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Math for Kid Who Dislikes Math


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My DH is responsible for math in our homeschool but I'm the one who does the research and finds different options. 

Our DD has always been strong in math. She picks up the concepts easily. 

We purchased Math Mammoth last year for our first year of homeschooling (4th grade) but DD did not really like it. I think it had too many problems and was too dry. My DH dropped MM and spent most of the year working with c-rods to make sure DD was solid in multiplication and division. DH also spent a lot of time working with DD on her math facts. My DH was a math major and he's very mathy but he's very traditional in his math thinking. 

DH and DD used Beast Academy this summer. My DH likes BA but DD really dislikes it. 

I'm trying to encourage my DH to think a bit outside of the box because I'm concerned that my DD consistently dislikes math. 

Question - is it asking too much for a kid to like math? Are there some kids who will always dislike it even if they are good at it? 

Or does that mean that we have not found the right program? 

Is the goal for a child who claims to dislike math to get to feeling neutral about math (neither like nor dislike)? 

I feel like something more hands on and story based might be a better option for DD. 

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What does she dislike about math?

My son is strong in math too but will sometimes say that he dislikes it. In his case, I take it as an extension of his general grumbling about being made to do things. I mean, he grumbles about math in roughly the same way as he grumbles about having to clear the table. It feels like a chore to him.

Now, obviously I don't want math to feel like a chore so I have started incorporating more games and also more exploration into his math. Big thanks to @square25 for giving me ideas! He's been really happy about that. There is still going to be some element of just buckling down and doing things in every subject, and I really really really don't want to feel like I have to make every moment of his school day fun, but at least now I don't have to hear about how he hates math. 

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I think there are some kids who are just going to hate it.  I spent 2 years and a couple hundred dollars trying to find something my dd liked for math.  (She recently tested in the 99.9 percentile for it, so it is not that she is confused or struggling.)  After wasting a bunch of time and money I settled on CLE and she can just get it over with as quickly as possible.  We've stuck with that for the last few years.  I feel like I gave it a good try (finding something she liked) and we were approaching a state of coddling and entitlement.  I'm hopeful that she might like high school math.  I remember hating elementary math but liking everything from algebra up.  Maybe that will be the case for your dd too.

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I was going to suggest Beast Academy but you've btdt, lol! My DS says he hates math (even though he is good at it). Like Little Green Leaves wrote, I think he looks at it as a chore. He is rising 11th and we are finishing Geometry and will be starting Algebra II. He has REALLY disliked geometry mostly because I think he is confused by the diagrams. With Algebra it was word problems that took the longest; he just could not wrap his head around what was being asked and it was frustrating for him. He was relieved by factoring or anything he saw as "more straightforward," more literal. We used Singapore Math until Pre-Algebra in 7th and that was okay for him. My DD's LOVE Singapore Math but they like math more in general.

Is there any part of mathematics that your daughter does like? With arithmetic, there are so many different topics, i.e., measurement, fractions, geometry, etc. Maybe one topic she will like more than the others. and you can focus on it a little longer or combine topics. If she likes geometry for example you could incorporate measurement activities into the study of different shapes.

Is your DD more into stories and language arts? Math Detective is a fun yet solid supplement that my rising 4th grader enjoys. It's a book of scenarios that require math to answer questions: https://www.criticalthinking.com/math-detective-a1.html 

 I usually incorporate some literature in with math—I love the Marilyn Burns books that help you do this, for example: https://www.amazon.com/Math-Literature-Grades-4-6-Second/dp/0941355683/ref=sr_1_31?dchild=1&keywords=marilyn+burns&qid=1596476312&s=books&sr=1-31  Marilyn Burns has LOTS of excellent mathematics resources that are worth checking out.

I also like to include exploration projects into math which take the concepts "off" the page. For example, using Skittles or M & Ms for mean, median, and mode and for graphing projects. Or creating a survey and then using the data for fractions, stats, and/or graphing (one of my kids is using Skittles to create an accurate circle graph showing percentages of specific colors in a package). She also will be designing a house floor plan using concepts of measurement, area, and perimeter. Teacherspayteachers.com has lots of "real life" projects for reasonable cost. I've purchased these recently: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Design-a-Zoo-Area-Perimeter-21st-Century-Math-Project-614662 and https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/The-Restaurant-Decimal-Operations-Real-World-21st-Century-Math-Project-1367921

 

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My kids are both good in math and one is very advanced, but neither liked the bit of Beast that we tried.  Life of Fred is wildly popular with my older and we use is as a supplement (older has used it as 'Friday Math' for years).  It is very untraditional but it might spark some interest, and both of my kids say that it's helped them to clarify some ideas (one with fractions in elementary, one with some algebra concepts).  But, that being said, some kids also just complain no matter what you do and some kids just have a dislike of a subject.  For one of mine, I think it's the act of being required to do something that they don't want to do, rather than the particular task, that causes the complaining.  

