Friday, September 27, 2013

Mastering the Mathematical Monster

Each school year brings something new, and this year is no different for us. Along with beginning at new school, my daughter is also facing new academic challenges that come along with being a fourth grader.

Suddenly she is being held accountable for remembering her assignments, turning homework in on time and with appropriate headings and, probably the most difficult of all, switching classes. Now, I will admit that this is a lot for a kid all at once. But, if we didn’t think she could handle it, we’d never have made the switch.

Thankfully, as the weeks and months continue, things seem to be falling into place for her. She’s made quite a few friends, switching classes seems to be going smoothly, and all she’s getting a grasp on all except …duh, duh, duh…math. 

“Dreadful” math (as it’s affectionately called in our home) has become her proverbial Achilles heel. Every night, despite her father and my efforts, we watch her frustration manifest into a crying episode and several sheets of notebook paper being crumpled and thrown to the floor. Like most parents, we try and lend our “expertise” to help, but neither ours nor her teacher’s lessons seem to stick.

We’ve tried different methods that include analogies to things she finds more relevant. We’ve been mathematical puppets in a “Mathemagician” show, and even written jingles to sing (yes, “Grandmaster Dividend” and the “Multiplication Queen” have made quite a mathematical scene in the name of education).

Unfortunately, none of our efforts have been successful. I don’t want her to fall behind because math is like building a house, the foundation has to be strong. But, I’m just not sure what else we can do.

Any of you moms out there have any suggestions? I’m all ears!

Nikki Hall-Branch is a Sr. Public Relations Specialist for Texas Health Resources and Mom to a frustrated fourth grader.

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