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My son hates math/won't focus


silver
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Today my son turned over the math card on our schedule book to try to make it look like we had already done math when we hadn't even started the day yet. It's not a difficulty issue. If he is focused he breezes through it and declares, "That was quick and easy!" with a smile on his face. But when he's not focused.... Oh, boy!

 

 

I'll give an example of solving 5+6 on three different days.

 

Good/Focused day:

I ask him what 5+6 is. He'll grab a 5 and 6 in cuisenaire rods, lay them out and without pulling out any other rods say "Eleven!"

 

Bad attitude/unfocused day:

We'll be sitting at the table with the box of cuisenaire rods sitting next to him. He knows he's allowed to use them. I'll ask him what 5+6 is. He won't answer say anything or he'll mumble or fiddle with whatever rods are on the table from previous problems, but not really be working with them. I'll ask him what 5+5 is (he knows all his doubles). He stares at me, and maybe answers 10. If he answers 10, then I'll ask him "If 5+5 is 10, what would 5+6 be?" He'll say something like, "I dunno. Eight?" I'll lay out two fives and a ten in cuisenaire rods. I'll then lay out a five and a six with a ten. He'll just stare (and not even at the rods) and not say anything.

 

"Average" day (in that he's not being super focused, but he has a good attitude and won't give me trouble):

I ask him what 5+6 is. He will have the thinking look on his face. I'll ask him what 5+5 is. He'll tell me 10 right away. I'll ask him "If 5+5 is 10, what would 5+6 be?" He'll quickly answer "Eleven!"

 

 

Occasionally he'll be this bad with other subjects, but it's typically only math. I've tried removing writing from it for him (I'll either be his scribe or we'll do everything orally or with manipulatives). I've tried doing it first thing in the morning (which usually leads to the example of an average day, but can still turn bad). I've tried it in the afternoon (which usually leads to the bad day example).

 

I've debated switching him to something like LOF (he likes narrative stories) or MOTL (I think only 5 problems a day would be good for him), but (1) I've heard LOF elementary isn't really a stand alone curriculum and (2) I cannot justify the big price tag of those when I already own all of Math Mammoth or could use MEP for the cost of printing.

 

I'm ready to pull my hair out over here. Help!

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Hah! I have one of those. He's a teenager now and not much has changed. :tongue_smilie: Changing to shinier curricula just set him back even more. Plugging away at it, day after day, no matter how fruitless it feels in the moment, is the only thing that gets him steadily advancing. If his focus was particularly bad as a little one I sent him to the backyard for some heavy exercise under the guise of playing or riding his bike. Ideally he'd had some large muscle exercise before I ever called him to school for the day. Today I'm still pretty likely to tell him to go ride laps with his bike, or start the SWB teen trick (Have a shower. Have a sandwich. Have a nap.).

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We have/had these issues at times. They were a lot more prevalent for my older last year than this year. If I see her flailing, I'd have her tell ME how to do it as I pulled out the rods. Now, I just have her show me with the rods. Nine times out of ten it's really her thinking about something else that is going on. It I complement her with how quickly she even did ONE problem, she is more apt to focus and get going.

 

When it's really bad, we put it away and do something else. Even coming back to it at a different time on the same day makes a big difference.

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Although I'm not glad that others deal with this, I'm kind of glad to hear I'm not alone.

 

I've tried adding in an exercise thing to help him get wiggles out. All it did was lead to complaining that he was too tired to do any school. Right now playing in the snow is only allowed once school is done. With my baby's nap schedule I have a good three hour chunk in the morning (which is when my son focuses best). I don't want an hour of that chunk spent with him out in the yard building snow roads (and he'd happily stay out there an hour if I let him).

 

I guess it's also good to hear that changing curriculum doesn't really help. I don't want to curriculum hop if I don't have to!