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4 hours ago, Little Green Leaves said:

What does she dislike about math?

My son is strong in math too but will sometimes say that he dislikes it. In his case, I take it as an extension of his general grumbling about being made to do things. I mean, he grumbles about math in roughly the same way as he grumbles about having to clear the table. It feels like a chore to him.

Now, obviously I don't want math to feel like a chore so I have started incorporating more games and also more exploration into his math. Big thanks to @square25 for giving me ideas! He's been really happy about that. There is still going to be some element of just buckling down and doing things in every subject, and I really really really don't want to feel like I have to make every moment of his school day fun, but at least now I don't have to hear about how he hates math. 

She says that she does not like the beasts. She's never been into comic books. 

She says that math is boring. She and my DH did a lot of puzzles last year. They used blocks and other manipulatives last year. She never thought it was fun but I think she liked it better than BA. 

They worked on fractions using m&ms. 

I just recommended Life of Fred to my husband. 

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1 minute ago, square_25 said:

Did any puzzles appeal to her at all, or not? 

So, for the record, DD8 loathes manipulatives and refused to use them from age 4 (she would either draw a picture or talk it out.) Does your daughter actually need the manipulatives, or is her conceptual understanding solid enough that she can reason without them? 

Has your DH ever done any enrichment math with her like combinatorics or negative numbers or prime factorization or different bases? 

I think she was okay with puzzles. She didn't love them but didn't hate them either. She doesn't need manipulatives anymore and they haven't used them since last year. 

DH has never done anything like you mention. I know they discussed prime numbers last week and DH reminded DD that Skye recites prime numbers before soccer games in the Penderwicks on Gardam Street. Honestly math is not my thing so I generally stay out of the way. 

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My 10 yr dd, who is a very good math student, also disliked BA.  (Her older sister, also a gifted math student, strongly disliked AoPS alg and asked to stick with Foerster's.)

Neither of them particularly "like" math (as in enjoy it for what it is), but they don't dislike it either.  One of their sisters that is between in them in age moaned and groaned about math all of the time at that age.  She complained constantly.   I finally got tired of it and told her if she didn't stop complaining I was going to double the amt of math she was doing.  She kept whining.  I added MiF on top  of Horizons.  Guess what? Math is now one of her favorite subjects and will be pursuing a STEM major in college.

Some kids just whine.  I just refuse to listen to it.  If they are going to whine (and this is whining without good reason.....she was very good at math!), my policy is that if I am going to have to listen to them, I will give them a reason for the whining. 

So, while I educate my kids in a way where I want to embrace their interests, I equally expect them to do what is expected joyfully.  Whining is a huge no-go in our home.

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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Are you sure it is a problem with the programs?  How is she being taught?  Is your husband interacting with her during math time or is she struggling with it on her own?  Are there certain things she seems to hate more than others?

If you can isolate exactly what is hated that will go a long way with helping to find the solution.

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7 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

Yes, HOE has been a big hit here.  This yr we are focusing on pre-alg skills with detours to areas where she still needs conceptual work.  So, today we worked through a MUS alg lesson (which I cannot classify as anything other than pre-alg equivalent) but we also spent time with a dry erase board discussing the difference between the concepts of multiplying and dividing fractions and what they represent.  We have a good morning of drawing pictures on the board and her coming up with problems and drawing what they represented. 

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2 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

Google images does not to it justice. I think the videos have to have been made in the late 80’s or early 90’s and he wasn’t a fashionista at the time. His current linked in has come a long way. 

He's going to have the most search hits ever.  I'm pretty sure everyone reading this just has to go see it now.

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1 hour ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

I'm lost.  Are there HOE videos? 

Me too.  Of course the last time I used HOE was like 10 years ago.

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3 minutes ago, EKS said:

Me too.  Of course the last time I used HOE was like 10 years ago.

I used them up through May.  I have only ever used the verbal problems book, so no idea that there were videos.  (But, even if I did know, I probably wouldn't use them anyway.  😉 )

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11 hours ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

My DH is responsible for math in our homeschool but I'm the one who does the research and finds different options. 

Our DD has always been strong in math. She picks up the concepts easily. 

We purchased Math Mammoth last year for our first year of homeschooling (4th grade) but DD did not really like it. I think it had too many problems and was too dry. My DH dropped MM and spent most of the year working with c-rods to make sure DD was solid in multiplication and division. DH also spent a lot of time working with DD on her math facts. My DH was a math major and he's very mathy but he's very traditional in his math thinking. 

DH and DD used Beast Academy this summer. My DH likes BA but DD really dislikes it. 

I'm trying to encourage my DH to think a bit outside of the box because I'm concerned that my DD consistently dislikes math. 

Question - is it asking too much for a kid to like math? Are there some kids who will always dislike it even if they are good at it? 

Or does that mean that we have not found the right program? 

