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JessBurs

Help! Rising 2nd Grader "hates" math

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Good afternoon, all.

I am hoping someone will have some words of wisdom for me here. My rising second grade daughter professes to 'hate' math and I feel like a horrible teacher because of it, to be honest.

She is actually quite good at math. But when she decides she does not want to do something, she will just fidget, whine, and profess to "I don't KNOWWWW" when asked to solve problems, that I know she very well can solve, because she did them fine the day before.

The past school year we had some rough days, but over all pretty good. We follow Singapore math and I do like the curriculum. In the spring we did book 2A, so for the summer I got her Intensive Practice 2A. I wanted to keep the summers pretty light, and my plan was to just have her do like 15-20 minutes of work in the book a day. Since we had already done the curriculum, I thought these problems wold just make her think deeper, using skills she already had. 

It has been horrible getting her to do it, though. The first few days were fine. Then she started with the whining. I would come over to the book and it would be like a basic addition problem that she had done countless times before. There were several days where she did absolutely nothing during her math time.

I discussed the problem with her and asked her what she thought might help. We decided that she might work better if I sat right with her. So we did that and it worked for maybe 2 weeks. Today, however, she did the same thing-- fidgeting with her pencil, whining "I don't knowwww" etc etc. In 30 minutes we got like one problem done. She then walked away saying, "I hate math!" and I am sitting here feeling defeated.

I like the curriculum and want to keep following it-- I am just looking, I guess, for tips to inspire her to care? Or at least to try?

What can you tell me here, homeschool vets?

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"Learning can only happen when a child is interested.  If he's not interested, it is like throwing marshmallows at his head and calling it eating."

Not the most eloquent quote, but it is one I try to keep in mind when I plan the school year. ?  What draws you to Singapore?  Why do YOU like it?

I do give my child a little more reign than some when it comes to choosing work - he picks based on several samples I pull from online and we discuss his choices/what he wants, but he even has days like that.  The best solutions I have found are these:

1. Be interested myself.  Why should he care if I don't?  If I act like I don't like the subject, he won't.  If I sit there, interact, and stay alert during the lesson, he's more likely to be.
2. Keep it short.  We set a timer.  Right now he works for 20 minutes a day and we put it away.
3. Mix it up.  Those 20 minutes include play with blocks, flashcards, Right Start games, and about a third of a workbook page that he teaches to me as he does it.  We do it in a loop, so whatever we didn't get to the previous day gets started with the next.
4. Parent-child conferences.  We do them periodically and I ask what is working for him, what he would like to change, and what he likes/dislikes about our day.  Then I take a turn.  We end with a list of things to address in a practical manner that gives him ownership over the work.

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She hates the math you're using now. Let it go. There are plenty of other publishers that are just as good.

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47 minutes ago, HomeAgain said:

"Learning can only happen when a child is interested.  If he's not interested, it is like throwing marshmallows at his head and calling it eating."

Not the most eloquent quote, but it is one I try to keep in mind when I plan the school year. ?  What draws you to Singapore?  Why do YOU like it?

I do give my child a little more reign than some when it comes to choosing work - he picks based on several samples I pull from online and we discuss his choices/what he wants, but he even has days like that.  The best solutions I have found are these:

1. Be interested myself.  Why should he care if I don't?  If I act like I don't like the subject, he won't.  If I sit there, interact, and stay alert during the lesson, he's more likely to be.
2. Keep it short.  We set a timer.  Right now he works for 20 minutes a day and we put it away.
3. Mix it up.  Those 20 minutes include play with blocks, flashcards, Right Start games, and about a third of a workbook page that he teaches to me as he does it.  We do it in a loop, so whatever we didn't get to the previous day gets started with the next.
4. Parent-child conferences.  We do them periodically and I ask what is working for him, what he would like to change, and what he likes/dislikes about our day.  Then I take a turn.  We end with a list of things to address in a practical manner that gives him ownership over the work.

Thanks for the ideas.

The reason I like the curriculum is I like the approach to teaching math-- I have seen her make fantastic progress when things 'click', last year understanding base ten and being able to start adding double digit numbers in her head, this year the whole idea of 'carrying/renaming' just clicked-- it has been so great to watch. And the thing is-- when these ideas do 'click' and she gets something new, she gets really excited about it! I also find the curriculum rigorous without being too repetitive, the right amount of practice for topics, etc.