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Variety? My oldest ds was like that, still can be. Sometimes switching the math focus for the day helps. I would work on geometry one day, or just play a math game, or read a math book etc. Family Math, booklists from livingmath.org, some pages of Building Thinking Skills, a printout from the Scholastic book Coordinate Graphs or a logic game from Figure It Out or Poster Logic etc saved our sanity. Sometimes kids just get bored with the same math books/format. You don't have to switch math curriculum, but math supplements and games can be a lifesaver and spark some interest. Also as much as I love c-rods, they can get boring. Use M&ms, plastic bugs or teddy bears, or pieces of wood chips or popsicle sticks, or beans or poker chips or bead bars or....just surprise them, switch it up. You can never have too many hands on math stuff imo. Spend the math time figuring out the perimeter of your living room. When my kids start acting that way, especially when I know they *know* the math, 9 times out of 10 they're bored precisely because they do know it and want to do something else.

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These are great suggestions. I can't really add much as I'm trying to figure out my child as well. I am encouraged to try and figure out some way for me to change since it doesn't really seem likely that she will.... (At least I can't count on it. I am referring to my child.) Yes, we have good days, but she's been this way since birth.

 

It has helped me to not take my child's bad attitude personally. Also, for my child & math I need to find some way to build her confidence and/or let her have some control - she gets to choose which manipulative, writing on whiteboard vs. paper, etc.

 

I agree with the switching it up. I have also rewarded the good attitude with a special game or show. Anything!

 

And I also really understand that you only have a certain amount of time allotted for mommy-dependent work.... But I don't think any learning is taking place if he's having a bad day/morning... I ask my DD to just let me know when she wants to have a good attitude and we'll continue math. And she has learned that that doesn't mean we don't do our work, it just takes us more time or it's moved to the next day. And in the meantime she didn't get rewarded for good behavior. This may not work for you, but it's worked here for us most of the time.

 

ETA: How old is your child?

 

Also, we have tried to switch up curriculum and it didn't work. It really didn't have anything to do with the curriculum. Sure, I think variety of supplement is a great idea, but I wouldn't expect anything to change with a change of curriculum, as PPs have said. (Unless you hate it, which is a different thing.)

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He likes the rods and does well with them and I don't require him to use them if he doesn't have/want to. They normally stay on the shelf and come down if he gets stuck with arithmetic.

 

We sometimes do supplements (right start math games and some active games like practicing 10-bonds by bowling) but usually we just use those for practicing math facts.

 

It seems his favorite parts of school are when we do active games or when I read narrative stories to him (I think he'd like LOF, but the expense makes me not take the leap with the early elementary series). Any suggestions for supplements, books, or curricula that use those for teaching and not just facts practice?

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Maybe just buy one LoF book (that is what I've done) to see if it helps before taking a financial plunge. Also, we have found some great math books at the library. They weren't in the fiction section - ask the librarian.

 

Also, I am not sure how old he is, but my child has really matured in the past year (after a year of homeschooling). I think that, along with me being consistent, and her knowing what to expect in our days has really improved things for us. Good luck!!

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My son used to love it when I would set stations up around the perimeter of the living room. Most activities were home made. Things like a stack of file cards with skip counting fives. Some pattern making with duplo. An individual story problem to figure out. We used pattern blocks quite a bit. I would usually manage about 5 activities each day for each child--they were welcome to do the other's activities after. Usually one child had a jigsaw puzzle since I had a huge supply from garage sales. I reused activities frequently so you don't need to come up with all new ones each day.

 

This kept my wiggly little guy focused on fun school so he didn't mind a bit of book work in between. Maybe something like this would help him stay focused. A friend suggested it and it helped.

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If you think that he needs to do fewer problems, let him do fewer problems. Maybe break math up into two times. One in the morning and a brief review in the evening. I say be consistent and stay the course. Don't change from Math Mammoth unless YOU hate it and HE can't connect to math using it.

 

I find that sometimes having music on helps on getting through math practice.Just something to help him get into the groove once he is comfortable doing the math. Do NOT pick dancy-music. Something soothing and interesting, whatever that means to you and your son.

