Math Mayhem

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by svengandhi, Jan 29, 2011.

  1. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    My 6th grade sort of easy child/not really difficult child has been up and down in his math work this year. 97 on one test, 52 on the next and the like. His teacher likes him and says she thinks he lacks confidence in his abilities. He is not math Learning Disability (LD) nor is he dyslexic (H and easy child are dyslexic). He is also not math gifted like oldest boy and difficult child are and he goes to resource room, where they work on it with him.

    He has a mid-term next week and I was trying to work on fractions with him. He has struggled all year with how to do the various operations in fractions. We were working on multiplying and getting nowhere. He was screaming, throwing a pencil and pretending to fall asleep at 11 AM after just waking up at 10. I lost it and went downstairs where I sat on the couch sobbing over what a horrible mother I am that I can't even teach a child of above average intelligence how to multiply fractions.

    I finally asked H to tell me how he would solve the problem. OMG! He explained it in the same, convoluted way my son did. After listening to him take 20 minutes to solve a simple problem and getting it wrong in the final step, I showed him my way. After another 20 minutes, he got it. We then brought my son downstairs and told him that his brain does math like dad's and not mom's. He and H worked through a problem their way and then H helped him to do it in a modified version of my way (he added one step which to their minds, makes it more concrete and easier to grasp - I usually do that step mentally so I was skipping it when working with my son, but he needs to do it).

    Bottom line - we are going to do some problems tonight and also do adding, subtracting and dividing fractions, but I think that after 5 months, he's finally getting fractions. Best part is that this is the first time since he's been in K that he and H have worked on schoolwork (that didn't involve building something) wthout my son screaming for me.

    The funniest part is that my son asked if we could have difficult child help him study as well because "difficult child is the greatest math teacher ever!" difficult child taught him some tricks to help him with the metric system last week and he's very proud of how he understands it now. As for me, I just do NOT get metrics. However, difficult child was at a sleepover birthday party and isn't home yet.

    I am SO thrilled with the ease of this method of doing fractions AND the fact that both H and son now understand a new math concept that I had to share.
  2. shellyd67

    shellyd67 Active Member

    My son is the same way. He either gets 100's or 65's. No in between ???? He tends to flub when there are alot of word problems. He is getting extra help with reading comprehension and has a difficult time. I wish you much luck.
  3. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    Sounds like you have learned something too. If your way of helping doesn't work, tagteam with husband and difficult child. My Aspie son has this problem also, doesn't think like most of us do. We've had to come up with some tricks to doing things so he GETS it. Working with him and being creative in explaining/working math is probably what makes me so good at my job.

    Good luck. Glad you have a back-up plan for when YOUR way doesn't make sense. lol
  4. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    TeDo -

    This is the FIRST time in 20 years of parenting that H has helped me with HW issues. Usually, if I tell the kids to sit down and do HW, he decides that's the time to have them do chores. He works from home and I commute 2 hours plus each day, but HW is never begun before I get home. What happened today was that I sat on the couch (which I NEVER ever sit on because the thing he cheated on me with sat on that couch so he knew it was serious) and sobbed hysterically. I really think he thought I was going insane and had to stop me. Whatever the reason, he finally stood up beside me and helped me. Of course, he presented it to our son as HIS solution, but I was so happy to get the help that I just let him take the credit (NPD tendencies run high in him).

    Regardless, my son feels good about it and is going to study all day tomorrow with me. I promised him a new DS game if he gets at least an 80 and a little something extra for each 5 points above that. He also has a unit test on India coming up but he's running an A in history so we're just studying a little bit and I haven't offered any reward for a good grade on that one, the motivation is there.

    But you're right, I do need to recognize more easily and quickly when my way isn't working, BEFORE I become a sobbing mess.
  5. Star*

    Star* call 911

    I'm not sure which I'd rather address first - the fractions or the infraction.....(tapping chin with finger.....long dramatic pause.....exhale)

    Okay first the fractions, for the sake of my nephew. I struggled with math my entire life. I HATED IT. Numbers do not like me. I'm sure of it. Even the first time I played a scratch off ticket? Everyone else matched at least 2 numbers and myself? Oh I got the worlds only ticket that matched none. My first license plate in the state of SC? XXX - 666 - I mean come ON. (I did ask for a different plate for personal reasons). Then there was the time most recently taking a test on Thursday that my literal world depended on me knowing if the number was a 4 or a 3, and I kept seeing the number 4 backwards and couldn't tell you what the number was. The eyes see it, the brain asks; WHAT IS IT? THINK HARD what is that? I finally blurted out FOUR and saved my bacon, but it was scary. So before I chose a career as a trucker, I was a bookkeeper. Yeah - go figure that one.

