Domestic Bliss Report

Motherhood is hard work. If we don't stick together, we'll all fall apart.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Math question--any help?

I think Dale is experiencing "math burnout."

He's about halfway through the MCP Mathematics A (first grade--the green one). We're working on addition, sums to 18. He gets the concept, easily. But doing a single page, all I ask of him, has become an exercise in diminishing returns. It doesn't hold his attention, it's not fun, it's not even interesting. It has taken an excruciating three hours, wherein I remind, cajole, scold, coax, nag, yell, threaten, and banish to his room before I do something I really regret. I've tried working for half an hour, then he can run two laps around the backyard. By the third trip outside, though, my patience is shot and he's still not done.
Hence, the burnout suspicion.
I do not wish to buy a whole new math curriculum. I'm thinking a vacation, of sorts; after a given period of time, (a month?) we return home to MCP with renewed interest. Or at least the ability to grasp the idea of staying on task.
I'm thinking something like Starfall but for math. Does it exist? Is it interesting to kids?

Would puzzles like Sudoku keep math-type stuff on his mind? What about a tangram puzzle? Any suggestions for a five-year-old boy?

UPDATE 9/5/08--A touch more background. This kid would sit, willingly, enthusiastically even, for over half an hour and six pages a year ago. He's not having trouble with the concepts; I think he's just looking for a change of scenery, math-wise.

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At 7:44 PM, Blogger Milehimama said...

Have you considered that it may be a learing style issue with Visual Discrimination?

Sometimes seeing an ENTIRE page is overwhelming - kids can't separate the different problems, it seems like a mountain they can't climb.

Can you cut the worksheet into strips, and make a "booklet" instead of a worksheet? Make a cover with a "window" so he can see just one problem at a time?

There are also tons of games to play and make up with adding flashcards - races, jumps, even playing a board game with two dice (adding together the dice) can be math practice.

You might also like these sites:
Math Playground

A Plus Math

Cool Math 4 Kids

We love to play with cuisenaire rods, unifix cubes, and counters (a bag of those jewels you're supposed to put in vases, bought at the dollar store!), plus pattern blocks. Pattern blocks are mighty popular around here, LOL!

At 8:18 PM, Blogger Melanie B said...

I think I'd be inclined to take a vacation and then return with a different approach.

Perhaps instead of setting a goal of doing a whole page of problems, I'd set a goal of a period of time, say ten or fifteen minutes at first and then work your way to longer periods of time as he begins to feel confidence. I wouldn't make him do more than half an hour a day tops. I'd set a timer and require that he give the page his full concentration for that finite period of time and then he'd be done for the day and could move on to other tasks and return to the page the next day. Once he gets the hang of that perhaps you could challenge him to try to beat his time: Last time you did five problems in ten minutes, let's see if you can do six.

Just my two cents.

At 7:08 AM, Blogger THE MOM WITH BROWNIES said...

How about giving him the test. If he passes it move on to the next part of the book. If not, give out a few problems a day, instead of the entire page and then take the test when he has a great grasp on the material.

Honestly, if he knows how to do it, why make him do ALL of the work in the book?

At 7:14 AM, Blogger THE MOM WITH BROWNIES said...

The hidden picture and planet blaster games are fun. :o)

At 3:18 PM, Anonymous mer said...

Heather, if D3 likes LEGOS, perhaps have some on the table for him to use strictly for counting the sums?


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