My kid hates math and I don't know how to help him!

Andrea - posted on 02/22/2010 ( 58 moms have responded )

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I have a very hard problem! My son is struggling with math to the point that he has given up even trying! I have no idea how to help him or what to do . Do any of you have any suggestions?

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Kat - posted on 04/10/2010

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If you are able to afford a tutor or have one the school provides, I recommend them highly. I tutor middle school mathematics and teach elementary grade students. It can be very frustrating for the child, parents, and teacher to have a child that has thrown in the towel on learning. You need to know the limitations of your childs mathematical abilities in order to formulate a course of proactive response. Home tutoring can help fill in the gaps, if no other tutoring is available.
Start by: As a parent, try to reduce stress by creating a structured, timed learning session. The place should be quiet to distractions and well kit (kitchen table is fine). The maxium time should be 2 hours, 4 days a week. Try to aim at 30 minutes of homework and classwork daily review. Ask to borrow a text book if it think it will help you, with a little extra work from the teacher you can get the pages she will cover that week. As a genral rule of thumb, work the beginning part of the session with review and easy stuff that the child already knows(15 min), then progress into the day's lesson (30 min) , and ten minutes of challenge work; this should take up 55 minutes; take a 10 minute snack break and do up to another 55 minutes of tutoring. One area of weakness common to most of my tutorees is word solving problems and reading comprehension of word problems. You can by at grade level books at Mardels and other book stores that will give you word problem exercises. These could be the challenge problems, it make take the whole 10 minutes to understand one problem with alternate examples.
Hoope this helps you out.
Kat Challis
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Tracie - posted on 08/30/2012

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Depending on his age, games are a fantastic way to sneak in math practice. Don't even mention math, just play the game. Adding up a roll on the dice, being the banker and making change and games like Yahtzee are great for honing math skills.



Good luck and have fun!!

Betty - posted on 03/31/2010

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I am having the same issue with my ten year old. She has a B average in her math but her being the perfectionist that she is, has insisted that she hates math. I'm trying a logic approach with her. First of all I tell her that a B is great and that she should be proud of it. She still turns her nose up at her math homework. I tell her that she has to be more positive towards math. She is constantly saying she is bad at math but with a B average there is no way she is bad at math. I tell her that she is limiting herself by having that atitude. If she would just rationalize it by saying "oh I got that problem wrong by doing this so, next time I have this type of problem I have to make sure I'm concious of the mistake I had made before". Ofcourse if your child's grade is at risk then I suggest a tudor. I know my daughter and I have hit a point where she won't let me help her with her HW any more. It turns into a big argument. So I have to take this type of encouragement. She loves to read so I try to relate her problem with numbers with words. I tell her "If you pronounce a word wrong you learn the right way and then make the mental approaches appropriate for correcting it". I think this can apply to math also instead of concentrating on the subject being numbers and formulas, concentrate on the process of learning from mistakes. Hope this helps. My daughter seems to be pretty receptive to this idea.

Darcey - posted on 08/29/2012

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I would try really easy maths to start with, and then gradually take it harder, after practice. My child, George (girl) is like your child, Andrea. It really worked...

[deleted account]

15 makes it hard! If I was struggling with math at that age, I might have given up.
When I have tutored, I check for the blocks of learning they did not get.
Math is sequential so if an early stage was an issue it keeps growing and growing.
Can you find someone who can test for those blocks?
Is he eligible for a Learning Disability program at school?
As a mom you are in a different role as they grow. See if you can find someone to build those blocks he did not get. Don't blame yourself or him.

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Janese - posted on 11/18/2011

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Use your child's favorite toys, food, video games characters, sports interest, etc. Also, show how Math relates to everyday life. Once a child sees that Math is not only for a grade, they can relate and see it from another perspective. You can also try abcmouse.com, mathblaster.com and y8.com. They have great learning games, that don't seem like learning games.

Laureen - posted on 10/31/2011

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If he is 15 and still having trouble you might seek out a math teacher that does tutoring on the side. Choose a math or special ed math teacher that seems to be a favorite with in the school. I am a special ed teacher in the math department at my high school and it makes a HUGE difference to have some outside help for math. Not only can they use the hour to work on current work but also review old stuff as well. If you are local to the Richmond, VA area let me know and I can help you!

Jeanne - posted on 10/24/2011

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There is a problem called "Teaching Textbooks" and you can check it out at teachingtextbooks.com. It is an excellent program. I tutor students who have problems with math and I often recommend this program to mothers. It has software that comes with it so it can be used online. Lessons and tests are graded and the student cannot proceed until he has mastered the lesson. I like the repetition. Also, if a student is struggling he needs to do math all year round. If you let him drop math for the summer you can uses as much as 6 months to a year, especially if the student struggles.

