Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Little Tip To Help The Reluctant Mathematician

My 9 year old son is easily intimidated by math. When he opens his math workbook each day, he usually looks stricken with confusion and frustration, even though 90% of what is on the page is a review of the previous day. He cries. He carries on. He is sure that he cannot manage to understand what on earth he is supposed to it.

In short, it's a little maddening. (is that supposed to have one D or two? oh well. this is about math. Not spelling. or grammar.)

My friend Sooz mentioned an idea to me that she thought might help with Jake's math-a-phobia. A simple dry erase board.

Here's how it works. Basically, just get a smallish dry erase board. The one we started out with was from my office, and it's about 12"x24". Rather than doing the math problems on the workbook page, we do them on the board. This does a lot of good things for my kiddo:

-He's only looking at one math problem. Not the entire page's worth. I think that a lot of his problem is just feeling overwhelmed by all those numbers.

-We can make the numbers bigger, and have a lot more space to work out the problem. Much better than trying to do all of that figurin' in such a small space

-I can help him easier if the number are bigger and we have more space to work. He's not confused about what I'm pointing at or which problem we're working on.

We've been using the dry erase board for a couple weeks now, and math is going much, much better. He actually told me, "When we do math like this, it's really fun!"

Since I needed my dry erase board back in my office, today we purchased a smaller one. It's the size of a piece of paper, so have the feel of an old fashioned slate. We were able to get one with a colored frame that he was excited about, so that made it extra fun. Our board can also have magnets so we can stick it on the fridge when we're not using it, plus it's magnetic itself, and came with a few strong magnets to use with it. The pen has a built in eraser which is another plus.

If your kiddo is struggling with math, why not put a modern spin on the old fashioned slate idea and see if it works for you? (Because, really, isn't $5 a bargain compared to having your kiddo cry over math every day?!)

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