I sat down to speak with her and ask her articulate what her problem was with math: I was going to say, "Is it boring, hard, frustrating, etc" but I barely got out "is it boring" before she jumped in and said, "it's boring, very, very boring".

I suggested giving up on our summer math book and just starting our fall math book so that we would cover different things and she jumped at the idea.

I think for right now we will try that. Since we are starting the fall book a month early, I will have time to intermix it with some math games etc to try and keep it from being too many workbook problems per day.

If we start having problems again, I may be back here for curriculum recommendations.

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HomeAgain's quote is one of my favorite.

It sounds as if your daughter is not only good at math but also a little advanced. It doesn't sound like she needs any more practice but maybe some meatier problems to keep her skills up but not bore her to death with more practice. Challenging Word Problems would be one option. You could even do them orally together or on a white board. I can't remember off hand what level of Singapore most people suggest completing before starting Beast Academy but it sounds like your daughter might be a good fit for BA since she sounds like she's pretty math intuitive already.

ETA - I read somewhere recently that when you start getting "I don't know" to questions you know they know how to do because they have done it before, you've already crossed the line of too much practice. The article (that I can't remember for the life of me where I saw it) went on to say that when you keep giving them questions and problems that they have already mastered, they start to question themselves. The child starts to wonder, "Why are they asking me to keep doing the same thing? Maybe I don't know it as well as I thought." and then they start to doubt themselves and you start getting the "I don't knows." I have no idea how much truth there is to this theory or what research backs it up but I found it very interesting.

Edited by sweet2ndchance
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My rising 4th grader is very good at math. We did Singapore through 3B (then switched to Beast Academy because it fit him better) but he absolutely LOATHED the IP/CWP books. Maybe just stick with the main curriculum, as long as it works?

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IP we did by picking only those problems that were challenging.  No need to waste time on review.

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The intensive practice just may be too much practice. I agree , take a break do some fun math games, and something to practice facts maybe then come back to the next book 2b in the fall. 

We are just finishing up 2a and I would practice double digit addition and subtraction with carrying and borrowing, we took just a couple weeks off and my son was forgetting 

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14 hours ago, sweet2ndchance said:

It sounds as if your daughter is not only good at math but also a little advanced. It doesn't sound like she needs any more practice but maybe some meatier problems to keep her skills up but not bore her to death with more practice. Challenging Word Problems would be one option. You could even do them orally together or on a white board. I can't remember off hand what level of Singapore most people suggest completing before starting Beast Academy but it sounds like your daughter might be a good fit for BA since she sounds like she's pretty math intuitive already.

 

We do Challenging Word Problems on the white board, too!

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I have one who tends to do this, too.  Sometimes we just need a break, or to try something different (maybe Critical Thinking Company math puzzle books?).  Sometimes we race (see if you can finish the dishes), or I'll say 'You need to finish this page or work 15 minutes, whichever comes first' - if the page can be done in 10 minutes, then we're both happy.  Sometimes I promise a break at the end of a chapter (we don't start the new chapter until Monday, so if you finish this on Wed, you get a few days off, if you finish on Friday, then no days off, etc).  There have also been times when we needed something more challenging, or easier.  

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You need to analyze what *exactly* is setting her off.  Is it writing in the workbook?  If so, you can try a whiteboard.  Is it the IP book itself?  My son hated it, so we dropped it.  I could also have scaffolded the IP book more, which probably would have helped, but I decided to just focus on the CWP book instead.

If you just want to tread water over the summer, you could have her do a few review problems per day from the textbook, or you could get one of the extra practice workbooks.  You could also simply start with next year's math.  If you don't want to have a full lesson each day, just do it for however long works for your schedule.  Sometimes kids get cranky about math when they feel like they're not moving forward.

 

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Thank you, everyone for your advice!

Today we just cracked up the 2B book (our fall curriculum) and it went much smoother, so I am feeling more hopeful than I did yesterday when I first posted. I also discovered MathPlayground and she has already found games she really likes.