Carol Jane - posted on 10/04/2011

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Yes, yes, yes! Don't overlook using a tutor, and don't feel bad about using one if you need to. there are some things you will not connect with your kids on, and you just have to give it up, have them tutored until they get to a point where they begin to feel comfortable with the subject. I had to do that with my daughter in spelling coming out of 6th grade, and I never regretted it.

Carol Jane - posted on 10/04/2011

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Have you looked into the "Key To" series? it takes the student on an incremental and starts at just about any level your son is at right now. My daughter has been the same and eeked her way out of high school with little math. Since she's still living here at home, I am taking an algebraic equation each day and just hanging it off of the lamp over the kitchen table. I think that not pushing, but presenting it so that it doesn't appear complex and complicated.

Amanda - posted on 10/03/2011

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my oldest daughter was like that too until i found some internet math games to grab her attention. i've put them on my phone as well, so when we're traveling she can still maintain having fun and learning at the same time.

[deleted account]

If he is on the elementary level try Math games and Math in Real Life (i.e. helping you cook and measure stuff, grocery store math, etc.). Look up First In Math, I had many students become more proficient Mathematicians by using that program.

Karin - posted on 09/27/2011

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Try Kahn Academy. My son has been working through the tutorials and it's working! :D
www.khanacademy.org

Kim - posted on 09/23/2011

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Get a dry erase board and attach it to the fridge door. Then have him write out the problems on the board. By seeing, and him doing the writing, it becomes fun if you ask him to "Teach" you his problems.

Kimberly - posted on 04/08/2010

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Personally as a math teacher I find this sooooo sad, but can't say I haven't seen it before. How old is your son? What usually happens is that something gets taught that a child is not mature enough to wrap their heads around yet, they get lost, they score bad on a quiz, then a test, then they think what is the point. Math builds on itself and if a child misses a key concept, they continue to feel lost. It sounds like you need to find an adult tutor who can pin down exactly where it was in the curriculum that your son got lost. Unfortunately, most of our school systems just plug forward and don't have time to slow down to ensure true understanding of a concept. It is also possible that your son has an unsympathetic teacher. When students get lost in the math, sometimes they are then only seen as a discipline problem.
Have you had a parent teacher conference yet? This teacher should be able to determine where your childs grade started to drop and then determine what material was being taught at that point in time.
There are a lot of online help sites for math also that you could look into.
A personal tutor, although sometimes expensive, can help find your son's confidence in math again. Never give up!

Clare - posted on 04/08/2010

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Make Maths fun, play games with him that are maths related, there are lots available to buy on the net. For learning tables, there are some very good tunes to learn them by on u-tube. Use things that he likes to make maths relevant to him, if he's into cars then ask him some questions that are car related but mathematical. Use the computer there are some really good websites with lots of games on them for making maths fun and that's what it should be about making it fun!

Narelle - posted on 04/06/2010

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Hi Andrea...Given that your son is 15 I think it would be wise to try to spark an interest in maths through one of his hobbies... As maths is something we need for most things in life, I am sure there must be a way you can tap into something he is interested in and incorporate some mathematical concepts... e.g if he is a keen skateboarder, maybe he could design and maybe even make his own board,...good luck with it!!

Leane - posted on 04/02/2010

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I suggest finding ways to do math that are fun, such as board games, puzzles, etc. so you can encourage him to see that math is a part of many activities that are fun to do, then hopefully he will be more willing to try his math homework questions with you. Also have him try the easiest homework questions first so you can show him that he can do them and get the correct answers. Then move on to the harder ones.

Amie - posted on 03/31/2010

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My oldest nephew is a college engineering student and a pretty cheap tutor. My 4th grade daughter's teacher can always tell when she has been working with him because she finally gets it after spending some one on one time with him. Before we started the tutoring she HATED math, but kept trying because she wants to be a scientist someday. Now she is beginning to feel more confident - I can't say she likes math, but she's not so intimidated anymore.

Try a tutor, family member, college or high school student and see if it work. I pay my nephew $15 dollars - we don't have a set time, sometimes it's 45 min and sometimes 1.5 hours. Fortunately he won't let me pay him any more than that. Best $15 I spend each week!

Lyndal - posted on 03/31/2010

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Definitely games and hands on stuff. If he has the basics though then it might just be the teacher as others have suggested. One-on-one would be good so long as the person works with him well.
Have you tried Kumon Maths? I did it in Primary and it was great for me. I am a teacher but learn hands on and by demonstration. I always make sure my students know my learning style and get them to think about theirs that way when we do have to do rite instruction stuff (according to school policy where I work etc. - which I don't like) they know that it is not them that has the issue so much and they can try to understand it that way but if they don't then it's not the end of the world. They can take that information and then apply it according to how they understand it. This helps quite a few of those who struggle, at least with their confidence level which can be the biggest hurdle sometimes. It doesn't work with everyone but those that have the basics it does.

