# Kid that just does not get math question

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My DD5 is working very slowly through R&S 1 math and is about 3/4 of the way through book 1. Some days she can do all the problems with no issue. Then other days it's like she completely forgets how to do math completely. She can write her numbers correctly some days and others she writes half of them backwards even after looking at the same numbers written in her text. I just don't get it with her.

Today she was doing 2-0, 2-1, and 2-2 problems. She just could. not. get. it. She's been doing these same problems just fine for the past month! And she wrote her numbers backwards even after I pointed it out to her.

I don't know if this is normal or not because my DS7 is a math genius. He could do very complicated math problems in his head when he was 4. So pretty much I have nothing to compare DD to and have no clue how to get math to click in her brain.

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Sounds normal for the age! Some kids grasp letter/number orientation very early, while others take a while. Their brains will get it eventually.

You know how a fork is a fork is a fork, whether it's pointing up, down, diagonally, or flipped over? And a dog is a dog is a dog, whether he's facing left, facing right, looking up, lying down? The brain grasps that pretty early.

Now consider the letter d. If it's facing one way, it's a d. If it's facing the other way, it's a b. If it's upside down, it's a p. And yet it's the same shape! A developing brain (young child) will interpret all these orientations (just like all the orientations of the fork) as the same entity (it's that "bee-dee" thing, seems to change name depending on what word it's in, hmm, hope I guess right today). With exposure, the brain will sort it out and grasp that -- ah ha! -- the one facing THIS way (d) is a "dee," while the one facing THAT way (b) is a "bee." And that forward-facing "2" is different from backward-facing "2." And, eventually, the child will recognize this consistently, rather than just sometimes. (And without using helping "tricks," like when you figure out that the blue letter magnet is the "dee" and the red one is the "bee," and then -- oh no! -- somebody added some new magnets of different colors, and now you can't tell anymore!)

Again, some kids get this when they're two, others when they're nine. Most somewhere between those ages. :)

Ease it along; she'll get it.

(Also, my memory is much better some days than other days, too! And my skills vary; one day I'm in top form on the scheduling skills but cannot put together a simple lunch, another day I'm a cooking whiz but cannot add 2+2, still another day I'm an ace with the taxes but cannot hold a coherent conversation or remember how old I am. Kids have ups and downs like that, too.)

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totally normal to do 3 steps forward and one day 1 backwards! I am sure she will be advancing before you know it. It happened to us before when i just wanted to say to my DS5 "are you serious????" today too he had about half if his answers wrong because he decides to do addition instead of subtraction.

SOmeone here got a good idea. And i did this today and yesterday. The idea is if its a math drill they are doing then to give them only have of what they need to know and tell him that if he does everything right he doesnt have to do another half. But even with 1 mistake he would have to do another half. It works so good for my DS5. He now pays more attention to what he is doing.

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I'm hoping some other more experienced moms will chime in, but right off the bat I notice that what you are describing sounds a lot like my dd11. I haven't had her officially dx but I am pretty sure she has some variation of discalculia. Specifically she has retention and processing problems.

She can memorize her math facts one day and the next day not be able to recall any of them at all. Word problems are a total bust for her because she can't determine what information she needs to work with or what to do with it. There are days that she simply can't even tell me what 2-1 is but then later in the day be able to calculate ingredient measurements she needs in order to make a triple and a half batch of brownies. When she is doing long division she must have total and complete silence and no distractions because if something distracts her she can't just pick up from where she was in the problem; she has to go all the way back and start at the beginning. These are just a few of the problems that she is having. You can do a search here for discalculia or math learning disabilities. (Try the special needs board) Correllano helped me out a lot when I was just discovering dd's problems. If I remember correctly her son has similar problems.

Now, having said all of that, your dc is young and it could simply be an issue of her age. My soon to be 5yo ds has known how to count to 20 for months and today got to 11 and then skipped to 16 then down to 11 again. He left out 19 all together. I think it is hard to tell at such a young age...however, I wish I had recognized dd11's problems when she was 5 so that I could have compensated. As it is she is in 6th grade and we are having to re-mediate starting with a 2nd grade level curriculum.

I hope you find some answers. I know how frustrating it is to not know what to do to help your dc. :grouphug:

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Well, remember that she is 5yo, doing arithmetic for a 6yo. That can definitely make a difference.

Do you always do the oral class time with her? And the flash cards and everything?

You might consider adding the blackline masters (if you aren't using them already).

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This sounds SO much like my second grade ds7! I have had four kids who excelled in math easily, and one who gets it much more slowly, but gets it, and I kept expecting it would click with this guy. We started with CLE 1 last year, and we had just the experience you explained. By fall of this year we were still only midway through the program, because I was trying to give him time to "click," and yet his performance confused me. Like you said, one day he could do his math, other days it was like starting over, with no real progress.

