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Boys and Math!


scrapbookbuzz
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My 12yo is somewhat behind in math. Not because he can't do it, he just hates doing it.

Tells me and himself that every time almost. I keep telling him he's good at it so just get it done.

I don't know what it is he doesn't like about it. Today, his unit test may take all day! UGH.

 

Any friendly advice? Suggestions?

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What program and level?  Is he bored?

 

Around here, I would see foot dragging in a few different scenarios:  (1) issues unrelated to math, like handwriting or attention or vision, (2) the math is too easy and therefore tedious and boring, or (3) the style of instruction is not a good fit, making it seem harder than it actually is.

 

ETA, looking at some older posts, he is very bright but last fall was using MUS Delta?  That sounds like a complete mismatch.  If he has no learning issues, I would compact, ramping him up to grade level ASAP.  How to best go about that is a separate question, but am I correct, is this the case?  Is he ok with addition and multiplication facts?  Is there any particularly slow speed going on, orally or or in writing?

Edited by wapiti
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I agree, what program and level?    Does he have too many problems?  My kids get slower and slower if they have pages of boring math.  They do better with a mix of algorithms and "thinking" math and not a slew of the former.  They don't retain hardly anything from constant repetition either, even though they do need review fairly often over a long period of time for things to really stick.  

 

Maybe your child needs some thinking math like Beast or AoPS mixed in?  Or just fewer math problems?

 

 

Edited by OneStepAtATime
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Agree with pp.

Is he bored? is the instruction dry and drill based? Have you tried to choose a different program?

Also: are you projecting excitement and enthusiasm about math?

 

ETA: how do you do math? Are you interacting? Discussing problems together, talking about math, modeling teaching each other?

Edited by regentrude
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I've never had much luck with telling my students to "just go get it done" for math. It goes better here if I teach the lesson, model the exercises, work together at the chalkboard with the student, and sit there, watching with rapt attention and chalk in hand, as he works out problems on his own.

 

Then if he needs more practice, I sit with him at the school table while he does his independent exercises. And I check his work as soon he's finished, so we can go over mistakes right then.

 

Homeschooling parents always say they don't have time for this, but "I" don't have time to let my child become intimidated by math, or lethargic about completing exercises, because these attitudes and habits will greatly impair my ability to teach him in the future. I also don't have time to lose if the material isn't a good fit for him -- whether the wrong style, or too advanced, or too repetitive. If I'm watching him solve some of his problems every day, I can be a far better judge of whether the lessons are what he needs.

 

If I want a curious, capable, energetic math student, I need to teach him and really be there.

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I don't know what it is he doesn't like about it.

 

Any friendly advice? Suggestions?

 

Try asking him why he doesn't like it? That may or may not give you any new information. Other than that, I agree with PPs.

 

ETA: also ask what he likes about math, or, what he dislikes the least, if he says he likes nothing.

Edited by luuknam
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