# Subtraction

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Hi all. I've been missing for a few months, life's been crazy. We got a slow start to school, but we've made some good progress.

But... my oldest dd is still lagging behind on math. She's 9 and has never done well with math. I'm working on trying get her at least up to where her younger sister is, if not up to grade level. Addition, she's doing OK with, she's even alright to an extent with multiplication and sometimes division (at least the concept of division). Where she does OK with these is when they are situational. Like, if we were going to the movies and there were five of us and each ticket cost \$8. She could tell ya real fast that that's \$40. But give her a paper that says 8*5= and she'd panic a little. She does not handle multiplication or division well on paper.

Subtraction, ugh! She hates subtraction. We've used tangible items to try to help her understand the concept. But for some reason she keeps wanting to add in the number you're supposed to take away, and doesn't seem to think you can take it away unless you add it in. If you have 10 stones, and you want to take 3 away, she seems to think you have to add 3 more in to be able to take them away. And if you have to take a number away from itself, that really blows her mind. She finds that fact that 10-10=0 frustrating--like it's too easy of an answer to be right.

I've also tried to explain it to her as backwards adding, resulting in the same frustration. I think the biggest problem is she doesn't trust her answers, then when she get's it wrong it just makes it worse. Every time she gets it right, I try to make a big deal out of it, then say that's OK try again when she gets it wrong. But other than that, I don't know how to get her out of the negative thought pattern.

So now I'm printing out addition and subtraction sheets to do on her own in addition to our regular math activities, and also having her copy subtraction facts hoping that she'll get to where she memorizes the answers.

I can't buy any new materials right now, but are there any free materials out there that might help? Does anyone know of any activities/games that would help her, and not set her up for failure?

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OK, this is probably a dumb question, but do you use any manipulatives? If my kids can see that I have ten jellybeans (or whatever) and then I eat ten jellybeans, then I have zero jellybeans. I'm guessing you've already tried something along those lines, but that's what I would do. Just keep using manipulatives with each problem until she gets it.

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Yes, we use tangible items and number lines

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Yes, we use tangible items and number lines

See, I thought it was a dumb question.:D In that case, I'm no help at all. All my kids had trouble with math. I found that I had to sit with them and go through every problem right there with them until one day they just took off and didn't need me any more. I'd have to walk through practically all the problems step-by-step. It was tedious and frustrating, but it worked. Ds13 only needs occasional help now and I'm still at with dd10, but all the others finally became independent. We're just not mathy types here.

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Yeah, we're not mathy types here either :) It's funny, my child that has reading problems is so good in math. My child that can read anything you put in front of her has so much trouble with math.

I have to go thru every problem with her too, and I keep hoping one day something will click and everything will fall in place.

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Have you taught her to count? (i.e. by 2s, 3s, 4s,... ...12s). A child should be able to count to one hundred by any one of these intervals in a matter of seconds. Counting is an essential math skill that seems to be overlooked these days. If she can count, she can easily subtract.

I took my 16 year old out of school her 10th grade year. She was reasonable in verbal and very poor at math. We spent two months teaching her to count. From there, we worked through each grade level. She is currently working on algebra. I believe that counting helped her become confident in math. She actually seems to enjoy it now.

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She can count forward and backwards, to and from 100, by 2, 3, 5, and 10. We haven't gotten to the rest yet. I've associated skip counting with addition and multiplication, but never really thought about it being important to subtraction. I'll try working more with her on that. Thanks for the suggestion.

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I would do each problem with manipulatives at the same time as on paper, every single time until it was clear in her mind. I'm talking hundreds of problems. If she doesn't get it now, there is just something that is not clicking and only repetition will get it to click.

Write the number 10, place 10 things in your tray (or whatever), write a minus 6, take away 6 things, write an equals 4, count the four things left. Just do it every day for days, at least 30 problems a day, until she yells at you, "Okay Mom, duh! I get it!" I wouldn't do any other math until she could do many, many subtraction problems with no stress what so ever. Then move on. These basics are very important to solidify.

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This is one of my favorite sites-

http://www.math-drills.com/subtraction.shtml

For my son it is just repetition, repetition, repetition.

One of the first "school" things he does every morning is a math worksheet. Some days its subtraction, some days addition or a combination of the two, multiplication, division, division with remainders, skip counting, etc.

Every single day we start like this, even in the summer.

We also used manipulatives and lots of drawing on the white board.

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Thanks for posting the link, Gingersmom. I realized just today that this is what I need for my dd7.

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