Finally I had him tested and found that he has lags in his nonverbal reasoning, which includes the types of skills needed for math. Because he has strong verbal and spatial reasoning, the Dr. recommended using materials that are visual, with lots of verbal instructions. Because he also has a short attention span, the lessons have to be short or we "lose" him. I decided to suck it up and pay the \$\$\$ for Math U See, and while we are only on our first week, I am hopeful and SO excited to see it clicking already! It is visual, colorful and we build, write, say, all things that help him learn.

You may not be at the point where you need this input and it may click for your child with what you're using, but I thought I'd throw this out there for what it's worth.

Blessings,

Aimee

Mom to 6 great kids ages 7-20, some homegrown, some born in Korea, all born in my heart

Schooling grades 2, 4, 4 and 7

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Ok, I just saw how young she is, so please take a deep breath before you take my last post too seriously! I'd say maybe slow down, give her a little more time, and if she has the same issues as time goes on, consider how she may learn better with a different approach.

Blessings,

Aimee

Mom to 6 great kids ages 7-20, some homegrown, some born in Korea, all born in my heart

Schooling grades 2, 4, 4 and 7

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Well, remember that she is 5yo, doing arithmetic for a 6yo. That can definitely make a difference.

Do you always do the oral class time with her? And the flash cards and everything?

You might consider adding the blackline masters (if you aren't using them already).

I haven't been doing all the extras. Just the workbook and most of the oral stuff. I started the year doing everything and she pretty much refused to do math because it was too much. I decided that since she's also going to school this year that I could be more relaxed with her math at home and just work through the workbook slowly (1 page a day).

Finally I had him tested and found that he has lags in his nonverbal reasoning, which includes the types of skills needed for math. Because he has strong verbal and spatial reasoning, the Dr. recommended using materials that are visual, with lots of verbal instructions. Because he also has a short attention span, the lessons have to be short or we "lose" him. I decided to suck it up and pay the \$\$\$ for Math U See, and while we are only on our first week, I am hopeful and SO excited to see it clicking already! It is visual, colorful and we build, write, say, all things that help him learn.

I have been wondering for a while if this may be the case with this child. In all other areas she excels. She can count to 1000, she can read, she is very artistic, she memorizes well. But ask her what 2+2 is and she will get the answer right only half the time. I think I will just keep plugging along for the rest of this year and give her more time to mature. In the mean time, I will implement more hands-on tools and games. If by next fall she is still in the same boat, I may have to look into something else for her. I don't actually like her math program because it is rather boring so I plan to switch her to a different program next year anyway. I have SM that I was planning on using but I think it probably won't be a good fit for her. I just hate the idea of shelling out more \$\$\$ to buy a math program when I already have a perfectly good one already.

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For what it's worth, I just started my 4th grader of Math Whiz and on day one she "got" a concept I didn't even know she was struggling with and she loves it.

It is \$20 a month and came out of our already small grocery budget but hey, who needs produce? lol

It is already worth every penny.

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My kids are like this sometimes and they are older than 5!

Some things I've noticed that seem to correlate with spaced out kids are what they ate for breakfast (protein is good, sugar is bad) and if they've gotten enough sleep.

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My DD5 is working very slowly through R&S 1 math and is about 3/4 of the way through book 1. Some days she can do all the problems with no issue. Then other days it's like she completely forgets how to do math completely. She can write her numbers correctly some days and others she writes half of them backwards even after looking at the same numbers written in her text. I just don't get it with her.

Today she was doing 2-0, 2-1, and 2-2 problems. She just could. not. get. it. She's been doing these same problems just fine for the past month! And she wrote her numbers backwards even after I pointed it out to her.

I don't know if this is normal or not because my DS7 is a math genius. He could do very complicated math problems in his head when he was 4. So pretty much I have nothing to compare DD to and have no clue how to get math to click in her brain.

My advice is to put the curriculum aside, step back, and just "play" math with her. Build things with legos (great for spatial, esp girls), count things, sort things, play "some go missing" starting with 5 objects (you hide 0-5 of them and she has to figure out how many are missing), practice numbers 0-5 as penmenship/copywork daily.

