Tuesday, January 22, 2008

When 1+1 doesn't equal 2

My newest parenting challenge is finding patience when helping my daughter with school work. Last week she brought home a math paper with more red X's than a needlepoint sampler. More subtraction problems were wrong than right. She's been taught to use a number line to add and subtract but I have to wonder whether she's using it incorrectly as most of the wrong answers were one digit off. It's been so frustrating because I know she has a good memory yet these math equations and her spelling words aren't sinking in. How do you learn those things without memorizing them? I once met a little Indian girl at a wedding who wanted me to remember her mother's cell phone number so we could arrange a play date. "Put it into your mind," she told me. If only it were as easy as that. It appears some things go in Faith's mind and right back out. She has a hard time concentrating on which problem we're working on let alone finding the correct answer. The teacher has advised us to use flash cards for 10 minutes each day. When flashing certain equations, Faith just says, "That's so hard." I remember having to write out long tables of 1+1 and 1+2 and memorizing my multiplication tables. I don't know how else to help her memorize these numbers. Does anyone have an advice for helping a youngster concentrate and learn?
- Liz


Patty said...

It sounds too me like she is a more concrete learner, and needs to physically see and touch the "numbers" to make them click. Try using a type of manipulative with her flash cards and have her take away 5 out of the 8 macaronis (thats what we used at one point) and then she can see that there are 3 left. You can still use the number line and line them all up on the number line if you think that will help her too.

Liz said...

Thanks Patty. We'll try that. You might want to check out this Middle Georgia Teacher Recruitment Day on Saturday from 9 a.m. until noon at Westside High School in Macon.