If you have a child who just DOESN’T GET IT when it comes to math, it’s easy to let math ruin your homeschool!
My kids had various abilities in math. Some had a natural grasp of it; others weren’t exactly a whiz but were able to get it with a little help.
Then there was the child who had some learning problems when it came to math. It took me awhile to realize that it wasn’t ME, and it wasn’t necessarily the curriculum. She just struggled with the abstract, so math didn’t make any sense to her at all.
As I was working with her, it became apparent to me that she was a child who would never be GREAT at math. I made it my goal to teach her the basic math facts, the four operations, and how to use a calculator!
I didn’t want her to HATE learning, and I didn’t want math to become the subject that ruined our relationship.
I’d like to say that I was always a patient, calm mom with her. The truth is that I often found myself getting frustrated with her. I hated that no matter HOW I explained things to her, or which manipulatives we used, she still struggled.
After too many days of letting math ruin our homeschool, I made some changes and took some steps to keep math from being a daily source of stress for her AND me!
Here are a few tips for those who have a child who struggles with math:
1. Drill them on their math facts consistently – EVERY day.
When I saw my daughter was still using her fingers to calculate answers, I stopped everything in math to focus on mastering the facts. I couldn’t expect her to be able to do well in multiplication or division when she still hadn’t mastered her addition and subtraction facts.
2. Realize they need LOTS and LOTS of repetition and review to finally remember any new concepts.
When we worked on long division (or ANY new concept) my daughter had to do several problems in a row. The next day she had to do it again, and then the next day, etc. If we missed a day after she had first learned how to do the new kind of problem, I’d have to go back to day one again.
Realizing this kept me VERY diligent in making sure I spent time with her every day doing math. Since math doesn’t make sense to the math-challenged child, it’s not something they love and therefore remember easily.
3. Learn what their daily tolerance limit is when it comes to math, as well as YOUR tolerance.
By the time my daughter was in 3rd or 4th grade, I had realized she could only handle about half of a daily math lesson. If we tried to go much longer than that, she usually would have a meltdown. If she didn’t, I sometimes would! She would hit a point where nothing else registered, or she was frustrated and needed a break.
4. NEVER let math, or any other subject, trump the importance of the relationship!
There were times where I was going to push through till she got it, and it hurt our relationship. That’s when I realized that we needed to take a break, and stop BEFORE we got to that point.
Homeschooling is about relationship and keeping our kids’ hearts. I don’t want to EVER let a roadblock with a subject hurt that relationship.
I love this post by Heidi St. John that I shared recently on my Facebook page :
5. Take a break from a concept if you seem to be hitting a wall with it.
Sometimes a child just isn’t quite ready for long division, or some other math concept. Just because it’s next in the book doesn’t mean you HAVE to do it right then.
Take a break if it’s not working, and go to multiplication for a switch. Often, when you come back to that area later, they are able to grasp it more easily.
6. Don’t let the curriculum be your master, but rather your guide.
The child who is struggling with math isn’t going to keep up the way your other kids may have with the same curriculum. Use it as a tool to help you, and adjust as needed to make it work for both of you. Don’t worry if it takes you two years to get through the one-year curriculum. Mastery is the goal, and you shouldn’t move on until that goal has been met.
7. Consider an online math course that takes a multi-sensory approach to learning, and provides online video tutorials.
One of my favorite options for this is CTC Math. All the teaching is done for you with video tutorials that are short and concise, teaching math concepts in a simple way in only a few minutes at a time.
Shorter lessons help your child to feel less stress, as well as have a feeling of accomplishment when they complete the lesson. This in turn boosts their confidence that they can indeed do math.
Some of my other favorite features are the diagnostic tests to help place your student and identify any gaps, detailed reporting to track their progress, and self-grading lessons and tests.
The best part is that they offer a 60% discount for homeschoolers!
If you’re still not sure about making the investment, take advantage of their FREE TRIAL!
It can get discouraging or frustrating to deal with a child who struggles regularly with math. Don’t let it become the dreaded foe. Take the steps necessary so math won’t ruin your homeschool day, or your relationship with your child.
Above all, pray and ask God to give you the wisdom and patience you need, and to give your child the understanding he/she needs.