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DS9 is gifted and ASP (w/ some ADD going on). He got nearly 1 semester ahead in math last year but we get tears over math. The problem is not ability...he gets the math pretty easily. However, he makes error after error. I introduced Life of Fred in hopes of adding some fun and independence into his math curriculum but yesterday after a quiz he had another meltdown and called himself stupid repeatedly.

 

Here's the thing...he read a 5 where there was a 7 in one problem, he set up another problem and then didn't actually do the math. When asked to write out a number in words he stuck the digit 9 in the middle of his otherwise correctly written out answer. Another problem that required saying how many lines of symmetry in a 9-pointed start...he started to draw the lines and then just guessed (?) '10' because he didn't bother to finish drawing them. One problem he honestly didn't remember how to do so we worked through it. I told him it has nothing to do with stupid or I wouldn't expect him to do the math...it's attention to detail and focus. I have tried to help him improve these but there's only so much I can do (unless someone here has ideas!)

 

How do I deal with this? He is now hating math but I feel that letting him get away with scores that don't reflect his understanding and moving on to the next chapter are doing him an injustice. I have allowed him to move on with an 80% on semester tests because this seems to be the best he can achieve (due to focus issues) regardless of what I do, but a 50%??? I don't want him to hate math.

 

Brownie

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As I sit here and type this, my son is doing math. I just caught him - AGAIN - trying to break the lead in his pencil so he can sharpen it for the fifth time this morning. In another minute he'll be back at it or doodling on the side of his paper or doing something else. Just like your son, he gets it, but he loses focus, and then he gets mad at himself when he doesn't do well. Yesterday I implemented using graph paper and transferring the problems from the worksheet, and that helped immensely. I hope it lasts. Don't know if that's an option for you or not. I am also implementing another suggestion made by RamonaQ to give a cash incentive for doing a problem correctly; it's outlined in the "Graph paper for math?" thread a bit lower on the board. Fingers crossed.

 

Anyway, I don't know if those suggestions are anything you can use or not, but know that I feel your pain and wish you well!

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I might have had my kids do chapter tests in math, but I never graded them, never based their moving on to the next thing on those tests. Either they got it or they didn't. Sure they made stupid mistakes, but by moving on and having to continue applying those math skills to more and more complex problems, they learned to watch for those stupid mistakes. As they got older and matured they learned to slow down, too.

 

I had them correct their own work -- not looking at solutions, but at the answers, and let them re-work problems to find where their mistakes were. They learned more that way, though they certainly grumbled about it!

 

Your homeschool doesn't need to be like school for your child to learn. A classroom teacher needs tests to gauge how each of her 30 or 40 students are doing. You only have the one math student and don't need that quiz or test to evaluate his comprehension. Let go of the quizes and let him move on.

 

The thing I like about Life of Fred, by the way, is how there are so many problem sets, and I like the "your turn to play" sections in the book. The author is all about exploring math, making it a problem to solve rather than a set of problems you either get right or wrong. I think that is a healthier approach to math, one that is less likely to wind up with tears of frustration.

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I'm going to throw another suggestion out here.

 

Use a white board for math. Write the problem out, let your child pick a wild color for solving it, look over the answer, then write the next problem out. Let your child talk through how he (or she) goes about solving it. Mount the white board on a wall so he has to stand and can move his body while thinking. Ours was on the floor, and was used through most of high school math.

 

Graph paper is terrific, too. But sometimes you really have to go outside the box to help a child focus and learn, and outside the box means math doesn't resemble anything like a traditional classroom.

 

While I'm all for rewards and incentive charts, I don't know about paying for correct math problems. Math is about the thinking and solving, not so much the correct answer. Math teachers give partial credit for problems where there is a stupid error but the thinking was correct. I'd rather give fewer problems so my child can stay focused. BUT, I also would never condemn someone who has found a way to make things work -- if money does the trick, hallelujah!