IMO, how quickly a kid picks up the early (k-2) math has NOTHING to do with how intelligent they are or how good they will be at math later on -- it's simply a matter of how their brains are wired! This means not only to lay off, but don't label a child as either genius or slow in math at this age. What is that disclaimer on financial products: current results are not guarantees of future performance? :D

If a child is naturally intuitive, abstractions and arithmetic are easy and natural for them. That will make most of the first levels of math EASY. for these kids it is also very important to continuously reground their (easy) abstraction into the physical reality the math is about, or they will lose the skill. Think of them as natural suspension bridges whom you have to keep trying guidewires to the ground so they don't collapse. They will extend out farther than they can support weight, for example. ;)

If your child is a more concrete thinker, she needs to really see, touch, and feel the reality of the math to make it relevant. Have you ever seen them build a skyscraper? Have you looked down and seen how deep the foundation goes? To build up you need to first prepare the ground and dig DOWN. Root everything into the earth deeply. If you do this (without making them hate math), they can take off and reach much higher than the intuitive child.

Intuitive/abstract thinking doesn't naturally develop until 7-9, but some kids are just wired that way; the main difference wrt math is the intuitive child learns early to love math because they are so good at it!

Sounds like your dd is a concrete thinker and is getting lost in the arithmetic. Math is so much more than arithmetic! You would be doing her a great service to help her embrace the OTHER parts of math and gently work on arithmetic until her brain develops that intuitive abilities (this is brain structure changes you can see on a PET scan, NOT something you can teach before those changes naturally occur!)

ETA: Also possible your dd is a intuitive thinker that is losing her "grounding". Either way, concrete practice may help. I also agree with next poster (heehee) -- if you want a kid to like something, make them very GOOD at it! :D I think that's the main reason kids who start fast with math tend to want to stay ahead...and do. HSing means you get to define "ahead". :)

Good luck!

Edited by ChandlerMom
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It could just be too soon for her. I agree with the others about putting it aside. Maybe getting a few Kindergarten mathish workbooks to help her regain some of her confidence in math. Many kids balk when they are pushed too hard. Some make a mistake, immediately think they are not good at it, and just want to quit trying. Maybe math games and simple math things could help her rebuild her confidence in the subject. (And for my daughter, I have to frequently say, "Wow! You are good at math." Even though she is average, she likes to do it when she thinks she is good at it.)

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You might thoroughly enjoy doing Rightstart with her. Tons of fun and really helps them see math in a way that R&S doesn't. We loved using it for our youngers! MEP and MM have been good too. But if I had only 1, I'd use RS for the first few years.

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At the age of five, this is completely normal. Do not stress over it. Mix it up and make it fun. She will eventually get it over the next year.

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My advice is to put the curriculum aside, step back, and just "play" math with her. Build things with legos (great for spatial, esp girls), count things, sort things, play "some go missing" starting with 5 objects (you hide 0-5 of them and she has to figure out how many are missing), practice numbers 0-5 as penmenship/copywork daily.

IMO, how quickly a kid picks up the early (k-2) math has NOTHING to do with how intelligent they are or how good they will be at math later on -- it's simply a matter of how their brains are wired! This means not only to lay off, but don't label a child as either genius or slow in math at this age. What is that disclaimer on financial products: current results are not guarantees of future performance? :D

If a child is naturally intuitive, abstractions and arithmetic are easy and natural for them. That will make most of the first levels of math EASY. for these kids it is also very important to continuously reground their (easy) abstraction into the physical reality the math is about, or they will lose the skill. Think of them as natural suspension bridges whom you have to keep trying guidewires to the ground so they don't collapse. They will extend out farther than they can support weight, for example. ;)

If your child is a more concrete thinker, she needs to really see, touch, and feel the reality of the math to make it relevant. Have you ever seen them build a skyscraper? Have you looked down and seen how deep the foundation goes? To build up you need to first prepare the ground and dig DOWN. Root everything into the earth deeply. If you do this (without making them hate math), they can take off and reach much higher than the intuitive child.

Intuitive/abstract thinking doesn't naturally develop until 7-9, but some kids are just wired that way; the main difference wrt math is the intuitive child learns early to love math because they are so good at it!

Sounds like your dd is a concrete thinker and is getting lost in the arithmetic. Math is so much more than arithmetic! You would be doing her a great service to help her embrace the OTHER parts of math and gently work on arithmetic until her brain develops that intuitive abilities (this is brain structure changes you can see on a PET scan, NOT something you can teach before those changes naturally occur!)

ETA: Also possible your dd is a intuitive thinker that is losing her "grounding". Either way, concrete practice may help. I also agree with next poster (heehee) -- if you want a kid to like something, make them very GOOD at it! :D I think that's the main reason kids who start fast with math tend to want to stay ahead...and do. HSing means you get to define "ahead". :)

Good luck!

Great post!

She's so young. I agree. Set the curriculum aside. Play math games. Use fun manipulatives. Use "real life" math. This may come easier in a year, for both of you. You have so much time ahead of you for formal math curricula.

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