Overcoming Elementary Math Struggles in the Homeschool


This is Week 2 of the Virtual Curriculum fair. This week we are discussing math concepts. Math makes my daughter nervous. She and I (because I feel her pain) come from a family of math lovers and specialists. Four of our family members are engineers, one is a doctor, another a computer programmer. And then there’s the other side of the family, fine artists, crafters, even actors. She and I are stuck in the middle. We can do math but we’re not fabulous at it. We can craft and sew and such but again we’re not great at it.

What we’re both good at is organizing things and laying them out to make more sense (at least to us).

My daughter is in the fifth grade and after a couple of years we’re having our best round when it comes to math.

Using various tools and lots of encouragement here is how we’re doing math for my fifth grader in 2016.

Those Math Issues

Now when you watch your child closely doing their work you notice little things that could be throwing them off. For me I noticed that my daughter was in such a rush to finish that she wrote big and sloppy which would make her numbers overwrite each other, which then confused her as to which number she was working with, and  finally resulted in a wrong answer. This then frustrates her and she thinks she doesn’t know what she’s doing.

Also with each new math concept I would get the impression that my daughter put down, or completely dismissed, what she had learned previously and went at it like she was learning something completely new. Conquered math facts, division steps, and most everything went out the window which meant she was working on autopilot and just following the steps outlined in the lesson without grasping what was going on.

These were just two main things going on in our math lessons that I’ve been working with her to overcome. We’ve tried a few things and it’s still a work in progress but I’m sure, if math is a struggle for your child, you may like to know how we’re working through it.

And the Math Solutions

  • First of all there is the daily reminder to “Use What You Know”.  That’s what I tell her daily. One day it will stick but I remind her of all that she already knows so that comparing fractions is just learning one or two new steps on top of all the other great stuff she already knows.
  • Next I sometimes make printables to post in our classroom with steps for math problems. Such as my Long Division Steps Reminder.
  • My daughter is also an audial and visual learner. She knows this too. So she does best when she hears and sees it. Application doesn’t hurt either but DVD homeschool is ideal for us. We’re currently reviewing Math-U-See new video lessons which she loves so more on that in a couple of weeks.
  • Being a reader stories (not math problems) can help in some situations such as Times Tales which helped her quickly grasp her upper times tables.
  • Manipulatives still work for this fifth grader. Her favorite are the ones that come with the Math-U-See program but we also use the blocks that came with our BJU curriculum and 2 sets of math wall decals frommonamelisa
  • Then there was the dream. One morning my daughter told me she had a dream. In it she saw how to write out her math. Simply and organized (that’s it above in the pick). God moves in mysterious ways.

More math help

10 Resources for Free Homeschool Math Tools and Printables

Discovering Patterns:  Mathematics, Logic, and Science

Chareen @ Every Bed of RosesThoughts on Math and Science
Kristen @ Sunrise to Sunset  – From Counting to Calculus
Laura @ Day by Day in Our World  – How We Approach Math in This Homeschool Year
Annette @ A Net In TimeStruggling with Math, Loving Science
Annette @ A Net In Time  – Lego Pulleys and Levers
Yvie @ Gypsy Road Hands – On Math with Special Needs Learners
Chelli @ The Planted Trees  – Chemistry Using Living Books
Lisa @ GoldenGrasses  – An Appalling Lack of Curiosity
Edie @ Carter Chaos  – Our Favorite Ways to Study Numbers
Tracey @ A Learning Journey  – Robot Area and Perimeter Art Project
Jennifer @ A Glimpse of Our Life  – Math and Standardized Tests
Jen @ Chestnut Grove Academy  – Discovering Patterns: Mathematics, Logic, and Science
Sarah @ DeliveringGrace  – Learning Multiplication Tables
Kylie @ Our Worldwide Classroom  – Multisensory Multiplication
Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break  – Science and Stuff
Kemi Quinn @ Homemaking Organized  – Math in Our Homeschool for a Later Elementary Organized Reader
Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory  – Math and Logic – Our Steady Path
Laura @ Four Little Penguins  – Math and Science Love

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