 

Don't let him 'tude out of math. You might try a math timer. Once you go over a lesson and he has done a couple of practice problems with your supervision. Maybe 15 minutes to do a set number of problems? (Or 6 songs, when the play list ends his math time is over.)

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He likes the rods and does well with them and I don't require him to use them if he doesn't have/want to. They normally stay on the shelf and come down if he gets stuck with arithmetic.

 

We sometimes do supplements (right start math games and some active games like practicing 10-bonds by bowling) but usually we just use those for practicing math facts.

 

It seems his favorite parts of school are when we do active games or when I read narrative stories to him (I think he'd like LOF, but the expense makes me not take the leap with the early elementary series). Any suggestions for supplements, books, or curricula that use those for teaching and not just facts practice?

 

 

Peggy Kaye's Games for Math and the Family Math series both use a ton of math games to teach.

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I have a reluctant math guy. He is actually really good at math, tests well above but he psyches himself out or something. Its really frustrating something and he HATES math. We use Math Mammoth and I wont change cause I think he has learned alot from it. BUT we decided to take the plunge and try LOF. LOF helped me do things a bit differently, changing the way I focus with him. Mine is older than yours... 5th grade. And we decided to start at the begining with LOF... So he has started with apples. I am glad too because there is a ton of concepts they teach right from the beginning.

 

Anyways we revamped things in January and so far I think it has gone well. I talked to him about it. Told him I understood he didn't prefer math even though he was good at it (I wanted to emphasis he is not bad at math like he thinks/claims he is). Then I made a deal with him. We would do only 15 minutes of math a day. Teacher intensive minutes. We literally set a timer and go through the lesson quickly and practice a few problems. The idea is I can teach him the concept and give him a rounded sample of math problems to see if he understands. If he does we move on without doing the other 20 + problems. Not making him do them all has really helped. If he struggles we go over it and over it until he gets it. I don't move on. Some days we only do one page other days we fly through 8 cause it just clicks. Why make him drill and kill over it? When the timer goes off we finish the problem we are on and close the book. He also does Fred every day. Right now since we started at the begining he is going through 1 book a week. He likes it and doesn't complain. Actually he picks it up and does it while he is eating breakfast every morning. My plan is to still make him do MM until the end of 5th grade. I am still in the evaluation process but I would like him to just do the fractions decimals and percents and start the pre-algebra stuff next year. If I feel confident enough I will skip MM6 and go with only fred then (I have heard 6 is alot of review I just need to make sure). I think he will be thrilled to get rid of MM lol. I still really like MM and my 4th grader does well with it (he loves fred as well but I will still make my kids do MM through 5th I think. He is excited for only fred even though I explained to him by that point it will be a much harder version of Fred.

 

Christina

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I have one who is like your unfocused at least 50% of the time with math. He has gotten better with age--he's better at 9 than he was at 7 or even most of 8. I did switch programs, to Math in Focus, and it did help but I think part of that was age.

 

I do math first thing after breakfast with him. We do break to exercise, sometimes multiple times in a lesson. His math easily takes 4 times as long as his twin just due to focus. As long as we do math first I can usually get a good 2 problems before he's in check out mode even on all but the worst of focus days now that he's a little older. On a really unfocused day I get what I can and figure we'll hit it again. I don't do things he knows-ie if he was clear on 5 + 6 there would be no point in dragging it out of him, particularly on a day where he's answering with nonsense because the brain is simply not in gear. It's an exercise in frustration for both of us.

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I know this isn't going to be a popular suggestion but what worked for my ds was switching to Saxon. I held out and I fought my way through, determined to avoid Saxon. We started with Singapore, fail. We tried Miquon and BJU (for the colorful easier approach). I switched to Saxon and while it isn't "fun" it has been his best fit. He needs no color, no fun (too distracting to him), and the drlll/review approach. He is on his 3rd year of Saxon and his math skills have improved exponentially. Just my two cents.

