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Can you help me flesh this out?

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Dd is 7.5. She has been through VT, which improved her focus a hundred fold. However, she still shows signs of attention issues. What we are using curriculum wise is working, she is learning, the frustratioin level is low, she gets done in a reasonable amount of time. My question is regarding math. I wouldn't call her advanced, but she is mathy, if that makes sense. It comes easily to her. We are using Miquon and MEP (at an accelerated pace, because she recently told me it was too easy, confirming my suspicions). She understands and can do each type of problem. However, because of her attention issues, it takes her for.ever. to finish computation. So, for example, today she had 56-32. Simple for her. BUT, after she had subtracted the tens and moved on to the units, she forgot what tens she was subtracting, looked at her paper and missed the - sign and added them instead. Sigh. So I'm not sure what to do here. She KNOWS HOW to do it, and CAN do it, but loses track of the numbers/her spot on the page/the equation sign ect. Add in the tendency to reverse numbers, and it's a recipe for disaster some days. Does this mean she needs MORE practice, and we shouldn't skip any problems, or LESS practice and move on to more complex concepts??? Most of the time MEP works great, but sometimes the page is mostly practicing adding/subtracting, and has a lot of problems for her. My question is if I should have her do them all to 'help' her concentrate better, or just let her do a few selected ones spot make sure she understand spans then move on? She is the type of kid that will have a lot of trouble memorizing math facts, I know that. So that contributes to the problem as well.

I've been letting her do half, but I don't know if that's helping or hurting.

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I really can't give a good answer because my child with the attention issues is older. We hit a wall with long multiplication and division and I have opted to move on to more complex concepts. I do go back and review the steps for calculations from time to time so that he doesn't totally forget. But we just weren't getting anywhere.


I think in your case, 7.5 is still young so maybe introduce more interesting concepts and do some review of older problems each day until the habits are formed? I know for myself, it took a lot of drillwork. One thing I remember from my own schoolwork is that I had to actually recognize my weakness. I had to acknowledge that I would reverse numbers and miss carried digits so I had to go back and check my work step by step if I wanted to get a good grade. Maybe just have her calculate and double check as a rule?

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Well you can take it with a grain of salt, but I went that way for a number of years with my dd (do it a grade ahead, do less because she gets it, get frustrated over fact speed, go back, go faster to get ahead, do more, cut problems). We finally added on some spiral math this year with TT, and that was what finally got her computation scores up to match her conceptual. So that's my two cents. Light dose of spiral with *contextualized* problems, lots of humor, whatever method really connects with her brain. My dd is a narrative person, so getting the math into stories the way TT does made the facts stick finally, and it did it with less work, less time, less hassle, go figure. You can do it a grade behind or whatever it takes to build that proficiency and keep going with your more conceptual program, cutting the number of problems.

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At that age, if you can tell she 'gets it', then I would sit with her and help her concentrate when she needs it. At least that's what I did with my kids - if the trouble was maintaining focus, then I was their focus and sat with them, keeping them on track, but only as much as needed to avoid complete frustration. Over time they were able to keep track of everything they were doing on their own. In your case it sounds like she doesn't need you every day - just help on the hard days.


P.S. For my oldest I found that drawing a box around the function sign sometimes helped. With the middle guy, I would see him starting to veer off course, and just ask, "Are we adding or subtracting on this one?"

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Though a crucial factor with mental math, is with how we hold numbers in our mind, as we carry out the calculation?

Where they can be held as a visual image or as words?

56 as an image, as opposed to fifty six as words.

It also involves using a visual mental page. So that taking your example of subtracting the tens and then moving onto the units?

With 56-32. The 20 is held as an image on the left side of the mental page.

Where its location on the mental page will define it as 'tens', so that 20 only needs to use 2 as a mental image.


But on the other hand, you might consider doing 56-32 purely verbally?

'Fifty six minus thirty two. Fifty minus thirty leaves twenty. Six minus two leaves four.'

Where it is easy to become confused?

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