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DS9 is gifted and ASP (w/ some ADD going on). He got nearly 1 semester ahead in math last year but we get tears over math. The problem is not ability...he gets the math pretty easily. However, he makes error after error. I introduced Life of Fred in hopes of adding some fun and independence into his math curriculum but yesterday after a quiz he had another meltdown and called himself stupid repeatedly.

 

Here's the thing...he read a 5 where there was a 7 in one problem, he set up another problem and then didn't actually do the math. When asked to write out a number in words he stuck the digit 9 in the middle of his otherwise correctly written out answer. Another problem that required saying how many lines of symmetry in a 9-pointed start...he started to draw the lines and then just guessed (?) '10' because he didn't bother to finish drawing them. One problem he honestly didn't remember how to do so we worked through it. I told him it has nothing to do with stupid or I wouldn't expect him to do the math...it's attention to detail and focus. I have tried to help him improve these but there's only so much I can do (unless someone here has ideas!)

 

How do I deal with this? He is now hating math but I feel that letting him get away with scores that don't reflect his understanding and moving on to the next chapter are doing him an injustice. I have allowed him to move on with an 80% on semester tests because this seems to be the best he can achieve (due to focus issues) regardless of what I do, but a 50%??? I don't want him to hate math.

 

Brownie

 

Maybe at this point, only quiz him on material he's likely to do well on? Or like the other poster suggested, omit quizzes. Once someone develops an "I hate math" (or whatever topic) attitude or feels like they're "stupid" because of mistakes they make, it raises the difficulty level even more.

 

If focus issues are the culprit, he probably can't help some (maybe most) mistakes of the type you're describing. The only thing I've found effective is to sit there while my son does his math, point out the mistakes as he is making them, and guide him toward an awareness of the type of mistakes he tends to make while doing particular types of problems. I realized that in his case at least, this skill needed to be specifically taught and practiced along with the math itself. And I also emphasize to him that because he's prone to inadvertent mistakes, he needs to faithfully check his work if he doesn't want me to find the mistakes first and mark them wrong. VERY time-consuming, and I also have other kids who need my attention, but really the only thing that has helped in his case.

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I had them correct their own work -- not looking at solutions, but at the answers, and let them re-work problems to find where their mistakes were. They learned more that way, though they certainly grumbled about it!

 

 

 

 

Ohhhhh. I love this idea!

 

Thanks, JennW in SoCal! I swear I need to keep a 3-ring binder with your suggestions. Many, many of your suggestions have been implemented, and more importantly, WORKED for my son.

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Oddly enough, when he's doing math he even listens to music with lyrics. Our psychologist said that he's needing to engage ALL parts of his brain in order to focus and that's why the music, even music with lyrics, while doing math helps.

 

If he's reading or writing the music can't have lyrics in it or it distracts him further. He usually doesn't need music when he's reading or writing, just math.

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Is this attention a problem in other areas or just math? If it is in other areas, it might be worth looking at ADD/ADHD and treatment options.

 

School work goes WELL, really WELL on meds for my daughter but terrible without them.

 

Yes, this looks like an attention problem to me as well. My son stopped making these sorts of errors when we treated his ADHD.

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.

 

While I'm all for rewards and incentive charts, I don't know about paying for correct math problems. Math is about the thinking and solving, not so much the correct answer. Math teachers give partial credit for problems where there is a stupid error but the thinking was correct. I'd rather give fewer problems so my child can stay focused. BUT, I also would never condemn someone who has found a way to make things work -- if money does the trick, hallelujah!

 

Jenn-Just so you know the background. The idea was from when our ds had his neuropsych. with the Eide's. Ds is dyslexic, and we were discussing "stupid" math mistakes. It was their suggestion to use a cash incentive to foster checking of work. Lo and behold, we did it once and saw NO errors. The intent was most directly for teaching the checking of work, and making a standard part of math not for correct answers (although that was certainly a by product).

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