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Help-Math for kids that don't get it.


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My girls are 6 and in 1st grade and they seriously do not get math. They are in public school because they enjoy it and wanted to stay. I didn't push keeping them home with their brother because I could not get them to understand much of anything with math when I tried to teach them and I was afraid they would get behind or would be so frustrated that our relationship would suffer. Now, they are getting homework that they don't know how to do either and I am stuck just as frustrated helping them with their homework as I was when I was trying to teach them myself this summer!


They don't get very basic simple things like if you have 3 and she has 4, how many more does she have than you? I use manipulatives and they don't get it. They will count it out and still give the same wrong answer and be completely confused. They can't even figure out how to use the manipulatives to count even after I have shown them and walked them through it many times. I'll give them piles when adding- say 3 blocks and 4 blocks and ask them to find how much it is together and they will guess 3 or 4 instead of 7. In real life, if one of them has 3 and her sister has 4, I guarantee they will know instantly what to do to make it equal, and if one has 2 dolls and gets 5 more, they can figure out quickly how many dolls she now has, how many her sister needs to be equal, who has more, etc. But-on paper or even orally, they cannot do it. At all. I can teach their older brother and younger sister easily but with them it is a miserable experience for everyone.


I'm starting to wonder if they may have some sort of learning disability. They were premature and had a lot of issues so it has always been a possibility and something we were told to watch for but I can't tell for sure. They are so young, so maybe they just aren't ready. I have used Shiller which is very low pressure, easy, short lessons, and with lots of manipulatives and different ways of doing things and they don't get it. Their school uses Saxon and Harcourt which seems more workbookish and they don't get it. We've used Time4Learning too which is fun and games and they don't get it! It's not just the adding they have trouble with- it's also subtracting, charts, calendars, time, number lines, etc. They do fine with bigger/smaller, more/less and with shapes and other skills that are more of a PreK/K level. They do well with all the other subjects in school too.


Can anyone suggest another math program or games that I could use at home with them to help them understand basic math skills? I don't want to stress them out more or make them feel like they are stupid, but this is only the 2nd week of first grade homework- which should be easy- and they (we) are struggling so much. I'd prefer games but that is tricky too because they get really nervous about wanting to do it right and very upset if they lose. One of them can't even play memory because she doesn't know where everything is and it is too frustrating for her to be wrong. I would love to find something they would enjoy and look forward to. And, are there any learning disabilities or other issues that present primarily through problems like this with math? :confused:

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My youngest didn't get math or reading until after she turned 8 then everything clicked for her. She went from not being able to count beyond 10 to doing addition/subtraction with 3-digits and no regrouping. She went from knowing her sounds but not being able to read "is" to sounding out words and having her reading start to flow.


Sometimes, you just have to wait for their brains and bodies to mature enough to be able to do the work. PS is probably not going to let that happen though.


I have a lot of fun ideas for math on my blog. I love Rod and Staff for review/drill work but I back it up with math stories, manipulatives, and file-folder games. Here is my math posts.


I hope this is helpful.:001_smile:

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I'd think if there are signs of a disability then the teacher will be contacting you. I know you mentioned games not being great, but you may still get some useful information from Peggy Kaye's book Games for Math.

I think it does sometimes just take maturity for a concept to click.

Meanwhile, I'd keep demonstrating with the manipulatives (maybe use cookies at one point?).


Give it a couple more weeks and see if it clicks in a bit... then if it hasn't, talk with their teacher.

Good luck! I know it's tough.

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