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I know this isn't going to be a popular suggestion but what worked for my ds was switching to Saxon. I held out and I fought my way through, determined to avoid Saxon. We started with Singapore, fail. We tried Miquon and BJU (for the colorful easier approach). I switched to Saxon and while it isn't "fun" it has been his best fit. He needs no color, no fun (too distracting to him), and the drlll/review approach. He is on his 3rd year of Saxon and his math skills have improved exponentially. Just my two cents.

 

 

We did Miquon and loved it, although there were moments when it was really hard for my ds. I always thought math was his weakest subject. After Miquon we started Saxon 5/4 this year and at first I thought it was too easy for him. But the incremental way it works and the subtle way it gets challenging has been a plus for his math skills. I'm able to easily pinpoint exactly where he needs help and where he has mastered a concept. Saxon has been great for him. I feel that all the struggle through conceptual math really got him ready for this point. I can give a quick lesson and do a few exercises with him and then he's mostly independent with doing his work. I want to stay the course with Saxon. I really like it.

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Today it became clear that I have to change something. I put the baby down for a nap and told my son it was time for school. He started crying. I called my husband because there was no way I could get any school done with my son so upset and my husband tried talking to him. My son started crying that he didn't want to talk on the phone. I put my husband on speaker and we got out of my son that he was crying because he doesn't want to do math.

 

When I told him we didn't have to do math, he gave me a good attitude for all of school. We breezed through reviewing phonograms, learning a new one, dictating some words, reading me some McGruffy, reciting Bible verses, writing our verse for this week, and reading a book and then watching videos on Monarch butterflies. He then asked why we weren't doing history today.

 

It's math. I don't know why he doesn't get this attitude with anything but math. I need to do something different with him but I have no idea what. I know I want a conceptual program like MM, MEP, or Singapore. I know he's capable of it. He has good number sense, good problem solving, good pattern recognition. He can do oral word problems like what MEP has in the TM. He can solve problems using HOE style methods. He can do arithmetic games just fine. He loves doing Education Unboxed activities. But something about sitting in front of the worksheet with problems on it causes him to freeze. Even if I do the writing for him.

 

I've already paid for all of Math Mammoth. I know it's a good program and I'm hesitant to drop the money on something else that may not give as strong a foundation. But these battles over math are making me insane. If it weren't for the local PS using Everyday Math I would put him in PS to not have to have these battles everyday.

 

I wish there was some magic math pill I could take that would let me perfectly teach my son and let him see that it isn't this horrible thing his mind has made it out to be. Whatever I do, I know I'm probably going to have to "de-school" him on math just to get him to not have this mental block in place anymore.

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I think that the level of distress he's displaying would signal that it's worth taking a break for a couple of weeks and trying another curriculum. I don't like curriculum hopping (although curriculum supplementing is a whole other thing! :-) ), but when a child cries like this for one subject only, I would try to find something else.

 

FWIW, Math Mammoth overwhelmed my dds because the pages were just too full.

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I'm having this problem too :-/ we've done everything we need to do for K so I'm laying off formal math till 1st grade. We are doing LOF and for the most part they enjoy it. Yesterday DH got home from a month long business trip and tried to do LoF with the boys. Suddenly neither boy could remember how to skip count by 5 and 2, there was gnashing of teeth during "Your Turn to Play." It was as if DH was asking the boys calculate the volume of the universe.

 

If I discipline my most obstinate child he fixes himself and we get things done and he has fun, if I try to play nice and provide incentives (in reality bribes) he just carries on with his bad attitude and will waste hours.

 

If you figure out a fix please share!

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What if when you sat down for math you first marked off a whole bunch of problems you wont do? Like say hey, we aren't going to do all or even most of the problems on the page, you pick the first 3 and I will pick 3 and that is all we will do. Then let him help you cross out the ones you wont do. he might enjoy taking a fat black marker to those evil math problems lol.

