Fustration w/ math

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  • Misty

    ok moms/dads I need some advise.

    I have a son who is 8 1/2 going into 3rd grade. He STRUGLES in math beyond compare. We have tried many things and Mathusee seems to get through to him the most, but still not completely.

    We are just doing some review this summer, which I should back up and tell you we redid a year and is only doing 2nd grade math (1/2 way through right now). He just can not comprehend this stuff.

    BUT, if I read the problems to him he does much better. He knows his numbers, how to write them but when he looks at them it will take forever for him to figure it out but if I read them to him he sees to get it better?

    So do I keep going at a slow pace(which I will) and continue to let him write & recite them to me or do I change this somehow?

    This is also the child who has a VERY hard time w/ printing and do to some suggestions here got the handwriting w/o tears and he still can’t do nice letters for 1 page of work?

    I know we all have one that is tough, but this one happens to fall between a going into 4th grade but at a 5th/6th grade level and a s/bgoing into 1st but at an end of 2nd grade level. So I should not compare, but how did he get stuck there? God I need your help in understanding this one child.

    Any advise would be great.


    Jodie Apple

    Hi Misty,

    Our son has struggled with math from the very beginning (he is 10 now). It has always helped him if I turn the plain number problems (like 55+31 or 121×8, etc.) into word problems (like sister has 55 jelly beans and you have 31. How many do you have together?) For some reason he needs to know the purpose behind the numbers. I have also relaxed a bit in trying to “stay on level” because it really stresses him to think he’s “behind”, which inhibits the learning process even more. He also gets overwhelmed when he sees a page full of problems, almost like the number of problems distracts him from just doing the task. So to change things up a bit, maybe once a week we do math on the dry erase board. I give him the problem to be solved orally and he writes it down and solves it. That way he doesn’t see how many problems are ahead of him.

    Our son would also do very well when I would sit with him and read the problems, but struggled when left to himself. So, for a time I knew that math wasn’t something I could have him do independently. He did get over the hump and even would start his math without me, coming to me only when he had questions. It seems to happen when learning a new concept, like he needs a lot of reassurance before he feels comfortable on his own. Don’t misunderstand; he still doesn’t LIKE math, but he is excited to try the Pet Shop business math from SCM. He knows that when he gets his division down pat, we will break from the dreaded math u see (he calls it math u hate!) and do a more fun version!

    By the way, our daughter is 7 and she has to tell her brother what time it is if the clock isn’t a digital one!! Since they have a tendency to fight ALOT, I’m always thankful when his heart is open to his little sister teaching him something! LOL




    the one thing I can say is just stay in the zone of proximal development…stay just above where they are. DS is behind in many things..ahead in some. We use RS for math and it takes us FOREVER to get thru lessons…and we also take breaks completely from that and do…worksheets.. (he likes them from time to time because they take less brain energy LOL!!!) it sounds like maybe he is an auditory learner. Oh- we keep math VERY short and use a time timer to show how much time is left. I started w/ 3 minutes. DS is 7 1/2 annd we are doing 1st grade math…when they are 12th grade that won’t matter. stay in the ZPD and everyone is much happier I think…don’t try to push him above just because he should be..kwim? I say this knowing that I am quite a perfectionist and don’t model this as well as I should.

    on fine motor.. ONE PAGE IS A LOT in HWT..if you are talking of a whole page of writing. imo– back off and make it successful then add ONE letter additionally then ONE more the next WEEK. It WILL come. just a bit slower…

    oh and you have it right.. Dear God help me to know what to do!!!! I keep praying that ALL the time w/ DS because i need info on a daily basis. sometimes a minute by minute basis.

    i have on my old blog what we have done to scaffold math but i did promise DS the computer so i have to get off in a few minutes.




    My son is 7 1/2 and is having a horrible time with reading and seems extremely distracted when it comes to any sort of sit down work, i.e. crafts, coloring, mazes, handwriting, reading. He is an extremely bright and intelligent little boy but he just doesn’t get it. I recently had his vision tested and although he has 20/40 eyesight (normal for his age) it’s with how he is processing the information that he sees that is giving him a difficult time. We just completed a visual perception test that also included some auditory and gross motor skill assessments. We go for our consultation in 2 weeks. I’m sure that they are going to recommend something called Vision Therapy for him. They gave me a book to look at titled “When Your Child Struggles, The Myths of 20/20 Vision” by a Dr. David Cook. It explained the type of testing he went through, what it’s looking for and what problems can be seen when a child has problems with how they are receiving and processing the information. Difficulties with handwriting, spelling, reading and math are addressed. Please feel free to e-mail me privately if you would like to talk more at luvusborne@yahoo.com and I hope this helps. Good luck.


    Thank you for your input. I guess I will just take it day by day and little by little.

    With math, I think just setting the time and telling him to get what he can done and leave it at that might help??

    With writing.. back to the basics.. one letter a day.. one thing at a time.. AHH.. I also am a perfectist and don’t go slow.. so I will have to learn also.

    Thanks be to the Lord that he will give me strength.


    Any other comments are still grately appreciated.


    Vision therapy can be very helpful! we have not done it but considering it. also- do include Living Math books in your schedule. My mom is a retired elementary math teacher. She pass along some resources which i go thru once a year to see what i might use the next year. i found about a dozen living books- so score one for mom in the PS! going outside the box. but i’m revamping before I start what we are doing. I”m doing formal math 3X a week…and then a living book the other day or two… just to put some variety in it and give DS something to look forward to. he does love books. just another idea to put into the mix. there is a living book math site as well as a yahoo group on the subject

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