    I quit math in the 7th grade, and chose to take 2 majors instead. What I squeeked by with was dysgraphia. I thought I squeeked by with mild mental retardation. My entire life - I never EVER thought I was the slightest bit smart. Clever perhaps, but not smart. My sister? Lord help us all. Her IQ is in the genius range - so by comparison I did look like Forest Gump. (However I will add - I have a personality - neah) Moving on.....
    I did not realize that I WAS smart - quite smart actually until I was in my thirties and a woman who was trying to help me with math was showing me a problem and said "Oh you don't get it?" and I nearly crawled out of my chair. She said "Huh, okay then...let me see if I can explain it differently so you can understand it. I have three children and not ONE of them learned math the same way." Her oldest son - an applied mathematics professor at the age of 21 - USC. Yeah - grab that! So when she said what she said and I was allowed to sit there and NOT be stupid, but be told not everyone learns the same - that it may NOT be me - that it may be HOW I was taught? WOW - what a difference. See Svehghandi - I don't know if I like math so much - but what I can tell you is that I don't like the 1+1 = aspect. I like 1+ ? = 2.....Give me the answer and let me work it backwards. Explain to me WHY it works the way it does backwards. I know it's crazy - I see things backwards too, I think. I learn slower - I'm EXTREMELY analytical. It makes people nuts -but that's how my mind works - but boy sister - when I get it? I GET IT ALL....and then some. Don't beat yourself up on this one. I have a girlfriend that is going to school to get her masters in diversified education because the schools are just NOW figuring out this EXACT thing. Kids aren't stupid - Girls aren't bad at math - WE JUST LEARN it different. And boys are NOT bad spellers - they just LEARN IT DIFFERENT. So teach us differently. Unfortunately - at this point I can't teach math - but I can learn it. You can too - and fractions too. (math hug)

    Okay and as far as that couch? I'd be dragging that SOB out on the lawn and burning it. I mean if it's a matter of being too poor to afford a new couch? I'd get some $8.00 lawn chairs from the dollar store or sit on the floor. But apparently the couch is a bone of contention and needs to go. It's an anchor to the past. Why keep it? (no answer needed). Keep the man - burn the couch. I wouldn't donate it either. I think you need to call a tree service and find out what it costs per hour to rent a shredder and then have them fire that puppy up and drag out that couch to the curb and toss 'er in. (PfffffffGrrrrrrrrrwrrerekwlkerjlekj) <-------sound it would make chunking up. Then go shopping for new furniture together.

    You are a lovely, wonderful, talented, gifted Mother, Wife and friend. Math just stinks - you ARE smart - and fractions can make your head hurt. Relieve the stress by chucking that couch!

    Anyway - thought I'd share that little nugget with you. (laughing -) I was thinking about Diary of a Mad Black woman when that woman cuts the couch in half with a chainsaw to give the man his 1/2. (too messy).

    Hugs and love
  6. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    Star -

    You are great! I don't sit on the couch but I don't get rid of it because when you do sit on it, the first thing your eye is drawn to is the wedding portrait of me and H and I look HOT in those photos. I kNOW the thing was unhinged by seeing that set of pictures and so when I see it, it gives me a sad, secret smile. I had no clue what was going on then but that day was the beginning of the end as I started to figure it out and one clue was the look on thing's face when it looked at my wedding portrait. H sits on it and HE sees that picture and he knows.

    As for math, I always did well till I skipped 5th grade and never learned a bunch of things. I am an intuitive math person. I either know it or I don't. Oldest boy is the same way. We did well up to algebra. Both of us can look at an equation and say "Oh, x must be (some number)" and solve it backwards with no clue as to how we got it. difficult child on the other hand, is a genuine math guru and he understands HOW the problems are solved from every angle. That's why he got a 76 on his math PSAT without studying. I stink at geometry, while H is quite good at it. Youngest boy understands the concepts far better than I do. My daughter has math dyscalculia but over the years, has studied hard and learned to compensate. She made it through college algebra in HS.

    I agree that kids learn differently - having 5 kids, with 5 different hair colors and textures, 5 different eye colors and 5 different personalities, I learned the hard way that kids are different. Each of my kids has different strengths and weaknesses. All of them have excellent memories and vocabularies but beyond that... Oldest boy is a history buff and an avid reader, daughter is the highest in emotional and social intelligence and empathy, difficult child is brilliant intellectually and academically but a Mark Zuckerberg in his interactions with people, easy child 14 is dyslexic, very highly verbal and social, good with his hands, youngest boy is very serious, loves science... They all learn differently.

    The problem I had was adjusting MY expectations. All I could think was that it would reflect badly on me if people thought my child was not smart and the truth should be that as long as my child's body and mind work properly, I should be happy. Adjusting my outlook and helping my son to see that his learning style is just as valid as mine was my take away from this.