 

Or... work off the math mamoth page, and just know the lesson yourself. Teach him the concept, and write 6 problems on another page that is totally separate. I would be hesitant to drop math all together. Talk to him about it when you aren't expecting him to do math. Ask him what he thinks would make math easier. Like Maybe tomorrow say, "hey we aren't going to do math today but we are going to talk about it. Will you help me find a better way to make this work for both of us" Then give him your ideas and see what he says. Maybe knowing that he wont have to do it that day will help him talk about it more.

 

FWIW I like the math mammoth too. I think it does a good job without being overly flashy but sometimes I do feel it goes a bit overkill on practice problems

 

Christina

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  • 1 month later...

He has good number sense, good problem solving, good pattern recognition. He can do oral word problems like what MEP has in the TM. He can solve problems using HOE style methods. He can do arithmetic games just fine. He loves doing Education Unboxed activities. But something about sitting in front of the worksheet with problems on it causes him to freeze. Even if I do the writing for him.

 

Worksheets are NOT math, they are only a tool for carrying math---and not a very efficient tool at that. From this description, I'd say your son can do math fine, he just hates worksheets. So drop the worksheets, at least for now.

 

Did you ever answer how old your son is? With your example problem of "5+6", I would assume he's still quite young. I suggest you read the backlog of blog posts at Moebius Noodles and The Map Is Not the Territory to stock your brain with creative mathy ideas designed for young children, and then try some of those. There is ever so much more to math than worksheets!

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Sounds like you're doing MM1. That level is sooooooo boring. It's basically drill after drill after drill after drill.

 

It also sounds like you have a bright math student, and he may be ready to move beyond what you're doing. I used MM1-4, and we skipped a LOT in those first couple levels especially. In level 3, we skipped much less, and in level 4, I don't think we skipped much at all (except individual problems - I never assigned more than half the problems unless he *really* needed the practice).

 

I would drop math for a few weeks, then sneak it in by playing games. Read ahead in the MM text so that *you* understand the concepts, watch the Education Unboxed videos, and then present some math to your son without ever pulling the MM worksheets out.

 

When we used MM, I often took the workbook in MY hand, taught the math at the white board, then assigned half (or even less) of the problems for him to do, with me sitting beside him. Sometimes, we'd work together, each of us doing every other problem (keeping it interesting). I also threw in other things like Singapore's CWP and IP, Life of Fred, etc. Changing things up made MM less boring. My son would NOT do well with a spiral program like Saxon or CLE (he actually used Saxon in school and was even more bored... MM was fun compared to that!). We use Singapore now, and he likes the presentation of that much better than MM, and I don't have to skip problems (at least in the workbook). But we did make MM work while I was using it. I just had to change the way I presented it. You might try giving chapter tests (orally at the white board without him seeing them!) and see if he's ready to move on. Or if he just needs fact practice, move on and use games to learn the facts.

 

We have the most fun with math when we are discussing a problem at the white board. It's neat to see how my son thinks his way through a problem, and that discussion doesn't come out when just reading through a MM workbook.

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My ds had this same issue recently with math. He was frustrated with figuring out addition/subtraction sentences in MM. Lessons were getting more and more draggy as he resisted answering even the parts of the questions that he knows really well. Finally he ended up in tears one day, so we took a two week break from MM. During this time we have focused on LoF (which he loves --we're on book 3 now), reading living math books, and playing board games with counting coins and telling time. All of this was without argument -- he had lots of fun.

 

A couple of days ago ds asked (out of the blue) if I would teach him about fractions. So we read a living book with fractions as the theme, used c-rods to model the lesson from the book, and then baked some muffins so ds could get out the appropriate fraction measuring cups and spoons. He had a lot of fun and now thinks he is excellent at "hard math" (he knows fractions are for "big kids"). The next day he asked dh how to multiply. Today he wanted to know how to divide. We finally figured out he is wanting to know these things because of his Basher Math book (http://www.amazon.com/Basher-Basics-Math-Book-Count/dp/0753464195/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1365369789&sr=8-1). It has cartoon characters that represent different math terms. It doesn't teach any math, but ds finds it really fun to look at all the characters. And apparently it has sparked an interest in learning more math.