Solrun - posted on 03/29/2010

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I am a math teacher.
I think math is best taught through games. Play games where math is a part of the game. Not sure of the age of your son but here are a new suggestions:
Addtion: Use two dice. Add the dice numbers and take turns to roll, the one who first gets to 50 or 100 wins.
Subtraction: Write 100 on a paper, take turns to roll a dice or two, subtract the dice-numbers from 100 and write down the new number. The person who first hit 0 wins.
Sing songs with 10-friends. Make up your own if you dont know any. Something like this: One and nine is TEN, two and eight is TEN, three and seven is TEN...etc.
Make cards with the numbers from zero to ten. Pick a card let your son find the matching number. If you pick 3 he has to take the card with the 7.

MRS DARLENE - posted on 03/27/2010

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I HAVE YOU TALK TO THE SCHOOL COUNSELOR THERE ARE SPECIAL PROGRAMS FOR KIDS WHO STRUGGLES IN MATH . AND IT IS A VERY GOOD PROGRAM, MY NEPHEW DID NOT LIKE MATH AND THE PROGRAM REALLY HELPED HIM, AND NOW HE IS A MATH LOVER.

Virginia - posted on 03/27/2010

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It depends on your child's age. You could show your son how math is everywhere in our daily lives and even though he may hate it it is really neccessary. If he is still in elementary school concrete items help a lot. Even cookling involves math. Keep the faith. Stay positive and talk with his teacher.

Jennifer - posted on 03/25/2010

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Is he taking Geometry? If so, look for (or ask us about) real-world applications of the concepts he's currently working on. In my classroom, we just finished up a section on area - and we tied it in to carpeting/repainting and decorating a room. Pulling some real-world activities/applications to the math that he is doing can help him relate to why he needs to learn it, and we can always help out. Math was never my strong point in high school, and now I'm teaching it (so, if I can do it, anyone can!!!)

Ivonne - posted on 03/25/2010

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I would suggest hands on activities and a math chart on the floor where he could jump to the answers. Playing in a sandbox. Making sure all math problems are in black ink. Writing equations in the sand. Visiting hands on museums lie Science Centers. If all fails there are always places like Sylvan. ;-D Hope things improve soon; oh I've notice if the parent loves math and working with math sometime the child want to learn it to.

Tiffany - posted on 03/20/2010

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If he isnt learning the way the teacher is teaching it, as the teacher how she is teaching it and to show you other ways to do it. Math for elementary school teachers is a class that teaches teachers 5-8 ways to add, subtract, multiply and divide. Not all children learn the same way and instead of allowing him to get frustrated with math, discuss it with his teacher. As a teacher, I know that us teachers have our hands full but when a parent comes to me with a concern, I really like it. It shows us that the parents care and they dont want their child to "slip through the cracks" of our education system.

Jenna - posted on 03/20/2010

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Make if fun! Set a timer let him work then after the timer goes off let him have a break. Then set the timer again. During each timer setting he has to complete so many problems. Have him work towards a reward. Sometimes all they need is a little self confidence and rewards are good for this. Good luck!

Sylvia - posted on 03/19/2010

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Find out what his weaknesses are and try to reteach them in a fun way at home. Using manipulatives and visuals help and some teachers might not use them consistently in their classroom.

[deleted account]

How old is your son? Depending on the age you may have different approaches. I use music, check out Dr. Jean she has some great math songs that are fun. This may not work if your son is older than 12yrs old. The songs are usually for younger kids.

[deleted account]

I'm wondering if maybe your son isn't being taught math the way he learns it. For example
some people realize concepts through different interaction, like Montessori compared to traditional school work. Do you have any friends who are older or younger math teachers or teach math in another way who would be willing to meet your son, look at his work, and let you know how they think he learns. Through process of elimination you could get the right tutor for your son.

Chery - posted on 03/09/2010

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Money manipulatives work most of the time. How many quarters make a dollar? 25 + 25 + 25 + 25 = what? 25 x what = 100?
I used to order little things from Oriental Trading to give out as prizes. The multicolor goldfish, beads and the multicolor tiny clothespins were popular. There are free sites to get worksheets from. Just Google it.
A way to show progress is "Minute Math". How many addition (etc) problems can he do in one minute? You save the little sheets and show him how much better he is getting.
Let him help you measure things for simple recipes. The reward is tangible.Food!! If it takes 5 raisins to decorate one gingerbread man, how many will you need for 10 cookies? He can divide them out and then count them and visually get an amount.
Worth a try.

La Vergne - posted on 03/07/2010

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Which grade is he in? I taught mathematics for 10 years as a NYC public school teacher. Can you post some of the questions he finds difficult?

