# math frustration in 8 year old

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My 8-year-old is pretty frustrated with math right now.

She flips out if we take out a math book. She cries if she sees problems. She can do them alright - but through tears. I've got to switch things up.

The thing is, she CAN do the problems. She just has this huge mental block/frustration the whole time. We've been using RightStart (she is in E and HATING HATING HATING the multi-digit multiplication.)

Emily

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Why is she frustrated?

It's hard?

It's boring?

It takes foreverrrrrrrrrrrr?

She doesn't really understand place value properly?

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Why is she frustrated?

It's hard?

It's boring?

It takes foreverrrrrrrrrrrr?

She doesn't really understand place value properly?

I don't know..

It isn't that hard - she gets 80% right the first time.

It might be boring, but she's the sort of kid that crumples if pushed (but who pushes herself generally) and I don't want to push.

It isn't forever - we set a timer and stop no matter where we are in the lesson.

She definitely understands place value - I gave her the problem 13 x 36 and let her solve it her way and she wrote out:

13 x 3 x 10 + 13 x 6 = 39 x 10 + 78 = 390 + 78 = 468

(now, this was all done through tears and involved some banging).

I almost think she's not getting enough practice to feel confident, but then again she's crying the whole time so I don't want to make it longer. I tried some online lessons (to remove me) but she hated that even more.

She's sharp, has no problem learning music, is super organized, remembers everything she reads, has an amazingly active imagination. She's my little Martha Stewart. I just don't get it.

Emily

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She's pretty young for E. It really may be an age thing. Have you tried taking a break and just doing games for a while? Keep a mix of all types of games going, but for multiplication stay at the beginning of the section and move through the games. If one frustrates her, drop back and play a selection of the ones that come before it and try again later. (Or try the next game in line and see if it was just that particular game.)

If you take a game break for a few weeks, she might get over the stage, whatever it is.

Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk

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My son who was really ahead in math started hating it last year at 8. I tried literally ev.e.ry.thing to turn it around but eventually ran out of ideas and ended up with timer and discipline. It really stunk. He just turned 9 and I have finally been able to turn it around by switching to CLE at a level one behind where he tested in, and I think I realize what was wrong.

He learned math with RS (through B only) and he was super fast at calculating problems in his head, but he never replaced calculating everything with some memorization. He was re-visualizing every piece of every problem and crumpling under working memory overload. He was terrible at CLE's speed drills for everything but multiplication (which we drilled on xtramath). He does also like the independence of CLE and getting letter grades on his tests and quizzes. He never really believed me that he was good at math, he is finally feeling it when I hand him back a test with an A+ on it :)

Our solution might not be what works for you but I thought I'd share our experience just in case.

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I'd ask her. Maybe to her it seems really hard--maybe even though she gets 80% right that first time, she has to think really hard to do so and it's overwhelming. Maybe she thinks she should get 100% first time. Maybe the pages are visually overwhelming or crowded, or there are too many problems or the print is too small or the pictures are distracting (or there's not enough pictures)...

Whenever something was causing that much strife for one of my kids, I used to say (during a snack time or other time when they weren't already upset), "If you could change one thing about math, what would you change?" Sometimes my oldest said "to not do math," LOL, but I just laughed, said that wasn't an option but that we CAN change how we do it or even use a different program--and then bit by bit I'd get him to share what he liked and didn't like about it. We looked at samples together too, and found things that were a better fit.

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My 8-year-old is pretty frustrated with math right now.

She flips out if we take out a math book. She cries if she sees problems. She can do them alright - but through tears. I've got to switch things up.

The thing is, she CAN do the problems. She just has this huge mental block/frustration the whole time. We've been using RightStart (she is in E and HATING HATING HATING the multi-digit multiplication.)

Emily

Do you have any other options you can switch to, and take a break from this temporarily? (I've never used RightStart, so I don't know, but I know that in Singapore for example I can always take a break and work on another chapter or one of the other books I have kicking around, or I can take a few weeks hiatus and hit our math game closet/give a daily choice of math apps and games to work on for a period of time).

Some things that have been such a struggle for us suddenly become okay after a break like this. One other thing that has helped is by taking a "Poetry Teatime" approach to math-- I will set up the table nicely, get a few treats and some juice, and we'll munch and solve problems together. (One game my daughter likes is challenging me to solve a problem mentally in my head correctly while she practices the algorithm...or vice versa. If we can make it into a competition and I always lose, all the better!)

Good luck. For an 8 year old mastering multi-digit multiplication, there's no need to resort (yet) to the Just Grit Your Teeth and Get Through It, I think, a strategy I am otherwise not entirely opposed to!

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Do 1 multiplication problem a day and spend the rest of the math time playing games. That is how we got through the multidigit multiplication.

Sent from my SM-T530NU using Tapatalk

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Lots of fun ideas on the relaxed math thread!

I'd take a break for a while and just let her absorb math indirectly for a bit.

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80% right is pure failure to a kid with perfectionist tendencies. And the "Martha Stewart" mention makes me think that might be her. Just something to think on.

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Just because she can doesn't always mean she's ready.

My 7yo son *can* do pre-algebra, he worked through two texts this spring because he wanted to.  I put him in Right Start D this fall on his choice.  Math should be fun.  It should be about building relationships with numbers.  I really don't care what he does for math as long as he keeps his love of it.  It's okay for them to bounce back and forth between concepts you know they know, but want to be more familiar with, and engaging work that requires their full attention.

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Thanks, Farrar. I think you might have hit the nail on the head.

I am OK with taking a break/switching things up/etc but I just couldn't figure out WHY she is so frustrated when (in my mind) she is so successful. But then again, I'm not a perfectionist!

Emily

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So I tried a variety of things today:

1. I started math with, "Can you go make yourself a cup of tea for during math time?" which elicited squeals of joy.

2. On a scratch paper, I had her write counting by 6s and 5s then solve 65x415 (which she of course solved correctly) - only one problem instead of a page of difficulty

3. I let her choose whether to play math card games or do cuisinaire rod challenges - she chose the rods and did factorization for the rest of the time.

Not a single tear or complaint. :-)

Emily

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