 

After we talked a little about division, ds asked when we get to do the math worksheets (MM) again. I told him we were taking a break because I knew he was frustrated with them, would he like to start doing them again? He answered, "yes, because they are so fun!". Go figure.

 

I think having a little taste of math that he knows is coming up in the future has given him confidence.

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I know you say that it is just math, but first something else that jumped out at me was that it sounded like there was something more going on with on days and off days. And maybe math gets hit hardest for whatever reason. More on this below. I think it would also help if you can get him to say what the problem with math is from his point of view.

 

As to curriculum, my son has liked math materials from Critical Thinking company--we did not use MM until grade 5 level, I think it is good--a nice solid, approach and I think you will be glad to have it available for reference and basic resource materials, but my ds did not especially like it, and though we sort of plowed through, I don't think his retention from it was as good as it had been for MUS (which he asked to leave due to boredom, however). My son does well on Critical Thinking materials (such as Balance Math, Balance Benders, and Math Detective) . Its Mathematical Reasoning series looks good to me, and might be what I would have chosen for the main program had I known about it earlier. If your ds likes Hands on Equations (is that HOE you mean) style, he may well like the Critical Thinking materials. Another thing that looks interesting to me in retrospect is Kitchen Table Math, but I don't actually know that much about it, except that I think it is published by the AOPS people, perhaps I heard and the title and idea seems intriguing.

 

Unlike Kitchen Table Math, where it just sounds intriguing, Critical Thinking materials I have actually used, though at higher levels, and have found excellent...it also is something that my ds has asked for as a favorite sometimes. In fact, Math Detective as the computer version has been a reward activity for slogging through other less fun math.

 

Now, back to my concern that this is not just a math curriculum issue. Could something cause or contribute to the off-days? Hunger, or what was or was not eaten compared to other days (protein? fish oil? sugars? etc) , or when he got to bed the prior night or that sort of thing? Is there any pattern? Is there anything that you can think of to help from a biological point of view. Or maybe to look at it another way, pay very close attention to what is happening on, and what happened before, the good / focussed days and see if you can replicate that more. To me this sounds like a real problem of something causing him to be "off" at certain times, not an attitude one.

 

Examples: My son can never manage school (and math gets hit harder on this than other subjects because of the thinking involved) well the day after he has his fencing class. I had finally resolved to not do school that day, and then one day I forgot, and got a reminder with utter chaos ensuing . I also notice that my son gradually goes into less focus if he does not take his supplements, but it is not a sudden thing. He does better if he has a breakfast that balances protein and carbohydrates. In his case he also does better if schooling follows something that gets the blood moving and if there are frequent movement breaks. He has sensitivities also, and cannot function well if triggered by something. Around that age, for example, he was having trouble like you describe for your ds, and finally told me what it was, was that his (beloved) Lego blocks alas made his brain feel foggy because of the plastic odor.

 

 

You can do a certain amount of checking attitude by allowing him to finish early and get out to snow for good attitude and getting a bunch quickly accomplished--this could help show you if he is able to easily answer 5+6=11 if he can get outside for doing so, or if he is really having off days vs. on days.

 

It seems he "understands" the idea of addition fine (at least on good days). Possibly though something like flashcards to help make it more automatic would help. "Conceptual" understanding is nice, but at a certain point it gets very tiring to have to conceptually work out each addition problem and one needs to just memorize.

 

Possibly card games where "building" to certain amounts is the goal would help. There is one I am thinking of, but the name slips brain at the moment.

 

Good luck!

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It seems he "understands" the idea of addition fine (at least on good days). Possibly though something like flashcards to help make it more automatic would help. "Conceptual" understanding is nice, but at a certain point it gets very tiring to have to conceptually work out each addition problem and one needs to just memorize.