Mary - posted on 03/07/2010

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Math can and should be fun! I am a firm believer in that. Go to mathsolutions.com and look over some of the resources there. These are open ended questions that help to build understanding. Another wonderful resource that I have is Making Math Meaningful by Marian Small. It really puts it all together. (I am a Learning Resource Teacher)

Jaime - posted on 03/06/2010

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It sounds like he is struggling even maybe more than you know. Have you tried getting him any outside help such as a tutor? I would try the counselors at school and see if they have any resource suggestions. Sometimes they have great suggestions that they have testimonials for. You are doing the right thing by intervening now. Good luck.

Keya - posted on 03/05/2010

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my kid doesn't like to read I feel your pain, how can I be an educator and my own child loathes reading?? I Read to her at night, I make a separate shopping list with words she can read, lots of stuff like that and she will still ask her brother when she doen't think I'm listening to just tell her the words..thing is she is not struggling in reading at all...awwww rats...

[deleted account]

When my son was in elementary school, we would do his homework Brain and Braun-He would tell me what to write and I would write the answers for him. None of his teachers ever commented on the handwriting or made him do an assignment over. Sometimes the kids need to know that you are willing to work (almost) as hard as they work! ;>

Christine - posted on 03/03/2010

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Try to relate the math to things he like. I had a tough student and started talking to him about comparing gear measurement, oil to gas ratios, etc. because he wants to be a Nascar mechanic. Even if the lesson is not about things he likes, you can reword the problems to make them so. It takes work, but seeing relevance helps inspire interest. I would also ask the school about peer tutoring, sharing notes, etc. Sometimes kids are the best teachers of all.

Stephanie - posted on 03/02/2010

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Hello Andrea! I teach 5th grade and I have found that any type of game works wells and they are SO many available at stores and online. Fraction bingo, flash cards, board games. I found many kids that hate math haven't been exposed to a fun way of teaching it OR missed a key math skill in their early years. How old is your son? Most of my 5th graders who struggle with math and/or detest it, do not know their multiplication tables fast enough or well enough. I hope this helps you in some way. :)

Terri - posted on 02/28/2010

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We got a tutor for my daughter. She's 11. She goes 1 a week and it has helped immensely.

[deleted account]

I love math now but when I was a kid I hated it....because I hated things I didn't understand. Perhaps this is his situation?

The very best thing my parents did for me was getting me a one-on-one tutor (he was a teacher that tutored on the side) that spent an hour with me a few days a week just working on homework/things I didn't understand. It took the frustration out of it for me.

I would also say that math has a lot to do with how you are understanding the teacher. In high school I had 1 year with a very concrete thinker for trig/algebra2 and that was fabulous for me. The next year I had an abstract thinker for analytical math and I didn't understand a thing she was saying. Not to say she wasn't doing her best, just that it wasn't jiving with how my brain processed things.

If he can articulate to you why he doesn't like it, you should be able to get a feel of why. If he says his teacher stinks, it may be that he is having trouble understanding them.

Fiona - posted on 02/27/2010

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Try mathletics.com.au it is a great site that has gams and lessons. It cost approximately $30 aust dollar but it is well and truely worth it. I have all the kids at my school (from prep through to year 10, 5 to 15 yrs) enrolled in it

Erin - posted on 02/25/2010

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I was going to recommend playing card games with him, but since you said he is 15, I'd bet that he is not understanding the teacher and/or having a personality conflict with the teacher. Talk with him to get to the root of the problem. If it is a personality conflict, I'd see if there is another section of the class he could take from another teacher. If he isn't understanding the concepts, then a tutor would be the way to go! :)

Amanda - posted on 02/25/2010

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Have you asked him why he doesn't like it? Maybe it's not the subject; maybe it's his teacher. I know you said he's 15, so I don't know if his problem started just this year or what, but it's always something to look into. Depending on that outcome would probably determine what you should/could do.

[deleted account]

A tutor maybe your best bet at this point, especially since he is older. If you go to your local community college in the math dep. there will probably be a math major that would like to make some extra money. Or you can ask your kid's teacher for suggestions for a tutor.

Sally - posted on 02/23/2010

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As a math teacher, I always us manipulatives (things that he can touch and move). Depending on how old your son is -- in middle school integers (positive and negative numbers) are always tricky. You can use colored tiles -- one color for + and another for -. Maybe asking an older student to help your son at lunch time would help. Does his school have peer tutoring?

Lisa - posted on 02/23/2010

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I am a montessori teacher and to help with math its always fun and easier for some students to touch the math. If your doing fractions cut pices of a shape and put them together, same with everything make it larger in size also white boards are great. i hope this helps

Genesee - posted on 02/23/2010

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My daughter used to hate Maths when she was in Primary 3, i felt desperate to help her but I can't. Now that she's Pri 4, her new Maths teacher is very patient & encouraging.
Thanks to her, my daughter loves Maths now. I asked my husband to help her with her homework,too.

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