I think part of the reason I had not initially just continued with math was that I was afraid of 'pushing' her. 

I guess to spell it out, I come from a family of public school teachers (parents, aunts, cousins, etc). To be homeschooling I am really breaking the mold here. My daughter is a bit of an accelerated learner-- she is actually only 6 and has kind of "skipped" a grade in our homeschool. At least in the public school I went to there was always a ton of repetition and review, particularly in math. I think I am having trouble balancing knowing when to move on in a subject and when to hang back and spend more time on review.

I mean she does all the math with ease (once she understands it, obviously she needed lessons on how to carry/rename, how to multiply, etc), and I guess I just saw the IP book as way of 'going deeper' with subjects, the way you know they do in 'gifted' classrooms in public school. Right now (based on how today went and what she articulated to me in our conversations) she seems, however, as though she would much rather move on and do new material.

How do you balance knowing when to circle back and review subjects already covered and when to just move on?

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Play math games. Get dice and cards and spinners and you have an endless supply of games. BUT you can quickly look online and find tons of math games for her age. Play math games and do your math curriculum. Play math games. 

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35 minutes ago, JessBurs said:

How do you balance knowing when to circle back and review subjects already covered and when to just move on?

 

It sounds to me like she is a very articulate little girl that is able to tell you when she gets it and when she's struggling. Let her tell you when she's ready for new material and when she needs more practice. The more you describe her, the more it seems to me like she would eat up something like Beast Academy. BA would provide her with the kind of depth of learning that gifted programs provide. Gifted programs don't keep practicing more of the same stuff that is in regular classrooms. They apply the same concepts taught in the mainstream classrooms in new more challenging ways. Gifted children don't typically need much practice, they need more challenge. Gifted children often despise spiral review and constant practice. If they can answer the questions effortlessly, there is no reason to make them keep practicing, let them keep moving on.

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34 minutes ago, sweet2ndchance said:

 

It sounds to me like she is a very articulate little girl that is able to tell you when she gets it and when she's struggling. Let her tell you when she's ready for new material and when she needs more practice. The more you describe her, the more it seems to me like she would eat up something like Beast Academy. BA would provide her with the kind of depth of learning that gifted programs provide. Gifted programs don't keep practicing more of the same stuff that is in regular classrooms. They apply the same concepts taught in the mainstream classrooms in new more challenging ways. Gifted children don't typically need much practice, they need more challenge. Gifted children often despise spiral review and constant practice. If they can answer the questions effortlessly, there is no reason to make them keep practicing, let them keep moving on.

I am intrigued by what you are saying about Beast Academy, particularly since it looks like by level 3 they can do the work through an online program. She is loving everything having to do with computers right now (of course, what kid isn't) and I try to limit screen time to educational things. She probably would eat it up-- as on the website it looks like math gamification and challenging problems.

How would it work as a supplement course? Do you (or anyone else) know how well the topics covered in Singapore 3A align with BA 3A (I am not totally opposed to switching all together, but it is much more expensive than Singapore so I'm just thinking aloud...)

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You could just let her read the Beast Academy comic books. Some people use it that way. You could just do Singapore 4 days a week and Beast Academy is her Friday treat for math lessons. You could have her complete Beast Academy as much as she wants when she wants. You could work through Singapore during the school year and do Beast Academy in the summer a grade level behind. (So next summer you would do BA 2 books after you finish Singapore 2 books) Or you could switch her over completely and just let Beast Academy be her main program. If she finishes the Beast Academy maths, she will be ready to go on to AOPS algebra programs. AOPS is a wonderful algebra program especially for children who excel at math.

The internet option for Beast Academy is new, like within the last week or so new, so I have no idea about it. I do know that they do plan to come out with the level 2 program online when the level 2 books are all published later this year. 

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21 hours ago, JessBurs said:

I guess to spell it out, I come from a family of public school teachers (parents, aunts, cousins, etc). To be homeschooling I am really breaking the mold here. My daughter is a bit of an accelerated learner-- she is actually only 6 and has kind of "skipped" a grade in our homeschool. At least in the public school I went to there was always a ton of repetition and review, particularly in math. I think I am having trouble balancing knowing when to move on in a subject and when to hang back and spend more time on review.