 

Possibly card games where "building" to certain amounts is the goal would help. There is one I am thinking of, but the name slips brain at the moment.

 

Good luck!

 

My son is going through the same thing. He is one chapter away from finishing SM1B and has come to dread math on some days. When he is at all tired, hungry, fidgety he has no patience to work out each addition or subtraction problem conceptually. Some kids have an easier time holding numbers in their heads while performing a quick task than others. And some kids have an easier time memorizing math facts. I hav decided to work on math facts for the next 2 to 3 months before moving on to SM2B.

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Thanks for the new input, everyone.

 

I've cut down on the number of problems I was having him do by about half, and that seems to have helped some. I've started putting some math fact review into our review of phonograms (getting him cemented on one new fact before adding in a new one to work on). For the last few weeks we've also stopped the arithmetic for now and are doing patterns, symmetry, clock, and calendar using ideas from MEP year 1. He really likes this stuff.

 

He says that the addition/subtraction stuff is too hard. Maybe he's just not ready for mental math type of work and I should shelve it for a bit? Or maybe he's bored and I should skip ahead? Or maybe it's a focus issue like I've originally thought, in which case perhaps I should start paying attention to what he's doing/eating and how he's sleeping in relation to his on/off days.

 

Right now I'm just trying to get us done with the school year. Six more weeks of our year, but we should be able to finish up the math year in 2-3 weeks if I were to go back to it at our usual pace.

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...

 

He says that the addition/subtraction stuff is too hard. Maybe he's just not ready for mental math type of work and I should shelve it for a bit?

 

 

Yes. I'd listen to what he says. Back off. Go slower. Also, I like the cm c-rods idea conceptually--but they are not so easy for the child as the MUS blocks with markings clearly showing the units on each block. And a lot of young youngsters need things to be even more toward the physical--5 pennies plus 6 pennies are 11 pennies.

 

Or maybe he's bored and I should skip ahead? No. He sounds like he is struggling, not bored. Or maybe it's a focus issue like I've originally thought, in which case perhaps I should start paying attention to what he's doing/eating and how he's sleeping in relation to his on/off days. That too, since some days seem to be "on".

 

Right now I'm just trying to get us done with the school year. Six more weeks of our year, but we should be able to finish up the math year in 2-3 weeks if I were to go back to it at our usual pace. Watch out for "shoulds". Which math year, at what age? Is this where he "should" be according to a state regulation?

Or your ideas for him?

 

Isn't this possibly a fairly rigorous advanced first grade math program being done at Kindergarten age, or did I misunderstand that?

Why "should" he be there? Will it stop him from doing something in the long run if he is not? What?

If he goes faster and ends up hating it, what is the point in the long run? You think he needs something that is strong in mental math and conceptual, but maybe that is not what he actually does need.

 

 

The great thing about homeschool is getting to tailor things to the child's actual needs, neither a school board nor our own preconceptions. And the first years of doing it, one makes a certain number of tries that do not turn out to be the right thing for a particular child. That is pretty typical.

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The reason I wondered if it isn't actually too hard like he says is that "too hard" is his go to excuse. He'll say he didn't hang up his jacket because it's "too hard" or he won't clean up his toys because it's "too hard." And sometimes he labels the things which take more time as hard--even if it's easy for him, but just takes a while.

 

Yes, he is in Kindergarten. We were doing 1st grade math because he was bored with Kindergarten math (counting, sorting, etc). And up until sometime in November or so, the 1st grade program was the perfect fit. Which is why I'm wondering if the repetitiveness of addition/subtraction is part of the issue (since he likes doing other areas like calendar, patterns, money, symmetry, etc) or if we just got to a developmental stopping point and waiting it out will make it go smoothly again.

