassing and pathetic, I know. Also, I have forgotten many of my multiplication facts and have no logical way to figure it out. I end up having to ask someone or to look up the times table.

I know the standardized testing this year is going to be an issue for my third grader, but I’m confident that eventually, out in the real world, (and also hopefully in high school) she’ll “get” math at a much deeper, logical level than the kiddos who end up being taught to the test or, like me, simply memorizing.

That said, maybe your daughter just needs to know why she’s doing math? Do you guys transfer what your doing in lessons to more practical applications? Another idea that popped up when I read your original question Lindsey was, “Is your dd really good at language arts? Is she coasting through whatever else you’re doing, subject-wise? Is it only math that she struggles with?” I ended up figuring this out way too late to benefit from it myself, but I am doing much better with my oldest dd8: I was a natural speller, never studied for history, wrote essays for fun in my spare time, etc. But when it came to math, while I could do the work, I had to slow down and concentrate and really work at it. It wasn’t easy for me. It wasn’t too difficult for me either, but it wasn’t a piece of cake like everything else, so I just disregarded it. Doesn’t help that in my day, my teachers said it was fine for me to not apply myself in math since I was a girl and “girls don’t need math”. !!!??? Anyway, I’ve simply told my dd8 that she doesn’t have a choice. Sometimes we just have to do something, even if it’s hard. HTH!

melindab72
Member

Jenni, math practice sounds so joyful in your home! =) I don’t remember my math facts by heart either, but I have to say that I wish I did sometimes. As you know there are many situations in life where we need simple math and it’s no fun to hide my fingers down by my side while I count. LOL!!

I don’t like the idea or drilling for rote memorization regularly, but I feel that maybe in simple math it’s just going to make things easier for them down the line.

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