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Math Trouble... and 'Trouble' for Math, Reader Feedback

By Heather Idoni

Added Monday, February 16, 2009

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 10 No 13 February 16, 2009
ISSN: 1536-2035
Copyright (c) 2009 - Heather Idoni, FamilyClassroom.net

Welcome to the Homeschooler's Notebook!

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Notes from Heather
-- Feedback and Facebook
Helpful Tip
-- Play 'Trouble' for Math
Reader Question
-- Math Trouble for Daughter
Additional Notes
-- Newsletter Archives
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

New Facebook Friends!

Thanks to everyone who became a friend at Facebook in the past
few days! It has been fun reading about you and getting to
know a few of you already. :-)

If you want to locate me, just type "Heather Idoni" in the
Facebook.com search box. Be sure to mention the newsletter when
you send the friend request!


Reader Feedback


Late Reply to Lynn

"Please Lynn, do not worry. My son hated to read. I read an
article from somewhere that said to let your child read what they
want to. It will 'spark' their interest and they will want to
and enjoy reading.

So I did. With every DS game he bought, I would buy the guide
to go with it.

At first he was asking me what words were; then, to my surprise,
he didn't need to ask anymore. He reads fluently and understands
all he reads. I truly believe that this helped him. He loves
graphic novels. Before I read the article, I was not going to
let him read them. I have bought them for him and he loves them.

It will come with time, so try hard not to fret about it. Let
him read what he wants; it makes such a difference.

The only time we do rules or phonics is with our spelling lessons.
It is not a lot of pressure on him and me!! We read all the rules
before we start spelling. He reads one, I read one. It sure has
helped him improve his spelling!" -- Bunny P.


A 'Thank You' from Lynn...

"Just a HUGE thank you to all the homeschool moms that replied.
I really was unsure if I would get a response. I want to thank
each one of you for taking the time to respond -- everyone had
good suggestions and words of encouragement." -- Lynn


And a Comment on the Answers to Lynn's Question

"Just weighing in... since I missed the opportunity. BUT now
I'd like to comment on the answers:

When did 'reading' get to be about programs and curricula and
methods? Reading is about looking at, interpreting and under-
standing the written word. Give those kids materials they want
to read, such as the manual to their cell phones, their ipods,
their 'stuff' -- and watch them be able to hook up!

At our house, this question comes up from time to time. We just
went to the tractor stores, collected the brochures -- and I hear
more about the specific tractors than I want to know. The one
who doesn't 'do' math is doing math; all the facts and stuff I
wanted him to learn earlier he surprised me with the other day!
The 'less likely to read' one, likewise with the reading. His
fixation on the math of professional, semi-professional, amateur,
even pee-wee sports, provides him with all the numbers a statis-
tician could use. And he reports it back.

Listen to the child and not to us experts and they will tell you
where God has gifted them." -- Sybil


Do you have comments to share? Please do!
Send your emails to: mailto:heather@familyclassroom.net



Helpful Tip

Trouble for Math

"My kids received the board game 'Trouble' for Christmas and we
have really enjoyed it. Yesterday we were sitting around and I
wanted to do some math with the kids. I saw the Trouble game
sitting there and was inspired with a *new* game. We played
'Adding Trouble'. We just played normally, but instead of one
'pop', each person did two. So if a three and four were rolled,
we said '3 + 4 = 7' and we moved that many spaces. When you
get close to getting your men back to home base, just drop the
addition. We allowed a peg to be moved onto the board if your
two numbers added up to six, but we did not allow another roll,
like you get if you roll the number 6. You could also just pre-
pick a random number and add that to the number that is rolled.
That would really help to learn all of one number series. I
suppose the same could be done with multiplication. Also, another
great adding card game is 99. It is easy to learn and great for
on-your-feet thinking. You can google the instructions."

-- Cindy M.


Do you have an idea, experience, or tip to share? Please write!
Send to: mailto:HN-ideas@familyclassroom.net

Last Issue's Reader Question

"My 11 year old daughter has been in public education all of her
life. She has always struggled in math and I finally figured out
she has discalculia. It's an inability to calculate in her head
and she can't memorize any math facts. She can get math one day
and the next day she's lost again. I am pulling her out of school
to teach her at home, but first I would like to research how to
help her. Any suggestions? -- Shelly

Our Readers' Responses

"Shelly -- My niece struggled with that up to the day she graduated.
One-on-one, patient tutoring did as much good as anything. But the
main suggestion I have is not to wait until you do research to pull
her from school. She is not benefiting from the experience of
chronic failure, she is probably going to need time to transition
and de-stress, and the most critical aspect of your research is
trying new ideas together. It probably wouldn't do any harm to
just let her work with confidence at her own pace in a supportive

-- Rick McGarry, Homeschooling Dad, www.LivingstonParentJournal.com


"Shelly -- I would like to suggest to you a book that helped me
personally. It's called 'Overcoming Math Anxiety'.


I struggled a lot in school with math. When I got to high school
they tested me and said I was ready for Algebra 1 instead of general
math. It was a terrible year. I tried so hard, stayed after school
with the teacher for extra help and studied with a friend. I could
not get it. I think the only reason he passed me was he knew I was
really trying and he didn't want to teach me again the next year.
I did well in Geometry the next year; all B's til the end when I
needed algebra skills. My problems went back to the fact that I
never learned my basic math facts, especially multiplication. Girls
in American schools have a hard time for a lot of reasons. I have
read studies that show that teachers teach math in a way that is
disadvantageous to girls. Many times girls subconsciously pick up
on this and it adds to their natural anxiety. Then when the math
starts getting more complicated around the same time puberty hits,
girls are afraid to speak up and say 'I don't get it'. Math builds
on what you have already studied, so when you don't get one thing
you're lost for the rest. I didn't find the book I mentioned above
until I had been out of school 10 years and wanted to go back to
school. I took developmental math beginning with basic math and
advanced through to college level algebra and finite math, intro to
statistics and probabilities. I tool advantage of every math lab
and tutor I could and I 'got math' finally. I think a good place to
start with your daughter is first to give her a break and kind of
detox from school. It also helps a lot to understand the importance
of everyday math. There are a lot of good math help programs avail-
able on the internet, too. There are also a lot of good tricks to
help remember math facts that they don't teach you in school. If
you google 'multiplications table' there is a really neat trick to
help remember the 9s multiplication facts (they were the hardest for
me). God bless you and know that she can learn math. You just have
to figure out the best way to teach her." -- Brenda in VA


"Get a great calculator and teach her how to use it. I had the same
problem as an adult; I simply use my calculator to verify all my math
applications. I could not remember addition nor subtraction facts,
not to mention multiplication or division, as a child. If you can
teach her the processes, the facts do not matter. Focus on real
life math applications such as balancing a check book or adding
and subtracting money, and focus on having her use the calculator
correctly. Also, unifix cubes and manipulatives will help the
mathematics click in her brain and she will slowly improve.

I had to teach myself math while in college and it just clicked.
Focus on what skill she needs to use when in a real life situation,
and things will improve. I suggest that you do not have her do
math worksheets! Keep it low key and stress-free. It could be an
emotional block as well."

Answer our NEW Question

"My children will be taking standardized testing this year. We
have not done this in a while. How do I prepare them for the test
(i.e. actually practice taking tests and making sure they have covered
here at home what will be on the test)? I personally am not looking
forward to this experience but it is required by our cover school."

-- Gayle in Alabama


Do you have suggestions, encouragement or practical advice for Gayle?

Please send your answer to: mailto:HN-answers@familyclassroom.net

Ask YOUR Question

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