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Math woes Please help


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Math has been very frustrating in my house for my 7 year old. He was flying through Singapore and understanding the concepts great. Then he did a review page and it hit - yes he understands what to do but has no speed. He is still using manipulatives in his mind to come up with the right answers. We finished up 2B, because we were at the measurement units. Now, we have been reviewing addition for the last 6 weeks. He is not getting any faster. Things we have tried: flashcards, maze math worksheets, just worksheets of problems, copying the math facts. I did a more work on the 6, 7, 8, and 9's because he seems to be a little faster with the smaller numbers.


I am not sure where to go. I know that I am already going to have to go back through the Singapore 2 books with him to get the multiplication and division but I can not even think about that until he gets his addition and subtraction facts down. He is very frustrated. He tells me that math is easy, yet admits it takes him to long to get the right answer.


I am considering getting the Kumon workbooks for 2nd Grade Addition and Subtraction. I have considered getting Math Mammoth. I have also thought about computer games but don't know which would be the best. He does like competition with himself.


I am tired of the math tears. The rest of our day goes really well - until it is math time. Something needs to change and I am open to suggestions and willing to take the time get these facts learned because I know that he will need them for the rest of his life.

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It sounds like he definitely needs to take time out to work on math facts. We're currently in between 2A and 2B and are taking time out until we know our math facts COLD. We're using FlashMaster, flash cards with papa (treat!), quick quizzes at the table, One-Minute Math books, playing math games (from Family Math and other places)... anything to work on our facts. Once those are down cold, I'm sure a lot of his frustrations would disappear. Hopefully it'll get faster soon.


If you google "math facts mnemonics" you might find some other creative suggestions for memorizing some of the trickier facts.

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My kids sucked on math facts..... until we started working with Math-It.... I know it doesn't get good reviews here, but we love it. I didn't like it at first either until I took the time to really learn the system before presenting it to my kids. It is expensive, but it worked with my three kids....particularly if we are consistent with it.

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What worked here was the Right Start math games. You don't have to use the whole RS program to use their games. The manual is arranged by math operation, and includes money, time, fractions and percents as well as your normal addition, subtraction, multiplication and division games.



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Boo crying won’t do. The demands will increase on working memory as the problems get longer, this is where forward progress will come to a screeching halt if the student is busy working out what say ‘8 + 4” is while at the same time trying to hold in that same brain space the ‘reason’ for twelve. Maybe just an intermediate step in problem solving process. Fluency in math facts is important, but they can be practiced in tandem alongside the more interesting arithmetic. So don’t drop everything to just work on facts getting things into longer term memory generally takes repetition which needs time. The student will retain these facts faster by internalizing the repetition which is a fancy way of saying they need to be thinking about them, but this thinking about them is the proverbial double edged sword- one way they can be thought of as interesting, even a fun challenge, but another way they become a storm cloud of dread. Myself I would work on myself, children will remember more of what they say than what they hear, so have a talk together. Now lead or coach the conversation because the student is still learning how to say what they mean. Example; child sits or stands alongside parent with a shared dry erase board (large or small), write out 8 + 4 = 12, below that draw something to correspond to the digits, dots are simple. Now initiate the conversation, “eight dragon dots were hanging out on the cliff when four more dragon dots showed up” how many are there now”? Now you need to make it fun, maybe ask “what would all those dragon dots be doing on a cliff”? Try to lead the child to say something that makes them crack a smile! If they don’t come up with anything on there own, lead. If it works play the imagination game with them alert to reel it back in if it goes crazy. Just 36 facts I believe that need to be learned by heart, take your time.

As things improve trade up some written work with oral problem solving, but go easy, the brain needs to build up to this without the aid of writing to hold thoughts around. Check penmanship until fluency levels the physical act of writing eats up working memory and may be a hidden source of math dislike.


Ending babbling with some links to things I liked:





Edited by Ray
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