Is the goal for a child who claims to dislike math to get to feeling neutral about math (neither like nor dislike)? 

I feel like something more hands on and story based might be a better option for DD. 

Children aren't always going to like math, but I don't think it needs to be something that they *consistently* dislike.

Maybe she'd just like something very traditional, like Rod and Staff Publishers. Or Saxon, which is a little less traditional than R&S, but is definitely not BA.

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2 hours ago, Paradox5 said:

He and Jamie on MythBusters must be buddies.

OP, I’m going to venture another angle. It maybe partly her age. Does she complain about other  things a lot, too? 9-10 yr olds, especially girls, got stuff going on.  Pick a program and just buckle to it. I would suggest one of the Singapore (not MM) flavors. And your dh may need to change how he teaches.  Liping Ma’s book would be worth picking up for him to read. 

Good luck!

I've recommended that book to my DH. My DH does not geek out about pedagogy like I do. He's mathy but I don't think he's ever thought much about teaching math, KWIM? DD did MiF when she was in school. She didn't like that much either. 

She's not a big complainer but what she really wants to do is spend all her time playing role playing games on Roblox with her friends while chatting on Facetime. 

19 minutes ago, calbear said:

I'm going to throw out an unusual suggestion. Maybe look at Crewton Ramone's House of Math. This is a Mortensen approach to math.

https://www.crewtonramoneshouseofmath.com

DH actually did some of this with DD last year. 

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5 hours ago, square_25 said:

What’s she learning about now, do you know? And do you know if she’s ever liked any of it?

Learning about in math or her other subjects? 

In math, I think they are working on fractions and decimal points now. They got a little behind in math last year because my DH had back surgery last year.

I would say that she's always indifferent about math. It was always her best subject in school in terms of performance but she would always say it was her least favorite subject. Sometimes she will say that she "hates" math and other times she says she says she doesn't like math. 

When she was in school, the teacher had a math club and had puzzles and extra questions for kids who liked math but DD was never interested. I never pushed about that. 

Her 1st grade teacher told me that she didn't give DD math puzzles to do because DD was slow to finish her math in class. I asked DD about this and DD asked why she would want to get her work done earlier just to get more work. It's hard to argue with that logic. 

In her last year of school (3rd grade), she began saying that she was not good at math. 3rd grade was a hard year for DD overall. The class had 30 kids so it was way too big. She was unhappy most of the year and her grades fell except in math. Her grades fell because she stopped turning in all of her work. I found the work in her backpack but she didn't turn it in so she got zeroes. 

In 3rd grade, she started claiming that she was not good at math. The kids she said were good in math were all boys. IDK - it was just a bad situation overall which is why we pulled her out of school for 4th grade. 

What does it mean - "good at math?" IDK. Her math scores on standardized tests have always been high. Her last standardized test was the Iowa Test in 3rd grade. I can't remember her math score but it was in the mid 90th percentile. My DH was a math major. My father was a math major. They're very mathy. 

I would said the same thing about math in elementary school that my DD says about it now. I don't remember it being hard but I never liked it. I took only as much math as I was required to take. I got through calculus and that was it. I'm sure that I never understood the concepts behind what we did. For example, what were we doing when we borrowed and carried? I didn't understand that until I worked on regrouping with my daughter. Huge lightbulbs went on for me then. 

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7 hours ago, square_25 said:

But deciding a kid doesn’t like math because they aren’t into arithmetic is like deciding a kid doesn’t like eating because they don’t like broccoli. 

This a million times!

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3 hours ago, square_25 said:

By the way, my kiddo is utterly uninspired by puzzles. She does like the Beast Academy comics, though.

Have you ever looked at Math Kangaroo problems? Do you think she’d like those?

Not sure. I've never heard of them before. I'll have DH check it out. 

Part of our issue is that I'm the one who does the research but my DH is the one who does the work. 

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6 minutes ago, square_25 said:

Maybe you don't need to farm out the math to him entirely? 🙂 Just because he's mathy doesn't mean he's a great teacher. It's possible working together would go better? 

He's getting better and it's a big relief to not have to deal with math. I work full time and homeschool. I really need my DH to do his share. 

 

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Maybe Mathematical Reasoning? It's colorful, has some puzzles/patterns/etc to do, but normal math otherwise. 

I was similar as a kid. I never struggled, I just didn't enjoy it. Bleh. If she gets concepts easily, something with shorter lessons would likely be fine. It was all the problems that drove me nuts. 

OH!

And Math Mammoth is mastery - all the problems are the same topic. Not sure about Beast Academy, but I think those are too! What about trying a spiral program, where there are a few questions about the new material, then the rest are mixed review? That's a lot less tedious for some kids. Mixes it up. CLE and Teaching Textbooks are like that. (probably could do a grade ahead with Teaching Textbooks if she's quick to pick stuff up. Or do on grade level if she needs the confidence boost)

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