Topic | Math Help- MUS

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  • Michelle

    Help! I’m on child #3 MUS Alpha. We’ve never had a problem before and this child just doesn’t seem to understand the concept of numbers. I’m a math brained person, but teaching it is a different thing. She’s really struggling with 9s and 8s addition facts. Because it’s mastery, I’m not moving on. I’ve thought about buying or borrowing Life of Fred. Should I just wait a little while for math? Not sure what to do to keep us both from getting frustrating. (She’s 6.5 and breezed through the Primer last year.)



    9s and 8s are common struggles in my experience (currently on child #6 and #7 to do Alpha).

    Can she count backward by ones? That is the key to adding 9s. 9 takes 1 away from the other number so he can be a 10. That means you write a 1 in the 10s column and one less than the other number in the units. So 9+4 means 10 and one less than 4 (3). 9 always wants to be a 10.

    Once those are mastered be sure she can tell you what two less than any number 2-9 is because here comes younger brother 8. He always wants to be like big brother 9, so he wants to be 10 too! He’s got to take 2 away from the other number in his math problems to be a 10. So 8+4 is a 10 and two less than 4 (2).

    Alternatively, some kids simply respond well to repetition. I have had one child who needed to say and write the addition fact over and over until I could call across the room: what’s 9+6? or what’s 8+7?  The key for this is we would literally spend 1 day doing just one fact. Any time I thought of it I asked and they would respond: 9+6=15, then write it on the white board or chalk board on our walls and say it again. They were not allowed to just say the answer to me (15). They had to say the whole problem: 9+6=15.  By the end of the day they had it from sheer repetition. The next day we added 1 new fact. For half the day we only did the new one, but by lunch time I would start calling out yesterday’s fact AND todays. We kept this up until they had all the facts in the 9s or 8s. There was an occasional day where they seemed to hit a wall and we didn’t add a new fact, just kept reviewing orally and in writing the facts they had learned.


    Yes. We’re doing the 9 and 8 want to be a 10 thing. She keeps forgetting to add the ten! So she would say.. 9+8=7 and not 17. And then it confuses her and she may say 7+2=19…(because she’s trying to not forget the 10, but it’s not applicable here. 🙁 )

    She loves to write so we may practice writing our math facts. I have the CD with the songs, but oh the music is so painful!!

    My other two just zoom through math (except the end of Gamma. 😭) So, this is new for me.

    The positive thing…I think she’s going be an excellent reader. 🙂



    I agree with above poster’s thoughts 🙂

    My ODS flew through MUS and finished Alpha before the end of 1st grade, my DD on the other hand… she finished Alpha right before starting 2nd grade, my youngest… who knows, he seems like he might be between the two of them 🙂

    Math is one of those things that can’t really be “rushed” but finding what works for your particular child is key. I have a friend’s child that the only way he could figure out math was simply repetition and memorizing, other kids like to build, and for others it is just a but tougher and takes a bit more time.

    Personally I really don’t like learning facts to songs (they tend to make me a little nutty and then having to sing the songs through to get to the answers…), so my kids had to suffer though just saying them with me to help them memorize, haha

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