I mean she does all the math with ease (once she understands it, obviously she needed lessons on how to carry/rename, how to multiply, etc), and I guess I just saw the IP book as way of 'going deeper' with subjects, the way you know they do in 'gifted' classrooms in public school. Right now (based on how today went and what she articulated to me in our conversations) she seems, however, as though she would much rather move on and do new material.

How do you balance knowing when to circle back and review subjects already covered and when to just move on?

We homeschool year round, only taking July off because *I* need a break. Our first year of hsing, I followed the traditional ps schedule, and the slide that happened over that summer was jaw-dropping. Math wasn't so bad, but it took over 3 months to get dd back to where she was in June with spelling. Most textbooks are probably written with the summer slide in mind. When we started the next level of math this year, we only did one page from each of the first five weeks (which were all review), and slowed down to the normal pace once we got to new material.

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On 7/31/2018 at 8:30 PM, JessBurs said:

Thank you, everyone for your advice!

Today we just cracked up the 2B book (our fall curriculum) and it went much smoother, so I am feeling more hopeful than I did yesterday when I first posted. I also discovered MathPlayground and she has already found games she really likes.

I think part of the reason I had not initially just continued with math was that I was afraid of 'pushing' her. 

I guess to spell it out, I come from a family of public school teachers (parents, aunts, cousins, etc). To be homeschooling I am really breaking the mold here. My daughter is a bit of an accelerated learner-- she is actually only 6 and has kind of "skipped" a grade in our homeschool. At least in the public school I went to there was always a ton of repetition and review, particularly in math. I think I am having trouble balancing knowing when to move on in a subject and when to hang back and spend more time on review.

I mean she does all the math with ease (once she understands it, obviously she needed lessons on how to carry/rename, how to multiply, etc), and I guess I just saw the IP book as way of 'going deeper' with subjects, the way you know they do in 'gifted' classrooms in public school. Right now (based on how today went and what she articulated to me in our conversations) she seems, however, as though she would much rather move on and do new material.

How do you balance knowing when to circle back and review subjects already covered and when to just move on?

 

When they are using the concept in daily life, they've got it.  You might be able to get them to a nuance they hadn't considered, something like what's to the left of zero on the number line but mostly in K-2 you are giving them a lot of descriptive language to go with the concept...don't skip the vocab even when the problem has become an exercise, just mod the problem to stretch them as they absorb the terminology. From time to time do the comprehensive reviews...anything nonfluent will be missed and that goes in the weekly review.

IP was a lot of review, but if you look, there are problems that will stretch the child.  One way to find them is orally do the middle section, then ask them which of those left are challenging, i.e. not obvious.   Send the dc off to the whiteboard with the puzzlers and have them write the solutions, then present that to your spouse.  

If she's on MathPlayground's Thinking Blocks sections, she is going to figure out concepts quickly.  Have her still do any problem from the practice book that she can't do orally.  She has terminology to pick up, as well as the skill of correcting her thinking and presenting her solution.

 

Edited by HeighHo

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I’m a little late to the thread, but we use Singapore and Beast Academy and I have a couple of kids who have expressed math hatred in the past. ?

I have found that for my kids math frustration comes because of three reasons: 1) They are bored. 2) They are a perfectionist and afraid of getting it wrong. 3) They don’t understand it. How to deal with the frustration depends on which it is, so I think it’s good that it sounds like you are trying to figure out the cause. I’d also say that the same kid in my house has had times of being bored and times of not understanding. So it’s not always the same approach for the same kid. 

We use Singapore differently than most people. I just use the textbook and IP book (no workbook) because it’s more challenging and helps avoid boredom. I don’t require every problem. Often we will do every other problem on a topic. If they get them right we move on. I do have them do all the word problems. When I have a kid who is having trouble with a concept, I add in the problems from the textbook. All three of my kids mostly get frustrated because of boredom so this has worked for us. 

We use BA as well, as a supplement. We do it on Fridays as “fun math”. Generally they are working about a book behind in BA. So my 4th grader is in 4B for Singapore and 3C for BA. That has helped cement concepts in a fun way that doesn’t feel like review (which the ones who get bored hate). 

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