Having a math meltdown and working our way through it.

I wish I could say that homeschooling is always sunshine and daisies, but that’s not how it really goes.  Some days they don’t want to work, or I am dragging and don’t want to work, and sometimes things just don’t go as planned.

Today Little Yoda was doing his math and he just wasn’t getting it. We have been working on adding 9’s to numbers. (ex. 26 +9)  Yesterday he went through this skill like he had been doing it his whole life, but now he was looking at me like he had never seen a problem like this this ever!   His frustration added to my frustration and we went in circles until we both blew up.  After we took a little break from each other we came back and talked about what was happening.

Part of our problem was that he just wanted to be finished.  He thought if he could just write down some numbers on the sheet we could move on with our day.  I explained to him that our goal is to never to just check off a task, but rather to have real understanding and learning.  I didn’t care how many problems he did or didn’t do, I just wanted him to truly understand how to add a 9 to a number.  So we got out the abacus and practiced giving a one to the nine to make it a ten and adding up the numbers that way in our heads.  I modeled my thinking aloud for him so he could see what my thought processes were as I moved through the addition.  After a few minutes of talking through the steps I gave him a few problems to do on his own.  He quickly and easily did all of them without a hesitation.  Success!

So in the end it wasn’t very pretty, and I really hate it when I lose my patience with the boys, but he did learn how to add nines to a number.  More importantly he learned that our goal is not to simply complete a task, but to truly learn and understand the skills we are covering.

2 thoughts on “Having a math meltdown and working our way through it.

  1. I can completely relate to this. Math has always been our difficult subject. In part, I think because my girls were in school at one time and they would complete worksheets and hand them in and it could take a while for the teacher to correct them and know whether or not they understood the material.

    Right now I am trying to find a program for higher level math that offers explanations if they get something wrong because I don’t trust my ability to explain things in higher level math.

    • Theresa…You could try Aleks or mathalicious. My DS 12 is using Aleks for pre-algebra this year. It is computer based and spirals to make sure he is really getting the concepts.

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