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Hmmmm. Okay, I see what you mean about the "too hard".... You could work with adding and subtracting with money, if that would help--if he likes working with money better. We played "store" or "bank" a lot, back in basic add and subtract days, and again for decimals. I would not drop math altogether though because it is easily forgotten. We had it way ahead at one point and I let it go to focus on other areas that needed more attention, and found that the math was forgotten when we went back. That was frustrating.

 

MM has a lot of repetitiveness--that is part of the mastery program aspect.

 

Take a look at this . It is the Grade 1 level of program that my ds found more engaging. (Actually he did fine with Spectrum grade 1 math when I needed something to cover what Waldorf was not doing). Anyway, you could print out the sample pages of it--or the K or Grade 2 level--and see if your ds likes those better. I'm only on dial up right now and so cannot see what it gives as samples, but the basic operations at higher levels often have puzzles or riddles or logic or other things to help make them more fun. MM seems to do that a little, but nowhere near as much.

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It's ok to head over to the "fun" chapters like time and measurement and geometry, then come back to the boring stuff. Feel free to go back and forth. Somewhere in the intro to the workbook, she tells you which chapters can be done out of order (at least she did with the higher levels).

 

The mental math stuff can be difficult for a 5 year old, so I wouldn't be concerned if he isn't getting that quite yet. Just keep working on it with manipulatives.

 

What you're running into is one of the reasons why I went Singapore with my current K'er. I just knew MM1 would be too boring for him. Singapore is more interesting at this level. Plus they intro multiplication (just started that today), making it more exciting, even if it's not *real* multiplication. ;) I used MM with my oldest at 6.5 (1st grade) to accelerate him to where he really was, and it was great for that. It's an excellent program. But the presentation is pretty dry for a younger kid. The math is solid, and there is plenty of practice, so a kid that doesn't need things to be "little kid friendly" will do great with it. Or a kid that has used something even more boring beforehand will do great with it (my oldest had used Saxon at grade level in school - MM1 was fun compared to that!). :)

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The reason I wondered if it isn't actually too hard like he says is that "too hard" is his go to excuse. He'll say he didn't hang up his jacket because it's "too hard" or he won't clean up his toys because it's "too hard." And sometimes he labels the things which take more time as hard--even if it's easy for him, but just takes a while.

 

Yes, he is in Kindergarten. We were doing 1st grade math because he was bored with Kindergarten math (counting, sorting, etc). And up until sometime in November or so, the 1st grade program was the perfect fit. Which is why I'm wondering if the repetitiveness of addition/subtraction is part of the issue (since he likes doing other areas like calendar, patterns, money, symmetry, etc) or if we just got to a developmental stopping point and waiting it out will make it go smoothly again.

 

 

Since he is ahead in math I would just shelve it for now. (Actually I probably would shelve it if he was behind, but definitely since he is ahead).

 

I have a Ker who is almost through 1B but addition and subtraction facts are just "too hard" as well. We only do math now when it comes up, which is most everyday BTW. We occasionally do math games, and sometimes just cuddle up and read the SM text book. ( but I don't make her figure the problems out). Most of our math is done cooking, counting money, adding random numbers she comes up with. She also likes several iPad apps with math on them. She plays with her c-rods etc...

 

Sounds like your son is good at math, forcing it on him now might not be productive. Sometimes things just have to marinate a while. I try to remember how much math my Ker has learned this year, so I realize how much the rest of her brain may just need to catch up. And if he did that well with math for the beginning of k, I would imagine he will learn the rest of math quickly as well, he may just need lots of long breaks. Some people learn better in fits and starts, focussing on one thing and learning it, then taking a break while it gels.

 

Also, he is he making good progress in another area? I noticed my Ker tends to focus on one subject at a time. Reading and handwriting were sidelined while she was flying through math. Then in January she did handwriting like crazy, but had not patience for formal math etc...

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What about a game like Math Blaster? My daughter is in first, and she can be the same way. Yesterday was one of those days. I was ready to take her down to the PS and sign her in. I think I'm going to invest in some games like that for her to practice with. We have the first LOF book coming too. Good luck!

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